Heddle Shipyard Contract with Season Will Bring Jobs to Thunder Bay


HAMILTON – Thunder Bay – The Ontario government is congratulating Heddle Shipyards on their new long-term agreement with Vancouver-based shipyard Seaspan to fabricate Ontario-made ship components under the National Shipbuilding Strategy.

The decision will bring work to the Heddle Shipyard here in Thunder Bay.

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The Ontario Government says, “In Budget 2020, Ontario Action Plan: Protect, Support Recover, the government has taken significant steps to make the province more attractive to businesses and manufacturers like Heddle Shipyards. Through a plan to create growth, including lowering job-killing electricity prices, investing in the skilled trades, and providing tax relief, the government is creating an environment for future investment, job creation and a strong economic recovery.”

Participating in today’s announcement was Premier Doug Ford, Rod Phillips, Minister of Finance, Vic Fedeli, Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade, Donna Skelly, Parliamentary Assistant for Job Creation and Trade, and Shaun Padulo, President, Heddle Shipyards.

“I want to congratulate Heddle Shipyards on this long-term agreement, as it cements Ontario’s position as one of the best places in the country for major manufacturers to compete, succeed, and grow,” said Premier Ford. “This historic partnership with Seaspan will create highly skilled, well- paying jobs in communities across the province, contribute to the construction of quality, Ontario- made components for these ships, and reinforce Hamilton’s status as a critical transportation hub in the province.”

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Over the next decade Heddle Shipyards will be the primary supplier for ladders, gratings, and handrails for the JSS 1 (currently under construction), JSS 2, and an Offshore Oceanographic Science Vessel. These components will be manufactured at their facilities in Hamilton, St. Catharines, and Thunder Bay, creating jobs across Ontario’s advanced manufacturing supply chain. These projects will generate tens of millions of dollars in economic activity in Ontario, employ at least 50 workers, and create the potential for additional opportunities, such as supplying larger ship modules in the future.

Seaspan and Heddle have also partnered to bid on the construction of the Polar Icebreaker for the Canadian Coast Guard. If won, Heddle will support the construction through its modular fabrication program.

“Our province has one of the best advanced manufacturing sectors in the world, and this new investment by Heddle Shipyards will strengthen it even further,” says Minister Fedeli. “We support this innovative cross-country collaboration that emphasizes Ontario-made ship components and places Ontario back on the map as a destination for shipbuilding.”

“As we all deal with the day-to-day anxiety and impacts of COVID-19, it may seem ambitious to talk about recovery,” said Minister Phillips. “But someday, hopefully soon, COVID-19 will fade and every government in the world will be focused on recovering from the economic crisis caused by this pandemic. For Ontario to recover, we need strong, sustained economic growth. We cannot expect our economy to just bounce back and the lost jobs to return on their own. We need to start working on recovery now.”

The announcement reinforces Hamilton’s status as a critical transportation hub sitting at the crossroads of trade and commerce for the province and country. The City of Hamilton was recently designated as a Foreign Trade Zone by the federal government, joining Niagara and Windsor. Foreign Trade Zones (FTZs) attract new investment and encourage Ontario and Canadian businesses to expand internationally by providing local businesses with access to tariff and tax exemption programs, while importing materials or goods. The FTZ designation further positions the City of Hamilton as an international transportation hub.

“This agreement marks a significant moment for our company and the Province of Ontario,” says Shaun Padulo, President, Heddle Shipyards. “We are extremely proud that Ontario Shipyards will play an increasingly significant role in the National Shipbuilding Strategy and grateful for the opportunity to support Seaspan Shipyards, the Canadian Coast Guard and the Royal Canadian Navy.”

“The contract signed by Heddle Shipyard is a tremendous opportunity for workers in Hamilton and the surrounding region,” said MPP Skelly. “It will also help revitalize the shipbuilding industry in Ontario.”

Through the 2020 Budget, the government is planning to invest $4.8 billion in initiatives that will support jobs now, and contribute to Ontario’s strong recovery, including:

  • Bringing more jobs to Ontario with a comprehensive plan to address the job-killing high costs of electricity, saving medium size and larger industrial and commercial employers about 14 and 16 per cent respectively, on average, on their electricity bills (at a cost of $1.3 billion over three years);
  • Reducing property taxes on job creators and levelling the playing field by lowering high Business Education Tax (BET) rates for over 200,000 employers, or 94 per cent of all business properties in Ontario, to a rate of 0.88 per cent. This is creating $450 million in immediate annual savings and representing a reduction of 30 per cent for many businesses currently subject to the highest BET rate in the province;
  • Proposing to provide municipalities with the ability to cut property taxes for small businesses and a provincial commitment to consider matching these reductions. This would provide small businesses as much as $385 million in total municipal and provincial property tax relief by 2022– 23, depending on municipal adoption;
  • Committing $100 million in dedicated funding in 2020-21 through Employment Ontario
    for skills training programs to help more workers and job seekers get advice, training and other assistance;
  • Modernizing the province’s skilled trades and apprenticeship system through Ontario’s Skilled Trades Strategy, which includes work to break the stigma around skilled trades, simplify the system and encourage employers to sponsor and hire apprentices; and
  • Making an additional investment of more than $680 million in broadband infrastructure which, combined with prior commitments, increases Ontario’s investment to nearly $1 billion. This historic investment will help ensure communities across the province are connected.
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