Federal contract means St. Catharines shipyard will need 100 new workers

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Published November 17, 2021 at 1:26 pm

Photo of Heddle Shipyard in St. Catharines courtesy of Heddle

The Heddle Shipyards in St. Catharines’ Port Weller is getting ready to scrape the barnacles off a classic Canadian icebreaker.

And they’re going to need 200 hands on deck for the job – a pair for each of the 100 people that Heddle will need to hire for the job.

Yesterday (November 16), the federal government awarded the $12 million retrofit contract of the Coast Guard’s icebreaker CCGS Amundsen to Heddle.

“In addition to the awarding of a contract to build a new icebreaker with Seaspan Shipyards in BC,” said St. Catharines MP Chris Bittle, “it’s great to see the Federal National Shipbuilding Strategy having a positive impact in St. Catharines.”

“The projects will create 100 high paying jobs in St, Catharines and help the drydock escape the usual ‘boom and busy cycle’ of ship repair.”

Niagara Centre MP Vance Badawey was equally buoyed by the news. “The Niagara peninsula is a hub for transportation and it’s crucial that we have a state of the art shipyard like Heddle that can accommodate Niagara’s and Canada’s needs.”

Heddle executives were excited to lock down the contract and the new jobs it’s bringing.

“It is a truly exciting time for us,” says Heddle President Shaun Padulo. “Projects like the CCGS Amundsen help reduce the boom and bust cycle of the ship repair and construction industry in Ontario and will allow us to continue to grow and strengthen our team.  We are extremely grateful to the Canadian Coast Guard and the Government of Canada for a project that will support the revitalization of the shipbuilding industry in Ontario.”

According to federal government files, the CCGS Amundsen is based in Québec and is one of the few Canadian Coast Guard vessels to have a dual purpose. Every summer, the Amundsen is charted by a scientific consortium. In winter, the vessel takes part in the Coast Guard’s icebreaking operations. The size of her crew depends on the type of mission and the area to which she is deployed.

In winter, the Amundsen takes part in flood control, icebreaking and ship escort operations in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, the St. Lawrence River and the Saguenay Fjord. In spring, she can be called on to provide the same services in the St. Lawrence Seaway and on the Great Lakes.

(Photo: The CCGS Amundsen is featured on Canada’s newest $50 bill.)

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