New Atlantic Regional Headquarters enhances marine safety and ocean protection for Newfoundland and Labrador

News release

August 13, 2019

St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador  — The Canadian Coast Guard saves lives, protects the environment, and helps our economy grow, while keeping our waters safe, secure, and open. That is why, in 2017, the Government of Canada committed to building a new Coast Guard Atlantic regional headquarters, and in 2018 reopened the Maritime Rescue Sub-Centre in St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador. It is also why, earlier this year, we announced the renewal of the Coast Guard fleet with up to 24 additional new large vessels to be built in Canada under the National Shipbuilding Strategy.

Today, The Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, the Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, announced the completion of the construction on this new Atlantic regional headquarters, including a new modernized facility for the reopened Marine Rescue Sub-Centre. The Canadian Coast Guard Atlantic Region has 1,900 employees, of which 634 are shore-based. More than 200 employees will work from the new headquarters building.

The reopened Maritime Rescue Sub-Centre St. John’s provides additional and enhanced capacity in responding to search and rescue calls in the waters surrounding Newfoundland and Labrador, and is now staffed 24/7. With this modernized and reopened base, the Coast Guard is able to respond more quickly and efficiently to emergencies on these waters.

As a result of prior significant reductions in funding for the Coast Guard’s operational budget, the search and rescue Sub-Centre was closed in 2012 after operating for 35 years. Furthermore, the pre-existing Atlantic regional headquarters building has been in use, as is, since 1962. As the Canadian Coast Guard continues to upgrade and modernize operations in order to meet new demands from increased vessel traffic off the Newfoundland and Labrador coast, plays an enhanced role in marine science, and faces new challenges from a changing climate, this new facility is critically important to serve the needs of this province.

As part of the National Shipbuilding Strategy, the Minister also announced the delivery and acceptance of a new search and rescue lifeboat to the Coast Guard fleet—the CCGS Conception Bay.

These investments are a result of the Government of Canada’s historic $1.5 billion Oceans Protection Plan to safeguard our oceans, coasts, and coastal communities. Since 2015, the Government of Canada has reopened key Canadian Coast Guard bases right across the country that were closed due to budgetary cuts over the previous decade. This is part of the broader commitment to enhancing marine safety, growing our economy, and to securing the prosperity of coastal communities.

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“This is a milestone for the safety of communities up and down the coast of Newfoundland and Labrador. I am so proud to be able to announce the completion of construction on the new Canadian Coast Guard Atlantic regional headquarters. After deep budget cuts and years of underfunding resulted in the Sub-Centre closing just over 7 years ago, and the regional headquarters operating in the same facility for more than 50 years, we have rebuilt, reopened and modernized this critically important base and its search-and-rescue capacity. The women and men of the Canadian Coast Guard, based out of St. John’s now have the modern tools and service support they need in order to maintain the safety of mariners, and the security of these waters. This is an investment in Atlantic Canada, in Newfoundland and Labrador, and in the people of St. John’s.”

The Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, the Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson

“By reopening the Canadian Coast Guard’s Marine Rescue Sub-Centre, and building the new Atlantic Headquarters here in St. John’s, we’re making good on our commitment to strengthen Coast Guard capacity in this province after years of budget cuts. With increasing vessel traffic off our coast, and as a changing climate places more demand on the women and men of the Coast Guard, we can count on them to keep serving our community – help grow our marine economy, protect our environment, and keep our waters safe, secure, and open.”

The Honourable Seamus O’Regan, Minister of Indigenous Services

Quick facts

  • Construction of the new Canadian Coast Guard Atlantic regional headquarters building is registered with the Canada Green Building Council under the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) green building rating system. A LEED gold designation is anticipated. Construction of the facility was contracted to J.W. Lindsay Enterprises Limited

  • The Government of Canada awarded contracts to Chantier Naval Forillon of Gaspé, Québec and Hike Metal Products of Wheatley, Ontario, to each build 10 lifeboats, an investment over $160 million (including taxes) that has created and supported more than 35 jobs.

  • The CCGS Conception Bay is the sixth of 20 new lifeboats to be delivered to the Coast Guard under the National Shipbuilding Strategy. The vessel, built by Chantier Naval Forillon, is also one of three new high-endurance search and rescue lifeboats to be stationed in Newfoundland and Labrador, at the new seasonal lifeboat station currently under construction in Twillingate. 

Associated links


Jocelyn Lubczuk
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans
and the Canadian Coast Guard

Media Relations
Fisheries and Oceans Canada

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