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Canada’s National Ocean Observatory Critical for Ocean, Planet

Canada’s National Ocean Observatory Critical for Ocean, Planet

Technology Sector Life Sciences/Bio Tech Ocean Sciences and Marine Technology Government

Operating a broad range of ocean observatories from the deep ocean to coastal waters, and on land, Ocean Networks Canada provides unique technical capabilities to advance our understanding of the role of oceans on climate change and the impact it has on them.

Ocean Networks Canada (ONC), an initiative of the University of Victoria, today welcomes a new federal investment in its world-leading ocean observatories located on the Pacific, Atlantic and Arctic coasts of Canada. The support will help drive climate change solutions, safer coastal communities, Indigenous ocean data stewardship, a healthier ocean and a sustainable blue economy. 

The funding announced today is awarded to UVic through the Canada Foundation for Innovation’s (CFI) Major Science Initiatives Fund, which supports a portion of the operating and maintenance costs of selected national science facilities across Canada. ONC will receive an investment of almost $115 million over six years to continue advancing ocean observing, extending the reach and application of its open access big data to benefit science, society and industry.    

In the past 16 years ONC has expanded beyond its early work observing the Salish Sea to becoming a true national ocean observing facility, with installations and local and Indigenous partnerships on all three coasts of Canada, attracting more than 23,000 users of its scientific data around the world. 

The real-time and long-time series ocean data that ONC collects from its cabled, mobile and community-based observing networks make possible a wide range of services that support scientific discovery, climate impact monitoring, maritime safety, tsunami and earthquake early warning, innovation in climate change mitigation, and a sustainable ocean economy, says Kate Moran, president and chief executive officer of ONC.

“Canadians can be proud of their national observatory that not only yields valuable insights into this undersea world that covers two thirds of our planet, but also contributes to Canada’s climate leadership through innovation in ocean nature-based and technological climate mitigation solutions and coastal resilience.

This investment also means that ONC, through its work with the United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development, can continue working with partners In Canada and internationally to advance projects in pursuit of healthier oceans, science that promotes ocean resilience, and a citizenry engaged with the oceans’ role in supporting life on this planet,” says Moran.

“This funding recognizes Ocean Networks Canada for its leadership and the profound difference it’s making on all three Canadian coasts and internationally,” says Kevin Hall, UVic’s president and vice-chancellor. “As a research university, we take pride in working in partnership to create a better world—by taking action on climate change and working with partners to make life better on land and below the water.”

In our teaching, research and operations—and through our local, national and international partnerships—UVic proudly supports and works to advance the UN Sustainable Development Goals. UVic’s commitment to climate, environmental change and sustainability measure up. We are second in the world for climate action as ranked in the 2022 Times Higher Education Impact Rankings.

The CFI funding will increase equitable and inclusive participation in ocean observing by making data collection and accessibility more community-friendly, automated, and scalable, while also supporting the development of new sophisticated data interpretation tools, products and services by ONC and its partners.

Read the Government of Canada news release here.

Read the backgrounder to learn more about ONC.

Additional Info

Media Contact : Robyn Meyer (ONC Communications) at 250-588-4053 or

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