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About the Canadian Ice Service

The Canadian Ice Service (CIS), a division of the Meteorological Service of Canada (MSC), is the leading authority for information about ice in Canada's navigable waters.

Ice in its many forms (sea ice, lake ice, river ice and icebergs) covers Canada's waters. As a result, it touches Canadian life in many ways.

It affects:

  • Marine transportation in Canada's heartland as well as in the North;
  • Commercial fishing;
  • Offshore resource development;
  • The hunting and fishing patterns of aboriginal peoples;
  • Tourism and recreation; and
  • Local weather patterns and long-term climate.

Our Mission

At the Canadian Ice Service (CIS), our mission is to provide the most timely and accurate information about ice in Canada's navigable waters. In support of this, our two main objectives are:

  1. To ensure the safety of Canadians, their property and their environment by warning them of hazardous ice conditions in navigable Canadian waters; and
  2. To provide present and future generations of Canadians with sufficient knowledge about their ice environment, in order to support sound environmental policies.

Our Services

We provide direct access to ice and iceberg information. Our main website contains a substantial amount of information on ice and iceberg conditions, ice codes, as well as access to the online Canadian Ice Service Archive. Our clients have access to more specialized ice information services. . For more information about other services, contact us.

For more on our subscription services.

North American Ice Service

The North American Ice Service (NAIS) is a partnership between the Canadian Ice Service, the United States' National/Naval Ice Center, and the United States Coast Guard's International Ice Patrol. This partnership was struck in June of 2004 after what was then known as the "Joint Ice Working Group" (JIWG) became the "North American Ice Service Working Group" (NAIS-WG). The NAIS, as we know it today, was effectively created in January of 2008 with the signing of a new MOU between Environment Canada and the United States' National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) which replaced the MOU between NOAA and the Meteorological Service of Canada in 2003.

The concept of the NAIS is to create a harmonized suite of ice information products and services for North American and global waters to serve the needs of users for safety of navigation and informed decision-making purposes. This integrated service combines the strengths of the existing centres with the intended result of seamless products of high quality and consistency.

Ice and iceberg charts and bulletins are provided in joint areas of interest. These areas include the Great Lakes and Bering Strait for ice conditions and the Newfoundland and Labrador coast for iceberg information. Satellite imagery is shared as much as possible in order to ensure a common knowledge of the ice conditions.

This partnership strengthens each service by allowing free sharing of ideas, procedures, and knowledge, as well as being able to take advantage of each other's strengths.

Location

Canadian Ice Service
373 Sussex drive.
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 0H3
Canada

Ice in Canada: Interesting Facts

In winter, ice normally covers an area of a little more than 4 million square kilometres in Canadian waters.

From winter to the end of summer, the amount of ice that melts is enough to cover the surface of 60% of Canada's provinces!

Every year, roughly 40,000 icebergs migrate through Canada's eastern waters. Only the Pacific Coast of Canada is unaffected by ice.

View the maximum sea ice extent for a normal winter ice season in Canadian waters.