FOIPOP Findings: CME

This week, the FOIPOP findings are just going to be a jumping off point for a check-in with everybody’s favorite Northside shipyard — the one operated by Canadian Maritime Engineering on the property formerly known as Archibald’s Wharf.

I’ve covered the controversial sale of that property in detail — this is probably the most comprehensive article — and generally, the port documents I received from CBRM revealed nothing I hadn’t already known about the deal, except port promoter Barry Sheehy’s response to it, which is worth publishing.

Canadian Maritime Engineering Ltd. sign, North Sydney

Canadian Maritime Engineering Ltd., North Sydney

In a 20 December email to Mike Moore, the consultant hired by Clarke through Business Cape Breton to work on the “port team, on which his partner Albert Barbusci and CBRM Mayor Cecil Clarke were CCed, Sheehy wrote:

Mike, Congratulations on closing the CME deal. With a hundred new jobs on the table. I am astonished you still had two votes against. Some people are dim witted beyond redemption.

Ouch.

Sheehy was referring to a December 19 vote to amend the CBRM planning strategy to allow the sale, which had already been approved in theory by council.

The vote took place after a public consultation program Nova Scotia’s Ombudsman would later describe as inadequate — a program organized by a committee that included Clarke and CBRM CAO Michael Merritt.

District 5 Councilor Eldon MacDonald and District 3 Councilor Mae Rowe are the “dim witted beyond redemption” councilors who voted against it; MacDonald because he felt the process had been “severely flawed” and that he “did not have sufficient time to review the documentation provided;” Rowe because she felt that while they may have followed the letter of the law in terms of process, they hadn’t followed its spirit. Other councilors didn’t share their concerns and the amendment passed by a vote of 12 to 2.

Eldon MacDonald is the only member of this December 2014 council still in office, and he is a staunch supporter of the port scheme and its promoters.

Go figure.

 

100 Jobs

Reading Sheehy’s confident prediction of “100 jobs” resulting from CME’s North Sydney operations reminded me I hadn’t checked in on the shipyard’s progress in awhile.

Nova Scotia Business Inc (NSBI) granted CME a payroll rebate worth a maximum of $1.4 million in 2016, in expectation the company would create a maximum of 80 (not 100) new jobs and spend $17.5 million on salaries.

CME is required, under the terms of this agreement, to file progress reports every six months.

I looked them up this week and discovered that CME has claimed $279,073.04 of the $1.4 million or 20%.

Calculating exactly how many jobs have been created in North Sydney is difficult but I think it’s worth noting that the shipyard is not employing most people full-time, as is illustrated sharply in the reports, where you can see CME reporting 16 new workers but only 5 FTEs or 20 workers and just 7.12 FTEs.

Its North Sydney workforce contracted in 2019 before rising again in 2020 when the shipyard was awarded the HMCS Kingston repair and upgrade contract.

 

October 2015 to March 2016

CME payroll rebate report Oct 2016 to March 2017

Amount disbursed to date: $0

 

April to September 2016

CME payroll rebate progress April to Sept 2016

Amount disbursed to date: $0

 

October 2016 to March 2017

CME Payroll Rebate report October 2016 to March 2017

 

Amount disbursed to date: $0

 

April to September 2017

CME payroll report April to Sept 2017

Amount disbursed to date: $0

 

October 2017 to March 2018

CME payroll report October 2017 to March 2018

Amount disbursed to date: $84,000.

 

April to September 2018

CME Payroll report April to Sept 2018

Amount disbursed to date: $84,000.

 

October 2018 to March 2019

CME Payroll report October 2018 to March 2019

Amount disbursed to date: $279,073.04

 

April to September 2019

CME Payroll report April to Sept 2019

Amount disbursed to date: $279,073.04

 

October 2019 to March 2020

CME October 2019 to March 2020

Amount disbursed to date: $279,073.04

 

CME payroll report April to Sept 2020

Amount disbursed to date: $279,073.04

 

 

Innovative Vessels

In December 2018, CME was granted an innovation rebate worth a maximum of $756,473 if it met two goals:

  1. For the company to have commenced their innovative vessel manufacturing project to which the incentive relates.
  2. For the company to have made eligible expenditures in Nova Scotia totaling $3,160,890 by the Project completion date of March, 2020.

CME has received no funding as a result of this rebate and in its last report, filed in December 2020, requested a one-year extension.

 

October 2018 to March 2019

CME innovation rebate report Oct.2018 to March 2019

Total disbursed to date: $0

 

April 2019 to September 2019

CME innovation rebate report April to Sept 2019

Total disbursed to date: $0

 

October 2019 to March 2020

The report states clearly that;

A recipient of economic development assistance from the Province of Nova Scotia is required by law to submit a report every 6 months on their progress in meeting the targets or timelines defined in their agreement with the Province.

But CME didn’t submit a report for this period. NSBI wrote:

The company did not submit a progress report for this reporting period and is currently not in compliance with the Act.

 

April to September 2020

CME Innovation Rebate report April-Sept 2020

 

Total disbursed to date: $0

 

The company has not received any government money under this program to date. Its next update will be for the period ending March 2021.