Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Geography & Environmental Studies


Faculty of Arts

First Advisor

D. Scott Slocombe

Advisor Role

Thesis Supervisor


In the coastal zone, relationships between natural, social and economic processes are often intense. This complexity has led to a host of government agencies involved in the planning and management of coastal environments. Unfortunately, these institutions often work at cross purposes, generating inefficiencies and exacerbating conflict. This conflict is compounded by the increasing participation of non-governmental groups and local interests in resource use decision-making. Further, reduced spending by the public sector is restricting government programs. These problems are not limited to Canada as there have been international calls to improve coastal area planning and management by forming authorities to coordinate action. Government Coordinating Agencies (GCAs) offer an opportunity to improve institutional arrangements and reduce resource use conflicts in the coastal zone. This thesis investigates two GCAs in Canada, the Islands Trust in British Columbia and the Waterfront Regeneration Trust in Ontario. Following an examination of each agency's background and organization, five key program elements are identified and described for each agency. The key elements show that, based on process criteria, both agencies have improved the implementation of policy and have increased public accessibility to the decision making process within their jurisdiction. To maximize effectiveness, GCAs must integrate structural and behavioral solutions in their operations, demonstrate flexibility in their policies and programs, and recognize the importance of ecosystem concepts in their management approaches. The presence of provincial or regional GCAs in Canada may be sufficient to attain international objectives for sustainable coastal resource management.

Convocation Year


Convocation Season