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  • Investing in innovation for global competitiveness

Investing in innovation for global competitiveness

Monday, July 23, 2018

We employ 225 people, and being proud of what we accomplish at the end of the day is very important for us. When people drive by and see all the cars in our parking lot, and see our people working hard, it means the dock is full. It means the economy in southwestern Nova Scotia is moving forward.

Gilles Theriault, Managing Director

A.F. Theriault & Son Ltd.

Gilles Theriault is passionate about rural Nova Scotia. As Managing Director of A.F. Theriault & Son Ltd., he oversees Nova Scotia’s oldest and largest family-owned shipyard. Over its 80-year history, the company has built more than 800 vessels of up to 45 metres (150 feet) at its yard in Meteghan River, Nova Scotia. 

Taking the next step

To expand its capacity and increase export sales, the company is undertaking a $6.65-million capital investment. The expansion of its marine railway’s capacity to 1500 tonnes, up from its current 600 tonnes, will enable the company to produce larger boats and work on multiple projects at once. The company is also modifying its yard facilities and purchasing new equipment. 

A.F. Theriault & Son is the first client approved by NSBI for its new Innovation Rebate Program, which can incent companies in Nova Scotia to undertake capital investments to increase their competitiveness in global markets. 


“The infrastructure upgrade is to keep customers satisfied, but it’s also important for our family, our employees, and our community – to keep A.F. Theriault thriving in rural Nova Scotia,” says Theriault. 

The expansion is expected to add 40 new skilled jobs over and above the construction jobs associated with the project. 


Building for local

The company is in the final stage of delivering the fifth vessel in its contract to build five new ferries for Halifax–Dartmouth. Theriault is proud they were built by Nova Scotians from start to finish. 

“A vessel gets built, fabricated, launched, sea trialed, ready to go fishing or on to its job, by our staff,” Theriault says. “To achieve that takes a lot of hard work. Since we’re in rural Nova Scotia, it’s surprising we can keep all the trades and tradesmen on staff to achieve it.” 

A.F. Theriault & Son works equally hard to keep its employees working, even when times are slow, and its loyalty to staff is reflected back. 

“Some of our people have been working with us for 35, 40 years,” Theriault says. 

The Innovation Rebate is providing A.F. Theriault and Son a 25 per cent rebate of eligible project costs. The company has been approved for a maximum rebate of $1.54 million upon completion of its project.