Procurement – Navy

National Shipbuilding Strategy

  • In Strong, Secure, Engaged, this Government reaffirmed its commitment to the National Shipbuilding Strategy.
  • We are investing tens of billions to renew and modernize the capabilities of the Royal Canadian Navy.
  • This includes recapitalizing the surface fleet by acquiring:
    • fifteen Canadian Surface Combatants
    • two Joint Support Ships
    • six Arctic and Offshore Patrol Ships
    • four Naval Large Tugs
  • We have selected a ship design for the Canadian Surface Combatant, and construction is scheduled to begin in the early 2020s.
  • In June 2018, Seaspan’s Vancouver Shipyard started the construction of the first supply ship, and it should be delivered in 2023.
  • We anticipate the delivery of the first Arctic and Offshore Patrol Ship in spring 2020 and the second in early 2021.
  • Together, these shipbuilding projects are revitalizing our marine industry and creating thousands of jobs for Canadians.

Key Facts

  • Benefit to Canadians: National Shipbuilding Strategy contracts awarded to date have contributed $13B to GDP ($1.2B annually)
    • Created or maintaining over 11,192 jobs annually between 2012-2022
  • Arctic and Offshore Patrol Ships Budget: $4.3B
  • Canadian Surface Combatant Budget: $56-60B


  • On June 3, 2010, the Government announced Canada’s National Shipbuilding Procurement Strategy (renamed the National Shipbuilding Strategy, in March 2016).
  • In 2011, the Government selected Seaspan’s Vancouver Shipyards and Irving Shipbuilding Halifax Shipyard for the construction of large ships.
  • The National Shipbuilding Strategy Combat Package, which includes the Arctic and Offshore Patrol Ships and the Canadian Surface Combatants (replacements for the frigates and retired destroyers), will be built by Irving Shipbuilding.
  • The National Shipbuilding Strategy Non-Combat Package, which includes the Joint Support Ships for the Royal Canadian Navy, science research vessels, and Multi-Purpose Vessels for the Canadian Coast Guard will be built by Vancouver Shipyards.
  • The publicly available budget for the Joint Support Ships ($3.4 billion) is currently under review to reflect experience gained to date from the Offshore Fisheries Science Vessels and Arctic Offshore Patrol Ships projects.

Version 5; 2020-03-09 – Source: CoW Note on National Ship Building Strategy

Top of page

Canadian Surface Combatant

  • Combat ships play a crucial role in naval operations.
  • That is why the government is currently procuring 15 new multi-role Canadian Surface Combatant ships for the Royal Canadian Navy.
  • This represents the largest and the most complex investment in the Navy since the Second World War.
  • Leveraging the selected Type-26 design as a reference point, work is now underway to complete the combat system design to meet the Royal Canadian Navy’s requirements.
  • We look forward to the start of construction in early 2020’s.
  • We will continue to closely monitor this project to ensure that all ships are delivered in a timely manner and on budget.
  • These modern ships will help the Navy meet Canada’s defence and security challenges in the coming decades.

Key Facts

  • Estimated Budget: $56-$60B
  • Construction of first vessel: early 2020s
  • Last ship delivery: 2040s
  • Economic benefits:
    • 2,400 direct shipbuilding jobs in Halifax
    • Thousands of jobs across Canada through supply chain and subcontracting


  • Canada’s new class of warship – the Canadian Surface Combatant – will replace both the Iroquois-class destroyers and the Halifax-class frigates, one for one. This single class of ship will be capable of meeting multiple threats on the open ocean and the coastal environment.
  • The new warships will be able to conduct a broad range of tasks, including:
    • Delivering decisive combat power at sea;
    • Supporting Canadian Armed Forces, and Canada’s allies ashore;
    • Conducting counter-piracy, counter terrorism, interdiction and embargo operations for medium intensity operations; and
    • Delivering humanitarian aid, search and rescue, and law and sovereignty enforcement for regional engagements.
  • Irving Shipbuilding has been selected as the prime contractor for the construction of the warships.
  • In February 2019, the Government announced that Irving Shipbuilding had contracted Lockheed Martin Canada to provide the design and design team. The selected design for the future fleet is based on BAE Systems’ Type 26 ship design.
  • Canada is now working with Irving Shipbuilding and Lockheed Martin Canada to evolve the selected ship design and systems integration in preparation for build.
  • Early in 2019, Alion and Navantia, the two non-selected bidders on the Canadian Surface Combatant Request for Proposals filed for judicial reviews asking the Federal Court to set aside the decision that Lockheed Martin Canada was the selected bidder. In November 2019, Alion discontinued its applications for judicial review. The Department of Justice has carriage of the ongoing matters, which should not be publicly discussed as they are before the courts.

Version 5; 2020-02-26 – Source: QP Note on Canadian Surface Combatant

Top of page

Arctic and Offshore Patrol Ships

  • Progress is well underway to deliver six Arctic and Offshore Patrol Ships to the Royal Canadian Navy.
  • These versatile vessels will support surveillance of our Canadian waters, domestic and international operations, and humanitarian assistance.
  • I am pleased to report Irving Shipbuilding has already begun conducting initial trials of the first ship at sea. 
  • We anticipate the delivery of the first Arctic and Offshore Patrol Ship in spring 2020 and the second in early 2021.
  • The remaining vessels will be delivered by 2024, to help fulfil the Royal Canadian Navy’s important role at home and abroad.

Key Facts

  • Estimated Budget: Up to $4.3B
  • Number of Arctic and Offshore Patrol Ships ordered: 6
  • Delivery timeline:
    • First vessel: 2020
    • Sixth vessel: 2024
  • Built at: Irving Shipbuilding Inc., Halifax


Arctic and Offshore Patrol Ships Project

  • Strong, Secure, Engaged committed to the acquisition of five to six Arctic and Offshore Patrol Ships. In November 2018, the government of Canada announced a decision to acquire a sixth vessel.
  • These vessels will be able to perform a wide variety of tasks, including:
    • Surveillance operations of Canadian waters;
    • Support of sovereignty operations;
    • International operations;
    • Humanitarian assistance, emergency response and disaster relief; and
    • Search and Rescue.
  • The Arctic and Offshore Patrol Ships will operate in the Arctic between June and October, providing a greater and longer Canadian Armed Forces presence in the north.

Current Status

  • The first Arctic and Offshore Patrol Ship is the first of its class. Production challenges, typically seen with a first-of-class vessel, delayed the delivery of the first ship from 2018 to 2020.
  • The shipbuilder has learned lessons from the build of the first ship that will help ensure efficiencies in the construction of the subsequent ships. The schedules for these following ships will therefore be easier to plan.
  • Out of the total of six ships, four are in various stages of production.

Version 5; 2020-03-09 – Source: Note on the Arctic and Offshore Patrol Ships, 2019-12

Top of page

Joint Support Ships

  • Support ships provide crucial at-sea refueling and deliver supplies to Canadian military vessels participating in naval operations and exercises.
  • Two new supply ships will be delivered to the Royal Canadian Navy between 2023 and 2025 to fulfill this important role.
  • These ships are designed to meet the Navy’s military requirements and provide Canada’s sailors the necessary protection when on deployment.
  • In June 2018, Seaspan’s Vancouver Shipyard started the construction of the first supply ship expected to be delivered in 2023.
  • National Defence will continue to closely monitor this project to ensure the supply vessels are delivered on time and at best value for taxpayers.

Key Facts

  • Cost:
    • Estimated project cost: $3.4B (under review) and $4.1B from PBO. An estimated $5.5B will be spent on personnel, operations, and maintenance over the ships’ 30 year lifespan
  • Timelines:
    • First Joint Supply Ship is expected to be delivered 2023
    • Second supply ship is expected to be delivered 2025


  • Public Service and Procurement Canada selected Seaspan’s Vancouver Shipyards as the prime contractor to build these vessels for the Navy.
  • In 2013, after a rigorous interdepartmental selection based upon affordability, capability, and risk, National Defence selected a design for its Joint Support Ship project that offers the best value to Canada.
  • The new support ships are intended to replace the Navy’s Auxiliary Oiler Replenishment vessels. They will provide at-sea support to naval task groups, limited sealift capabilities, and support to operations ashore.

Current Status

  • In June 2018, Seaspan‘s Vancouver Shipyard started the construction of the first supply ship. It is expected to be delivered in 2023.


  • The Joint Support Ship’s acquisition cost is being reviewed (public statements have placed the cost at a range between $3.4 -and $4.1 billion).
  • An additional cost of approximately $5.5 billion includes personnel, operations, and maintenance over the 30 year lifespan of the vessels.

Version 5; 2020-03-09 – Source: QP Note on the Joint Support Ships

Top of page

Interim Supply Ships (IAOR)

  • Supply ships are a critical component to any “Blue Water” navy as they provide fuel and essential supplies to military vessels enabling them to sustain operations.
  • Two new supply ships will be delivered to the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) between 2023 and 2025 to fulfill this important role.
  • In the interim, the Asterix is providing support to the RCN in non-high threat operations and exercises around the world.

If pressed on the Obélix:

  • The National Shipbuilding Strategy will deliver the right mix of platforms for the Navy to meet our future defence and security challenges.
  • There are currently no plans to pursue an additional interim replenishment ship and at-sea support services with Federal Fleet Services. 

Key Facts

  • MV Asterix is a commercial vessel, owned, operated and maintained by Federal Fleet Services. It is crewed by two civilian teams of 36 personnel.
    • There are up to 114 military personnel embarked to perform certain activities and operations such as Replenishment At-Sea, Military Communications, Flight Operations, Humanitarian Assistance/Disaster Relief (HADR), Force Protection and Medical/Dental services.
  • In 2018-19: MV Asterix deployed for 354 days, with 191 days at sea and 163 days alongside a foreign port.
  • To date in 2019-20: MV Asterix deployed for 170 days, with 131 days at sea and 39 days alongside a foreign port.


The Asterix

  • The premature retirement of the Royal Canadian Navy’s remaining supply ship, in 2016, combined with the operational delivery dates of the new Joint Support Ships, in 2023-2025, has resulted in a capability gap.
  • To help bridge this gap, in 2015, the Government of Canada entered into a Provision of Service Contract with Project Resolve Inc for the conversion of a commercial container ship into an interim supply vessel – the MV Asterix. The vessel commenced service in support of the Royal Canadian Navy on January 28, 2018.
  • The MV Asterix is operated by Federal Fleet Services and is crewed by Canadian civilian mariners. A limited number of Canadian Armed Forces personnel are deployed as mission specialists.
  • Since it became operational, the Asterix has supported numerous deployments and exercises at sea.

Request for the Obelix

  • Davie Shipbuilding is making the case to convert a second commercial vessel – the Obelix. Furthermore, the Bloc Québécois and the Conservative Party of Canada are advocating for the procurement of a second interim supply ship from Davie.
  • The Parliamentary Budget Officer estimated the cost of a second interim supply ship is $607 million. This costing was requested by the Conservative Party of Canada as part of its larger platform costing during the election period.

Version 5; 2020-02-24 – Source: QP Note on the Request for a Davie Shipyard Contract for the Obelix

Top of page

Canada’s Submarine Force

  • Victoria-class submarines are one of Canada’s most strategic assets for conducting surveillance of Canadian and international waters.
  • This is why we committed to modernize these vessels to ensure their operational effectiveness into the mid-2030s.
  • Modernization will increase the fleet’s ability to operate in environmentally sensitive regions, while complying with domestic and international environmental laws.
  • It will also deliver the capacity to participate in joint operations and conduct longer missions.
  • Options are currently being assessed on how to best implement this modernization project.
  • We will continue to ensure the Royal Canadian Navy is able to patrol Canada’s maritime borders and conduct operations abroad.

If pressed on Canada’s submarines spending zero days at sea in 2019:

  • Operating across unforgiving environments requires submarines to undergo maintenance to sustain capabilities and ensure crew safety.
  • In 2019, all submarines underwent planned maintenance, repairs, and upgrades, which are essential for a submarine’s operational cycle.
  • Maintenance supports and sustains the fleet’s operational capabilities, ensuring the fleet is able to continue to conduct its operations.
  • We are looking forward to having HMCS Victoria return to sea in the coming months and the HMCS Windsor later this year.

Key Facts

  • Sustainment costs for the Victoria-class fleet of submarines: approximately $325M/year
  • 2018: HMCS WINDSOR spent 115 days at sea, 88 of which were during Operation PROJECTION supporting NATO Operations in the Euro-Atlantic region.
  • Status of the Victoria Class Modernization Program: Options Analysis
  • Program funding range: $1-4.99B
  • Victoria-class submarines in the Royal Canadian Navy fleet: 4


  • An unparalleled strategic asset, Canadian submarines deliver a world-class, force-multiplying deterrent effect as well as an unmatched sovereign defence and security capability. They do so by being capable of covertly monitoring evolving situations at home and abroad, as well as by factoring significantly as an option for relevant Canadian action – be it continuing to provide “indications and warning” or vital joint-targeting information, weapon delivery, or Special Operations Force insertion. Additionally, submarines provide critical, sovereign force protection capacity for our sea-based forces when required.
  • When compared to the multi-billion dollar investment and time required to deliver a new submarine, the decision to modernize remains the most effective means of ensuring continued submarine operations for the Royal Canadian Navy into the 2030s.
  • The Victoria-class Modernization project will provide the capability enhancements required to keep the submarines operationally relevant against evolving threats and the future operating environment.
  • This project is currently in the options analysis stage which will identify best ways to implement the project and achieve capabilities.
  • The Victoria-class Modernization project will focus primarily on enhancing three distinct capabilities:
    • Habitability – to improve habitability and deployment conditions onboard Victoria-Class submarines;
    • Joint Force Capability – position the Victoria-Class submarines to contribute meaningfully to joint operations ashore; and
    • Survivability – to ensure the survivability of the Victoria-Class submarines against an evolving complex threat in an ever changing battle space.
  • The Victoria-class Modernization project will enhance the ability to operate in the environmentally sensitive regions such as the near Arctic.

Version 5.1; 2020-03-09 – Source: QP Note on Maintenance and Modernization of Canada’s Submarine Force

Top of page

Report a problem or mistake on this page
Please select all that apply:

Thank you for your help!

You will not receive a reply. For enquiries, contact us.

Date modified: