Canada Lays Out Plans to Help Maximize Historic Shipbuilding Investment

Canada's Irving Shipyard

In a continued effort to bolster economic growth and create jobs, the Canadian Government has announced a plan aimed to help maximze the benefit of countries aggressive federal shipbuilding plan announced late last year.

As part of their National Shipbuilding Procurement Strategy (NSPS), the Canadian government in October awarded US$32.3 billion worth of shipbuilding contracts, the largest-ever in the country’s history.

The contracts were awarded to Nova Scotia’s Irving Shipbuilding and British Columbia-based Seaspan Marine Corp., for the construction Canada’s next generation of naval and coast guard vessels.¬† The work, which will span the next 20-30 years, is estimated to create 15,000 jobs annually.

Now, the Canadian Government is moving forward with two initiatives designed to maximize the Government’s investment in the domestic shipbuilding industry.

The Atlantic Shipbuilding Action Plan, focusing on the contract awarded to Irving Shipbuilding, will provide small and medium-sized companies in Eastern Canada with the information and knowledge needed to seize opportunities related to these major procurements.  Topics include:

Specifically, the Atlantic Shipbuilding Action Plan will ensure awareness of the process and the requirements to access supply chain opportunities; provide enterprises access to Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency programs to proactively support their development so that they can capitalize on these opportunities in areas such as marketing, acquisition of certification, process improvements, training, and technology acquisition; engage with community colleges and the provincial governments on skills and labour force research and planning; and hold supplier development sessions in each Atlantic province as well as an Atlantic Marine Industry Forum.

“Work undertaken at Irving Shipbuilding’s Halifax shipyard will be sustained for decades and carries the real potential to radically transform the entire Atlantic economy. The shipbuilders of Atlantic Canada will create jobs, drive innovation and help build a world class industry,” explained Minister MacKay. “Through the Atlantic Shipbuilding Action Plan, our Government is helping Atlantic businesses understand and be part of the process and address such areas as innovation capacity, certification and workforce skills so they can compete as suppliers and sub-contractors.”

Meanwhile, Western Canada’s Shipbuilding Action Plan provides an investment of more than $1 million to help British Columbia’s Resource Training Organization construct a new marine training center that will ensure the sustainability of British Columbia’s shipbuilding and repair industry by training workers.

“Our Government’s Shipbuilding Action Plan is an exciting initiative that is creating jobs and growth throughout British Columbia,” added the Honourable James Moore, Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages, Senior Minister for British Columbia. “We are committed to equipping our region with the tools needed to take full advantage of the many opportunities to come.”

“The support of the federal government is instrumental in moving this project forward. The Centre is envisioned as a scalable, industry- managed organization exclusively dedicated to developing and maintaining the skills, knowledge and capacity of the shipbuilding and repair workforce,” added Doug MacLaren, CEO of the Resource Training Organization.