Whole of Government Approaches to Sovereignty &
Security in the Arctic: The Canadian Coast Guard’s Perspective
Mr. E. Wade Spurrell
Director General, Operations
Canadian Coast Guard
Whole-of-Government Approach to Arctic Sovereignty & Security
As Canada’s civilian fleet, Canadian Coast Guard (CCG) vessels, systems and personnel
are relied on to help fulfill safety, security, defence and environmental protection
priorities in the Arctic.
Canada’s whole-of-government approach to Arctic Sovereignty and Security aligns with
the horizontal, collaborative approach to maritime security used for all Canadian waters
and approaches.
CCG is a core member of Canada’s maritime security community and collaborates with
partners through a variety of fora to advance Arctic objectives:
Interdepartmental Marine Security Working Group (IMSWG);
Arctic Security Working Group / Northern Interdepartmental Intelligence Working Group;
North Atlantic Coast Guard forum; and
Canada-U.S. Maritime Stakeholders’ Conference.
Coast Guard’s Contribution to Arctic Sovereignty & Security
Delivery of essential maritime services in northern waters:
– Icebreaking, community re-supply, aids to navigation, SAR and Environmental Response
capacity, Maritime Domain Awareness (MDA), support to partners’ Arctic priorities (e.g.
science, hydrographic charting, fisheries enforcement, maritime security).
– Demonstrates Canada’s ability to exert influence and maintain safety and security within its
sovereign territory.
Arctic Icebreaker Fleet:
– Provides a visible Government of Canada presence in northern waters.
– Leveraged by security and law enforcement partners for on-water response efforts, as
– Participates in northern security and sovereignty exercises, such as Operation Nanook.
Vessel Traffic Management:
– Collects and maintains vessel information on traffic within and approaching Canada’s
northern waters.
– NORDREG reporting via CCG’s Marine Communications and Traffic Services.
– Leveraged by federal partners to support Arctic MDA.
Marine Security Operations Centres
Marine Security Operations Centres (MSOCs) exemplify the collaborative, horizontal
approach to advancing maritime security priorities throughout Canadian waters,
including the Arctic.
MSOCs see the co-location and collaboration of five federal partners (DND, RCMP, TC,
CBSA and DFO/CCG) to monitor Canadian water and approaches, in order to detect
and assess maritime security threats and support MDA overall.
CCG Participation:
– Personnel, expertise, vessel tracking and analysis capabilities are leveraged to support threat
identification and assessment.
– Long-Range Identification and Tracking (LRIT), Automatic Identification and Tracking (AIS),
Information System on Marine Navigation (INNAV).
MSOCs and the Arctic:
– MSOCs provides Canada’s most comprehensive awareness of the Arctic maritime domain.
– Daily sailing plans and position reports for vessels and Arctic Adventurers during the Arctic
shipping season.
– Tracking of specific Vessels of Interest.
Arctic Maritime Domain Awareness Assessment
• Arctic MDA is a whole-of-government priority:
– Helps advance Canada’s objectives across a range of missions.
– Requires inter-agency collaboration and leveraging of departments’ individual capabilities and
• The Arctic MDA Assessment is an interdepartmental initiative to identify and
assess Canada’s MDA capabilities for northern waters.
– CCG-led, with broad federal engagement (e.g. DND, TC, EC, AANDC, CSA, RCMP, CBSA)
– A priority of Canada’s Interdepartmental Marine Security Working Group (IMSWG)
• The goal of the Assessment is twofold:
– To develop a thorough understanding of Canada’s ability to identify, assess and support
responses to, potential maritime threats in the Arctic; and
– To determine potential ways to enhance Arctic MDA.
• Results are intended to support maritime security efforts in Arctic waters, and
inform decisions on the deployment and development of MDA capacity there.
Northern Marine Transportation Corridors
• Marine transportation is a key enabler for economic and community
development in the North.
• Corridors are shipping routes and/or areas within which key navigational
information and services, such as icebreaking and aids to navigation,
should be focused. The concept of corridors would serve as a pragmatic
approach to Arctic investments.
• CCG, Canadian Hydrographic Service (CHS) and Transport Canada (TC) are
currently exploring a concept to address this challenge: Northern Marine
Transportation Corridors.
• CCG, CHS and TC are in the process of engaging and validating the
corridors approach with key stakeholders.

Whole of Government Approaches to Sovereignty & Security