The federal government has reached a deal with a Quebec firm for three new icebreakers for the coast guard.

Public Services and Procurement Canada has issued an advanced contract award notice to Chantier Davie of Levis to acquire and convert three medium commercial icebreakers.

The department says the first ship should be on duty this winter.

The deal allows other interested suppliers 15 days to speak up if they wish to bid on the contract and submit a statement of capabilities that meets the requirements laid out in the contract notice.

The announcement is a boost for Davie and the Quebec government, both of which have been demanding more federal work for the shipyard after it laid off 800 workers late last year.

The layoffs came as Davie completed a contract to provide an interim supply ship to the navy.