Canadian Surface Combatant Land-Based Testing Facility: Frequently Asked Questions


Frequently Asked Questions

What is the extent of the community consultations DND has undertaken? Will there be more community engagement?

DND is committed to being open, honest, and transparent in its communication with the community to ensure the people of Eastern Passage understand what is being built and how it will affect them. 

In March 2022, the first community engagement session took place with the public. 

On October 28, 2022, a project update was completed on Trident News. On November 4, 2022, this was followed by a mass mail out to the local community. 

Between November 17 and 25, 2022, the project conducted introductory phone calls with local leaders representing community groups such as hiking, birding, environment, etc. In addition, between December 12 and 16, 2022, the project offered in-person meetings with community groups.  

On December 22, 2022, a project update was completed on the Trident News website.

The project organized a second Community Engagement Session on January 31, 2023. 

Project updates continued to be posted on the Trident News website in February 2023, March 2023,  April 2023, May 2023 and September 2023.

We will continue to seek feedback from stakeholders on how to adjust our communications and work with the community to address concerns in the spirit of continuous improvement.

Building Location 

Why is this being built at Hartlen Point?

Land-Based Testing Facility site selection bulletin click here.

Health and Safety of Emitters

Are there any potential risks to either human health or the environment from long-term operation of emitters at this facility?

The health and safety of Canadians and protection of the surrounding environment is our foremost priority. As such, we will take all necessary steps to ensure the safety of all, including the general public and defence team personnel, while building and operating the LBTF. We are also working with Innovation, Science and Economic Development (ISED) Canada to ensure the LBTF has all necessary licenses and authorities to operate safely at Hartlen point. 

The operation of emitters at Hartlen Point will comply with Government of Canada, Department of National Defence, and Health Canada policies and directives to ensure these operations are safely managed. 

Among these policies is Health Canada Safety Code 6, one of a series of safety codes that provides protection guidance for radio frequency devices. This policy is based on scientific studies and evidence that investigate potential biological and adverse health effects, including thermal and non-thermal effects and establishes exposure limits to ensure Radio Frequency emitting devices remain within their safety limits and don’t adversely affect the health and safety of personnel in the surrounding environment. These policies currently govern the operation of existing coastal Radio Frequency emitting facilities and sea going platforms, and will govern the LBTF emitter operation as well.

While we’re still examining the future impacts on our own future LBTF, there are a number of these types of facilities that are operated by our Allies across the world. Examples include the Maritime Integration and Support Centre in Portsmouth, UK, and the Combat System Engineering Development Site in Moorestown, NJ USA.

Environmental Assessment

What environmental assessments have been done to date and have they been done by third party experts? 

DND acknowledges and respects the thriving biodiversity and ecosystem at Hartlen Point.

On behalf of DND, third party, unbiased, experts have conducted a number of environmental studies over four seasons. Public concerns regarding impact to environment, wildlife, and birds were taken into account. The following studies were done:

  • Soil Characterization by SNC Lavalin (SNCL) – click here for the full-length report (English only).
  • Wetland Assessment by Canadian British Consulting Limited (CBCL) – click here for the full-length report (English only).
  • Bird and Bat Assessment by Canadian British Consulting Limited (CBCL) – click here for the full-length report (English only).
  • Environment Effects Determination by Stantec – click here for the full-length report (English only).

What do the environmental assessments account for and how is accountability ensured?

An Environmental Effects Determination report is an independent, third-party study. It examines potential effects the project might have on the environment and the area where we’re planning to build, as well as what we may do to mitigate those impacts. Following the Environmental Effects Determination report is a standard part of DND infrastructure development, and it is conducted by a professional third-party. While general public input is not typically part of the Environmental Effects Determination report, we are working with all relevant regulatory bodies, including Environment and Climate Change Canada, to ensure we meet the required environmental legislation and regulations.

  • The Environmental Effects Determination for the Land-Based Testing Facility project is now finalized and is available here.

Regarding accountability, DND is governed by the process as put forth by the Impact Assessment Agency of Canada, the agency that dictates how the Environmental Effects Determination is conducted. Additional information on the process is available here.

DND must also follow a variety of environmental legislation, policies, and guidelines. Those include:


  • Impact Assessment Act 
  • Canadian Environmental Protection Act 
  • Fisheries Act 
  • Species At Risk Act 
  • Migratory Birds Convention Act 
  • Federal Sustainable Development Act
  • Canada Labour Code (Part II – Occupational Health and Safety) 
  • CCME Environmental Quality Guidelines 
  • Federal Policy on Wetland Conservation
  • Aboriginal Consultation and Accommodation: Updated Guidelines for Federal Officials to Fulfill the Legal Duty to Consult


  • NS Environmental Protection Act 
  • NS Occupational Health and Safety Act 
  • NS Endangered Species Act
  • Applicable Halifax Regional Municipality by-laws (i.e., N-200 Noise, S-600 Solid Waste Collection and Disposal, W-101 Wastewater Discharge)   
  • Guidelines for Disposal of Contaminated Solids in Landfills
  • Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry Survey Protocol for Species at Risk Bats within Treed Habitats (2017)

Department of National Defence (DND)

  • DND Directive Regarding Environmental Impact Assessment (and Interim EIA Direction)
  • DND Contaminated Sites Instruction CSI.004.001 Soil Management
  • Aide-Memoire for DND Employees and CAF Members on the Common Law Duty to Consult with Indigenous Groups
  • DND No Idling Policy
  • Applicable MARLANT SEMS Directives (i.e., #E1 Spill Prevention and Reporting, #E2 Contaminated Sites Management, #E2 Annex A Protocol for Handling Impacted Soil)
  • B-GL-381- 003/TS-000, Range and Unexploded Explosive Ordnance (UXO) Clearance Handbook

The Environmental Effects Determination report is completed in accordance with the cited regulations above, as well as input provided via the Community Engagement Sessions from March 2022 and January 2023, regulatory stakeholder engagement, and other stakeholder engagement. Other environmental baseline studies that have been conducted by various consultants at the site including bird, wetland and vegetation surveys, feed into the EED, as well as preliminary engineering input. The EED describes the project components and activities and assess potential effects on physical, biological and socioeconomic components. Mitigation (e.g., best management practices, adherence to DND directives) are proposed to reduce adverse effects and residual (post-mitigation) effects are characterized.  

Finally, DND is collaborating with governmental regulatory authorities, including but not limited to Environment and Climate Change Canada and the Department or Fisheries and Oceans. DND legally must comply with these regulatory authorities. 

Traffic Assessment

Will construction and operations of the building increase traffic risks where it becomes a concern to residents and the public?

We recognize that there are concerns about increased traffic in the region and we take those concerns very seriously, especially the safety of our neighbors in areas where we build and operate.

As part of this project, we undertook a traffic study to determine the potential impacts on traffic in the area during construction, as well as when the facility is operational. The summary of results from the draft report was shared publicly at the January 31, 2023 Community Engagement Session.

 The Traffic Impact Statement for the Land-Based Testing Facility project is now finalized and is available here.

Near-shore and Coastal Access

Will construction or operation of this facility impact near-shore or coastal access?

Regarding coastal access, once the construction of the facility begins, access to the immediate area around the facility will be restricted for operational security and public safety reasons. This could potentially include areas up to the water’s edge but is not expected to affect areas in the water. The details of what those security constraints will include are still being determined. 

Once operational, there may be limited access during brief operational periods. DND is also making every effort so that there is no need for a permanent exclusion zone at Hartlen Point once the facility is operational.


Why is the construction delayed now from March 2024 to winter 2025?

The building design is being done in parallel with ship design, meaning that the facility’s design progress relies on detailed specifications of various ship requirements. This iterative design process has impacted the LBTF design and construction milestones. Due to this, early site preparation work will continue until fall 2024 and construction will begin in winter 2025 (as early as January 2025). This is an intentionally flexible and risk-based approach for successful and timely delivery of this complex project. 


Why is there a 24/7 security presence at the site at the time of early site preparation and construction?

DND, in coordination with its contractors, is committed to ensuring a safe and secure work site for the safety and protection of both its workers and the public. Security presence is required to ensure access control to the site in accordance with security and health and safety parameters. 

Members of the public are asked to be respectful when communicating with security contractors and construction personnel who are working at Hartlen Point

What are the significant differences between Hartlen Point Land-Based Testing Facility (LBTF) and Seaspan Shipyard in the Port of Vancouver, which is being built directly across the Harbor from downtown Vancouver? 

The Hartlen Point LBTF and Seaspan Shipyard Land-Based Test Site are completely different in scope, size, and complexity, and each project serves a different purpose.

The Hartlen Point LBTF project will deliver a new, purpose-built testing facility for the design, integration, testing, evaluation, and accreditation of equipment for new Canadian Surface Combatant ships and regular upgrades throughout these ships’ lifecycle. This facility will be used to test and integrate the ships’ capabilities, including electronic, radio and radar systems, before being installed on actual vessels. There are no existing facilities in Canada that provide this specific capability.

Separately, the Seaspan Shipyard provides shipyard services including new construction, maintenance, repair, etc. Although the Seaspan shipyard is incorporating a Land-Based Test Site, the ship components they are testing there are for the Canadian Coast Guard, which are completely different vessels with different testing and integration requirements. This facility and its site location are unable to support Canadian Surface Combatant requirements.

National Defence continuously seeks opportunities to optimize use of facilities, as a sound steward, as well as to promote collaboration and create synergies.  In this case, however, there is no opportunity to leverage joint use between the two projects given they are supporting very different requirements and capabilities.

Contact Us

Email us about the project and subscribe to our email list to receive updates about the project at: