As steward for major subsea observatories that enables frontier research in ocean and earth sciences, ONC has developed, over time, a comprehensive governance and management system tailored to nurture and protect its assets, foster partnerships, and enhance the research outcomes and impacts. Recognizing the scale, scope, life-span, and international user community, ONC was created by the University of Victoria in 2007 as a not-for-profit society under the British Columbia Societies Act to provide dedicated governance and management of this world-leading ocean observatory.

The Board of Directors is comprised of 16 nationally recognized leaders drawn from across Canada and from the academic, government and private sectors.  The Board has three standing Committees responsible for Governance and Human Resources, Finance and Audit, and Public Policy. The major duties of the Board include determining all policies relating to ONC, approving the strategic and management plans, oversight of the operations, approval of the budget, monitoring performance, and fund raising.

The Board of Directors interacts with the University through the Joint Monitoring Committee (JMC) .  This Committee’s mandate is to ensure sufficient communication between the University and ONC with respect to the operation of the VENUS and NEPTUNE observatories.   JMC membership includes the University Vice Presidents of Research and Finance, ONC Board chair, and the ONC President.

The International Science Advisory Board (ISAB) meets twice per year and includes members drawn from the international ocean science community (currently from U.S., U.K., Japan, Australia and Canada and an invitation to China). ISAB provides strategic advice and guidance to help ensure that ONC achieves its research vision, mission and goals. ISAB makes recommendations on science priorities in the context of national and international research agendas; advises on technical and policy issues; reviews the impacts of ONC research; future developments required to maintain the scientific and technical quality and productivity of the research sustained by the observatory at the highest possible level; assessing the breadth, research stature and number of users, including engagement of international researchers; and identifying opportunities for innovation in the observatory.

Three former NEPTUNE and VENUS have advisory committees were consolidated into a single Ocean Observatory Council in Spring 2014.  This council includes both inshore and offshore working groups, as well as an observatory planning working group. The council and working groups meet periodically to advise on the five year science plan; set data and technology requirements; establish instrument deployment priorities; review experiment progress; and assess policies and practices.

Organizational Chart


Senior management responsibility for ONC is vested with the ONC President and CEO. The User Engagement, Observatory Operations, and Ocean Innovation Directors and the Chief Financial and Operating Officer (CFOO) report to the President and comprise the ONC Executive. The Executive team is responsible for leading the implementation and achievement of ONC’s management priorities in pursuit of fulfilling the strategic goals of the organization as set out in an ONC Strategic Plan.   

The President & CEO reports to the Chair of the Board of Directors of the Ocean Networks Canada Society, and provides the vision, strategic direction and leadership to achieve the scientific and societal goals of ONC.

The Director of User Engagement manages the Science and User Services Divisions that support the primary science users of NEPTUNE and VENUS, as well as other stakeholders, such as citizen scientists, industry, and government users. Central to the support of the scientific community is Science Services with a team of six Staff Scientists who directly engage with Canadian, US, and other international scientists who use NEPTUNE and/or VENUS sensors and data. User Services comprises integrated teams responsible for user products, education and public engagement, and communications.

The Observatory Operations Director oversees the two major operational groups that deliver the services: Marine Operations and Digital Infrastructure Divisions. These groups operate and maintain all of ONC facilities. 

The CFOO provides overall direction and administration of internal and external financial and administrative matters to support the programs and other strategic objectives of Ocean Networks Canada.