The Bedford Institute of Oceanography (BIO), located at Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, was founded in 1962. It is operated by the federal department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada and includes units of Environment Canada and Natural Resources Canada. It is the principal oceanographic institution in Canada, comparable to the Scripps and Woods Hole institutions in the US. BIO performs long-term research in all fields of the marine sciences over a wide geographic area; undertakes shorter-term research in response to national needs; carries out surveys and cartographic work to ensure a supply of navigation charts for the region from Georges Bank to the Northwest Passage; and responds with all relevant expertise to any marine emergency.

To this end it is organized into groups devoted to physical, chemical and biological oceanography, hydrography, fisheries as well as marine geology and environmental protection. BIO has one large and two medium research vessels, several smaller craft and a central library and computer system. Research results are published in international scientific journals and in the official reports of the various government departments.