Another Taxpayer Shipbuilding Subsidy

By Dan Middlemiss, 11 August 2023

On 8 August 2023, Ottawa quietly announced an infrastructure “investment” worth an additional $463 million to help Irving Shipbuilding (ISI) build the Canadian Surface Combatants (CSCs). This sum is expected to “create or maintain over 800 jobs annually across various industries in the Canadian economy....”1

The announcement stated that Ottawa has amended its definition contract with ISI, and that the “enhancements at ISI will expand and modify their site at and facilities at the Halifax Shipyard and supporting facilities at Woodside Industries and Marine Fabricators in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia.” This amendment allows both Ottawa and Irving to circumvent the terms of the original ‘Strategic Partnership’ Agreement which stipulated that Irving would not seek taxpayer monies to upgrade its facilities, but would instead make any such upgrades via the generous profit margins Irving was provided under the National Shipbuilding Strategy.2

While some people view this announcement with pleasure and optimism because it indicates that something is being done re the CSCs (see the recent post by David Dunlop published herein), this is not progress that taxpayers will want to see. The NSS is the gift that keeps on giving to our downtrodden multi-billionaire shipbuilders. Another interesting tidbit in the announcement, the final CSC is now expected to be completed by 2050. As well, given tight labour markets, it’s a puzzle why the government continues to stress job creation over contracts and schedules. Undoubtedly both the date of completion and cost will continue to change in the future.


1. Public Services and Procurement Canada, “Government of Canada announces investment in shipbuilding infrastructure for the Canadian Surface Combatant” (Ottawa, 8 August 2023). See,

2. For more on the original agreement see, Dan Middlemiss, “Trying to Evade the Terms of the Strategic Partnership Agreement?” Broadsides (21 June 2022). See,


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