News release

HMCS Harry DeWolf First Ship Commissioned from National Shipbuilding Contract

Premier Iain Rankin, also Minister responsible for Military Relations, today, June 26, participated in the commissioning of Her Majesty’s Canadian Ship (HMCS) Harry DeWolf, the Royal Canadian Navy’s (RCN’s) lead ship in its class of Arctic Offshore Patrol Vessels.

The Harry DeWolf is the first ship completed as part of the National Shipbuilding Procurement Strategy and was built at Irving Shipbuilding’s Halifax Shipyard.

“Nova Scotia has long been known for its expertise in shipbuilding, and now we have the first commissioned vessel ready for deployment,” said Premier Rankin. “The economic value of these ship contracts is vital to Nova Scotia, providing millions of dollars in direct and indirect impact. Over 1,100 Nova Scotians were directly employed in the construction of HMCS Harry DeWolf at the Halifax Shipyard, and the construction of the remaining ships will provide opportunities for thousands more. Since 2015, 2,100 employees were hired in Halifax alone, with more jobs to come.”

In support of the multi-billion-dollar shipbuilding contract awarded to Irving Shipbuilding, the Government of Nova Scotia launched programs to help Nova Scotian workers and companies take part in shipbuilding opportunities, including partnering to provide the Pathways to Shipbuilding program.

The Pathways to Shipbuilding program provides equitable access to opportunities, programs and training for Nova Scotians who are historically underrepresented in the shipbuilding trades. Through the program, women, African Nova Scotians, and Indigenous people are able to gain skills allowing them to take part in shipbuilding opportunities. More than 65 apprentices from underrepresented groups have completed the Pathways program.

“Many Nova Scotian families have long histories serving our country on land, sea and in the sky,” said Premier Rankin. “I want to congratulate them today, along with all our expert shipbuilders on the momentous commissioning of the Harry DeWolf into the service of the Royal Canadian Navy. It’s a proud day for Nova Scotia and for our country.”


“Irving Shipbuilding and its many partners take great pride in seeing HMCS Harry DeWolf officially join the Canadian Navy. Today’s commissioning is proof that Canada’s bold initiative to revive its shipbuilding industry is working. As the lead vessel of the Arctic and Offshore Patrol Ship (AOPS), our Navy has taken Harry through many demanding trials since delivery last July and achieved one success after another. Irving’s new generation of talented shipbuilders is ready to meet the challenges that lie ahead, with the remainder of the Navy AOPS ships on track, the Coast Guard AOPS variant completing the design phase, and design and build plans well underway on the new Canadian Surface Combatant.” – Kevin Mooney, president, Irving Shipbuilding

“I was looking for a new career path with opportunity for growth. I’d worked in male-dominated professions all my adult life – I knew I could do anything I put my mind to. It’s an unexplainable feeling to know that you’ve worked on something that may very well outlive you. I’m incredibly proud.” – Antonia Wareham, graduate of the first Pathways to Shipbuilding Program in 2015, and currently a Journeyman Welder and mentor at the Halifax Shipyard.

Quick Facts:

  • the Pathways program is funded through federal and provincial governments, and with support from the Nova Scotia Apprenticeship Agency, Nova Scotia Community College, Irving Shipbuilding, Unifor and many community partners such as Women Unlimited, the East Preston Empowerment Academy and Mi’kmaw Native Friendship Centre
  • the ship is named after Vice-Admiral Harry DeWolf, a former head of the Royal Canadian Navy from Bedford, this is the first time that a class of ships will be named after a prominent Canadian navy figure in the RCN’s 108-year history
  • the Harry DeWolf will help to assert Canadian sovereignty in Arctic and coastal Canadian waters in addition to supporting international operations as required. It will deploy for its first mission in August

Additional Resources:

The Conference Board of Canada - Value for Money Economic Impact of the Halifax Shipyard Under the National Shipbuilding Strategy:

Government of Canada – Harry DeWolf-class Arctic and Offshore Patrol Ships:

Royal Canadian Navy – Harry DeWolf-class Factsheet:

Irving Shipyard – Ships Built for Canada:

Irving Shipyard – HMCS Harry DeWolf Test & Trials: