Status of defence procurement projects: Standing Committee on Government Operations and Estimates—July 23, 2020

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Key messages

If pressed on the budget, delays and impact:

If pressed on challengers:

If pressed on the challenger contract:


A number of Canadian defence suppliers have reached out to government officials identifying the need for urgent support, as they are experiencing serious cash flow difficulties resulting from reduced activities in light of the COVID-19 pandemic situation. In collaboration with other government organizations and central agencies, PSPC is currently exploring measures to support the defence industry.

Irving Shipbuilding

In response to COVID-19, Irving Shipbuilding Inc. (ISI) suspended most industrial operations as of March 20, 2020, with special measures for working from home or within ISI’s offices implemented where possible. ISI has since commenced a gradual return-to-work, with a large proportion of production employees now in the shipyard while also ensuring physical distancing. COVID-19 safety measures have been implemented, including temperature screening for all individuals entering the site.

Design work for the Canadian surface combatant continues to progress, along with limited but increasing work on the Arctic and offshore patrol ships (AOPS). Following on weeks of growth in the number of tradespeople in the yard, ISI expects to reach full capacity on AOPS later this month.

Vancouver Shipyards

Operations at Vancouver Shipyards (VSY) continue but are being closely monitored. Staff not in direct support of production are working from home, although return to work planning has begun, while around 95% of tradespeople are working in shifts at the shipyard. Measures being taken include following self-isolation guidelines, additional social distancing measures, cancelling large gatherings and increased cleaning. VSY has been working closely with WorkSafeBC in implementing these practices, and has adjusted and escalated actions in response to new regulations and guidance.

This approach has allowed VSY to continue construction of the first joint support ship (JSS) and final offshore fisheries science vessel (OFSV), albeit at a reduced rate of production.

Current status on joint support ships

The JSS build contract was awarded on June 10, 2020 and announced on June 15, 2020. It allows for the transition to full-rate construction of the first ship (the construction of the early block began in June 2018), and then the second ship.

The impact of COVID-19 on the JSS project has thus far been minimal. Construction of the first vessel has continued throughout the pandemic.

Chantier Davie

On March 24, 2020, in response to COVID-19, the Quebec government published a list of essential industrial sectors, under which Chantier Davie qualified. Chantier Davie has conducted on-site training for dealing with COVID-19, implemented a set of strict directives, and negotiated with their union to maintain intact squads instead of rotating employees through different teams. Nonetheless the workforce numbers and capacity have diminished to accommodate the social distancing measures implemented.


To ensure that Canada obtains value for money, PSPC conducted a thorough cost analysis using supporting information from Bombardier as well as a third party market analysis. The price was deemed to be fair and reasonable.

Acceptance and title transfer of the aircrafts occurred on June 30, 2020, and July 3, 2020. Both aircrafts will undergo 2 post-delivery retrofit period, the first in mid-July to mid-August 2020 and the second in December 2020 and January 2021. The RCAF will be able to operate the aircrafts starting mid-August 2020.

Document navigation for "Standing Committee on Government Operations and Estimates: July 23, 2020"

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