Canada’s Ocean Supercluster, or OSC,  has announced its Two-Eyed Seeing initiative, which aims to promote Indigenous participation in Canada’s ocean economy.

The national group, which is based in Atlantic Canada, said in a statement the initiative will further collaboration with Indigenous organizations and communities and foster inclusion and participation in its projects and activities.

OSC, which is charged with developing new technology and an enhanced workforce for Canadian ocean industries, is investing $230,000 in the first phase of the initiative. 

“We intend to drive system change within the ocean ecosystem that focuses on fostering relationships, elevating opportunities for Indigenous communities, and setting our course as a sector towards reconciliation with all Indigenous peoples from coast to coast to coast,” said Ralph Eldridge, the OSC's Indigenous Engagement Lead.

Led by SOAR Professional Services, along with Indigrow Business Management and Dillon Consulting, the Two-Eyed Seeing Initiative will:

• Conduct an Indigenous-led review of the current OSC project selection process and provide recommendations to further the definition of “meaningful” community-based engagement/involvement;

• Undertake engagement with OSC membership to promote the benefits of partnering and collaborating with Indigenous groups as a pillar of project planning and implementation;

• Broaden OSC’s organizational Indigenous cultural competency and awareness for OSC staff, board, and members;

• Undertake engagement with Indigenous organizations and communities to help identify Indigenous-focused ocean challenges and opportunities;

• Create an OSC Indigenous Partnerships Program to help realize opportunities which can support both ocean outcomes (ecosystem and commercial) and Indigenous-focused project identification and delivery;

• And develop a “Two-Eyed Seeing” Indigenous Traditional Knowledge framework that guides OSC organizational and Indigenous community relationship and partnerships building through shared understanding and an integrated body of ocean knowledge.

The federally backed OSC has been operating for almost five years. It has approved 86 projects with a total value of more than $390 million which will deliver more than 120 new made-in-Canada ocean products, processes, and services, the statement said.

On its website, the group said that by 2030, the global ocean economy is expected to double in value to $4 trillion, outpacing the growth of the broader global economy by almost 20 percent. Currently, Canada’s ocean economy employs almost 350,000 Canadians and contributes more than $39 billion to GDP.