About the National Shipbuilding Strategy

In 2010, the government made a commitment to create jobs and equip the Royal Canadian Navy and the Canadian Coast Guard with much-needed vessels. The National Shipbuilding Strategy is helping restore our shipyards, rebuild our marine industry and create sustainable jobs in Canada while ensuring our sovereignty and protecting our interests at home and abroad.

Eliminating cycles of boom and bust

From the mid-1990s to 2010, Canada’s shipbuilding industry had slowed down significantly. There had not been any substantial new orders to construct vessels for many years. Compared to other countries, Canada’s shipyards were outdated and did not have easy access to equipment, supply lines and skilled workers. It was time for a new approach.

In 2010, the government made the decision to support Canada’s marine industry and build vessels here in Canada. This approach, called the National Shipbuilding Strategy, is developing a sustainable, long-term shipbuilding plan that benefits Canadians and the Canadian marine industry. Through the strategy, we are revitalizing Canadian shipyards and constructing vessels for the Navy and Coast Guard here in Canada.

The strategy allows the government and the shipyards to make significant investments in Canada’s marine industry, such as developing and maintaining expertise and creating sustainable employment across the country. It brings predictability to federal vessel procurement and aims to eliminate the boom and bust cycles of vessel procurement that slowed down Canadian shipbuilding in the past.

The government has not acted alone in building the strategy. It was developed following industry consultations. Third party experts are consulted on an ongoing basis to provide impartial assessments, advice and assistance to ensure that the government makes informed decisions.

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What the strategy looks like

The strategy has three components:

  1. Construction of large vessels
  2. Construction of small vessels
  3. Vessel repair, refit and maintenance projects

Construction of large vessels

Following a competitive, fair, open and transparent process, the government established long-term strategic relationships with two Canadian shipyards. The two shipyards, one based in Vancouver and the other in Halifax, are constructing large vessels. Learn about the two shipyards and stay updated on large vessel construction projects.

Rebuilding the shipyards

Together, the Halifax and Vancouver shipyards have invested more than $500 million, at no cost to the government, to upgrade their facilities to meet the shipbuilding requirements for a modern Canadian fleet. This investment has created jobs in Canada and developed close partnerships with schools, small and medium enterprises, research centres and First Nations joint-venture companies.

Economic benefits for Canada

The economic benefits of constructing large vessels are substantial. It is estimated that the strategy’s large vessel component alone will contribute nearly $4.4 billion to the gross domestic product and create or maintain up to 5,500 jobs per year between 2012 and 2022Footnote 1.

The government’s Industrial and Regional Benefits Policy and the Industrial and Technological Benefits Policy ensure that Canadian industry benefits from Canada’s defence and security purchases.

In addition, through the Value Proposition, the strategy requires the shipyards to invest a value equal to 0.5% of contracts to benefit the domestic marine industry in three priority areas: human resources development; technology investment; and industrial development. To date, the shipyards’ contracts have generated $15 million in obligations under the strategy’s Value Proposition.

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Construction of small vessels

In June 2013, the government announced funding of up to $488 million to procure 18 to 21 new vessels for the Canadian Coast Guard fleet. As well, large and small tugboats will be constructed for National Defence. Stay updated on small vessels construction projects.

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Vessel repair, refit and maintenance projects

Under the strategy, all Canadian shipyards may compete for the repair, refit and maintenance of vessels. Extending a vessel’s life typically involves repairs and upgrades to improve its reliability and safety. Mid-life modernizations keep a vessel in service for its full operational life and maintain its reliability and efficiency.


The National Shipbuilding Strategy is comprised of federal and non-federal partners working together on the shipbuilding projects.

Further reading