(Lévis) After more than ten years of waiting, the Davie shipyard is officially integrated into the National Shipbuilding Strategy and can hope to build six new icebreakers and a polar icebreaker for the Canadian Coast Guard, Ottawa announced . In return, Quebec will disburse half a billion to help the company modernize.

“Today, we can announce that Davie becomes the third supplier partner. […] Concretely, we are therefore starting negotiations to build six icebreakers and a polar icebreaker, ”welcomed the Prime Minister of Canada Justin Trudeau at a press conference on Tuesday. The contract is valued at nearly $8.5 billion, according to Quebec Premier François Legault.

With these contracts, the number of workers at Davie should more than double, from 700 to 1,800, still according to Mr. Legault.

The shipyard will become a true icebreaker expert. La Presse reported on March 28 that the Lévis company is negotiating the purchase of an icebreaker builder owned by Russian industrialists in Finland.

Helsinki Shipyard Oy, a shipyard located in the Finnish capital which alone built 60% of the world’s icebreaker fleet, has confirmed that Chantier Davie Canada now has an “exclusive option” to purchase its facilities and that negotiations were in progress.

“If the purchase is completed, the transfer of cutting-edge icebreaker expertise should certainly improve Davie’s ability to deliver the vessels it needs to build in Lévis for Canada on time and on budget. “Said Paul Barrett, spokesperson for Davie.

In 2011, the Davie was excluded from the national shipbuilding strategy (SNCN). Only two shipyards had been selected for the construction of large ships: Vancouver Shipyards of Seaspan, British Columbia, and Irving Shipbuilding in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Originally, the two companies had to invest $500 million to upgrade their facilities, “at no cost to the government,” the federal government says on its website.

In the case of Davie, the Government of Quebec will have to invest money, a lot of money. The modernization of the Lévis site will cost 840 million, of which 520 million will come from the provincial government, confirmed the Premier of Quebec François Legault. If the Davie does not obtain the icebreaker contracts, Ottawa has committed to reimburse this amount, said Mr. Legault.

La Presse had revealed in 2022 that the owners of the Davie shipyard quietly changed the structure of the company, in 2020, during their negotiations to obtain 10 billion in federal contracts. They transferred the control company from an ultra-opaque tax haven – the British Virgin Islands – to another less so, the island of Guernsey.

The Chantier Davie Suppliers Association reports that according to a study prepared by Deloitte, “Davie’s integration into SNCN has the potential to generate up to $21 billion in economic impact in Canada over a 20-year horizon. years. The firm Deloitte notably predicts the creation or maintenance of 4,700 jobs by Davie and a multiplier effect by two in the Canadian economy for each dollar spent by Davie. “.

The SNCN plans to build about 50 large ships, including 15 combat ships which are to replace the Royal Canadian Navy’s Iroquois-class destroyers and Halifax-class frigates.