The COLC grew out of a small, informal ocean literacy consultation and national workshop that was initiated by Ocean School/Ocean Frontier Institute (OFI) and funded by Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO). This work led to the creation of the Canadian Ocean Literacy Development Plan report in June 2018 that was co-authored by Dr. Lisa (Diz) Glithero and Ocean School’s Janet Stalker. The project was supported by an informal national steering committee with representatives from Ingenium, Ocean Wise, CaNOE, Ocean Networks Canada, Students on Ice, and the Canadian Museum of Nature.

The COLC officially launched on September 20th, 2018, at the G7 Inspiration Expo ministerial meeting in Halifax. At the beginning of the “Launch Phase” (September 2018 – March 2019), the COLC was led by a national coordinator, an administrative coordinator, and an Advisory Council made up of 14 members. Since then, the COLC has grown to over 200 member organizations. Currently, the “Consultation and Engagement Phase” (April 2019 – June 2020) is underway. The outcomes of our consultation and engagement work will be gathered into a series of knowledge products that will advance ocean literacy efforts in Canada. This work will also capture the current state of ocean literacy in Canada—setting baseline metrics for the UN 2021 Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development.