Keeping an Eye on Canada’s Coasts and the Great Lakes

The 2004 National Security Policy called for the establishment of Marine Security Operations Centres (MSOCs) as part of a plan to strengthen Canadian maritime security. These MSOCs are multi-agency centres with representatives from the Department of National Defence (in particular the navy), RCMP, Fisheries and Oceans Canada/Canadian Coast Guard, the Canada Border Services Agency and Transport Canada. There are MSOCs located on the Canadian Forces Base in Halifax and Esquimalt, which monitor activity on the East and West Coasts, and one located in Niagara to monitor the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Seaway.

The MSOCs collect and share information about activity in Canadian waters in order to uncover suspicious activity and to help in the case of search and rescue operations. The MSOCs can also monitor fishing areas and keep an eye out for threats to the marine environment, such as illegal dumping or oil spills. Tracking cargo ships in and out of Canadian ports helps ensure their safety, and at the same time ensuring that Canadian regulations are followed and commerce flows smoothly. This is a great example of whole-of-government cooperation.

If you want to know more about the MSOCs, take a look at the Naval Association Briefing Note on the topic at


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