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Improving Arctic Shipping Safety and Protecting the Cultural Integrity of Northern Marine Transportation Corridors


Irving Shipbuilding and the Marine Environmental Observation Prediction & Response Network (MEOPAR) are providing $186,000 in support of a University of Ottawa research project on the future of Arctic shipping routes.

In partnership with the Canadian Coast Guard, Oceans North Canada and the Canadian Ice Service, Dr. Jackie Dawson and her team at the University of Ottawa will work with local communities to identify sensitive, traditional and culturally important marine areas in the Arctic, and will also study trends in non-commercial ship traffic in the region. 

"The big question is how do we best manage Arctic shipping in a way that respects local people, supports industry development, and encourages economic growth in a sustainable way," said Dr Dawson.

"We want to make sure that local traditional marine areas are identified, and infused into marine corridors so that we can adapt the corridors to respect those sites, to preserve those sites for local people."

The information gathered by Dr. Dawson will be integrated into the larger Northern Marine Transportation Corridors Initiative, a Government of Canada initiative that is identifying key transit routes used by commercial mariners in the Arctic to help determine the navigation services, infrastructure and emergency response services needed in the area.  Dr. Dawson’s work will improve the Initiative’s ability to accommodate the needs of northern communities and non-commercial vessels in their planning. 

Nine research positions will be created by this project:

• 1 postdoc (uOttawa)
• 1 Ph.D. student (uOttawa)
• 2 Master’s student (Lakehead, uOttawa)
• 1 co-op student (UOttawa)
• 4 local Inuit research assistants (Pond Inlet - 2, Cambridge Bay - 2)


• Canadian Coast Guard
• Environment Canada – Canadian Ice Service
• Fisheries and Oceans Canada – Canadian Coast Guard
• Transport Canada
• Oceans North Canada
• Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami (Canada’s National Inuit Organization)

Read more about MEOPAR and Irving Shipbuilding’s joint funding of Canadian oceans research. 

Learn more about Dr. Dawson's work on the  culturally sensitive marine transportation network in the Arctic.

The Marine Environmental Observation Prediction and Response Network (MEOPAR) is strengthening Canada’s ability to anticipate and respond to marine risk.  Established in 2012 through the Federal Government of Canada’s Networks of Centres of Excellence Program, MEOPAR funds interdisciplinary academic research, trains highly qualified personnel with expertise in marine risk and response, and connects academic research and technology to national and international partners in government, industry and the private sector.  To learn more, please visit

About Irving Shipbuilding Inc.:
Irving Shipbuilding Inc. is part of the J.D. Irving, Limited Group of companies which includes operations in Agriculture, Construction & Equipment, Consumer Products, Energy, Food, Forestry & Forestry Products, Retail & Distribution and Shipbuilding & Industrial Fabrication. Its primary site is the Halifax Shipyard, with four other locations in the Maritime Provinces. In 2011, Irving Shipbuilding was selected as Canada’s Combatant Shipbuilder under the merit-based National Shipbuilding Procurement Strategy and is in the early stages of a 30-year military shipbuilding program.   

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