Canada’s national ocean observatory critical for ocean, planet


A Nanometrics “Titan" accelerometer is carefully deployed along the Cascadia subduction zone, as part of a network of seismic sensors that ONC has installed underwater and on land. The network contributes to British Columbia’s earthquake early warning system, and is part of ONC’s extensive underwater observing infrastructure. Credit: Ocean Networks Canada/ Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

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.

expedition control room
Monitoring dives during a 2021 ONC maintenance expedition aboard Ocean Exploration Trust's vessel E/V Nautilus. Credit: Ocean Exploration Trust

“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.

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A media kit containing high-resolution photos and video is available on Dropbox


Media contacts

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

University Communications + Marketing at 250-721-7636 or

In this story

Keywords: sustainable impact, climate action, life below water, community, Indigenous, international, sustainability, administrative (faculty and staff), Ocean Networks Canada, oceans, environment, climate, technology, earthquake, arctic, biodiversity, research

People: Kate Moran, Kevin Hall

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