Icebreakers play a vital role within the Canadian Coast Guard fleet, guaranteeing secure maritime navigation, preventing ice blockages and flood risks, and ensuring the accessibility of shipping lanes.

Recently, the Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos, who represents the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans, and the Canadian Coast Guard, the Honourable Diane Lebouthillier, presided over the formal introduction of the CCGS Vincent Massey, the third of three medium interim icebreakers, into the Canadian Coast Guard fleet. The event took place during a dedication ceremony held at Quai de la Reine, in Quebec City, Quebec, aimed at marking the vessel’s commitment to service. This new addition strengthens the ranks of icebreakers dedicated to keeping Eastern Canada’s waterways accessible and secure throughout the winter season.

“Investing in and delivering on the future of the Canadian Coast Guard’s fleet is a top priority for our government,” expressed the Honourable Diane Lebouthillier, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard. “This investment ensures the Canadian Coast Guard has the necessary resources to respond to current and future challenges and keep Canadians safe.”

The Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos, Member of Parliament for Québec and Minister of Public Services and Procurement explained: “From its home port here in the city of Quebec, the medium interim icebreaker CCGS Vincent Massey will play a vital role in ensuring that eastern Canada and Arctic waters continue to be safe and accessible. This vessel’s dedication into service marks a milestone for the National Shipbuilding Strategy and the members of the Canadian Coast Guard who will sail on board the icebreaker.”

At the waterfront ceremony, Dominique Demers, the vessel’s sponsor, shared the stage with Minister Duclos, Coast Guard Commissioner Mario Pelletier, and Central Region Assistant Commissioner Marc-André Meunier. They partook in the traditional custom of breaking a ceremonial bottle on the ship’s bow. Furthermore, Elder Raymond Gros-Louis from the Huron-Wendat Nation delivered opening remarks to honor the CCGS Vincent Massey and its crew.

“Today is another proud day for the Canadian Coast Guard as we officially welcome the CCGS Vincent Massey to the Canadian Coast Guard fleet. I know how excited our crewmembers feel as we dedicate this icebreaker into service, and how eager they are to sail in service to Canadians throughout the St. Lawrence River and Gulf and the Atlantic Region,” said Mario Pelletier, Commissioner of the Canadian Coast Guard. 

The CCGS Vincent Massey joins its fellow medium interim icebreakers, the CCGS Jean Goodwill and CCGS Captain Molly Kool, in providing icebreaking services in the St. Lawrence River, Gulf, and the Atlantic region. Like all vessels in the Canadian Coast Guard’s fleet, the CCGS Vincent Massey is equipped to assist with environmental emergencies and search and rescue missions when required.

The vessel takes its name from Vincent Massey, the first Canadian-born Governor General after Confederation. The Canadian Coast Guard is equally honored to have Dominique Demers, the renowned Canadian children’s author recognized for the Mlle Charlotte series, as the sponsor of the CCGS Vincent Massey. In accordance with maritime tradition, the vessel’s sponsor is a civilian who participates in a dedication ceremony and maintains a lasting interest in the vessel’s activities.

Through the National Shipbuilding Strategy, the Canadian government is reinvigorating the shipbuilding sector, generating skilled employment opportunities, and constructing entirely new ship classes to ensure the Canadian maritime services have modern, reliable, and safe equipment to accomplish their missions. The acquisition of the three medium interim icebreakers serves as a supplement to the existing Canadian Coast Guard fleet while new vessels are being constructed under the National Shipbuilding Strategy.

Contracts associated with the National Shipbuilding Strategy are estimated to have contributed roughly $21.26 billion ($1.93 billion annually) to Canada’s gross domestic product and have sustained or created over 18,000 jobs per year between 2012 and 2022.