James Parsons


Climate change, with the possibility of an ice free Arctic ocean by 2015, has generated a renewed interest in the Arctic. This interest is being driven by the possibility of easier access to the abundant supply of resources such as oil, gas, minerals, and fisheries. Interest in Arctic tourism is also growing. Retreating sea ice will provide opportunities to avail of shorter routes for maritime traffic to and from Asia, North America, and Asia via the Arctic Ocean and Northwest Passage. In addition, the rate of population growth of local inhabitants in the Canadian Arctic is the fastest in Canada and one of the fastest in the world. A growing population will increase the demand for sealift resupply to Canada's northern communities. This work presents the first attempt to examine the role of privatization of icebreaking services in light of the present and projected shortages of infrastructure to support development in the Arctic. A unique combination of multiple methods within marine transportation, comprising of Delphi, grounded theory, and quantitative survey, is applied to investigate the potential for private involvement in the delivery of icebreaking services in the Canadian Arctic. This includes a novel application of Strauss and Corbin's Grounded Theory approach to develop hypotheses and relationships grounded in expert opinion. Although the Arctic Ocean may be ice free during the summers, there is still the issue of winter freezing and the threat of lingering multi-year ice which will impede marine transportation especially during periods of darkness and fog. The research shows that the future growth and development of the Canadian Arctic will undoubtedly require the use of designated icebreakers and ice strengthened vessels. However, Canada's fleet of Arctic icebreakers is ageing and considered unsuitable for future demands. While Canada has earmarked CAD $750M for the construction of one new icebreaker scheduled for delivery in 2017, the research shows that Icebreakers can be built outside of Canada for considerably less money and in less time. Also, the management and operation of the Canadian Coast Guard is under considerable security by the Auditor General of Canada. The research shows that not unlike others Arctic nations, there is potential for the creation of private-public partnerships in the delivery of Canadian Coast Guard services, principally icebreaking, in the Arctic.

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