Institute of Ocean Sciences

Located west of Sidney on Vancouver Island on a 70-acre site, the Institute of Ocean Sciences (IOS) is one of Canada’s largest marine institutes. An important link in Fisheries and Oceans Canada’s nationwide chain of nine major scientific facilities, the institute is the centre for research on coastal waters of BC, the Northeastern Pacific Ocean, the western Canadian Arctic and navigable fresh waters east to the Alberta border.

The Institute of Ocean Sciences has earned international recognition for its work in ocean sciences. Its more than 250 scientists and researchers are dedicated to providing up-to-date information on all elements of oceanography, including fisheries and ocean research, environmental science and hydrography. They also work closely with staff at other Fisheries and Oceans’ labs in BC.

Research at the institute is focused on two DFO science divisions:

  • Canadian Hydrographic Service
  • Ocean Science

Through these efforts, IOS has become a major player in efforts to restore and manage coastal ecosystems, and produces more than 20 per cent of Canada’s nautical charts. Studies range from the effects of global warming on marine ecosystems, to contaminants in Arctic ice, tracking ‘red tide’ in shellfish, the nature of oil spills, and even predictions on where and when a tsunami will strike.

The Institute of Ocean Sciences is also home to the Pacific Geoscience Centre, the main centre in western Canada for monitoring earthquakes. A seismic fault is located on the grounds. Also stationed at IOS is the Canadian Coast Guard Pacific Fleet (Patricia Bay Base) as well as the state-of-the-art Marine Communications and Traffic Services Centre. In addition, offices for the Canadian Wildlife Service and North Pacific Science Organization or PICES, Institute of Ocean Sciences an international scientific body devoted to oceanography, are part of the modern 300,000-square-foot facility. IOS also builds active links with industry, both as an active partner and an information resource.

Located at:
9860 West Saanich Road
P.O. Box 6000
Sidney, British Columbia
V8L 4B2

(on Patricia Bay, at the west end of Victoria International Airport)