Using Memoranda of Understanding to facilitate marine management in Canada
Like many other coastal states, management of Canada's offshore areas is complicated by the division of authority among differing government departments and agencies. However, as a Confederation, this administrative complexity in Canada is further exacerbated by the jurisdictional division of powers between the Federal Parliament and the Provincial Legislatures. The most common tool for overcoming this division and facilitating cooperation are formalized non-binding agreements known as Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs). While there are a large number of MOUs in existence in Canada, few are being implemented. In part, this is because the non-binding nature of the agreement means that either party may discard their obligations at will. This has led to many useful MOUs being discarded and years of work and resources expended negotiating these agreements being wasted. This paper discusses the findings from three such agreements, each focusing on efforts to manage Canada's offshore resources. It highlights the importance of six factors capable of increasing the likelihood that any given MOU aimed at collaboration between different authorities will be successful. These factors include: a foundation of cooperation, clear statement of priorities, feasible and adaptable work plans, integration at various management levels, a legislative foundation, and adequate financial resources.
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