COLC grew out of a small 40-person informal consultation (February-March, 2018) and a national workshop, Towards a Canadian Ocean Literacy Strategy: A preliminary dialogue and forward planning workshop, as part of the Ocean Research in Canada Alliance (ORCA) Conference in April 2018. These events led to the creation of the report, A Development Plan: Building a National Ocean Literacy Strategy in June 2018.
This initial project was instigated by the Ocean Frontier Institute at Dalhousie University, with funding support from Fisheries and Oceans Canada. The project was further supported by an informal national steering committee composed of representatives from the Canadian Museum of Nature, Ingenium, Ocean Networks Canada, Ocean Wise, the Canadian Network for Ocean Education (CaNOE), and the SOI Foundation.
COLC formally launched on September 20th, 2018, in Halifax, Nova Scotia, at the Oceans Inspiration Expo, which was held as part of the G7 Ministerial Meeting on Working Together on Climate Change, Oceans, and Clean Energy.
Since inception, COLC has operated as an independent national project office with initial administrative headquarters at the Canadian Museum of Nature and Dalhousie University (2018-2021). Since April 2021, Ocean Networks Canada at the University of Victoria has served as COLC’s administrative home.
COLC’s initial project was to lead a Canada-wide research initiative to better understand Canadians’ varying relationships with the ocean and to examine how ocean literacy is understood and practiced across the country.
In June 2020, COLC published the regional and national reports of the Understanding Ocean Literacy in Canada study, establishing the first research baseline of ocean literacy in Canada. Findings from this study directly informed the co-development of Land, Water, Ocean, Us: A Canadian Ocean Literacy Strategy and the accompanying Implementation Plan: Pathways for Collaboration (published in March 2021), making Canada the first country in the world with a national ocean literacy strategy.
Watch COLC's 5 year anniversary video!
We are nationally and globally recognized as a catalyst and centre for ocean literacy collaboration, research, and innovation.
We convene collaborative action across regions, sectors, and scales to advance ocean literacy in Canada
We oversee the National Strategy implementation and impact measurement
We coordinate joint funding and a community grant program to support local initiatives and organizations
We co-design and lead ocean literacy research in Canada and internationally
We engage and provide leadership in Canada‘s contributions to the UN Ocean Decade and the global ocean literacy movement
National Project Office Team
Lisa (Diz) Glithero
Communications & Design Lead
Learning & Engagement Lead
Admin & Operations Coordinator
Samyuktha (Sam) Vasudevan
Brand Marketing & Business Development (Consultant)
Current Term: July 2021-September 2023
- Dany Dumont, Université du Québec à Rimouski, Réseau Québec Maritime, ISMER (QC)
- Darren Porter, Commercial Fisheries/Ocean Contractor (NS)
- Diz Glithero, Canadian Ocean Literacy Coalition (QC)
- Janet Stalker, Consultant (NS)
- Jasveen Brar, Youth Climate Lab (AB)
- Kathy Brown, Co-owner, Seequest Development (BC)
- Sandy Bligh, Ocean Networks Canada (BC)
- Marie-Chantal Ross, National Research Council of Canada (ON)
- Stephen Virc, Fisheries and Oceans Canada (ON)
At the time of COLC’s launch, the original logo was developed with four blue arcs encircling a red maple leaf. These blue arcs represent Canada’s three ocean coastlines – Atlantic, Arctic, Pacific – as well as the extensive ‘inland’ coastline stretching along the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River. The largest arc at the top of the logo represents the Arctic coastline, which accounts for 50% of Canada’s coastline overall.
As of the National Strategy launch in 2021, COLC’s logo appears with a braided stream of blue running through the centre of the maple leaf. This addition is in recognition of the complex, interconnected freshwater systems that form the heart of inland Canada, and through which every Canadian, regardless of where they live, is connected to the ocean.