Halifax—The Canadian Auto Workers Union (CAW) is applauding a decision by federal ministries to have Canadian coast guard patrol vessels built at the Halifax shipyard.
"This is the first step in trying to strengthen the approach government takes to procurement contracts," said Karl Risser, president of CAW/Marine Workers Federation 1. "The announcement is great news for workers in the area."
The shipyard currently has 500 skilled trades workers, and the new contract could add another 150 to 200 jobs over four years, said Risser.
"Canadian shipyards have great potential and it’s encouraging that the Canadian government is finally turning its attention towards this industry," said Ken Lewenza, president of CAW.
The union has been lobbying government to ensure ships purchased by government are built in Canadian shipyards, as part of the union’s ‘Made in Canada Matters’ campaign.
The $194-million contract for nine new mid-shore patrol vessels was awarded to Halifax-based Irving Shipbuilding Inc. Preliminary work will begin immediately. The first vessel should be ready for service in 2011. All nine vessels will be delivered by 2013.
“Our government is following through on its commitment to having federal ships built in Canada,” said Peter MacKay, minister of national defence, when the announcement was made.
“This investment gives a significant boost to the coast guard fleet and to our shipbuilding industry—creating jobs and supporting local businesses.”
Canada’s industrial and regional benefits policy ensures maximum economic benefit to Canada is generated as a result of the purchase of the new ships.
“The IRB policy is a key element of the government’s procurement process,” said Industry Minister Tony Clement. “Canada’s IRB policy requires that 100 per cent of this contract’s value will be reinvested in Canada, creating opportunities, jobs and helping our long-term industrial development.”
—Photo courtesy of National Defence