4. Industry Requirements

In October 2009, the Canadian Coast Guard (CCG) asked the National Marine Advisory Board (NMAB) to review industry requirements for CCG ice operations support in the North and South and to recommend a range of options and issues to be considered when framing those requirements. A discussion paper was also provided to the members that described many of the operational and environmental factors that have an impact on the delivery of the Icebreaking Program.

A series of regional meetings were held, concluding with a National Icebreaking Sub-Committee meeting on June 2, 2010, wherein each of the Regional Advisory Boards presented their icebreaker requirements. At this meeting, several questions raised during the review process were discussed in detail.

The following is a summary of the 2010 Regional Icebreaking Committee reports that help to define the number and deployment of icebreakers required for support to commercial shipping. Additional information is listed under Annex A: Marine Advisory Board Industry Requirements.

Central and Arctic

The Great Lakes Icebreaking Sub-Committee confirmed the continued requirement for the Canadian Coast Guard Ship (CCGS) Samuel Risley and CCGS Griffon in the Central & Arctic Region, for, the CCGS Martha L. Black, CCGS Tracy and an air cushion vehicle in the Quebec Region, for the opening of the Seaway in the Spring, and for the assistance of a medium icebreaker from the Seaway to Lake Superior in severe ice seasons. In the longer term, clients identified that two more icebreaking resource capabilities will be required for the Great Lakes to service critical time periods in Lake Ontario, the St. Lawrence Seaway and the Upper Great Lakes, to service Western Lake Superior, Thunder Bay, and Georgian Bay.

The Arctic Icebreaking Sub-Committee commented that the CCG had not responded to the changing needs of the developing North. Commercial shipping is operating independently in the Arctic without icebreaker support at the beginning and end of the navigation period. The committee requested that CCG extend its northern support so that icebreakers arrive earlier in the season and remain until the last Arctic resupply vessel is heading South.


The Quebec Icebreaking Sub-Committee confirmed that the 1997 requirements are still relevant. In addition, they requested that an icebreaker be available on standby on the St. Lawrence River from December 1 to 15, in case ice develops prior to the scheduled icebreaker deployments on December 15. The committee requested an additional medium icebreaker for the Gulf of St. Lawrence from March 11 to 31. The Sub-Committee also recommended that in light ice seasons, a light icebreaker be utilized instead of a medium icebreaker for the breakout of the St. Lawrence Seaway.


The Maritimes Icebreaking Sub-Committee requested that a light icebreaker be made available on December 15 rather than December 21, to support Chaleur Bay, Miscou and the Northumberland Strait. Due to ice conditions in the Northumberland Strait and Eastern Prince Edward Island (PEI), a medium icebreaker should be dedicated to the area for the entire ice season in addition to the light icebreaker. Assistance of a medium or heavy icebreaker from the central Gulf should also be maintained.

Newfoundland and Labrador

The Newfoundland members stated that icebreaking services will continue to be required well into the future in order to continue to support provincial ferry operations. There is also a growing demand to extend the current operating season for the Labrador Coast.