The Canadian shipbuilding industry is capable of building a wide range of vessels and firms with specialized capabilities in manufacturing and repairing ships, building oil and gas rigs, and supplying related equipment, technologies and services. Canada hosts a number of establishments in the vessel repair, refit and maintenance industry, predominantly located in coastal areas.
The industry has a long and proud history that encompasses everything from the world's finest 19th-century sailing schooners to modern icebreakers. In between are a diverse group of vessels that have been designed and built in this country to serve our unique, expansive coastline and its network of coastal marine communities.
The Canadian shipbuilding industry consists of shipyards, located in several parts of Canada, capable of building a wide range of vessels and firms with specialized capabilities in manufacturing and repairing ships, building oil and gas rigs, and supplying related equipment, technologies and services.
Canadian shipyards have built:
- passenger vessels
- research vessels
- offshore supply vessels
- cargo ships
- fishing vessels
- work boats.
The industry also has experience in designing and producing sophisticated naval ships, icebreakers and coast guard vessels.
Canadian Excellence: Some Success Stories
High-Speed Patrol and Search & Rescue Crafts
Canadian shipyards have seen great success in designing and building high-speed patrol and search & rescue crafts. Canadian jet boat designs have been selected by a variety of police forces, fire forces, coast guards and navies worldwide, including the U.S. Navy. Canadian shipyards have been recognized for their expertise in this field, winning several prestigious design and industry awards for excellence in design and construction.
Sophisticated Tugboat Production
The Canadian shipbuilding industry has built Anchor Handling Tugs for harsh environments. Since the 1990s, Canadian shipyards have secured major international contracts, without the use of subsidies. These include projects for the Panama Canal Authority, a variety of international companies and several governments worldwide, with vessels currently operating in several diverse locales, such as the North Sea and the Gulf of Mexico.
State-of-the-Art Fishing Boats, Pleasure Yachts and Catamarans
Canadian shipyards build state-of-the-art fishing boats, pleasure yachts and catamarans. Combining old techniques with the latest trends and technologies, the Canadian industry has carved out a strong niche for itself and won awards in the process.
Repair, maintenance and refit
Canada hosts a number of establishments in the vessel repair, refit and maintenance industry, predominantly located in coastal areas. The industry is comprised of companies that are primarily engaged in operating maintenance facilities with access to dry docking infrastructure and fabrication equipment suitable for the construction of ships, their repair, conversion and alteration, the production of components, and specialized services.
While maintaining a domestic ship repair capability is critical to supporting our federal fleets, this industry is key to ensuring the smooth operation of commercial shipping activity in Canadian coastal waters.
The industry generates a significant amount of its revenue from the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN), with Defence accounting for 61% of annual sales in 2014 versus 39% for commercial/civil customers (which includes the Canadian Coast Guard). Commercial customers include ferry operators, commercial fisheries vessels, cruise ships, freighters and the offshore oil and gas industry.
While not all activity in this sector requires this infrastructure, it is essential for certain maintenance work as well as complex repair/refit activities on large vessels.
Canada is also home to the largest commercial graving dock on the west coast of the Americas, the Public Services and Procurement Canada-owned Esquimalt Graving Dock. These facilities are available for rental by commercial ship repair companies and service a wide variety of commercial vessels including cruise ships, tankers and container ships.
Evolution of the sector: In-Service Support (ISS)
ISS typically refers to the post-acquisition support of an established fleet that may be let to a single contractor or tendered separately. An ISS program is intended to provide long-term support, often for 20 years or more which can represent a greater overall cost than the initial fleet acquisition. While ISS is a holistic concept that includes (but is not limited to) training, program management, logistics services and engineering; a key element of this concept is vessel repair, refit and maintenance.
The Department of National Defence (DND) has awarded contracts to provide ISS for Minor Warships and Auxiliary Vessels as well as the Victoria-class submarines. Future fleets delivered to the RCN through the National Shipbuilding Strategy will also follow this model:
- AOPS/JSS In-Service Support Contract
The Naval Shipbuilding Projects Office (NSPO) intends to establish an In-Service Support (ISS) Contract that combines the Arctic/Offshore Patrol Ships’ and Joint Support Ships’ ISS requirements into a single, 35-year through-life contract.
- Canadian Surface Combatants In-Service Support Contract
The Canadian Surface Combatant (CSC) project management office intends to establish one or more In-Service Support (ISS) Contracts as part of the acquisition project, based upon the overall CSC Support Solution that will be defined.
Federal Government Support
Through the Buy in Canada component of ISED’s Policy Framework for the Canadian Shipbuilding and Industrial Marine Industry the federal government has committed to, “continue to procure, repair and refit vessels in Canada subject to operational requirements and the continued existence of a competitive domestic marketplace.” This means that the repair, refit and maintenance of the federal fleet is set aside for domestic firms.
Public Services and Procurement Canada has a Shipbuilding Repair, Refit and Modernization Policy that operationalizes the ISED policy and further restricts sourcing strategies on a regional basis.
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Canadian Marine Industries and Shipbuilding Association (CMISA) - the CMISA exists to promote the interest of the Canadian shipbuilding, ship repair and industrial marine industry.
Association of British Columbia Marine Industries – aims to work to strengthen the industrial marine sector of British Columbia. It will create a positive environment in which [their] industry can prosper and [their] people can grow.
Canadian Association of Defence and Security Industries – is the national voice of more than 1,000 member companies operating in the defence and security industrial sector.