Goal: Put protecting Canada’s oceans on Ottawa’s agenda

After the 2006 election and a change in government, the David Suzuki Foundation and the Living Oceans Society watched in dismay as the issue of ocean conservation slipped from the political and policy agenda in Ottawa. Both organizations had worked for years to secure federal dollars for a multi-year environmental plan, but in the first budget of the new government, the funding had all but dried up.

Unfortunately, the government has directed less than $19 million toward ocean-conservation efforts under the Oceans Action Plan. This seriously hampers Canada’s ability to realize its Oceans Act mandate. Sensitive and important marine areas will remain unprotected and poorly managed until the government allocates more resources to this important issue.

– David Suzuki Foundation

To get the issue back on track, the organizations asked for ongoing strategic advice to support their lobbying work in Ottawa. Our team set up a number of face-to-face meetings with parliamentarians, appearances before the House of Commons Finance Committee, and a well-attended briefing for decision makers on Parliament Hill. By coordinating several op-eds and a full-page newspaper advertisement to run while the lobbying efforts were under way, we ensured that the public was also aware of the need for federal funding.

Results: The government showed signs of becoming re-sensitized to the issue, and the discourse was shifted to include more frequent remarks about the groups’ concerns.

In subsequent budget announcements, funding for the environmental issue increased from $19 million to $61 million.