Celebrating Contract for Construction of Joint Support Ships for the Royal Canadian Navy

Artist rendering of the future Protecteur-class ship replenishing a Canadian vessel at sea
Artist rendering of the future Protecteur-class ship replenishing a Canadian vessel at sea

VANCOUVER – “By investing right here at home, Canadian workers are helping to build the fleet of the future to equip the Royal Canadian Navy and our members in uniform with modern and versatile ships they need for Canada’s important contributions to peace and security at home, and abroad. This work will create about 1,000 jobs right here in Vancouver and across Canada, supporting local economies from coast to coast. Today, we are one step closer to an exciting new chapter in Canada’s proud naval history,” states Harjit S. Sajjan, Minister of National Defence.

Defence Minister Harjit S. Sajjan, joined by the Honourable Johnathan Wilkinson, Member of Parliament for North Vancouver, Terry Beech, Member of Parliament for Burnaby North—Seymour, and John McCarthy, Chief Program Officer of Seaspan Vancouver Shipyards, highlighted the importance of the recent contract award for the full construction of Canada’s two new Joint Support Ships (JSS) to both the RCN and to the Canadian economy. Valued at $2.4 billion (including taxes), this contract supports the ongoing construction of the ship’s early blocks, which began in June 2018, as well as the construction of the newly designed blocks for the remainder of the ships.

“I am pleased to see yet another milestone happen this year for our future Joint Support Ships. With these warships, the Royal Canadian Navy will be able to operate with even greater flexibility and endurance. Not only will these ships form part of the core of our Naval Task Groups, but they also represent a vital and strategic national asset which will enable the Navy to maintain its global reach and staying power,” adds Vice-Admiral Art McDonald, Commander of the Royal Canadian Navy.

“Through the National Shipbuilding Strategy, we are honouring our commitment to equip the Royal Canadian Navy with the critical equipment they need, while supporting Canadian jobs. The dedicated team at Seaspan has already made good progress on the Joint Support Ships project. This contract award brings us one step closer to delivering these world-class vessels to the Royal Canadian Navy,” says Anita Anand, Minister of Public Services and Procurement.

By investing the entire value of the contract into the Canadian economy, work on these ships will create an estimated 1,000 jobs across Canada. The work being done by Seaspan, its hard-working employees and workers from companies across Canada will make sure that the RCN is well equipped for the future by being able to provide at-sea replenishment and supporting critical humanitarian and disaster-relief missions, both at home and abroad.

The first new JSS, the future HMCS Protecteur, is expected to be delivered in 2023, followed by the second JSS, HMCS Preserver, in 2025. This contract award is bringing the RCN one step closer to the arrival of its future fleet of ships. Built through the National Shipbuilding Strategy, the new JSS will replace the RCN’s former Protecteur-class Auxiliary Oiler Replenishment vessels, which were retired from service in 2014.

“The National Shipbuilding Strategy is generating more jobs and strengthening our domestic shipbuilding industry while growing Canada’s economy.  As we navigate this unprecedented time, it is reassuring that through this contract the workers at Seaspan and their suppliers will have good opportunities and lasting jobs,” comments Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry.

Quick Facts

  • The total JSS budget includes $3.1 billion for the purchase of the two ships and initial spares, as well as $1 billion for additional design and production engineering work, and project management and contingency costs, resulting in a total value of $4.1 billion.
  • The $2.4 billion contract (including taxes) is for the full build of the JSS, including previous contracts for the early construction.
  • After the Arctic and Offshore Patrol Ship, the JSS is the second class of RCN ships to be built in Canadian shipyards as part of the National Shipbuilding Strategy.
  • The Industrial and Technological Benefits Policy applies to this contract, ensuring that Seaspan will invest 100 percent of the value of the contract in the Canadian economy.
  • The first JSS, the future HMCS Protecteur, received its lucky coin during a keel laying ceremony in January 2020. The newly minted coin was placed near the ship’s keel, where it will remain for the duration of the ship’s life, and is said to bring good luck for the builders and all who sail in the vessel.
  • The JSS are a critical capability for achieving success in both international and domestic CAF missions. The presence of replenishment ships increases the range and endurance of operations at sea, allowing a naval task group to remain at sea for significant periods of time without going to shore for resupply.