MCDV Build Contractor Team

Tags:  papers 
Author: Tony Thatcher
Published: May 10th 2017
Updated: 4 years ago


A. The Fenco Team
The Fenco Team in 1989 at the time of the submission of the Project Definition proposal included the following multi-discipline companies (First Tier Subcontractors):

  • Halifax-Dartmouth Industries Limited (HDIL), Halifax, Nova Scotia
  • Ship Design and Ship Construction Lead Yard Subcontractor
  • Thomson-CSF Systems (TCSC) Canada Inc., Nepean, Ontario - Integrated Logistics Support and Combat Systems Subcontractor
  • MacDonald Dettwiler & Associates (MDA), Richmond, British Columbia - Combat Systems Integration and Integrated Logistics Support Subcontractor
  • Eduplus Management Group Inc., Montreal, Quebec - Training Development Subcontractor
  • National Boring and Sounding (NBS) Inc., Montreal, Quebec - Quality Assurance and Control Subcontractor (A division of Lavalin Inc.)

By 1992 it had been decided not to use NBS and do the QA function within the project. Originally the training development was to be done in-house by Lavalin Formation Inc. however about 1990 this division was sold and became Eduplus.

B. Corporate Profiles
i) Fenco Engineers Inc – Prime Contractor
Fenco Engineers Inc. was a Canadian company, based in Willowdale, Ontario, which provided project management, systems integration, contract and material management, engineering and construction services for major programs. The company was established in 1953 as Foundation Engineering Corporation of Canada, and, in 1975, was acquired by Lavalin Inc. In 1993 Fenco Engineers changed its name to Fenco MacLaren Inc, when it was merged with another SNC-Lavalin unit, MacLaren Engineering, and in 2001 the name was changed again to SNC-Lavalin Defence Programs Inc (SLDPI). At that time the reporting relationship changed within SNC-Lavalin Group and SLDPI became a business unit of SNC-Lavalin ProFac.

SNC was founded in 1911 as Arthur Surveyor & Co. The name changed in 1947 to Surveyor, Nenniger and Chenevert Inc. The company became public in 1986.
The Lavalin Group had its origins in the civil engineering company Lalonde et Valois, which was founded in 1936. By 1955, the company had established a reputation in public works projects in Quebec and Ontario. In the 1970s, the Group was incorporated under the name of Lavalin Inc. to better express its national and international stature.
Both firms worked internationally since the 1960s and by the 1980s were Canada’s two largest engineering construction companies. In 1991, they joined forces as SNC-Lavalin Inc., and ranked among the world’s leading professional consulting engineering construction firms.

Major defence and communications projects in which Fenco and other Lavalin companies participated prior to 1990 included:

    Canadian On-Line Secure Information and Communications External Affairs (Fenco Engineers, Prime Contractor)

  • CASP
    Canadian Airspace Systems Plan Transport Canada (Fenco Engineers Subcontractor)

  • HLVW
    Heavy Logistics Vehicle, Wheeled National Defence (UTDC Inc., Prime Contractor with support from Fenco Engineers)

  • NWS-O&M
    North Warning System Operation and Maintenance National Defence (National Boring and Sounding, Subcontractor)

In 1979 Lavalin Inc. submitted a proposal for the Project Definition of the Canadian Patrol Frigate, but was not selected by National Defence as one of the two finalists chosen. During the 1980’s Lavalin was positioning itself for a major role in the potential nuclear submarine project for National Defence, but it was eventually cancelled. Participation in the MCDV project was seen a logical follow-on. Fenco MacLaren employed up to about 45 people in Nepean, Halifax (in-site in HDIL) and Vancouver (on-site MDA) during the implementation contract.

ii) Halifax Dartmouth Industries Ltd (HDIL)
Halifax Dartmouth Industries Ltd (HDIL) consisted of the shipyard in Halifax, which had been in operation since 1886, and Dartmouth Marine Slips Ltd on the other side of the harbour. At the start of the MCDV contract several private investors owned HDIL and the Nova Scotia government provided some financial guarantees for HDIL for the MCDV project. The Irving Group purchased HDIL in March 1994 at which time they were operating yards in Saint John NB, where the Canadian Patrol Frigates (CPF) were built, and one in Georgetown, PEI (East Isle Shipyard). The Dartmouth slips was subsequently closed and HDIL was renamed Halifax Shipyard Ltd. (HSL). During the period that the MCDVs were building Irving made some well-needed improvements to the yard.

From 1945–1960 the work in HDIL mostly comprised of naval construction and included 4 destroyers and 4 destroyer escorts. Between 1960-1972 the shipyard produced 28 mid-water trawlers. During the 70’s saw the production of 7 semi-submersible oil drill rigs and the first ever dynamically positioned ship. The 80’s saw a return to trawler construction (8) and the construction of an icebreaker for the Canadian Coast Guard. HDIL was also active in ship repair throughout the period. The MCDV contract was probably a very welcome one.

HDIL’s design agent for MCDV was German Marine Inc (GMI) located in Dartmouth, NS, which had been formed during the 1980’s by one of the partners of German & Milne (G&M). German & Milne (G&M), Ottawa contributed to GMI’s proposal and then acted as a subcontractor to GMI for parts of the Project Definition Phase. Part of the deal was that G&M would get a proportional part of Implementation Phase engineering if the Fenco Team won the Implementation contract. However after about a year of this arrangement G&M went into receivership and GMI terminated the relationship. The owners of HDIL also held ownership of GMI so when Irving purchased HDIL in 1994, GMI also became part of Irving. Some personnel were transferred to HSL and some to Saint John Naval Systems (Also Irving-owned) in Halifax where a number of persons had been transferred at the close-out of CPF. This later was merged with Fleetway after Irving bought that company.

iii) Thomson-CSF Systems Canada
Incorporated in 1984 as Thomson-CSF Systems Canada (TCSC) (Thales Systems Canada as of December 2000) its focus was as a combat systems integrator and considered itself as one of Canada’s leading Command, Control, and Communications (C3) systems integration companies. TCSC, located in Nepean, Ont was a wholly owned subsidiary of Thomson-CSF, France. At that time the MCDV project was one of the largest mission systems integration projects in which TCSC had participated. TCSC employed up to about 40 engineering and technical personnel over the seven year implementation phase.

iv) MacDonald Dettwiler &Associates
MacDonald Dettwiler &Associates (MDA) was a Canadian company started in 1969 and based in Richmond, BC. It was a leading developer of ground-based computer systems for the processing of commercial Earth images from satellites. MDA intended to apply technologies developed for satellite image processing systems as well as to build on the experience the firm had gained in research work for DND in naval mine-hunting. About 1995 MDA was purchased by Orbital Sciences Corp. of Dulles, VA. MDA employed up to about 45 project, engineering, software and technical personnel over the seven year implementation phase.

v) Eduplus Management Group Inc.
Eduplus Inc (later EduplusManagement Group) was founded in 1992. Eduplus was one of the largest training and human resource development companies in Canada. Eduplus offered a full range of training services in designing and developing training programs, from the needs analysis to the conduct of training, through the identification of training and instructional strategies and the selection of training methods and media options. Eduplus was purchased by Tecsult in about 1995 and the company name was changed to Tecsult Eduplus.


  1. Fenco Engineers brochure circa 1991
  2. MCDV commissioning handouts circa 1995
  3. Fenco Engineers handout circa 1989
  4. Halifax Shipyard handout circa 1996
  7. Email Frank Smith, Fleetway Inc (ex PM MCDV for GMI) 18 June 2004