As part of its Economic Action Plan, the Government of Canada has announced an Atlantic Shipbuilding Action Plan. As part of that plan ACOA and J.D. Irving will hold a supplier development session in St. John’s Monday, March 5, 2012 at the Geocentre on Signal Hill Road, from 08:00 to 12:30.

This initiative, which focuses on maximizing opportunities for firms across the Atlantic region to participate in the $33-billion federal shipbuilding initiative announced late last year, was launched earlier this month in Dartmouth by the Honourable Bernard Valcourt, Minister of State for the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency and La Francophonie and the Honourable Peter MacKay, Minister of National Defence and Regional Minister for Nova Scotia. (For more details on this initiative see the backgrounder at the end of this release)

“These shipbuilding procurements represent a historic opportunity that will generate economic growth and create jobs in the four Atlantic Provinces in rural and urban communities,” said Minister Valcourt. “With this action plan, we want to ensure that small and medium-sized enterprises throughout Atlantic Canada are in the best position to seize all opportunities related to these major procurements. This is a great occasion for us to foster a new generation of entrepreneurs who will acquire the expertise to compete on the world scene.”

“Work undertaken at Irving Shipbuilding’s Halifax shipyard will be sustained for decades and carries the real potential to radically transform the entire Atlantic economy. The shipbuilders of Atlantic Canada will create jobs, drive innovation and help build a world class industry,” explained Minister MacKay. “Through the Atlantic Shipbuilding Action Plan, our Government is helping Atlantic businesses understand and be part of the process and address such areas as innovation capacity, certification and workforce skills so they can compete as suppliers and sub-contractors.”

“Today marks another milestone in realizing the federal government’s commitment to build ships here at home,” said Jim Irving, CEO of Irving Shipbuilding Inc. “The new agreement we have embarked upon is a tribute to the skill and dedication of the proud tradition of shipbuilding in Atlantic Canada. We’re proud to be a part of this heritage and we understand our responsibility in building this industry and the next generation of shipbuilders into the future while delivering best value and quality to the men and women who serve.”

The Atlantic Shipbuilding Action Plan includes:

  1. Making sure Atlantic Canada small and medium-sized enterprises are fully aware of the process and the requirements to access supply chain opportunities;
  2. Giving small and medium-sized enterprises access to Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency programs to proactively support their development so that they can capitalize on these opportunities in areas such as marketing, acquisition of certification, process improvements, training, and technology acquisition;
  3. Engaging with community colleges and the provincial governments on skills and labour force research and planning; and
  4. Holding supplier development sessions in each Atlantic province as well as an Atlantic Marine Industry Forum.

In delivering the Atlantic Shipbuilding Action Plan, the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, in partnership with Irving Shipbuilding Inc., will host Supplier Development Sessions in Bathurst and Moncton, New Brunswick; Summerside, Prince Edward Island; Truro and Shelburne, Nova Scotia and St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador between February 21 and March 12, 2012.  The date and time in St. John’s has been confirmed for Monday, March 5, 2012, at the Geocentre  from 08:00 – 12:30.

These information sessions will provide Atlantic small- and medium-sized enterprises with an overview of the shipbuilding initiative and the critical information they need to become suppliers with marine supply chains.

On October 19, 2011, the Government of Canada announced the selection of the two shipyards that will build Canada’s large vessels for the next 20 – 30 years. Vancouver Shipyards Co. Ltd. will build the non-combat vessels and Irving Shipbuilding Inc. will build the combat vessels. Smaller vessels will be competed amongst other Canadian shipyards. The strategy also calls for the repair, refit and maintenance of existing vessels.

On January 12, 2012, Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced that the Government of Canada has successfully reached an agreement in principle with both Irving Shipbuilding Inc. and Vancouver Shipyards Co. Ltd.



Andréa Richer

Press Secretary

Office of the Honourable Bernard Valcourt


Debbie Corey

Director, Public Affairs

ACOA Head Office



The Government of Canada’s Atlantic Shipbuilding Action Plan is a long-term strategy that will facilitate the integration of Atlantic Canadian small and medium-sized enterprises into the Government of Canada’s $33-billion naval fleet renewal, including the construction of the Navy’s combat vessels by Irving Shipbuilding Inc. of Halifax Nova Scotia.

The Plan will evolve as necessary to ensure it continues to address the ongoing needs of small and medium-sized enterprises in Atlantic Canada and their requirement for skilled workers. It will require a close collaboration with all four Atlantic provincial governments, Atlantic small and medium-sized enterprises s, industry associations, prime contractors, economic development organizations, educational and research institutes, and other federal departments.

The Atlantic Shipbuilding Action Plan is designed to:

1. Inform Small- and Medium-sized Enterprises about the business opportunities

One of the Plan’s key objectives is to ensure that Atlantic Canadian small and medium-sized enterprises are fully informed of the process and requirements for accessing work.

Many companies in Atlantic Canada may not be aware they can take advantage of this opportunity, or may perceive they are too young or too small to be involved. These procurements are a unique opportunity to foster a new generation of entrepreneurs in all four Atlantic Provinces, to acquire the expertise to compete on the world scene.

The Action Plan includes:

  • Engaging with business associations to build awareness among Atlantic businesses of the opportunities for accessing work;
  • Working with small and medium-sized enterprises to help identify needs;
  • Conducting research and analysis to broaden understanding of the global marine supply chain and supplier requirements, including certification;
  • Holding supplier development sessions in every Atlantic province;
  • Holding an Atlantic Marine Industry Forum;
  • Showcasing, on an ongoing basis, Atlantic businesses to industry through industry tours, information sessions and networking events.

2. Ensure access to Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency’s programs

To help maximize the benefits for the Atlantic region, the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency will use its flexible suite of tools and programming to proactively support the development of small and medium-sized enterprises to help them capitalize on economic development opportunities related to the shipbuilding procurements.

Programs such as the Atlantic Innovation Fund, the Business Development Program, the International Business Development Agreement, the Innovative Communities Fund and the Community Futures Program (Community Business Development Corporations) can facilitate, among other activities:

  • Investing in business modernizations and expansions;
  • Enhancing business and worker skills;
  •  Improving business productivity through the adoption of existing technologies;
  •  Commercializing new technologies;
  • Acquiring the necessary business certifications;
  • Developing international business relationships;
  • Supporting communities in developing sector strategies aimed at attracting and expanding businesses at the local level;
  • Financing and business counselling to small and medium-sized enterprises in rural areas, better positioning them to benefit from potential shipbuilding procurement opportunities.

3. Develop a skilled labour force

This Atlantic Shipbuilding Action Plan also aims to engage the four Atlantic provincial governments, universities and community colleges in developing skills and labour force planning and research.

Atlantic Canada is home to an extensive network of world class universities and community colleges that have proven instrumental in working with industry to ensure that required education and training is locally available. In some cases, companies work directly with community colleges to design courses. As well, since this is a 20 to 30 year strategy, the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency will want to work with its partners in addressing labor supply issues, gaps and trends.

4. Organize and deliver supplier development sessions

The Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency and J.D. Irving are scheduling supplier development sessions across the region to provide Atlantic small and medium-sized enterprises with information on the shipbuilding initiative and marine supply chains. These sessions are being held as follows:

Bathurst, New Brunswick Tuesday, February 21, 2012 Danny’s Inn 13:00 – 17:30

Moncton, New Brunswick Thursday, February 23, 2012 Future Inn 08:00 – 12:30

Summerside, Prince Edward Island Monday, February 27, 2012 Loyalist Inn 08:00 – 12:30

Truro, Nova Scotia Friday, March 2, 2012 Glengary Best Western Hotel 08:00 – 12:30

St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador Monday, March 5, 2012 Geocentre 08:00 – 12:30

Shelburne, Nova Scotia Monday, March 12, 2012 Osprey Arts Centre 08:00 – 12:30


New Brunswick Regional Office 570 Queen Street, 3rd Floor PO Box 578 Fredericton, New Brunswick Canada E3B 5A6 (Courier Address: E3B 6Z6) General Enquiries: 506-452-3184 Facsimile: 506-452-3285 Toll Free: 1-800-561-4030

Newfoundland and Labrador Regional Office John Cabot Building, 11th Floor 10 Barter’s Hill PO Box 1060 STN C St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador Canada A1C 5M5 (Courier Address: A1C 6M1) General Enquiries: 709-772-2751 Facsimile: 709-772-2712 Toll Free: 1-800-668-1010

Nova Scotia Regional Office 1801 Hollis Street, Suite 600 PO Box 2284 STN C Halifax, Nova Scotia Canada B3J 3C8 (Courier Address: B3J 3N4) General Enquiries: 902-426-6743 Facsimile: 902-426-2054 Toll Free: 1-800-565-1228

Prince Edward Island  Regional Office Royal Bank Building, 3rd floor 100 Sydney Street PO Box 40 Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island Canada C1A 7K2 (Courier Address: C1A 1G3) General Enquiries: 902-566-7492 Facsimile: 902-566-7098 Toll Free: 1-800-871-2596