The minister of fisheries, oceans, and the Canadian Coast Guard—Bernadette Jordan—has announced that a new search and rescue boat for Lennox Island First Nation on Prince Edward Island has been received to enhance marine safety.

“This investment supports safety measures for our community efforts while on the water,” said Chief Darlene Bernard of Lennox Island First Nation. “We are pleased to have necessary equipment and resources that will assist us in preparing for emergency situations, which we have found ourselves in many times in the past. It is important to ensure safety and security steps are taken while we continue to be stewards of the land and water.”

Through the Oceans Protection Plan, the Government of Canada is working in partnership with Indigenous coastal communities to improve marine safety and responsible shipping to protect Canada’s marine environment.

As part of this $1.5 billion plan, the Canadian Coast Guard launched the Indigenous Community Boat Volunteer Pilot Program in 2017. Under this program, communities are provided with funding to purchase boats and equipment to enhance their marine safety capacity as members of the Canadian Coast Guard Auxiliary.

“The Indigenous Community Boat Volunteer Pilot Program recognizes the critical role of Indigenous peoples as members of the Canadian Coast Guard Auxiliary,” said Bernadette Jordan, minister of fisheries, oceans, and the Canadian Coast Guard.

“Indigenous coastal communities have been stewards of the oceans and shores for generations and are critical to Canada’s marine safety system today,” added Jordan. “The Program will enable these communities to continue the vital work of protecting mariners and our marine environment safely and effectively for decades to come.”

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Through new equipment and training, Canadian Coast Guard Auxiliary members are better equipped and prepared to respond to marine emergencies, helping to enhance the safety of their communities and the surrounding waters and coasts. In August, nine members of the Lennox Island First Nation successfully completed search and rescue training with the Auxiliary to respond to emergencies in waters near their community.

“Our government understands the importance of partnering with Indigenous and coastal communities to foster a safe marine environment,” said Omar Alghabra, minister of transport. “Under the Oceans Protection Plan, Canadian coasts and waterways are more protected than ever before.”

“The Indigenous Community Boat Volunteer Pilot Program demonstrates the vital role of Indigenous communities in safeguarding Canadian waters,” added Alghabra. “The new search and rescue boat and related equipment will help support emergency response capabilities and continued marine stewardship under this Oceans Protection Plan initiative.”

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