B.C. pledges $40 million to help shipbuilding bid
The B.C. government is promising a $40 million investment in training and tax credits if Vancouver-based Seaspan wins one of two federal shipbuilding contracts, Pat Bell, the minister of jobs, tourism and innovation, announced on Monday.
"As promised, our government is helping Seaspan submit the strongest possible bid and this investment focuses on job creation," said Bell.
"We are investing in our human capital by supporting the creation of marine industry jobs for years to come."
BC Ferries is also promising to spend $20 million building up B.C.'s ship repair capacity, the provincially owned ferry service announced on Monday.
"Nothing will help B.C.'s marine sector better than by securing a long-term federal shipbuilding contract," said David Hahn, president and CEO of BC Ferries.
"A strong shipbuilding and repair sector in B.C. is important for us to receive competitive pricing as we maintain and upgrade our fleet in the future."
The $40 million investment includes $35 million in labour tax credits for training over the 30-year life of the federal contract, and $5 million "to support the productivity and long-term viability of the broader marine sector."
Bell said the full $40 million investiment would only be made if Seaspan wins the larger of the two contracts, and if Seaspan wins only the smaller contract, the government would prorate its investment.
Three shipyards competing for contracts
Seaspan is one of three shortlisted shipyards vying for two federal contracts worth $35 billion over the next 30 years. The money will be used to build Canada's next generation of combat and non combat ships. The federal government is expected to make its decisions this fall.
One winner will be awarded the $25-billion combat vessel construction deal. Another bidder will be chosen to build the non-combat ships, which account for the remaining $8 billion of contracts initially. That order could grow to include more Coast Guard replacements.
Last month Premier Christy Clark pledged her support for the multibillion-dollar bid, calling it a "once in a generation" opportunity. She has already pledged $550,000 for a shipbuilding training program at Camoson College in Saanich.
Clark has said that if Seaspan's bid is successful, it could create 6,800 jobs in Vancouver and Victoria.