Joint Support Ship


Bounded by three oceans and home to the Great Lakes, Canada defends more coastline than any other country on Earth.

After several shipwrecks during the 1700s, lifeboats and light stations were introduced to Canadas east coast. In the 1800s, patrol vessels started protecting and enforcing fishing and shipping regulations. These were the foundations of the Canadian Coast Guard.

When the Second World War began, Canada had just ten vessels. When the war ended, the Royal Canadian Navy was the fourth largest in the world. During peace time, a balance was struck between those humble beginnings and the fleet of the 1940s.

Today, Canada protects its maritime approaches from smuggling, trafficking, and pollution. The services provide life-saving search and rescue as well as opportunities for scientific research. Canadas navy also acts internationally, to meet our commitments and protect our interests.

The National Shipbuilding Strategy charts the course for the new federal fleet.

It is an important shift in shipbuilding, from working project-by-project to a long-term approach and strategic relationships with two Canadian shipyards to build large vessels.

Canada will sustain skilled jobs across the country, in shipbuilding and related industries, for generations to come.

Project summary

Canada is replacing the current surface fleets of the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) and the Canadian Coast Guard, which are reaching the end of their operational lives. The project will deliver two Joint Support Ships (JSS). These ships will be built for the RCN under the non-combat vessel component of the National Shipbuilding Strategy.

The budget for the JSS project is $2.3 billion (excluding taxes). In addition, $2.6 billion is expected to be spent on personnel and operating costs during a 30-year service life. The in-service support allocation for 30 years will be approximately $1.9 billion.

The first JSS, the future HMCS Queenston, is scheduled for delivery in 2021 and should be operational later that year. Following its delivery by Vancouver Shipyards Co. Ltd., the RCN will conduct a series of trials to ensure that the ship meets its requirements. The second ship, the future HMCS Châteauguay, is expected to be operational by 2022.

The new JSS will provide:

  • Underway support to naval task groups. This includes the re-supply of fuel, ammunition, spare parts and other supplies between ships at sea and at shore. It also includes the operation and maintenance of helicopters, as well as task group medical and dental facilities.
  • Limited sealift capability. JSS will be capable of transporting and delivering cargo to support operations on shore.

Project phases

Currently in Phase 3: Definition


1. Identification

1. Identification

  • Completed through the National Shipbuilding Strategy
2. Options analysis

2. Options analysis

  • Completed through the National Shipbuilding Strategy
3. Definition

3. Definition

  • Revised project approval 1: June 2010
  • Revised project approval 2: April 2014
  • Revised project approval 3: December 2014
  • Revised project approval 4: June 2015
  • Revised project approval 5: August 2016
  • Revised project approval 6: forecasted for the fall of 2016
4. Implementation

4. Implementation

  • Project approval implementation: forecasted for the fall of 2017
  • Contract award: forecasted for the fall of 2017
  • First delivery: 2021
  • Initial operational capability: 2021
  • Full operational capability: 2022
5. Close-out

5. Close-out

  • 2022


Additional information

Project updates

Project updates

Expected in late 2016
The negotiations for the contract to build the ships should begin. These should be completed in time to start production of the first Joint Support Ship (JSS) which is currently scheduled to follow the lead projects of the non-combat vessel component of the National Shipbuilding Strategy (NSS) in 2018.

Seaspan's Vancouver Shipyards Co. Ltd completed the preliminary design review work that started in August 2015.

December 2015
The Government of Canada signs a contract valued at up to $35.2 million with Seaspan's Vancouver Shipyards Co. Ltd.

November 30, 2015
The Government of Canada signed a contract with Project Resolve Inc. (now renamed Federal Fleet Services Inc. in 2016) to develop an interim Auxiliary Oiler Replenishment (AOR) capability. Proceeding with Federal Fleet Services Inc. is the most viable course of action to provide the Navy’s at-sea interim oil replenishment capability.

This contract involves the conversion of a commercial container ship (MV Asterix) into an AOR ship. This interim supply ship will provide a more modest capability through supporting military operations in non-threat environments. The interim supply ship will provide capabilities such as at-sea oiler replenishment, aviation support, medical and humanitarian assistance or disaster relief.

Federal Fleet Services Inc. is to provide at-sea service by fall 2017. The initial period of service delivery will be five years, with options to extend the period of service by up to five additional one-year periods.

Conversion work, which will meet Transport Canada Regulations, is currently underway at the Chantier Davie Canada Inc.’s facility in Lévis, Quebec.

Benefiting Canadian industry

Benefiting Canadian industry

Industrial and regional benefits

The new Joint Support Ship (JSS) will be built for the Royal Canadian Navy under the non-combat work vessel component of the National Shipbuilding Strategy by Seaspan’s Vancouver Shipyards Co. Ltd., which was selected through a competitive process in October 2011. Construction of these ships will be done in Canada at their shipyard in North Vancouver, British Columbia.

Seaspan’s Vancouver Shipyards Co. Ltd. is delivering the contract modify the German design which will allow the ships to be built at Vancouver Shipyards using a Canadian supply chain and to meet Canadian mission requirements.

Vancouver Shipyards Co Ltd. is identifying and engaging with suppliers to acquire critical equipment for the first JSS that must be ordered to support the design and construction effort. This award limits any potential delays associated with incomplete design information and equipment deliveries to meet the requirement of the shipyard’s ship construction plan.


Some of the links below lead to websites that are not part of the Government of Canada and may be available in English only.

Technical information

Technical information

The names of the new Queenston-class ships are HMCS Queenston and HMCS Châteauguay.

Protecteur-class Auxiliary Oiler Replenishment (AOR) vessels

The Royal Canadian Navy’s current Auxiliary Oiler Replenishment (AOR) vessels will be replaced with the new Joint Support Ships (JSS).

The purpose of an Auxiliary Oiler Replenishment (AOR) vessel is to re-supply deployed ships at sea. It greatly increases the effectiveness and flexibility of a Navy, as it allows them to remain at sea for longer periods. It can also apply when those assets are engaged, over an extended period of time, in surveillance of Canada’s extensive coastlines and sovereign waters.

The JSS will replace the core capabilities of the AOR ships, including:

  • The provision of fuel, ammunition, spare parts, food, and water, and other supplies
  • modern medical and dental care facilities, including an operating room
  • repair facilities and expertise to keep helicopters and other equipment functioning, as well as basic self-defence functions
Project costs

Project costs

The budget for the Joint Support Ship project is $2.3 billion (excluding taxes). In addition, $2.6 billion is expected to be spent on personnel and operating costs during a 30-year service life. The in-service support allocation for 30 years will be approximately $1.9 billion.

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