Facility for Intelligent Marine Systems (FIMS) and Fish Lab Renovations (FLR) at the Bedford Institute of Oceanography (BIO), Halifax Regional Municipality, NS

The Real Property, Safety and Security Branch of Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO-RPSS) plan to repurpose an existing building at the Bedford Institute of Oceanography (BIO) in Dartmouth, Halifax Regional Municipality to provide more efficient use and newly renovated space to accommodate the Facility for Intelligent Marine Systems (FIMS) and Fish Lab Renovation (FLR).  Conceptual design includes wet laboratory space, shared large field prep areas, and Workplace 2.0 office accommodations.  The building will benefit from an improved building envelope, sustainability features, and a better working environment for occupants.


The existing Fish Lab building is a 3,073 m2 two-story building that was originally constructed in 1965 with an addition completed in 1998. The building is deteriorating, and due to its age and nature of its renovations and additions over the years, the interior configuration is less than ideal.  Many of the building systems are also nearing the end of life and will require replacement. The current building houses a mix of offices and labs integrated into the humid salt atmosphere of a wet-lab aquarium facility.  These conditions result in a poor working environment, including persistent mold issues.  Minor renovations were carried out in 1998-99 to address mold concerns and to accommodate the transfer of program employees resulting from the closure of the DFO Halifax Lab Complex, however there remains an unacceptable mix of space use and environmental conditions that require more permanent solutions.


The proposed project will include the removal and storage of all reusable lab equipment and tanks from the existing building, demolition of the existing building interior, abatement of any hazardous materials, installation of new building envelop, extension of building envelop to enclose corridor to Quarantine Lab, fit-up for DFO Aquatic Science labs and operations, fit-up for FIMS labs and operations, new building layout with architectural finishes to suit stated use, Workplace 2.0 workstations, installation of an elevator, mechanical and electrical systems to suit stated use, forklift, overhead gantry crane, shared space between DFO Aquatic Science and FIMS Program, sustainable features, to be determined during design.


The FIMS will support interdepartmental collaborative use of state-of-the-art unmanned surface and underwater data collection platforms and nurture the development testing of new systems to observe Canada's marine environment.  The Fish Lab Renovation (FLR) will improve the delivery of the DFO fisheries science program mandate.   


Demolition of the existing building interior is expected to be carried out between February 1, 2021 and April 30, 2021 while the reconstruction will run from September 1, 2021 until February 28, 2023.


Latest update

Notice of Determination

February 23, 2021 – Fisheries and Oceans Canada - Small Craft Harbours has issued its Notice of Determination after evaluation of the project and has determined that the project is not likely to cause significant adverse environmental effects with mitigation measures as outlined in their evaluation and can therefore proceed.



Fisheries and Oceans Corporate Services
Andrew McKinnon, Project Engineer
PO Box 1006, S220, 1 Challenger Drive, Dartmouth, NS B2Y 4A2
Dartmouth, Nova Scotia B2Y 4A2
Telephone: 902-292-4130
Fax: 902-426-6501
Email: Andrew.mckinnon@dfo-mpo.gc.ca

  • Location

    • 1 Challenger Drive at the Bedford Institute of Oceanography (BIO), a Government of Canada owned asset located adjacent to the Halifax Harbour in Dartmouth, Halifax Regional Municipality (Nova Scotia)
  • Nature of Activity

    • Building and Property Development
  • Assessment Status

  • Start Date

  • Proponent

    Fisheries and Oceans Canada - Real Property, Safety and Security
  • Authorities

    • Fisheries and Oceans Canada
  • Assessment Type

    Project on federal lands
  • Reference Number


This map is for illustrative purposes. The markers represent the approximate locations based on available data. More than one marker may be identified for a given assessment.


Nearby assessments

...within 200 kilometres
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