Gloria Chao

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For a good part of the last fifty years, Canadian oceans governance has consisted of single-sectoral and multi-jurisdictional regulation of oceans uses. This fragmented governance régime has proven ill-equipped to address multisectoral resource use conflicts, which necessitate the integration of various interdependent sea use relationships. As early as the 1970s, international fora and documents began developing the notion of integrated coastal and ocean management [hereinafter ICOM] as an approach to international and national oceans governance in order to address sea use conflicts. Canada's adoption of ICOM as a national approach was a slow process. It was only in 1996, with the enactment of the 'Oceans Act', that the federal government legislated a national integrated oceans governance structure. As the 'Oceans Act' still has not been fully implemented, ICOM remains a nascent concept in Canadian law and policy. The purpose of this thesis is two-fold. First, on a theoretical level, it proposes that the ICOM framework under the 'Oceans Act' may be used to undertake multisectoral sea use decision-making in an integrated manner. Secondly, on a practical level, it examines how this ICOM process may be commenced and eventually applied to two areas of acute sea use conflict: Georges Bank off Nova Scotia on the east coast and Hecate Strait off British Columbia on the west coast. It is submitted that although the ICOM process is a difficult one to undertake nationally, the inherent flexibility of such a régime allows it to overcome the jurisdictional complexities of oceans governance on any Canadian coast.