The Canadian Coast Guard (CCG) is an important Canadian symbol of service and safety. It also recently celebrated its Golden Jubilee on January 26th. This is a significant milestone and one that deserves national commemoration and celebration for the Agency, as it has kept Canadian waters safe and open for the last 50 years.
Although its heritage can be traced back to a time before Confederation, the current CCG was created by the Diefenbaker Government on January 26, 1962. The CCG owns and operates the federal Government’s civilian fleet and provides key maritime services to Canadians. It is also a Special Operating Agency of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) Canada, which means that it assists DFO to meet its responsibility to ensure safe and accessible waterways for Canadians. The CCG also plays a key role in ensuring the sustainable use and development of Canada’s oceans and waterways.
Since those early days of lifeboats and Arctic voyages, the organization now includes a workforce of roughly 4,500 dedicated employees and a fleet of 116 vessels and 22 helicopters. Whether it’s to support Canada’s vital commercial fishing industry, maritime transportation, shipping, or the country’s millions of recreational boaters, our brave men and women are always there and ready to serve.
Our Government has worked hard to support the CCG and to ensure it is modernized. We have done this by providing the vessels, tools, and necessary training. Our Government has provided close to $1.4 billion in recent years to the CCG. This includes critical investments for new mid-shore patrol vessels, scientific research vessels, and Canada’s largest and most capable polar icebreaker – CCGS John G. Diefenbaker. In August 2009, the CCG awarded a $194 million contract for nine new “Hero Class” mid-shore patrol vessels. These vessels are currently under construction at Irving Shipbuilding Inc., in Halifax. The Government has also made important upgrades to Coast Guard infrastructure over the past two years. In addition to these upgrades, the CCG acquired 60 new small craft and 38 other small boats and environmental response barges, and completed major repair work on 40 vessels through our Government’s Economic Action Plan.
The investments made by our Government in the CCG will stimulate economic growth in the shipbuilding and marine industries. Furthermore, this will create jobs and business opportunities in communities across Canada.
A number of activities and events are being planned across the country throughout 2012 to celebrate the extraordinary work of Canada’s Coast Guard employees. The CCG’s Golden Jubilee website (http://www.ccg-gcc.gc.ca/eng/CCG/50th_Anniversary) was recently launched and will have updated information about events planned throughout the year and across the country.
The 50th Anniversary of the CCG presents an excellent opportunity for all Canadians to celebrate the many achievements and the outstanding men and women who comprise this important Canadian institution. I encourage you to learn more about the CCG and participate in the many celebrations occurring throughout 2012.