Renewing Canadian Coast Guard fleet and delivering important services for Canadians

News release

May 22, 2019 - Québec, Quebec - Public Services and Procurement Canada

Canadians across the country rely on the Canadian Coast Guard to protect mariners and our environment, and to ensure the safe and efficient movement of ships that are key to our vibrant economy.

Following an announcement by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau earlier today, the Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development and Member of Parliament for Québec, visited Quai de la Reine in Québec to highlight the Government of Canada’s new investments to renew the Canadian Coast Guard fleet and to provide up to 18 new large ships to be built in Canadian shipyards. These new vessels will help the Coast Guard continue to deliver its important services for Canadians.

Canada’s partners for large ship construction under the National Shipbuilding Strategy (NSS), Irving Shipbuilding of Halifax, Nova Scotia, and Seaspan’s Vancouver Shipyards in British Columbia, will build the new ships.

Irving Shipbuilding will build two new Arctic and Offshore Patrol Ships, which will be adapted for the Coast Guard to perform a range of critical missions, including Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization patrols. Seaspan’s Vancouver Shipyards will build up to 16 Multi-Purpose Vessels to support a variety of missions, including light icebreaking, environmental response, and offshore search and rescue.

In addition, the Government of Canada is investing in vessel life extensions, refits and maintenance work at shipyards throughout Canada, including in Quebec, so the current Coast Guard fleet can continue delivering critical search and rescue and environmental response services while the new ships are being built.

Even with investments in maintenance, Coast Guard ships will eventually reach the end of their service lives, and more ships will be needed to fully renew the Coast Guard fleet. To support future shipbuilding requirements, and attract more talent and good jobs to our communities, the Government of Canada intends to add a third Canadian shipyard as a partner under the NSS. The Government of Canada will move forward with a competitive process to select the third shipyard in the coming months.


“The Canadian Coast Guard saves lives at sea, maintains safe shipping, enables an otherwise ice-choked economy, protects the marine environment and supports Canadian sovereignty and security. With increasing shipping trade and the impacts of climate change already upon us, demands on Canada’s Coast Guard will continue to grow. A renewed Coast Guard fleet ensures the confidence of Canadians and the confidence of industries that rely on Coast Guard services to remain competitive.”

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

“The National Shipbuilding Strategy is the right approach to ensure our Coast Guard, Navy and marine activities are supported by modern vessels. In addition to adapting to meet evolving federal shipbuilding requirements, the Strategy is creating jobs, generating benefits and prosperity in communities across Canada, and supporting a sustainable marine sector. We remain firmly committed to the National Shipbuilding Strategy, and will continue to work closely with our shipbuilding partners to continue its success into the future.”

The Honourable Carla Qualtrough
Minister of Public Services and Procurement and Accessibility

“The Canadian Coast Guard offers vital services while ensuring safety in the navigation of our waterways, particularly the St. Lawrence River and the Saguenay Fjord. Today’s announcement is especially important since the government recognizes that we must add a third shipyard to the National Shipbuilding Strategy. This is a major change that will allow Chantier Davie to participate in the process of selecting a third shipyard in the coming months. Also, the announcement of $2 billion to prolong the life, refit and maintenance of ships is excellent news for shipyards in Quebec, allowing them to obtain numerous contracts.”

The Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos
Minister of Families, Children and Social Development

Quick facts

  • The Canadian Coast Guard provides critical search and rescue, environmental response, and icebreaking services in the Central and Arctic region, with more than 1,400 employees, a fleet of 18 ships, as well as 6 helicopters.

  • Search and rescue command centres in the Central and Arctic region (St. Lawrence and Great Lakes sectors) receive more than 5,600 calls annually. In 2018, the Coast Guard’s Central and Arctic Environmental Response Program received 1,370 pollution reports, mainly cases of pollution from a vessel.

  • The Canadian Coast Guard also oversees icebreaking operations in the winter along the St. Lawrence River and in the Gulf of St. Lawrence. In the spring, the Coast Guard helps to clear ice on the seaway between Montréal and the Great Lakes, an operation that allows commercial vessels to enter and exit ports in a safe and efficient manner. Its hovercraft help with spring icebreaking on about 15 rivers, mainly in Quebec.

  • Total funding for the 18 new large ships is $15.7 billion, which represents early estimates of project budgets, including construction, logistics and support, contingency, project management and infrastructure costs. The costs of each ship will be announced following contract negotiations.

  • The government will also proceed through a competitive process with the design of a new class of smaller ships, the Mid-Shore Multi-Mission Ship, which will complement the work of the large fleet in shallow areas and deliver mid-shore science activities.

  • Repairs, refits and vessel life extension work will be carried out on the existing fleet until the new ships are delivered, with more than $2 billion to be invested on a competitive basis for this purpose.

  • In addition to funding for shipbuilding, the Government of Canada is also providing $351.3 million to support ongoing Canadian Coast Guard capacity enhancements, such as strengthening management oversight and promoting green innovation.

  • To date, the Government of Canada has awarded more than $11 billion in NSS-related contracts across the country. Of this value, approximately $1.6 billion, or 16%, has been awarded to companies in Quebec.

Associated links


Ashley Michnowski
Director of Communications
Office of the Honourable Carla Qualtrough

Karl W. Sasseville
Communications Advisor
Office of the Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos
613- 404-2941

Media Relations
Public Services and Procurement Canada

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