The Government of Canada has awarded another contract under its National Shipbuilding Strategy with a C$19.6m ($14.4m) deal with shipbuilding company Chantier Davie Canada for the design of new Program Icebreakers. 

Announced by the Minister of Public Services and Procurement Jean-Yves Duclos, the six new icebreakers will replace the vessels currently used by the Canadian Coast Guard (CCG) in the regions of Atlantic Canada, the St Lawrence Waterways, the Great Lakes, and Pacific Canada. 

Duclos said the contract brought the country a step closer to supplying next generation arctic ships for the CCG, he said: “They will be among the most advanced, sustainable and durable vessels tailored to the world’s harshest environments. 

“The new fleet will be symbolic of Canada’s Arctic presence and crucial to keeping our country open for business year-round.” 

A digital rendering of an icebreaker in Canadian waters
A 3D rendering of a possible design for the new icebreakers. Credit: Government of Canada

Once built, the new icebreakers will be used to escort ships through ice-covered waters in the Atlantic Ocean, help clear ice from harbours and wharfs, and provide icebreaking support to ensure the safe transport of ships through Canadian waters around the Arctic. 

Mario Pelletier, commissioner of the CCG, said: “A strong and well-equipped Canadian Coast Guard fleet is essential to protect Canadians on the water, and the marine environment. 

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“Today is an important step forward in renewing our icebreaking fleet, which is key to support the safe and efficient movement of goods in Canadian waters.” 

The exact build schedule and costs for the six new icebreakers is set to be finalised during negotiations later in 2024. 

First published in 2010, Canada’ National Shipbuilding Strategy is a long-term project aiming to develop a sustainable plan to construct new ships for the country’s navy and CCG at domestic shipyards to bring new investment into the Canadian maritime industry. 

In May 2023, the government announced a C$2.5bn investment into the CCG’s small boat fleet, covering the acquisition of up to 61 new vessels for the country’s shallow coastal waters and inland lakes and rivers.