OTTAWA — The Canadian government is overhauling its troubled multibillion-dollar shipbuilding program, bringing in additional staff and updating cost projections.
The CAN $30 billion (US $23 billion) National Shipbuilding Strategy is supposed to oversee the building of new fleets for the Royal Canadian Navy and the Canadian Coast Guard.
But projects have fallen behind, and some are now over budget.
The government will bring in more procurement staff and better track costs for shipbuilding material as part of its initiative to get things back on track, says procurement minister Judy Foote.
She noted that, under the previous Conservative Party government, the costs were set and publicized but they were never updated to take into account inflation and increases in the cost of steel and other material.
"Work is underway to determine a new costing approach," said Foote, minister of public services and procurement for the Liberal Party government.
Foote also pointed out that the Canadian government has hired Steve Brunton as an "expert adviser" to assist on its shipbuilding strategy. Brunton is a retired rear admiral from the United Kingdom's Royal Navy with experience in overseeing shipbuilding programs and naval acquisitions, she added.
Jean-François Létourneau, a spokesman for Public Services and Procurement Canada, said there is currently a full-time staff of 98 working on the shipbuilding strategy. "This number is expected to increase by up to 200 additional employees by 2019," he said.
He noted there were employees in other federal departments also working on the strategy. But Public Services is the main department overseeing military procurement.