Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Canadian Coast Guard
The Canadian Coast Guard or CCG (Fr. Garde côtière canadienne or GCC) is the coast guard of Canada. It is the federal agency responsible for providing marine search and rescue (SAR), aids to navigation (NAVAIDs), marine pollution response , icebreaking, and the annual Arctic resupply missions for isolated northern coastal communities in Canada.
Canadian Coast Guard Crest
Unlike the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG), CCG is a civilian organisation. None of CCG's personnel is a peace officer. Enforcing and protecting Canada's maritime sovereignty is a military task and the complete responsibility of the Canadian Navy. The enforcement of laws in Canada's territorial sea (any ocean waters in Canada are federal jurisdiction) is the responsibility of Canada's federal police force, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP). Saltwater fisheries enforcement is a specific responsibility of fisheries officers. Note that the Great Lakes are not coastal waters and are therefore not part of the territorial sea - thus certain laws on the Canadian side of the International Boundary in the Great Lakes may be enforced by the Ontario Provincial Police or municipal police forces, although enforcing any federal laws in these waters are still the ultimate responsibility of the RCMP.
CCG's command structure is also reflective of its non-military role. The head of CCG is called the "Commissioner of the Canadian Coast Guard". The term "commissioner" is commonly used in other agencies of the Canadian government, most notably the head of the RCMP. The CCG bureaucracy supports several functional departments which are outlined as follows:
- Fleet Directorate
- Marine Programs Directorate
- Integrated Business Management Directorate
The Fleet Directorate is responsible for all ships and their manning requirements. Most vessels have between 5-30+ crewmembers. CCG as a whole numbers approximately 2,000 personnel.
Departmental integration problems
CCG has undergone several changes in its bureaucratic oversight within the government of Canada in the past decade.
Following the 1994 federal budget, responsibility for CCG was transferred with significant controversy to the Department of Fisheries and Oceans. The reason for placing CCG under DFO was ostensibly to achieve cost savings by amalgamating the two largest civilian vessel fleets within the federal government under a single department.
Arising out of this arrangement, CCG became ultimately responsible for crewing, operating, and maintaining a larger fleet - both the original CCG fleet before 1995 of dedicated SAR vessels, NAVAID tenders, and multi-purpose icebreakers along with DFO's collection of scientific research and fisheries enforcement vessels, all without any increase in budget.
Different management practises and differences in organizational culture (DFO is dedicated to conservation and protection of fish through enforcement whereas CCG's primary raison d'etre is marine safety and SAR) proved to be stumbling blocks. In the early 2000s, the federal government began to investigate the possibility of making CCG as a separate agency, thereby not falling under a specific functional department and allowing more operational independence.
Removal of policy/regulatory responsibilities
In one of several reorganization moves of the federal ministries following the swearing-in of prime minister Paul Martin's administration on December 12, 2003, several policy/regulatory responsibilities were transferred from CCG to the Department of Transport to provide Canadians with a single point of contact for issues related to marine safety and security, including the following:
- Canada Shipping Act
- pleasure craft safety
- marine navigation services
- pollution prevention and response
- navigable waters protection
- "Receiver of Wreck"
It should be noted that CCG maintains operational responsibilities for many of these items.
Special operating agency
On April 4, 2005 it was announced by Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, Geoff Regan that CCG was redesignated a "special operating agency" - the largest one in the federal government. Although CCG still falls under the responsibility of DFO, it has more autonomy where it is not as tightly integrated within the department.
An example being that now all CCG bases, aids to navigation, vessels, aircraft, and personnel are wholly the responsibility of the Commissioner of the Canadian Coast Guard. The Commissioner is in-turn, supported by the CCG headquarters which develop a budget for the organization.
This is different from the past under both DOT and DFO where regional director generals for these departments were responsible for CCG operations within their respective regions. Now all operations of CCG will be directed by the commissioner and CCG in the regions. This management and financial flexibility is being enhanced by an increased budget for CCG to acquire new vessels and other assets to assist in its growing role of helping to ensure maritime security, although CCG will not be usurping the traditional role of the Canadian Navy.
CCG will still provide the vessel and crew support for DFO's fisheries science, conservation, and protection requirements. Unfortunately the changes in making CCG a special operating agency under DFO do not address some of the key concerns raised by an all-party Parliamentary committee investigating low moral among CCG employees since the transfer from DOT to DFO and budget cuts since 1995. The committee had recommended that CCG become a separate agency under DOT and that its role be changed to a paramilitary organization involved in maritime security by arming its vessels with deck guns, similar to the United States Coast Guard and that employees be given peace officer status for enforcing federal laws on the oceans and Great Lakes.
Originally a variety of federal departments and even the navy performed the work which CCG does today. Beginning in the late 1800s, the federal government increasingly began to place the duties of maintaining aids to navigation (primarily lighthouses at the time), marine safety, and search and rescue under the precursor to the Department of Transport, the Department of Railways and Canals. In the early 1900s the department changed its name to the Department of Transport although for a time during the 1920s, the Royal Canadian Navy performed some of this work at a time when the navy was wavering between becoming a civilian organization during the inter-war period, although the work returned to the Department of Transport by the early 1930s. In the late 1950s it was decided to consolidate the work being done in the Marine Service of the Department of Transport and on January 28, 1962 the Canadian Coast Guard was formed.
Throughout the 1960s-1980s dozens of new ships were built as part of a national shipbuilding policy, and in response to the expanding requirements of the Canadian marine industry for CCG's services. During the "Golden Age" for CCG in this period, the organization was the vanguard of Canada's attempts to assert her sovereignty over the Arctic territory. During the mid-1980s at a time of increased nationalism following the USCG's now-infamous 1985 crossing of the Northwest Passage in violation of Canadian sovereignty, the Conservative administration of Brian Mulroney announced plans to build several enormous icebreakers, the Polar 8 class which would be used primarily for sovereignty patrols.
The proposed Polar 8 class was abandoned in the early 1990s as part of a general government budget cut. Following the election of the Liberal administration of Jean Chrétien in 1993, the entire federal government underwent aggressive budget cuts. Many of CCG's older vessels built during the 1960s and 1970s were paid off and sold following integration with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans.
In the 1990s-2000s, CCG expanded slightly by modernizing part of its SAR fleet after ordering British Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI)-designed ARUN -class high endurance lifeboat cutters for open coastal areas, and the USCG-designed 47-foot Cape-class (CCG designation) medium endurance lifeboat cutters for the Great Lakes and more sheltered coastal areas.
Canadian Coast Guard College
In the mid-1960s the former navy base located near Point Edward, Nova Scotia on Sydney Harbour, Cape Breton Island (HMCS Point Edward ) was reborn as the Canadian Coast Guard College which moved into an adjacent custom-built campus in 1981. CCGC trains all navigation and engineering officers who serve on coast guard ships and cutters.
Today all CCG vessels (ie. the entire DFO fleet) are painted uniformly regardless of their use. They are characterized by a red hull and white superstructure, designed to look like a "floating Canadian flag". The hull bears a 75-degree white stripe, similar to the markings on USCG vessels. Ship nameplates are typically affixed to the superstructure and vessels are typically named for persons or places of historic (or geographic) significance. From the 1960s-1990s, CCG did experiment with painting primary SAR vessels in a colour scheme with a yellow superstructure and red hull, meant to distinguish them from navaid tenders and icebreakers, and also to improve their visibility on the open ocean with a breaking waves environment. Today the only distinguishing markings for primary SAR vessels is the large RESCUE-SAUVETAGE lettering on the superstructure.
The prefix "Canadian Coast Guard Ship", abbreviated CCGS, is affixed to any major vessel. Several minor vessels such as patrol boats and life boats carry the prefix "Canadian Coast Guard Cutter", abbreviated CCGC.
The following is a list of the various classes of CCG vessels:
- Heavy Gulf Icebreaker
- Medium Gulf/River Icebreaker
- Light Icebreaker - Major Navaids Tender
- Medium Navaids Tender - Light Icebreaker
- Ice Strengthened Medium Navaids Tender
- Offshore Research & Survey
- Offshore Fisheries Research
- Inshore Research & Survey
- Coastal Research & Survey
- Small Navaids Tender
- Special River Navaids Tender
- Offshore Ice Strength Multi Patrol Vessel
- Offshore Multi Task Patrol Vessel
- Inshore Fisheries Research
- Intermediate Multi Task (Patrol) Cutter
- Small Multi Task Ice Strengthened Cutter
- Small Multi Task Cutter
- Multi Task Lifeboat
- Multi Task High Endurance Lifeboat
- Multi Task Medium Endurance Lifeboat
- Inshore Multi Task Patrol Vessel
- SWATH Survey & Sounding
- Multi Hulled Survey & Sounding
- Small Multi Task Utility Craft
- Air Cushion Vehicle
- Small Inshore Navaids Tender
- Hydrographic Research Support Barge
In addition to various bases located in deep water ports, rescue stations in smaller minor ports, and its fleet of vessels, CCG also operates a small number of helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft. The former are primarily used for icebreaking surveillance in winter and servicing aids to navigation in summer while the latter are used primarily in pollution surveillance patrols. As with any government vessels being called upon to assist the Canadian Navy, government civilian aircraft such as CCG aircraft may be called upon at any time to assist the Canadian Air Force as well. The majority of CCG aircraft are stationed at municipal airports located near major CCG bases and are primarily located in eastern Canada, given the absence of icebreaking spotter requirements for the west coast.
CCG maintains a number of major bases and operating locations/stations on the Atlantic and Pacific coasts, as well as in the St. Lawrence River, Great Lakes and major navigable inland waterways such as Lake of the Woods, Lake Winnipeg, and Great Slave Lake/Mackenzie River.
Currently, there are no vessels permanently based in the eastern Arctic, although CCG vessels and aircraft frequently operate there, staging out of bases on the Atlantic coast and supported by a base in Iqaluit, Nunavut.
- CCG Base Charlottetown, Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island
- CCG Base Dartmouth, Dartmouth, Nova Scotia
- CCG Base Saint John, Saint John, New Brunswick
- CCG Base St. John's, St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador
- CCG Base Québec, Québec, Québec
Central and Arctic Region
- CCG Sub-Base Amherstburg, Amherstburg, Ontario
- CCG Sub-Base Kenora, Kenora, Ontario
- CCG Base Parry Sound, Parry Sound, Ontario
- CCG Base Prescott, Prescott, Ontario
- CCG Base Sarnia, Sarnia, Ontario
- CCG Base Sault Ste Marie, Sault Ste Marie, Ontario
- CCG Base Selkirk, Selkirk, Ontario
- CCG Base Thunder Bay, Thunder Bay, Ontario
- CCG Base Iqaluit, Iqaluit, Nunavut
- CCG Base Hay River, Hay River, Northwest Territories
- CCG Base Sea Island, Vancouver, British Columbia
- CCG Base Victoria, Victoria, British Columbia
- CCG Base Seal Cove, Prince Rupert, British Columbia
Coast Guard Auxiliary
The Canadian Coast Guard Auxiliary (CCGA), formerly the Canadian Marine Rescue Auxiliary (CMRA), is a nonprofit organization of volunteer recreational boaters and commercial fishermen who assist CCG with search and rescue as well as boating safety education. CCGA members who assist in SAR operations have their vessel insurance covered by CCG, as well as any fuel and operating costs associated with a particular tasking.
The CCGA permits CCG to provide marine SAR coverage in many isolated areas of Canada's coastlines without having to maintain an active base and/or vessels in those areas.
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