Back to news

August 5, 2020 | Local, Naval

Arctic military port first promised in 2007 sees new delay

August 4, 2020   By Lee Berthiaume, The Canadian Press

OTTAWA—The construction of a new military refuelling station in the Arctic is facing another delay more than 13 years after it was first promised by the federal government, with one analyst raising concerns about other pressing military needs in the region.

Former prime minister Stephen Harper announced plans to build the Nanisivik deep-water port in Nunavut, along with up to eight armed Arctic patrol vessels, during a trip to the Far North in 2007.

The port, considered one of the crown jewels of the Conservative government’s Arctic strategy, was intended to provide fuel to the patrol ships and other federal vessels while expanding the military’s permanent footprint in the North.

The long-standing expectation was that the port located at the site of an old mining jetty on Baffin Island, about 20 kilometres from the community of Arctic Bay, would be ready by the time the first of those ships was delivered to the Royal Canadian Navy.

Yet while the first Arctic patrol vessel was handed over to the navy on Friday after numerous delays and cost overruns, the Department of National Defence confirmed the Nanisivik facility won’t be operational until at least 2022.

Defence Department spokeswoman Jessica Lamirande said COVID-19 scuttled this year’s construction season, which can only occur between June and September because of weather in the North.

“Due to COVID-19 delays, a small number of contractors are expected to return to the site in August to start the 2020 work season,” Lamirande said in an email.

“This means the season will be much shorter than planned and will only allow for a limited amount of work to be completed.”

COVID-19 is only the most recent challenge to plague construction of the Nanisivik facility, which was originally supposed to be up and running in 2013 and include an airstrip and be manned throughout the year.

The airstrip and year-round service were cut from the plans after the project’s original $100-million budget was found to have more than doubled to $258 million in 2013. The current price tag is estimated at $146 million, according to Lamirande.

The federal government has also faced environmental hurdles due to the need to clean up the old fuel-tank farm located on the site, which was home to a port used to ship ore from an old zinc mine. There were also structural issues with the existing jetty.

Lamirande said significant progress has been made on the facility since the first full construction season in 2015, with nearly all fuelling infrastructure in place.

But the fact the port still hasn’t been finished, despite the scope of the project having been dramatically scaled back, is both disheartening and troubling, said defence analyst David Perry of the Canadian Global Affairs Institute.

Canada’s relative difficulty building a single port with limited facilities in the North contrasts sharply with Russia’s massive Arctic expansion in recent years, Perry said, and bodes poorly for needed Canadian military investments in the region.

Those include upgrading the string of increasingly obsolete radars that forms the backbone of North America’s system for incoming missiles and air- and water-based threats, as well as several airstrips in the area that will be used by Canada’s new fighter jets.

Those projects are expected to start in the coming years.

“It’s kind of dispiriting how long it has taken us to develop relatively simple infrastructure at one of the most accessible parts of our Arctic,” Perry said of Nanisivik.

“The length of time it has taken us to build doesn’t leave a lot of confidence that the other projects are going to move in a relatively quick timeframe.”

On the same subject

  • Davie en voie de devenir un partenaire stratégique dans le cadre de la Stratégie nationale de construction navale

    December 20, 2019 | Local, Naval

    Davie en voie de devenir un partenaire stratégique dans le cadre de la Stratégie nationale de construction navale

    LÉVIS, QC, le 19 déc. 2019 /CNW Telbec/ - Le plus grand chantier naval du Canada ayant la plus grande capacité de production est fier d'entrer en partenariat avec le Gouvernement du Canada pour la construction de la nouvelle flotte de navires de grande taille dans le cadre de la Stratégie nationale de construction navale. Alex Vicefield, président du conseil d'administration de Chantier Davie Canada inc., a déclaré : « L'annonce historique d'aujourd'hui marque le début d'un programme multigénérationnel qui s'échelonnera sur les trente prochaines années et qui solidifiera la position de Chantier Davie en tant que leader mondial en matière de livraison de navires spécialisés essentiels pour les missions. » M. Vicefield a ajouté : « Alors que la région arctique prend une importance globale croissante, la création d'un centre d'excellence pour la construction de brise-glaces, qui constituent un produit hautement exportable, se traduira par des avantages économiques considérables pour le Canada au cours des années à venir. Nous remercions le premier ministre et son gouvernement d'avoir respecté leur engagement en lien avec le renouvellement de la stratégie de construction navale et d'avoir confirmé le rôle de Davie en tant que partenaire stratégique clé. »  James Davies, Président et Chef de la direction de Chantier Davie a souligné : « Au cours des dix dernières années, nous avons créé un constructeur naval avant-gardiste ayant livré des navires parmi les plus complexes jamais construits en Amérique du Nord. Alors que nous entamons une nouvelle décennie en tant que partenaire dans le cadre de la Stratégie nationale de construction navale, nous bâtirons sur nos compétences et sur notre expérience et nous tirerons profit de notre capacité de production unique ainsi que de nos installations afin de renouveler la flotte fédérale de façon rentable et en respectant les délais. » M. Davies a poursuivi en disant : « Il s'agira du plus grand programme de construction navale réalisé au Québec depuis la seconde Guerre mondiale, ce qui assurera la stabilité des emplois chez Davie et qui favorisera le développement de la grappe maritime québécoise. Celle-ci sera un moteur important de l'économie de la province. Nous avons maintenant hâte de rappeler au travail le plus rapidement possible les 1 000 travailleurs qui ont été mis à pied en 2017. »       NOTE AUX ÉDITEURS :  À propos de Davie Davie est le plus grand constructeur naval ayant la plus grande capacité de production au Canada. Certifié ISO 9001:2015 et ISO 14001:2015, Davie met à profit ses installations de fabrication de grande capacité ainsi que ses compétences en gestion de projet et en ingénierie afin de fournir des solutions clé en main à ses clients commerciaux et gouvernementaux, et ce, en appliquant les meilleures pratiques tout au long de la vie utile des navires. SOURCE Chantier Davie Canada Inc. Renseignements: Frédérik Boisvert, Vice-président, Affaires publiques, Chantier Davie, Tel : +1-418-455-2759,

  • CAE upgrades trainers at 15 Wing Moose Jaw

    November 25, 2019 | Local, Aerospace

    CAE upgrades trainers at 15 Wing Moose Jaw

    Ahead of the Interservice/Industry Training, Simulation, and Education Conference (I/ITSEC), the world’s largest military training and simulation event to be held next week in Orlando, Fla., CAE announced it has completed major upgrades to the CT-156 Harvard (T-6) and CT-155 Hawk flight training devices (FTDs) used as part of the NATO Flying Training in Canada (NFTC) program at 15 Wing Moose Jaw, Sask. The upgrades were done on three CT-156 Harvard FTDs and one CT-155 Hawk FTD that are used extensively for ground-based training elements of the NFTC pilot training syllabus. CAE replaced computing hardware on the simulators, added new visual display systems, updated the instructor operator stations, and upgraded the image generators to the latest CAE Medallion series. CAE will now begin upgrading the CT-155 Hawk FTD located at 4 Wing Cold Lake, Alta., which is used as part of phase IV fighter lead-in training under the NFTC program. “The ground-based training system and use of simulators has become increasingly important for military pilot training,” said France Hébert, vice-president and general manager, CAE Canada.  “With the upgraded flight training devices used for NATO Flying Training in Canada, we will now be able to deliver ground-based training that is more immersive and realistic, which in turn contributes to the more effective and efficient delivery of live flying training.” The effectiveness of the upgraded CT-156 Harvard and CT-155 Hawk FTDs is already benefiting student pilots. The new visual systems provide more realism in the synthetic environment and have enabled training tasks such as formation flying and tactical scenarios to be rehearsed in the simulators, thus enhancing the efficiency of performing these tasks during live flying training. As the prime contractor for the NFTC program, CAE operates the NFTC base facilities, delivers the ground-school classroom and simulator training, and supports the live flying training on a fleet of Beechcraft T-6 (CT-156 Harvard) and BAE Systems Hawk (CT-155 Hawk) aircraft. CAE operates the NFTC program out of 15 Wing Moose Jaw and 4 Wing Cold Lake, and the program is designed and delivered in cooperation with the Government of Canada to support pilot training for the Royal Canadian Air Force and allied militaries. The NFTC program combines basic, advanced, and lead-in fighter training as part of the comprehensive military pilot training program.

  • MDA Selected for Design Phase of Canadian Surface Combatant Program

    February 13, 2019 | Local, Naval

    MDA Selected for Design Phase of Canadian Surface Combatant Program

    RICHMOND, BC, Feb. 8, 2019 /CNW/ - MDA, a Maxar Technologies company (NYSE: MAXR) (TSX: MAXR), today announced that Canada's Combat Ship Team was selected by Irving Shipbuilding for the design contract for Canada's Surface Combatant (CSC) ships. Irving Shipbuilding is the Canadian Surface Combatant Prime Contractor and will build all 15 ships at Halifax Shipyard. As a core member of the design team, MDA's primary role will be to design the Electronic Warfare suite system for the CSC program. The CSC is a globally deployable, multi-role warship designed to meet the distinctive mission requirements of the Royal Canadian Navy. MDA is partnered with other industry leaders including BAE Systems, CAE, Lockheed Martin Canada, L3 Technologies, and Ultra Electronics as Canada's Combat Ship Team to provide the Royal Canadian Navy the most advanced and modern warship design. Purposely designed for anti-submarine warfare and capable of performing a variety of missions in any part of the world, the CSC is acoustically quiet, versatile, highly survivable, and reconfigurable for future modernization. The most recent Canadian Defence Policy stated that 15 of these ships will be built in Canada over the next 25 years and will serve the Royal Canadian Navy for decades to come. "MDA is proud to play such a critical role in supplying systems and subsystems for the Canadian Surface Combatant program," said Mike Greenley, group president of MDA. "Our low-risk, lower life-cycle cost CSC solutions are based on proven technologies and will enable Canadian security and peacekeeping operations around the world by providing advanced intelligence and protection for our brave sailors. These Canadian-built solutions further unlock enormous economic benefits and return on investment to the nation, particularly in Quebec, Ontario, British Columbia and Nova Scotia, as we seek to export these technologies globally in the years ahead secure our position as a global technology leader." This contract is for the CSC design phase within which MDA is responsible for the Electronic Warfare design. Over the life of the program, MDA expects to perform multiple roles on the Lockheed Martin Canada team for CSC. Work on four pivotal areas of the program would create more than 200 new, high-quality jobs in MDA's Quebec, Ontario, British Columbia, and Nova Scotia facilities. MDA's roles include: Lead the Electronic Warfare system integration by procuring best-value subsystems for each functional element and providing an advanced Electronic Warfare solution for installation onto each CSC ship, leveraging MDA's deep Canadian expertise in project management, system engineering, electronics, antennas, signal processing and software. Build an advanced radar system critical to the integrated CSC weapons system, which is well positioned to be exported to the global naval market. Partner with L3 WESCAM to build a Laser Warning and Countermeasures System that is part of the overall Electronic Warfare system suite and will defend against emerging laser-guided threats that are particularly dangerous for the CSC and its crew in littoral environments. Partner with Lockheed Martin Canada to develop an advanced Electronic Warfare jamming subsystem, based on proven components and electronics similar to those used by MDA for both its space and terrestrial communications and radar programs. About MDA MDA is an internationally recognized leader in space robotics, space sensors, satellite payloads, antennas and subsystems, surveillance and intelligence systems, defence and maritime systems, and geospatial radar imagery. MDA's extensive space expertise and heritage translates into mission-critical defence and commercial applications that include multi-platform command, control and surveillance systems, aeronautical information systems, land administration systems and terrestrial robotics. MDA is also a leading supplier of actionable mission-critical information and insights derived from multiple data sources. Founded in 1969, MDA is recognized as one of Canada's most successful technology ventures with locations in Richmond, Ottawa, Brampton, Montreal, Halifax and the United Kingdom. MDA has supported the Royal Canadian Navy for over two decades. For more information, visit About Maxar Technologies As a global leader of advanced space technology solutions, Maxar Technologies is at the nexus of the new space economy, developing and sustaining the infrastructure and delivering the information, services, systems that unlock the promise of space for commercial and government markets. As a trusted partner, Maxar Technologies provides vertically integrated capabilities and expertise including satellites, Earth imagery, robotics, geospatial data and analytics to help customers anticipate and address their most complex mission-critical challenges with confidence. With more than 6,100 employees in over 30 global locations, the Maxar Technologies portfolio of commercial space brands includes MDA, SSL, DigitalGlobe and Radiant Solutions. Every day, billions of people rely on Maxar to communicate, share information and data, and deliver insights that Build a Better World. Maxar trades on the New York Stock Exchange and Toronto Stock Exchange as MAXR. For more information, visit

All news