Our Evolving Role in Trade

As the world was rebuilding in 1946, Canada had the means but not the mechanism to assist governments of other nations in their efforts. The Government of Canada responded with the creation of the Canadian Commercial Corporation (CCC). This new government organization was formed to deliver the critical Canadian resources desperately needed by European Governments for reconstruction efforts and was designed to offer rapid acquisitions to meet critical needs while maintaining careful control over the significant public funds it was managing for these purchases. 

In 1956, CCC was given responsibility for Government of Canada support of the Canada-US Defence Production Sharing Agreement (DPSA). Under the DPSA, CCC acts as prime contractor on almost all US Department of Defense purchases from Canada. 

CCC has evolved since that time but remains true to its original commitment to provide governments around the world with access to quality Canadian products and services under its business lines of Global Defence and Security and International Commercial Business.


  • 1946: CCC is created as a Crown corporation by an Act of Parliament. Its mandate is to support the reconstruction of post-World War II Europe, led by the  U.S. under the Marshall Plan. Major shipments and projects include sending 23,700 horses to Europe, $4 million in automotive parts to United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration, $4 million in steel bridging to China and $62 million of ship construction for France.
  • 1947 – 1951: CCC functions as the domestic procurement agency for Canada’s Department of National Defence.
  • 1953: After the Korean Armistice, CCC steps in as the purchasing agent for the United Nations Korean Reconstruction Agency.
  • 1956: The Government of Canada and the United States Department of Defense (U.S. DoD) formalize their defence procurement relationship by signing the Defence Production Sharing Agreement (DPSA). The document situates CCC as the defence cooperation procurement portal for most contracts awarded to Canadian firms, recognizing the importance of the integrated nature of the North American defence industrial base.
  • 1961: Attained $1 billion in contract volume with the U.S. DoD, with contract inquiries from U.S. military departments hitting nearly 6,000—and jumping to 9,000 the next year, demonstrating the U.S. DoD’s trust in CCC and their interest in Canadian products and capabilities. 
  • 1962: Following the success of the DPSA, NASA signs an agreement to establish a similar level of support to NASA for contracts awarded to Canadian firms through CCC.
  • 1963: Canada and the U.S. DoD sign the Defence Development Sharing Agreement (DDSA) to promote joint funding of research and development projects conducted by Canadian companies. Contracts awarded under this program are managed by CCC in the same manner as DPSA contracts.
  • 1968: Canada’s external aid commitments continue to grow, and the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) (now a part of Global Affairs Canada) is established to manage most of Canada’s development assistance budget. Due to the Corporation’s experience in providing international aid, CCC is chosen to act as CIDA’s (now a part of GAC) primary purchaser. 
  • 1970: CCC’s role as CIDA’s (now a part of GAC) procurement agency for the World Food and International Food program expands, and the Corporation makes substantial purchases of Canadian wheat for distribution overseas.
  • 1975: Signing, with SPAR Aerospace (now MDA Corporation), a five-year agreement with NASA to develop the Canadarm. Launched in 1981, the Canadarm became one of Canada’s most recognizable contributions to the U.S. space program.
  • 1976: The Corporation brings Canadian technological expertise to the renowned Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope project, helping build a world-class optical/infrared telescope located at the summit of Mauna Kea Mountain in Hawaii. 
  • 1987: CCC is involved in a number of development projects around the world, including a hospital in Ivory Coast, a measles vaccination plant for UNICEF and water well-drilling equipment in Belize. 
  • 1992: CCC signs contracts for next-generation Light Armoured Vehicles (LAVs) produced by General Motors, selling the first models to Australia.
  • 1996: The Corporation celebrates its golden anniversary. 
  • 1998: CCC begins procuring vitamin A capsules on behalf of the Micronutrient Initiative, an Ottawa-based not-for-profit organization working with CIDA (now a part of GAC) and UNICEF to address malnutrition in the developing world. By 2006, the program provided nearly 4 billion capsules to malnourished children in over 70 developing countries, saving well over 2 million lives. 
  • 2002: Amendments to the Canadian Commercial Corporation Act strengthen CCC’s governance by separating the position of Board Chair from that of President, modernizing its borrowing authority and sharpening its commercial focus. In keeping with commitments undertaken by the Government of Canada at the Kananaskis G-8 Summit, CCC coordinates the selection of a fund manager for the $200M Canada Investment Fund for Africa (CIFA) in support of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD). 
  • 2004: CCC serves as the platform for procuring and transferring transport helicopters to the African Union for Sudan, associated with Canada’s Global Peace and Security Fund. 
  • 2005: Working with Canada’s Aecon Construction, the Corporation won a significant contract to design and build Ecuador’s New Quito International Airport.
  • 2006: CCC celebrates its 60th anniversary, and the DPSA enters its 50th year of service. 
  • 2006: CCC begins to sign Memoranda of Agreement with Ministries of Defence for defence and security purchases from Canada.
  • 2007: CCC signs a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with DFAIT (now part of GAC) to support the Global Peace and Security Fund, which includes the Stabilization and Reconstruction Task Force (START), the Counter-Terrorism Capacity Building Program (CTCBP) and the Global Partnership Program (GPP). This makes CCC the Procurement Agent of choice for the Department, facilitating the delivery of goods and services for international end-use and assisting GAC in meeting its stabilization and reconstruction priorities. 
  • 2007: CCC signs a Procurement Services Agreement with the Royal Norwegian Air Force for C130 and P3 aircraft.
  • 2010: CCC supports START with disaster relief and reconstruction in Haiti, disaster relief in Pakistan, and construction in other countries such as Kyrgyzstan.
  • 2012: CCC’s DPSA business line introduces significant process improvement initiatives to better serve Canadian companies wishing to contract with the U.S. DoD and NASA.
  • 2014: CCC signs the largest advanced manufacturing export contract in Canadian history with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. It is estimated that some 500 companies in Canada, across all provinces, will be used to deliver the contract. Additionally, there are 3,000 direct and indirect jobs per year across all regions in Canada that benefit as a result of this contract.
  • 2015: CCC signs over $225 million in export contracts with the Peruvian Ministries of Defense and Interior to supply vehicles, aircraft, military classroom training equipment and shelter systems.
  • 2016: CCC signs a contract for the construction of a new port management terminal and parking facility at the Ghanaian Port of Tema. A substantial infrastructure project, it will expand the Port by 40 acres, bringing the total size of the port to 65 acres. The new terminal will feature: customs and GPHA administrative offices, mechanical workshops, food services, parking structures and improved access roads The port of Tema currently handles 85 per cent of Ghana’s import and export cargo.
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