Canada’s ocean intelligence gets a boost

“Corky” the octopus on the CORK Wellhead instrument it was named after near the Cascadia Basin. Credit: Ocean Networks Canada

A federal investment in Ocean Networks Canada (ONC), an initiative of the University of Victoria, will advance the infrastructure and scientific data required to grow Canada’s ocean intelligence for the benefit of society and a sustainable planet. 

The funding announced on Tuesday 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. Funding ensures organizations like ONC continue to operate and maintain leading-edge ocean technology and data infrastructure, allowing researchers to tackle some of society’s vital issues such as climate change, says Kate Moran, president and chief executive of ONC. 

“The ocean is the Earth’s life support system. Through the multidisciplinary use of ONC’s infrastructure, we provide knowledge and leadership to help advance science for discovery and decision-making to ensure a sustainable ocean now and for future generations,” says Moran. “We know that human pressures are changing our oceans. These funds buttress ONC’s ability to support scientists to better understand the ocean at this critical time of a rapidly changing climate.” 

The three-year federal investment of more than $29 million will contribute to a significant upgrade to ONC’s data management system and aid the move to “Oceans 3.0” to provide access to a growing volume of free, open, real-time continuous ocean data gathered by ONC’s instruments and sensors across Canada’s three coasts. 

It will also enable ONC to deploy the first biogeochemical Argo floats off Canada’s west coast in partnership with Fisheries and Oceans Canada. The floats are an essential observation tool for monitoring the water column for a healthier ocean environment, protection of biodiversity and species-at-risk and to develop climate solutions. 

“Ocean Networks Canada is a recognized leader providing the vital data our scientists, policymakers, business and industry partners require to create solutions for sustainable oceans and a burgeoning blue economy. It is great news that CFI recognizes and supports ONC’s contributions to stronger and healthier communities,” says Lisa Kalynchuk, vice-president of research at UVic. 

Support from CFI for Canada’s MSI facilities recently increased to 60 per cent, which lowered the required match funding to 40 per cent to utilize the CFI grant. With matched funding by diverse partners, CFI has supported many initiatives including ONC’s earthquake early warning network and the community-based observing systems that empower coastal and Indigenous communities to study the changing ocean environments. 

UVic is a partner on three other major initiatives under the CFI-funded program including The Metabolomics Innovation Centre, Compute Canada and the Canadian Research Data Centre Network

Read the Government of Canada news release here

Ocean Networks Canada, an initiative of the University of Victoria, monitors the west and east coasts of Canada and the Arctic to continuously deliver data in real-time for scientific research that helps communities, governments and industry make informed decisions about our future. Using cabled observatories, remote control systems and interactive sensors, and big data management, ONC enables evidence-based decision-making on ocean management, marine safety and environmental protection. ONC also works in collaboration with educators, students, communities and Indigenous peoples on ocean monitoring initiatives along all three of Canada’s coasts.

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

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Media contacts

Leslie Elliott (Ocean Networks Canada ) at 250-472-5357 (cell) or

Jennifer Kwan (University Communications + Marketing) at 250-721-7641 or

In this story

Keywords: research, oceans, water, science, Ocean Networks Canada

People: Kate Moran, Lisa Kalynchuk

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