Building a Stronger Canadian Shipbuilding Industry

September 24, 2009, 2:14 PM EST

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Federal government naval and coastguard procurement requirements of up to $50 billion over the next 30 years will provide direct stimulus for the Canadian shipbuilding and marine industry.

This recommitment to the Canadian industry has the full support of the CAW/MWF, states a recent CAW/Marine Workers Federation submission to a multistakeholder Shipbuilding Consultation process.

But CAW Atlantic area director Les Holloway says the CAW, industry and other stakeholders must work closely to consider how to move ahead with the tendering process in selecting the appropriate shipyards to build and refit the required ships.

"The process in determining the build and repair/refit yards is one that has to be inclusive of all shipyards with expressed interest and those unions representing the workers," said Holloway.
In addition, Transport Canada must ensure that federal and provincial governments use Canadian made ferries and stop leasing and/or buying vessels from other countries, Holloway said.

The Canadian shipbuilding industry has faced years of neglect due to lack of government procurement and policy initiatives that would allow the industry to compete fairly for our own domestic shipbuilding needs. Ensuring the Canadian industry has work that will sustain it will encourage the industry to invest, Holloway said.

To ensure the Canadian industry can compete for our own domestic, commercial shipbuilding needs requires the federal government to enact policies that provide the industry with the ability to compete on a level playing field with other nations.

"A critical issue in developing a viable and sustainable shipbuilding industry is to ensure that Canada's shipbuilding industry can compete for our own domestic commercial shipbuilding needs, which the federal government has yet to act on, but must," said Karl Risser, president the CAW Marine Council and president of CAW/MWF Local 1. 

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