Contract awarded to begin design work for Land-Based Testing Facility in Nova Scotia

News release

January 14, 2022 – Ottawa, Ontario – Department of National Defence / Canadian Armed Forces

Providing CAF members with the facilities and tools they need to support operations is one of our foremost priorities – we must deliver. This is why the Government of Canada is building a land-based testing facility (LBTF) on a portion of DND-owned land near Shearwater, Nova Scotia, to help bring 15 new Canadian Surface Combatants (CSC), that will be built for the Royal Canadian Navy, into service and support them throughout their lifespan.

This infrastructure will be critical in testing the new CSC ships’ combat systems and will ensure the new ships are sea-ready once delivered. As there are no existing facilities capable of supporting this type of testing for CSC in Canada, we are delivering this new, purpose-built testing facility to carry out this work as part of the CSC’s rigorous tests and trials program.

On September 30, we awarded a $485,000 contract to PCL Construction of Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, to begin project support and design work on the future LBTF. Work with the contractor to determine the building’s specifications will commence in 2022, and the design phase will run until 2023, when construction is expected to begin.

We expect this facility will be approximately 9000-m2 across several floors, and will accommodate 120 full-time staff, including members of the Royal Canadian Navy, DND employees, and contractors. Additional infrastructure will be required at CFB Halifax to support the CSC project; further details will be confirmed as the project progresses.

Canada is a maritime nation and has the longest coastline of any nation on earth. This new facility and the CSC ships will ensure that the Canadian Armed Forces continue protecting the sovereignty and security of Canadian waters, as well as making significant contributions to international naval operations on behalf of all Canadians. More than 10,000 Canadian jobs are estimated to be created or maintained throughout the 25-year construction period of the CSC ships, and we expect the LBTF project to sustain almost 350 jobs in the Halifax region during construction.

We are also committed to doing our part to leave a healthy environment for future generations of Canadians and to meet the targets set in the Greening Government Strategy. In all aspects of the CSC project, DND continues to explore opportunities to improve its environmental footprint. For example, using the LBTF for on-land systems testing will avoid greenhouse gas emissions from ships that would have occurred if testing were carried out at sea. The LBTF construction will also follow DND’s Green Building Directive which targets net-zero carbon emissions.

We will be holding a community engagement session in Dartmouth, NS, in winter 2022, focused on addressing any community concerns and providing an overview of the LBTF project. The session will be also be available remotely via Zoom. More details will be posted on the CSC webpage and via National Defence social media channels once available.


“The awarding of this contract marks an important milestone in the CSC project, as the construction of this land-based testing facility is a prerequisite for the delivery of the 15 new CSC ships being constructed. The operational importance of this facility and what this means for both our personnel and Canada’s maritime capabilities cannot be overstated. This project will also help generate economic opportunities for the Halifax region and be built with a focus on environmental sustainability to help reduce our carbon footprint.”

The Honourable Anita Anand, Minister of National Defence

“This project not only helps secure the future of Canadian maritime sovereignty, it also brings jobs and other economic benefits to the Dartmouth region. Investments in Canada’s defence infrastructure are felt throughout nearby communities, and help stimulate the economy. By investing in green infrastructure like this facility, we are helping to meet our greenhouse gas reduction targets and build a greener future for all Canadians.”

Darren Fisher, Member of Parliament for Dartmouth-Cole Harbour

Quick facts

  • In line with our standard procedure, we are undertaking an environmental assessment to better understand the project’s potential impacts at Hartlen Point. Once completed, we will have a better idea of whether or not mitigation measures will be required to offset any environmental impacts prior to and during construction.

  • Due to the complex nature of the CSC combat systems, the new ships’ systems must be integrated and commissioned to ensure they function correctly before being installed on the ships. This facility is critical in testing those systems.

  • The proposed Hartlen Point site is DND-owned, meets our security requirements, and provides adequate space for all of the facility’s systems in one location. This location is also directly on the coastline and allows 130 degree live transmission of emitters out over the ocean, which is essential for the CSC testing requirements.

  • The exact location of the LBTF at the Hartlen Point site will not be finalized until the initial consultant work is completed in 2022 and we begin the design phase of the project.

  • Defence Construction Canada (DCC) is the contracting authority for DND infrastructure and environment projects. DCC supports DND’s efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and energy consumption associated with its buildings through the procurement and management of energy performance contracts.

Associated links


Daniel Minden
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of National Defence
Phone: 613-996-3100

Media Relations
Department of National Defence

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