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The Canadian Coast Guard is a national Special Operating Agency of Fisheries and Oceans Canada with its headquarters located in the National Capital Region (NCR) and five regional offices (Newfoundland and Labrador, Maritimes, Quebec, Central and Arctic, and Pacific. The Canadian Coast Guard is a highly decentralized organization, with the vast majority of our employees located in the regions providing front-line services to Canadians.

The Commissioner is the Chief Executive Officer, reporting and accountable to the Deputy Minister of Fisheries and Oceans Canada for the performance of the Canadian Coast Guard. The Commissioner has the full authority of an Associate Deputy Minister, with the exception of Section 33 of the Financial Administration Act, reflecting the intention of Coast Guard to rely on DFO for comptroller functions. In 2010, the Canadian Coast Guard adjusted its organizational structure by adding two key positions both reporting directly to the Commissioner. . The Deputy Commissioner, reports directly to the Commissioner. Also reporting to the Commissioner is the Deputy Commissioner, Vessel Procurement, who ensures the effective and efficient delivery of the Agency’s investment and procurement activities.

Operational Structure

The Agency’s national headquarters is home to five directorates led by Directors General who are responsible for policies, programs, plans and service standards for their functional areas. Maritime Services, Fleet, and Integrated Technical Services directorates report directly to the Commissioner. The Major Crown Projects directorate reports to the Deputy Commissioner of Vessel Procurement while the Integrated Business Management Services directorate reports to the Deputy Commissioner of Operations. Also reporting to the Deputy Commissioner of Operations is a Maritime Security branch which is led by a director in the national capital region.

All five regions are led by Assistant Commissioners, who report directly to the Commissioner and are responsible for directing the delivery of all Coast Guard services their respective region, consistent with national standards, policies and practices. The Canadian Coast Guard College is situated in Sydney, Nova Scotia and is led by an Executive Director, reporting to the Deputy Commissioner of Operations.

The organizational structure is presented in Chart 3.

Chart 3 - The Canadian Coast Guard Management Structure

The Canadian Coast Guard Management Structure is fully described in the preceeding paragraphs.

Investment Planning Governance Structure

The primary body overseeing the development and implementation of the Investment Plan within Coast Guard is the Investment Management Board (IMB). It is a formal committee structured to facilitate Agency-wide investment planning, prioritization and decision-making. This body’s role is to:

  1. make investment decisions and produce business strategies regarding the Agency’s investment portfolio;
  2. review and provide decisions on CCG’s Integrated Investment Plan, investment project submissions, Treasury Board submissions involving investment decisions, policy and processes relating to research and development, and other investment matters;
  3. monitor ongoing investment projects and approving all reallocations of the Agency’s capital investment budgets; and,
  4. provide recommendations for the development of the Real Property and the Information Management & Technology Services Centres of Expertise investment plans to ensure that CCG’s highest priorities are addressed and to maximize the value of the department’s investments.

The Investment Management Board is chaired by the Commissioner and its membership is composed of:

  • the Commissioner – Chair
  • the Deputy Commissioner, Vessel Procurement
  • the Deputy Commissioner, Operations
  • the Assistant Commissioners in the regions
  • the Directors General at National Headquarters
  • the Executive Director of the Coast Guard College
  • the Director General, Real Property (HRCS)
  • the Senior Financial Manager
  • the Director, Resource Management and Financial Allocations
  • the Manager, Resource Management – Secretariat

With these members, Coast Guard is able to manage its investment portfolio effectively and achieve the vision, mission, goals and objectives of the department. Investment Management Board plays an important role in the Canadian Coast Guard’s overall investment governance structure as shown in the following diagram:

Chart 4 - Investment Planning Governance Structure

The Investment Planning Governance Structure is fully described in the preceeding and following paragraphs.

IMB supports the Agency’s Management Board (MB) by assuming primary decision-making responsibility with regards to Coast Guard investments. Management Board is the Agency’s senior strategic and operational decision-making body. Chaired by the Commissioner, MB includes the two Deputy Commissioners, the Directors General, the Assistant Commissioners, the Executive Director of the Canadian Coast Guard College and the Executive Director of the National Labour Force Renewal Directorate. The senior human resources advisor, the senior legal advisor, the senior financial advisor, the senior communications advisor from DFO, and the Executive Advisor to the Commissioner are ex officio members of MB.

Management Board is also supported by a number of permanent and temporary sub-committees. For example, each Coast Guard directorate maintains a permanent functional Executive Board which are chaired by the respective Directors General and function as national collaborative boards to provide functional leadership related to their area of expertise. With representation from both headquarters and the regions, Executive Boards provide technical and program-related advice to Management Board to help it make more informed and strategic decisions. Executive Boards then implement any program, policy and administrative direction stemming from these decisions.

Planning Organizations

The Canadian Coast Guard has two Centres of Expertise (COEs) to focus on its specialized planning requirements. The COEs also form part of the overall DFO governance structure for which the Agency has direct responsibility.

  • Equipment and Other Moveable Assets (EOMA) COE
    The EOMA COE focuses on the Agency’s information and operational systems, communications systems and equipment and infrastructure, communication and infrastructure such as radio towers, and radar sites, as well as aids to navigation such as buoys and environmental response equipment in support of CCG’s programs. The Director General of Maritime Services is responsible for this COE.
  • Fleet COE
    The Fleet COE is responsible for the Agency’s vessels and helicopters, which are also used by DFO and other government department programs. Fleet assets include ships, ranging in size from large icebreakers to small lifeboats, air cushion vehicles and helicopters. The Canadian Coast Guard is the sole provider of federal government civilian vessels. The Director General of Fleet is responsible for this COE.

These two planning organizations have developed deep, unique and specialized expertise in their respective fields resulting in an overall successful and effective organization structure.

In addition to Coast Guard’s two Centres of Expertise, the Agency also relies heavily on other COEs within the department. More information regarding these other COEs can be found in Appendix F.

Implementation Organizations


In 2010, the Canadian Coast Guard established the position and functions of the Deputy Commissioner of Vessel Procurement. The position has the primary responsibility to design, implement and lead the vessel procurement process for new assets.

While the Centres of Expertise are experts in planning for their respective asset bases, they partner with two other Coast Guard groups to execute and implement their planned investments.

  • Vessel Procurement
    The Vessel Procurement sector, including the Major Crown Projects (MCP) directorate, is responsible for implementing projects related to large vessel procurement.
  • Integrated Technical Services
    The Integrated Technical Services directorate is responsible for the ongoing maintenance of Coast Guard’s assets, as well as the implementation of most investment projects not related to large vessel procurement.

These implementation organizations also provide input into the planning process to ensure that projects are feasible and that internal and external capacity exists to deliver proposed investments. A detailed description of the roles and interactions between planning and implementation organizations is included in Appendix C.

Although most projects are implemented by the aforementioned groups, both COEs are sometimes required to implement projects on their own. This is particularly the case when Coast Guard’s internal capacity and expertise resides within their own groups, as opposed to being in the delivery organization. For example, the EOMA COE manages the implementation of the Restoration of the Great Lakes Connecting Channels project while the Fleet COE would realize projects like iFleet and helicopter refits.

Vessel Procurement Governance

The newly created Vessel Procurement sector is led by the Deputy Commissioner, Vessel Procurement and maintains its own internal Fleet Renewal governance structure to maximize the value of its investment to Canadians. This model aligns Coast Guard with other departments and supports the government's commitment to the Canadian shipbuilding industry through a long-term approach to federal procurement.

The Vessel Procurement sector is currently managing five procurement projects: Polar Icebreaker, Mid-Shore Patrol Vessels (MSPV), Offshore Fishery Science Vessels (OFSV), Offshore Oceanographic Science Vessel (OOSV) and Air Cushion Vehicle. Since 2005, the government has announced $1.4 billion in funding for the procurement of these fifteen large vessels.

The procurement projects are assigned Project Management Teams, lead by dedicated Project Managers and reporting to a Project Leader. Project accountability resides in CCG with the Deputy Commissioner, Vessel Procurement and within DFO with the Deputy Minister. Each project is governed in accordance with Treasury Board policies, directives and guidelines; project management principles, and is supported by other participating departments as required.

The Vessel Procurement sector has implemented government processes that are in place to monitor and provide oversight on major crown procurement. Senior Project Advisory Committees (SPAC) have been established for each project, comprised of senior personnel from involved government departments and agencies. The role of each committee is to advise the Project Lead on all aspects of the project and to carry out the procurement review function of the project. The committees meet twice per year as required.

Project Steering Committees (PSC) are established for each project, comprised with internal CCG and DFO stakeholders. Also led by the Project Lead, PSC provides internal project oversight. Meetings are held when required, generally to inform stakeholders of major advancements in the project or changes in project direction.

The Vessel Procurement sector is also updating the Fleet Renewal Plan with an overall objective of having an orderly and affordable long term investment strategy to renew CCG’s aging fleet of vessels and helicopters.

Fleet Renewal (Vessel Procurement) governance focuses on ensuring that the highest value to Canadians is delivered by monitoring costs and aligning projects at all stages of the procurement process.

Ministerial Level
Reporting to Cabinet on the progress against Fleet Renewal Plan.
  • The Minister of Fisheries and Oceans reports to Cabinet every five years on the progress against the Fleet Renewal Plan. The progress report will also provide the results achieved and if required any adjustments within the established funding envelope.
Advisory Level
Internal and external input, general oversight and independent advice on Fleet Renewal
  • The Strategic Advisory Council provides general oversight on the Fleet Renewal Plan and reviews proposed operational requirements for each vessel before technical specifications. Comprised of the Deputy Minister of Fisheries and Oceans and departments and agencies that use Coast Guard services and vessels.
  • CCG will also obtain independent technical advice to challenge the capability requirements for the vessels and/or comment on proposed design solutions.
Internal Controls
Internal controls to manage costs and requirements, projects and ensure reporting.
  • A robust cost estimation model is in place and has been verified by independent third-party input. It is used to track financial information for all major vessel procurement projects.
  • Vessel requirements are subject to ongoing challenge as they are translated into concepts and designs. CCG maintains a multi-disciplinary team approach in completing this validation process.
  • CCG is restructuring to ensure clear accountability in planning, scheduling, monitoring and cost control of the Fleet Renewal.

Throughout Fleet Renewal and vessel procurement processes, Coast Guard seeks strategic advice and independent expert counsel from central agencies to ensure adherence to Treasury Board policies and requirements. Internal controls and challenge functions targeting project scope, expenditure management and project reporting ensure the best value for money when implementing vessel procurement projects.

The National Shipbuilding Procurement Strategy, currently being implemented will guide future large vessel procurement projects beginning with the Offshore Fishery Science Vessels and Offshore Oceanographic Science Vessels. Two shipyards will be selected to build the large vessels, one for combat ships, and one for non-combat vessels through a fair, transparent and competitive process. The NSPS will result in the signing of formal agreements establishing a long-term relationship between each yard and the Government of Canada. These agreements will allow shipyards to invest in modern equipment and technology and to make productivity improvements thus increasing their ability to deliver federal fleet renewal in a cost effective manner. There will also be opportunities under NSPS for other Canadians shipyards to bid on maintenance and refit work and small vessel construction for the Government of Canada.

Canadian Coast Guard Project Authority Levels

Since 2009/10, Coast Guard has followed a new departmental investment planning framework. Using a Project Complexity & Risk Assessment (PCRA) protocol, the framework requires that all projects be ranked on a scale of one to four by assessing their complexity and risk. A score of four denotes a high level of risk and complexity while a score of one represents the lowest possible value.

Fisheries and Oceans Canada is also ranked as a department, under the Organizational Project Management Capacity Assessment (OPMCA) protocol. Using the same scale of one to four, DFO is ranked to qualify its ability and capacity to manage investment projects. Projects with PCRA scores equal or lower to the Department’s OPMCA score are within the Department’s approval authority and does not therefore need to receive project approval from the Treasury Board Secretariat. With a long history of successful project management, Fisheries and Oceans Canada is expected to receive a score of three in 2011. This score would mean that the department has the capacity to successfully deliver projects to achieve evolutionary strategic objectives.

With no projects currently projected to be over a score of three in Coast Guard’s Integrated Investment Plan, this new framework will provide the Agency with some flexibility for rapid project execution. Furthermore, it will decrease the number of Treasury Board (TB) submissions Coast Guard will need to prepare compared to previous years.

The new authority delegation given to the Agency is displayed in Chart 6. Only projects with PCRA ratings of four or those requiring additional funding will demand Treasury Board approval. The Directors General of Coast Guard’s Centres of Expertise, the Deputy Commissioners, the Commissioner and the Deputy Minister all have varying degrees of authority contingent on projects scores.

Chart 6 - New Internal Delegation of Authority Signing Matrix
Project Complexity and Risk Assessment Rating Risk Total Estimated Cost (millions) - Excluding Taxes Internal Delegation of Authority Signing Matrix
4 Extreme above $1M TB
3 High $1M - $5M Associate Deputy Minister / Commissioner, CCG
above $5M Deputy Minister
2 Medium $1M - $10M Assistant Deputy Minister / Deputy Commissioner, CCG
above $10M Associate Deputy Minister / Commissioner, CCG
1 Low $1M - $10M Centre of Expertise, Director General
above $10M Assistant Deputy Minister / Deputy Commissioner, CCG