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Canadian and U.S. coast guards conclude 2024 summit

Sydney, NS – As neighbouring maritime nations, Canada and the United States have long shared knowledge, experience, and best practices on a wide range of coast guard services that help keep our collective mariners safe and protect our coasts and waterways.The 2024 Canada-United States Coast Guard Summit took place at the Canadian Coast Guard College in Sydney, Nova Scotia. The annual Summit provides for senior coast guard leadership to gather and examine strategic and operational issues. This year’s agenda covered the priorities, challenges and opportunities faced by both coast guards which include, shipbuilding; recruitment and retention; and, operations in the Arctic.

The Canadian Coast Guard College provided a fitting backdrop for discussions that emphasized collaboration and future readiness in coast guard operations. It also highlights the College’s foundational role of education and innovation in maritime safety, combined with access to worldclass training and resources like navigation and ice management simulators, and the Wärtsilä training engine – the first of its kind in Canada and one of only six in the world.

Participants had the privilege of attending a traditional smudging ceremony led by Hereditary Chief of the Mi’kmaq Grand Council (Keptin) Stephen Augustine. The local First Nation also hosted participants on a guided tour of the Membertou Heritage Park – a five-acre site, including a large indoor exhibit, that offers a dynamic portrayal of the culture and heritage of the Mi’kmaq people of Membertou.

“The Canada-United States Coast Guard Summit is an opportunity to reaffirm the enduring partnership between our two countries in protecting our maritime interests. We thank our United States counterparts for their continued collaboration in charting a course towards a safer, more resilient maritime future, grounded in mutual respect, cooperation, and shared values,” said Diane Lebouthillier, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard.

Mario Pelletier, Commissioner, Canadian Coast Guard, declared: “The Canadian Coast Guard values the opportunity to meet with our United States Coast Guard counterparts to exchange best practices and advance maritime safety. This Summit underscores the critical role that collaboration and innovation play in effectively tackling shared priorities and challenges.”

“This annual Summit between our two Coast Guards is a critical opportunity to further collaborate with our Canadian colleagues and build upon what is already a very strong partnership,” stated Commandant Admiral Linda L. Fagan, United States Coast Guard.

“Our collective commitment to maritime safety and security is demonstrated everyday as we work together across our shared maritime borders. I am thankful that our mutual dedication to strong maritime governance spans across both coasts, throughout the Great Lakes, and, importantly, to an Arctic that is seeing increased human activity, making this relationship more important than ever.”

(Photo from Fisheries and Oceans Canada)