Nearly 600 people attended the Western Canada Shipbuilding Summit in May, hosted by Western Economic Diversification Canada. Andrew Saxton, MP for North Vancouver, and the Honourable Lynne Yelich, Minister of State for WD, provided welcoming remarks, noting that this initiative was a part of the federal government’s Western Canada’s Shipbuilding Action Plan.
The day-long session provided an opportunity to hear from industry representatives, executives from both Seaspan Shipyards and Irving Shipbuilding, and federal and provincial government agency representatives on how to capitalize on the National Shipbuilding Procurement Strategy. “There are opportunities here for all of Canada,” said Minister Yelich. “We want to ensure that you receive the information you need to compete. My goal is simple: I want to set you up for success.”
Vice-Admiral (ret’d) Peter Cairns, President of the Shipbuilding Association of Canada, outlined the impact the strategy would have on the industry: “A multi-year order book for the shipyards, their suppliers and their supply-chains will mean stability. It will also mean improved productivity and improved financial health which is important for increased investment and infrastructure modernization. This increased investment will lead to new technologies and a renewal in the workforce.”
Gary McGee, Director, NSPS Secretariat, highlighted the drivers behind the strategy: “Previous boom and bust cycles were the result of a lack of a shipbuilding strategy to realize fleet renewal and that impacted shipyards significantly,” McGee said. “Previous shipbuilding solicitations were ad hoc and unreliable. Given these elements, as well as the current sand age of the current Coast Guard and Naval fleets, the government of Canada is committed to undertaking fleet renewal and revitalization over the next 30 years.” Describing the opportunity as “once in a lifetime”, McGee expects that the fleet renewal will see the creation of 15,000 direct and indirect jobs and $2 billion in economic benefits.