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Research and Social Impact

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. 

"So 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)

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