On March 29, 2012, the federal government tabled its budget for the coming year. What follows is a summary of the initiatives announced by the government in its Economic Action Plan specific to the transport sector.
- $105 million in 2012–13 on a cash basis to support VIA Rail Canada’s operations and capital projects.
- $27.3 million over two years to support the divestiture of regional ports and the continued operation and maintenance of federally owned ports.
- $5.2 billion over the next 11 years on a cash basis to renew the Canadian Coast Guard fleet.
- $101 million over the next five years on a cash basis to restore and modernize the Esquimalt Graving Dock.
SHIPBULDING: Renewed commitment and widespread opportunities
Atlantic and Western Canada Shipbuilding Action Plan
Economic Action Plan 2012 confirms measures to promote the involvement of small and medium-sized enterprises in shipbuilding projects.
In 2010, the government announced the $35-billion National Shipbuilding Procurement Strategy. A major milestone was reached in February 2012 with the signing of umbrella agreements with Irving Shipyard of Halifax and Vancouver Shipyards for large combat and non-combat ship construction work valued at $33 billion. The National Shipbuilding Procurement Strategy is expected to provide thousands of high-value jobs over the next 20 to 30 years, providing stability for shipbuilders across the country. The Canadian Association of Defence and Security Industries has estimated that 15,000 direct and indirect jobs may be created over the coming decades.
Contracts for small-vessel construction, valued at $2 billion, will be awarded to other Canadian shipyards, and ongoing refit and repair work valued at $500 million annually will be open to all shipyards through a competitive process.
These investments aim to revitalize the marine industry in Canada and deliver equipment required by Canada’s naval and Coast Guard personnel.
The government expressed the wish to see small and medium-sized enterprises taking advantage of opportunities arising from the building of federal ships. The result is the Atlantic Shipbuilding Action Plan and the Western Canada Shipbuilding Action Plan. These Action Plans are designed to promote the active participation of small and medium-sized businesses in the supply chains that will result from shipbuilding and thus create growth and jobs throughout the regions.
Renewing the Canadian Coast Guard fleet
Economic Action Plan 2012 proposes $5.2 billion over the next 11 years on a cash basis to renew the fleet of the Canadian Coast Guard.
Upon this year marking the 50th anniversary of the Canadian Coast Guard, the government proposes to invest $5.2 billion over the next 11 years for the procurement of new vessels and helicopters for the Canadian Coast Guard, as well as work related to repairing and refitting existing vessels.
West Coast dry dock restoration
Economic Action Plan 2012 provides $101 million on a cash basis to restore and modernize the Esquimalt Graving Dock.
Located in southern British Columbia, the Esquimalt Graving Dock, which was originally constructed in 1927, is the largest deep-sea shipbuilding and repair facility on Canada’s West Coast. According to the federal government, it generates economic benefits totalling $183 million annually for British Columbia and it supports an estimated 1,300 jobs in the Greater Victoria Area.
Economic Action Plan 2012 proposes an additional $101 million over the next five years for Public Works and Government Services Canada to restore and modernize the Esquimalt Graving Dock.
PORTS: Divestiture of regional ports
Economic Action Plan 2012 proposes $27.3 million over two years to support the divestiture of regional port facilities and the continued operation and maintenance of federally owned ports.
Earlier this year, the government announced up to $85.6 million in funding for capital projects and other modernization initiatives at the ports of Montreal, Saguenay, and Sept Îles. These investments will support the role of these ports as gateways to global markets.
To support the further divestiture of regional port facilities and the continued operation and maintenance of federally owned ports, Economic Action Plan 2012 proposes $27.3 million over two years for Transport Canada.
Finally, amongst the cost-saving measures announced in the budget, the federal government also confirmed the completion of the transfer, by Fisheries and Oceans Canada, of responsibility for managing and maintaining Arctic ports to the Northwest Territories and Nunavut.
RAIL: Improving safety and reliability of passenger rail services
Economic Action Plan 2012 proposes $105 million in 2012–13 on a cash basis to support VIA’s operations and capital projects.
To support VIA Rail Canada’s operations and investments in track signalling systems, track components, station repairs and information technology projects, Economic Action Plan 2012 proposes $105 million in 2012–13.
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