New contracts awarded for maintenance of frigates

16 July 2019

As part of its duty to provide the Navy with safe and effective warships required to protect Canadian sovereignty, the Government of Canada is investing more than $7.5 billion in the Royal Canadian Navy’s 12 Halifax-class frigates – to provide necessary ongoing maintenance until they are retired in the early 2040s.

Announced today by Procurement Minister Carla Qualtrough, Defence Minister Harjit S. Sajjan, and Minister Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister of Social Development, the Government awarded 5-year contracts to both Chantier Davie and Seaspan Victoria Shipyards Limited (initially $500 million each) to carry out maintenance work on the first group of Canada’s Halifax-class frigates. A similar contract with Irving Shipbuilding is still being finalized.

The $500-million contracts are expected to rise in value as additional work packages are added. The initial contracts and values are linked to individual ship maintenance schedules, the cost of shipyard labour rates and projected condition, and work that needs to be completed on the individual ships. The Royal Canadian Navy requires that at least 8 of the 12 frigates be able to deploy at all times to meet its commitment to the Government of Canada. Docking maintenance work periods are essential to ensuring the Halifax-class frigates are available and reliable during their operational cycle and deployments.

The contracts are expected to create / sustain up to 400 jobs at each shipyard, plus hundreds of related jobs for marine sector suppliers and subcontractors across the country, effectively revitalizing Canada's world-class marine industry.

These initial five-year contracts guarantee a minimum of 3 frigates for each shipyard, with work planned to begin in the early 2020s.

The Canadian Surface Combatants will replace the Halifax-class frigates and the already retired Iroquois-class destroyers. The new CSC ships will provide the Royal Canadian Navy with modern and capable vessels to monitor and defend Canada’s waters, to continue to contribute to international naval operations for decades to come and to rapidly deploy credible naval forces worldwide, on short notice.

Introduced into service in the 1990s, the Canadian-built Halifax-class frigates were recently modernized to remain effective and operationally relevant until the Canadian Surface Combatants enter into service. Construction of the Canadian Surface Combatants is scheduled to begin at the Irving Shipyard in Halifax in the early 2020s.

HMCS Regina prepares to dock in Port Rashid, Dubai United Arab Emirates during Operation Artemis on 12 May 2019.
(Photo: Corporal Stuart Evans)

Making the announcement, the Honourable Carla Qualtrough commented: “This vital, long-term work demonstrates the government’s continued commitment to supporting the women and men of the Royal Canadian Navy by providing them with the equipment they need to protect Canadian interests at home and abroad. Together with our shipbuilding partners, we are fulfilling federal fleet requirements, advancing Canadian technological innovation and creating jobs across this great country.”

As per standard procurement practice, the Industrial and Technological Benefits Policy, including the Value Proposition, was applied to this process.

Naval frigates monitor and control Canadian waters, defend Canada’s sovereignty, facilitate large-scale search and rescue activities, and provide emergency assistance when needed. They operate with and integrate into the United Nations, NATO, and coalitions of allied states in support of international peace and security operations.