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Canadian Coast Guard celebrates 60 years

By Jim Gordon and Leeta Liepins

Published 10:22 PDT, Wed May 25, 2022

Last Updated: 10:58 PDT, Wed May 25, 2022

The Canadian Coast Guard (CCG) is celebrating its 60th birthday this year. The CCG is a civilian, non-paramilitary organization and a special operating agency within Fisheries and Oceans Canada. 

The coast guard was formed in 1962. Its jobs include marine search and rescue, communication, navigation, and transportation issues in Canadian waters including navigation aids and icebreaking, marine pollution response, and support for other government initiatives.

The Our City Tonight team recently sat down with the assistant commissioner of the Canadian Coast Guard, Derek Moss, to talk about the organization’s 60-year history.

Derek, talk about your own personal history with the CCG and the many things that have changed over time.

The CCG became an official entity in 1962 when (it) joined the department of transport. Subsequently, over the years, we joined the department of fisheries and oceans, however Canada has had a coast guard-like organization dating back to the 1700s when the first light houses and first search and rescue crafts were put in place. Going further back than that, we can look at our First Nations colleagues who were keeping their community safe on the water. We have learned a lot from their knowledge and experience.  

As we have moved through the last 60 years, under the brand of the CCG, we have become known for a number of things. Foremost in people’s minds is the search and rescue capability. People see the red ship with the great white stripe, and they know help is coming. When the weather gets bad and people come into port, that’s typically when calls come in for us and our ships to go out sea to help people who have had a bad day on the water. 

In addition to the search and rescue aspect, we have evolved and highlighted environmental response for protection of the marine environment and protection of the marine animals. We are looking forward to the Blue Economy Strategy whereby the use of the oceans is seen from an environmental perspective, from an economic perspective, from a safety perspective, and from a recreational perspective to endure for generations to come. That’s what the coast guard is all about: protecting what’s on or under the water, whether it be through search and rescue, environmental response, traffic management, prevention, proactive/reactive—we have a full plate and we love doing it.

We were pleasantly surprised to hear that the environmental equation is such a large part of what your team does.

It’s a huge component for us. It’s a prime mission in our mandate and it is often, as you have mentioned, unsung or unnoticed until something happens. There is a whole capability component when an incident occurs not only to prevent the incident but to make sure we are capable of responding and directing industry or other partners to respond to an incident. 

To watch the full video interview, go to

Jim Gordon and Leeta Liepins are contributing writers to the Richmond Sentinel.

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