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Modernizing the ships our coastal communities rely on

Ensuring that Canadian Coast Guard personnel have the equipment they need to keep Canada’s waterways safe, clean and navigable is a top priority for the Government of Canada.

The Honourable Diane Lebouthillier, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, joined by the Honourable Gudie Hutchings, Minister of Rural Economic Development and Minister responsible for the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, announced that, following a competitive process, the contract for the conversion and refit of the Canadian Coast Guard Ship (CCGS) Judy LaMarshhas been awarded to St. John’s Dockyard Ltd. (Newdock). This contract is valued at nearly $34.3 million under the National Shipbuilding Strategy, and will create up to 80 highly skilled and well-paying jobs in the region. Work on the vessel has already begun in December 2023, and is expected to continue until March 2025.

The important work to enhance the vessel’s capabilities includes overhauling the propulsion, communication, and navigation systems. In addition, work will be undertaken on the crew accommodation and workspaces, and a new buoy crane will be installed.

The CCGS Judy LaMarsh performs icebreaking operations essential to the start of several fishing seasons, and tends to the navigational buoys in the Great Lakes, St. Lawrence Seaway, and Atlantic Canada. In addition, the vessel is available for search and rescue and other emergency response operations when needed. The vessel’s main areas of operation are Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence Seaway. Once the seaway is open, the vessel will provide navigational assistance, and maintain aids to navigation from the Quebec border to Thunder Bay, Ontario. 

This is just one example of how, through the National Shipbuilding Strategy, the Government of Canada is revitalizing the shipbuilding industry, creating good, skilled jobs, and building entirely new classes of ships to ensure Canada’s marine services have safe, reliable and modern equipment to fulfill their missions.

“I am very proud to see that today’s announcement will create nearly a hundred well-paying jobs while stimulating the economy of the St. John’s region. As the CCGS Judy LaMarsh departs for the next year, robust measures will be put in place to continue to keep Canadians safe on the water, and to keep vital trade routes open year-round. We are already looking forward to welcoming it back, even more modern and adapted to meet the challenges of today and tomorrow.”

The Honourable Diane Lebouthillier, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard

“The National Shipbuilding Strategizing is modernizing and upgrading the Canadian Coast Guard’s fleet, supporting good jobs in Newfoundland and Labrador, while keeping Canadians safe on the water. This work is a win-win—it boosts the economy and helps us safeguard Canada’s coasts and waterways.”

The Honourable Gudie Hutchings, Minister of Rural Economic Development and Minister responsible for the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency

“This contract will ensure that the Canadian Coast Guard has the necessary equipment to deliver on its mandate and keep Canadians safe. Through the National Shipbuilding Strategy, we are revitalizing the shipbuilding industry, creating good jobs, and modernizing our existing fleet.”

The Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister of Public Services and Procurement

“Newdock enjoys decades of trust and collaboration with the Canadian Coast Guard. We are proud to have been selected for yet another major vessel conversion under Canada’s National Shipbuilding Strategy. This contract will support many jobs at our shipyard while contributing to the local economy through our extensive supply chain network.”

Paul Antle, President and CEO, St. John’s Dockyard Ltd.


• The CCGS Judy LaMarsh was built by Aker Arctic in Romania in 2010 where it operated as a commercial firefighting tug on the Caspian Sea.

• In November 2021, the Canadian Coast Guard purchased the light icebreaker from New Brunswick-based Atlantic Towing Limited.

• In February 2022, the vessel was renamed in honour of Judy LaMarsh. The Honourable Judy LaMarsh was one of the first women to serve as a federal Cabinet Minister, as Minister of National Health and Welfare and Minister of Amateur Sport (1963-1965). She was instrumental in the development of innovative federal programs, including Medicare and the Canada Pension Plan. While serving as Canada’s Secretary of State (1965-1968), she helped establish the Royal Commission on the Status of Women in Canada. In recognition of her many years of service, she was appointed to the Order of Canada in 1980.

• The National Shipbuilding Strategy is a long-term, multi-billion-dollar program focused on renewing the Canadian Coast Guard and Royal Canadian Navy fleets, while supporting skilled jobs in the Canadian shipbuilding industry and generating economic benefits for communities across Canada.

• Between 2012 and June 2023, approximately $11.34 billion in contracts have been awarded to Canadian companies under the third pillar of the National Shipbuilding Strategy for repair, refit and maintenance projects.

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