United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea

Canada ratified the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) on November 7, 2003 and has an obligation to make a submission to the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf (the Commission) to delineate the outer limits of its continental shelf in the Arctic and Atlantic Oceans. The target date for the submission is December 6, 2013. The submission will be reviewed by the Commission, which will then make recommendations to Canada regarding the outer limits of the continental shelf.

The UNCLOS Program was established in 2004 as an interdepartmental program involving Natural Resources Canada, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO), and the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (DFAIT). The Geological Survey of Canada (GSC), part of Natural Resources Canada, and the Canadian Hydrographic Service (CHS), of Fisheries and Oceans Canada, are responsible for preparing the submission from a scientific and technical standpoint, including the collection and analysis of scientific data. As part of the UNCLOS Program, the GSC has conducted surveys to acquire information on the seafloor and underlying sedimentary rocks and geological formations in both the Arctic and Atlantic Oceans, and is analyzing these and other data in these regions to provide a sound scientific basis for determining the outer limits.

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