SIU Federal Court Filing Regarding Foreign Seafarers on board CTMA Vessels

*this document has been amended to protect the identity of those mentioned*

Court File No. IMM-6710-19

FEDERAL COURT

 

Seafarers’ International Union of Canada

Applicant

The Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, The Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Canada, and The Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour Canada

Respondents

APPLICATION FOR LEAVE and for JUDICIAL REVIEW

ON NOTICE TO:  Coopérative de transport maritime et aérien

435, chemin Avila-Arseneau

Cap-aux-Meules, QC G4T IJ3

 

XXXXXXXXX

   XXXXXXXXXX

  XXXXXXX

 

TO THE RESPONDENTS:

AN APPLICATION FOR LEAVE TO COMMENCE AN APPLICATION FOR JUDICIAL REVIEW has been commenced by the applicants under SUBSECTION 72(1) OF THE IMMIGRATION AND REFUGEE PROTECTION ACT.

UNLESS A JUDGE OTHERWISE DIRECTS, THIS APPLICATION FOR LEAVE will be disposed of without personal appearance by the parties, in accordance with paragraph 72(2)(d) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.

IF YOU WISH TO OPPOSE THIS APPLICATION FOR LEAVE, you or a solicitor authorized to practice in Canada and acting for you must prepare a Notice of Appearance in Form IR-2 prescribed by the Federal Courts Citizenship, Immigration and Refugee Protection Rules, serve it on the tribunal and the applicant’s solicitor or, if the applicant does not have a solicitor, serve it on the applicant, and file it, with proof after service, in the Registry, within 10 days after the day on which this application for leave is served.

lF YOU FAIL TO DO SO, the Court may nevertheless dispose of this application for leave and, if the leave is granted, of the subsequent application for judicial review without further notice to you.

Note: Copies of the relevant Rules of Court, information on the local office of the Court and other necessary information may be obtained from any local office of the Federal Court or the Registry in Ottawa, telephone: (613) 992-4238.

The applicant seeks leave of the Court to commence an application for judicial review of the decision or decisions (the “Decision”) of officers of Canada Border Services Agency (“CBSA”) and/or Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (“IRCC”) and/or Employment and Social Development Canada (“ESDC”)(hereinafter, the Decision-maker is known as the “Tribunal”) to allow XXXXXXX (“XXXXXX”) to enter or remain in Canada to work in Canada as unlicensed crew aboard vessels owned or operated by the Cooperative de transport maritime et aerien and/or its subsidiaries (including C.T.M.A. Traversier Ltee and Navigation Madeleine Inc.)(collectively, the “CTMA”) by issuing an improper and invalid Labour Market Impact Assessment (“LMIA”) and then relying on the LMIA to issue a work permit (the “Work Permit”). The LMIA for XXXXX was likely issued in or around the months of June or July 2019; however, the actual date is outside the knowledge of the applicant. The date on which the Work Permit for XXXXX was issued is unknown.

The SIU became aware of the Decision on or around October 22, 2019.

The Tribunal is composed of unknown officers at CBSA and/or IRCC and/or ESDC, which are as follows:

Canada Border Services Agency

191 Laurier Avenue West, 6th Floor

Ottawa, ON KIA OL8

Phone: 1-800-367-5693

 

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada

365 Laurier Avenue West

Ottawa, ON KIA ILI

Phone: 1-888-242-2100

 

Employment and Social Development Canada

140 Promenade du Portage

Gatineau, QC KIA OJ9

Phone: 1-800-622-6232

 

The Tribunal’s file number in relation to this Application for Leave and Judicial Review is as follows:

If this Application for Leave is granted, the applicant seeks the following relief by way of a judicial review:

  1. An order granting the application for judicial review and setting aside the LMIA and the Work Permit issued to XXXXX.
  2. A declaration that the LMIA is invalid, as the LMIA was based, inter alia, on improper and invalid considerations; misapprehension of the law and government policy; misrepresentations; and/or fraud.
  3. A declaration that the Work Permit is invalid, as the Decision to issue such permit without an LMIA or in reliance on an improper and invalid LMIA was based, inter alia, on improper and invalid considerations; misapprehension of the law and government policy; misrepresentations; and/or fraud.
  4. Such further and other relief as counsel may advise and this Honourable Court may permit.

If the application for leave is granted, the application for judicial review is to be based on the following grounds:

The Applicant

  1. The applicant, Seafarers’ International Union of Canada (“SIU”), is a trade union which represents the majority of unlicensed seafarers in the maritime field in Canada.
  2. At all material times, the SIU had and continues to have members or prospective members, being Canadian citizens or permanent residents, who were unemployed or underemployed, who were seeking work, and who were available and qualified to work as unlicensed crew on the vessels owned or operated by the CTMA (the “CTMA Fleet”), including to fill the position(s) held by XXXXX.
  3. The SIU and its members have a special interest in ensuring that the maximum job opportunities in the Canadian maritime labour market are made available to permanent residents and citizens of Canada, including SIU members and prospective members.
  4. The SIU is the certified bargaining agent for the unlicensed employees employed aboard the CTMA Fleet (the “Bargaining Unit”).
  5. The SIU and the CTMA have entered into two collective agreements governing the terms and conditions of employment for Bargaining Unit members (the “Collective Agreements”). The Collective Agreements provide that the CTMA may recruit Bargaining Unit employees from the Magdalen Islands, but that if it is unable to do so, it must contact the SIU, and the SIU will supply personnel.

    The Respondents

  6. The respondent, the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Canada, is responsible for CBSA, a federal agency charged with ensuring, inter alia, Canada’s security and prosperity by managing the access of people and goods to and from Canada.

  7. The respondent, the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, is responsible for IRCC, a federal agency that screens and processes, inter alia, temporary foreign worker applications for Canada. It does so in large part with the aid of the Temporary Foreign Worker program at ESDC.

  8. The respondent, the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour Canada, is responsible for ESDC, a federal agency charged, inter alia, with conducting LMIAs in relation to applications for temporary work permits.

  9. The CBSA, ESDC and IRCC have a joint operational mandate to enforce the immigration laws and regulations of Canada with respect to issuing work permits to foreign workers including Foreign Crew, with IRCC holding the primary policy mandate.

    CTMA

  10. The CTMA is a cooperative association under the Cooperatives Act, CQLR, c C-67 .2. The principal activity of the CTMA is the transportation of persons and goods between the Magdalen Islands and other parts of Quebec and Canada.

  11. The CTMA Fleet includes the Madeleine, the Vacancier, the Voyageur, and the Clipper Ranger. The Madeleine and the Vacancier are passenger ferries. The Clipper Ranger and the Voyageur are cargo ferries. All of these vessels are Canadian flagged.

    XXXXX

  12. XXXXX is a Mauritian national. He is not a citizen or permanent resident of Canada, and is not from the Magdalen Islands. He was born on XXXXX.

  13. At all relevant times, XXXXX was employed by the CTMA and was a member of the Bargaining Unit. He worked on the Madeleine. His job title is “Serveur” (Server) and “Equipage securite” (Security team). As of the date of the filing of this Application, XXXXX continues to be employed by the CTMA.

    The Legislative Framework

  14.  Under s 196 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations, SORJ 2002-227 (the “Regulations”), a foreign national must not work in Canada unless authorized to do so by a work permit or the Regulations.

  15. Under ss 200 and 203 of the Regulations, in order to issue a work permit, ESDC must prepare an LMIA in which it determines, inter alia, that the employment of the foreign national is likely to have a neutral or positive effect on the labour market in Canada.

  16. Under s 203 of the Regulations, the LMIA provided by ESDC shall be based on, inter alia, the following factors:

a. whether the employment of the foreign national will or is likely to result in direct job creation or job retention for Canadian citizens or permanent residents;

b. whether the employment of the foreign national will or is likely to result in the development or transfer of skills and knowledge for the benefit of Canadian citizens or permanent residents;

c. whether the employment of the foreign national is likely to fill a labour shortage;

d. whether the wages offered to the foreign national are consistent with the prevailing wage rate for the occupation and whether the working conditions meet generally accepted Canadian standards;

e. whether the employer will hire or train Canadian citizens or permanent residents or has made, or has agreed to make, reasonable efforts to do

so;

f. whether the employment of the foreign national is likely to adversely affect the settlement of any labour dispute in progress or the employment of any person involved in the dispute; and

g. whether the employer has fulfilled or has made reasonable efforts to fulfill any commitments made, in the context of any previous application for an LMIA.

17. ESDC program requirements provide that an employer must conduct recruitment efforts to hire Canadians or permanent residents before applying for an LMIA.

18. Under s 200(3)(a) of the Regulations, a work permit may not be issued if the Tribunal determines that there are reasonable grounds to believe that the foreign national is unable to perform the work sought.

19. The employment of seafarers is regulated by the Canada Shipping Act, 2001, SC 2001, c 26 and regulations issued under that Act, including the Marine Personnel Regulations, SOR/2007-115 (the “CSA”). The CSA requires that seafarers employed on Canadian vessels hold certifications issued by Transport Canada.

Issuance of Improper and Invalid LMIA; Issuance of Work Permit in Reliance on this LMIA

20. The CTMA applied for an LMIA for XXXXX. In or around the months of June or July 2019 (as noted above, the exact date is unknown to the applicant), the Tribunal issued a positive LMIA for XXXXX. The Tribunal relied on this LMIA to issue a work permit for XXXXX.

21. The CTMA did not engage in recruitment efforts to hire Canadians or permanent residents before applying for the LMIA. In the alternative, the CTMA’s recruitment efforts did not satisfy ESDC program requirements.

22. In particular, the CTMA did not contact the SIU to dispatch a seafarer to fill the job position(s) that were eventually filled by XXXXX, in violation of the Collective Agreements.

23. The applicant says that in light of the CTMA’s failure to engage in recruitment efforts that satisfy ESDC program requirements, and, in particular, the CTMA’s failure to contact the SIU to supply personnel, a positive LMIA should not have been issued, as ESDC should have determined that the criteria set out in sections 203(3)(a), (c), and (e) of the Regulations were not satisfied.

24. Furthermore, the CTMA created a labour dispute between itself and the SIU when it decided that it would not comply with the Collective Agreements with respect to the job position(s) that was eventually filled by XXXXX. The Tribunal’s issuance of the LMIA and the Work Pem1it, and the employment of XXXXX in the CTMA Fleet, have adversely affected the settlement of this labour dispute, Accordingly, the applicant says that a positive LMIA should not have been issued, as ESDC should have determined that the criterion set out in section 203(3)(£) of the Regulations was not satisfied.

25. XXXXX does not possess the certification(s) that are required under the CSA with respect to his job responsibilities. The National Occupational Classification for the LMIA does not correspond to the duties and responsibilities of the job position(s) that were filled by XXXXX. Accordingly, pursuant to section 200(3)(a) of the Regulations, the Work Permit should not have been issued, as the Tribunal should have determined that there were reasonable grounds to believe that XXXXX was unable to perform the work sought.

26. The employment of the foreign crew, including XXXXX, in the CTMA Fleet has had and continues to have a negative effect on the maritime labour market in Canada.

27. The applicant says that the Tribunal s Decision to issue the LMIA and the Work Permit for XXXXX was based, inter alia, on improper and invalid considerations; misapprehension of the law and government policy; misrepresentations; and/or fraud on the part of the CTMA.

28. The CTMA intends to continue to apply for LMIAs and work permits in order to continue to hire foreign nationals to work in Bargaining Unit positions in the CTMA Fleet in 2020 and beyond.

29. The applicant pleads and relies on:

a. the Regulations, including sections 8, 196, 200 and 203 ;

b. the Immigration and Refi.1gee Protection Act, SC 2001 , c 27, including section 72;

c. the Federal Courts Act, RSC 1985, c F-7, including sections 18 and 18.1;

d. the Federal Courts Rules, SOR/98-106;

e. the Federal Courts Citizenship, Immigration and Refugee Protection Rules;

f. relevant government policies; and

g. the principles of administrative law.

The applicant has not received written reasons from the Tribunal.

If the application for leave is granted, the applicant proposes that the application for judicial review be heard at Vancouver, in the English language.

DATED AT VANCOUVER this 6th day of November, 2019.

 

Seafarers’ International Union of Canada Files Seven Lawsuits Against the Government of Canada

President’s Update: May 2019

President Given has had a busy several months, working hard alongside other maritime stakeholders to protect our industry globally.

Earlier this Spring, President Given and other SIU of Canada delegates attended Canadian Marine Advisory Council (CMAC) and ITF Canada Coordinating Committee meetings in Ottawa. These important meetings help ensure the SIU of Canada and Canadian seafarers’ voices are heard as a major stakeholder in the maritime industry.

President Given also travelled to Genoa, Italy to participate in the ITF Seafarers’ Section and Fair Practices Committee Steering Group meetings. The fair committee is a joint committee of ITF Seafarers’ and Dockers’ unions which runs the ITF’s campaign against Flag of Convenience (FOC) vessels. President Given sits on the committee and the steering group as regional chair for North America.

All through the Spring months, President Given continued the push in Australia to participate in demonstrations, speak with Australian Government officials and assist the MUA in their struggle to gain back Cabotage laws in Australian shipping. His efforts earned him a top spot in the evening news in Australia, highlighting the important fight for strong cabotage for all of Australia to see.

Some members might be wondering why we’re pushing so hard to support our Aussie brothers and sisters. The Australian shipping industry is facing serious threats amid countless layoffs and a negligent lack of basic protections for domestic maritime workers.  In Canada, we faced similar threats back in 2015 so we know firsthand the uphill battle our brothers and sisters in Australia have ahead of them. It is our responsibility as fellow mariners to stand up and fight back against those working to undermine our industry and the protection of our workers.

We can see another threat coming this year if the Conservatives win the federal election in October. The Conservative Party historically has never supported Cabotage Law, and they are also typically more focused on corporations increasing profits, sometimes at the expense of Canadian workers.

As part of the SIU and the ITF’s work in solidarity with our Aussie brothers and sisters, President Given along with several of our members, participated in the May 8th Day of Action to support Australian Seafarers in Montreal. Thank you to all who attended and offered their support.

President Given wants to make sure what has happened in Australia does not happen in Canada, and that is why the Union is encouraging members to vote Liberal in the federal election. Seafarers’ jobs depend on it.

Final Voyages – Spring 2019

 

Brother Otto May who joined the SIU on June 1, 1967 passed away on November 18, 2018 at age 90. He worked on the Charles Dick and his last vessel Manitoulin.

 

 

 

Brother Jim Perry who joined the SIU on December 29th, 1959 passed away on November 10, 2018 at age 79. He worked on the Transinland and his last vessel the Frankcliffe Hall

 

 

 

 

Brother Martin Briand who joined the SIU on May 1st, 1958 passed away on August 29, 2018 at age 81. He worked on the George M and his last vessel the Mantadoc.

 

 

 

 

Brother Clement Ferland who joined the SIU on April 11th, 1988 passed away on September 29, 2018 at age 84. He worked on the Catherine Desgagnés and his last vessel the L’Orme 1.

 

 

 

 

Brother Jean Claude Villeneuve who joined the SIU on April 10th, 1956 passed on December 27, 2018 at age 81. He worked on the Sprucedale and his last vessel the Algontario.

 

 

 

Brother Joseph Davis who joined the SIU on June 11, 1974 passed away on November 28, 2018 at age 63. He worked on the T.R. McLagan and his last vessel Hon. Paul J. Martin.

 

 

Death of Second Officer Ravindu Lakmal Pieris Telge on board Maersk Patras

May 28, 2019

 

VIA MAIL & EMAIL

The Honourable Marc Garneau

Minister of Transport

330 Sparks Street

Ottawa, Ontario

K1A 0N5

 

Dear Minister Garneau:

 

Re: Death of Second Officer Ravindu Lakmal Pieris Telge on board Maersk Patras

 

I write on behalf of the Seafarers’ International Union of Canada (“SIU”) and the International Transport Workers’ Federation (“ITF”). The SIU represents the majority of unlicensed sailors working aboard vessels on the Great Lakes, the St. Lawrence River, on the East Coast, West Coast, and Arctic Regions. The SIU is affiliated with the ITF, a democratic global federation of 670 trade unions, in 147 countries, representing 19.7 million working men and women in all transport sectors.

 

On May 19, 2019, Second Officer Ravindu Lakmal Pieris Telge was tragically killed after falling overboard while unlashing containers on board the Singapore-flagged Maersk Patras. The vessel was underway in the St. Lawrence River, north-east of the junction with the Saguenay River, near Les Escoumins. Brother Telge was unlashing using a metal bar weighing 23 kilograms and measuring four and a half metres long. While performing the container unlashing duties to which he was assigned, the unlashing bar swayed, and the momentum of that action took the second officer over the side and into the River below.

 

The practice of unlashing containers on vessels bound for the Port of Montreal should never be done by seafarers. Lashing and unlashing is dockers’ work. The Port of Montreal and Transport Canada have been warned against permitting this work to be done by seafarers by both the ITF and affiliated Unions for years. Cargo operations in Port is precarious work even in the most ideal conditions and permitting seafarers to do this work at sea while underway, in an effort to offset costs under the guise of “efficiency”, has led to the death of a 31-year old Sri Lankan seafarer.

 

Transport Canada claims that this practice is tolerated and is deemed acceptable because the activity takes place in what it defines as sheltered waters. Beginning in early 2017, the ITF and numerous affiliated Canadian labour unions, contacted Transport Canada to discuss issues that had occurred on board multiple vessels operating under ITF agreements wherein accidents were reported during lashing operations onboard vessels that were underway en-route to the Port of Montreal. To our knowledge, no response was received to the multiple letters sent.

 

As you are already aware, the ITF and affiliates then hosted a meeting with the regional directors of Transport Canada and other officials in Montreal in April 2018 to discuss the dangers of lashing / unlashing containers during transit of the St. Lawrence Seaway and provided documentary evidence to Transport Canada officials revealing that there were multiple instances where accidents had occurred and caused harm or put at risk the lives of seafarers working on board the vessels included in their report. In that same report, Canadian Longshore unions made clear that this work was only safe when done by professionals who were trained to do this work when a vessel was in port and that it should not be done by seafarers who were unfamiliar with the work and operating in dangerous conditions, while underway. Captains, officers and ratings all reported that they were uncomfortable with this operation, that is was not the norm for them and that they felt it was putting their safety at risk.

 

The Port of Montreal claims it has no jurisdictional authority over this operation and that the responsibility of regulations lay entirely with Transport Canada and yourself, as Minister. After years of ignoring the call to prohibit unlashing / lashing of vessels in transit on the St. Lawrence Seaway, your office and the Department must take immediate steps to ensure this tragedy is the last to occur as a result of this dangerous and inconceivable lack of regulation which so obviously comes at the behest of thoughtless and irresponsible shipowners and port officials who are more concerned with turnaround times than the safety of workers.

 

Quite literally, this accident would not have occurred if Transport Canada had taken action when called upon to do so in the years prior to this tragic event and banned this operation on vessels underway. We mourn for the family, friends and shipmates of the deceased. May this tragic accident serve as a brutal reminder of the necessity for proper regulatory intervention from Government and the horrible result that can occur from a lack thereof.

 

The Seafarers’ International Union of Canada calls upon you, in your capacity as Minister of Transport, to immediately launch a public investigation into the lashing / unlashing of containerized cargo along the St. Lawrence Seaway, in order to determine whether the death of Second Officer Telge was preventable had this work not taken place on a vessel underway bound for the Port of Montreal.

 

I look forward to your immediate response,

 

Yours truly,

 

James Given
President, Seafarers’ International Union of Canada
200-1333, rue St-Jacques
Montréal, Québec, H3C 4K2
T 514-931-7859
F 514-931-3667

 

cc:

Michael Keenan, Deputy Minister, Transport Canada (Michael.keenan@tc.gc.ca)

Jane Weldon, Director General, Marine Safety & Security, Transport Canada (jane.weldon@tc.gc.ca)

Naim Nahza, Executive Director, Navigation Safety & Environmental Programs, Transport Canada (naim.nazha@tc.gc.ca)

Albert Deschamps, Regional Director General – Quebec, Transport Canada (albert.deschamps@tc.gc.ca)

Louise Laflamme, Chief, Marine Policy & Regulatory Affairs, Transport Canada (louise.laflamme@tc.gc.ca)

Christopher Berzins, Director of Policy & Parliamentary Affairs, Minister’s Office, Transport Canada (chrisotpher.berzins@tc.gc.ca)

Shane McCloskey, Senior Special Assistant, Minister’s Office, Transport Canada (shane.mccloskey@tc.gc.ca)

Stephen Cotton, General Secretary, ITF

Paddy Crumlin, President, ITF

Jacqueline Smith, Maritime Coordinator, ITF

David Heindel, Chair, Seafarers’ Section, ITF

Patrice Caron, Executive Vice-President, SIU Canada

Charles Etienne-Aubry, Vice-President, St. Lawrence & East Coast, SIU Canada

Vince Giannopoulos, ITF Inspector, Great Lakes & St. Lawrence Seaway, SIU Canada

Chris Given, Director of Government Relations, SIU Canada

 

 

SIU of Canada Participates in Global Day of Action to Save Australian Shipping

Global Marine Workers Rally in Support of the Maritime Union of Australia’s Campaign to Restore and Revitalize Domestic Shipping

 

MAY 8, 2019 – MONTREAL, QC  Seafarers and other marine industry workers around the globe are gathering to rally in an international show of solidarity to save the Australian shipping industry. Organized by the Cabotage Task Force of the 19.4 million-member strong International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) based in London, UK, the day of action has been strategically planned to occur in the week leading up to the Australian Federal Election occurring on May 18th, 2019.

 

The Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) has been locked in a heated debate with the current Government over the necessity to bring back an Australian fleet of vessels, employing Australian seafarers to the Australian coast. After years of government inaction, Australian seafarers and members of the MUA are optimistic that a change in government will bring about much needed reforms to rebuild what was once a thriving domestic shipping industry.

 

The Opposition Labor Party has announced a series of policies to create a strategic fleet of Australian-crewed vessels along with regulations to strengthen Coastal shipping regulations. The Seafarers’ International Union of Canada (SIU) stands strongly behind the maritime workers of Australia as they continue their fight for the implementation of legislation to protect domestic seafarers’ jobs and bring vessels back under the Australian flag.

 

In Canada, the domestic marine shipping industry is governed by the Coasting Trade Act which dictates that the movement of goods between ports in Canada must be done on Canadian-flagged vessels using Canadian seafarers. Known widely as Cabotage laws, these regulations promote a thriving domestic shipping industry that creates thousands of well-paying jobs for Canadian workers by ensuring job opportunities are made available for domestic seafarers. The current Australian government has failed Aussie seafarers by deregulating the industry to permit Flag of Convenience vessels with exploited foreign workers to operate on the Coast, resulting in the loss of thousands of jobs in the marine sector for members of the MUA.

 

“Today’s global rally demonstrates the resolve and strength of transportation workers in Canada and around the world” says James Given, Chair of the ITF Cabotage Task Force and President of the SIU of Canada. “The MUA has been engaged in a battle to save domestic shipping jobs, and the SIU and all ITF affiliates stand shoulder to shoulder with our brothers and sisters in their fight to protect their jobs and save Australian shipping”.

 

Canadian seafarers, dockers, and other marine industry workers will be demonstrating in Montreal to show support for Australian seafarers. Across the globe, demonstrations will be taking place in front of Australian Embassies and Consulates, on the waterfront, in the streets, and in front of corporate offices as transport workers rally in support of Aussie seafarers who will head to the polls in the coming weeks with the goal to Save Australian Shipping.

 

For Social Media updates, follow the hashtags #SaveAustralianShipping #ChangeTheRules

 

Algoma Central Corp. sidesteps Canadian Coasting trade, exploits foreign workers on crude oil vessel

Delphine Jean: When determination leads to success

For as long as she can remember, Delphine always loved being on the water. An outdoor enthusiast, she worked as a kayak instructor and tour guide for years. And it was this passion for the sea that brought her to the SIU in July 2018.

Although she began her career as an ordinary seaman, Delphine had a specific goal in mind: to become a mechanical assistant. Thanks to her hard work and determination, this dream is now a reality.

Before joining the Union, Delphine worked for the Société des traversiers du Québec (STQ). She had a job in one of their ship repair shops, and her boss at the time inspired her to continue her passion for mechanics.

“He used to work as a mechanic for the coast guard. He was very skilled, knowledgeable and resourceful. He always knew exactly what to do, regardless of the situation. He became a great inspiration to me and made me want to work in the engine room of a ship.”

Delphine knew she had a long way to go before she could achieve her goal, but she was determined. After joining the SIU, she spent extra hours at night in the engine room, on top of working full shifts as an ordinary seaman, to accumulate her time at sea and develop her skills.

In addition to her hard work, Delphine was able to rely on the support of her colleagues.

“I had the opportunity to work with skilled engineers who encouraged me to constantly improve myself. They taught me a lot, but most of all, they put their trust in me. They knew that I could do the various tasks they assigned me. With their help, I was able to hone my skills.”

Today, Delphine is proud to work as a mechanical assistant. Her curiosity, creativity, efficiency and, above all, her determination allowed her to realize her dream and are today admired by her peers. She loves her job and hopes to pursue a long career at sea.

“Every day brings its share of challenges, surprises and action. The crew members are welcoming and quickly become like a second family. I know I still have a lot to learn, but I’m motivated to continue to push my limits.”

SIU of Canada commends government for addressing country’s skilled labour gap

Federal budget’s renewed focus on skills training and development will benefit Canada’s marine shipping sector

 

OTTAWA, ON March 20, 2019– The Seafarers International Union (SIU) of Canada applauds the government for taking strong measures in its latest federal budget to address the country’s growing demand for skilled workers.

 

The SIU is pleased to see support through the Canada Training Benefit which will help with the cost of training for individuals. We understand the importance of allowing workers to take the time needed to invest in themselves and their skills, and are pleased to see this worthwhile investment in today’s budget. Further, we commend the government for assuring Canadians that their jobs remain secure as workers take time off to receive training.

 

We also welcome the investments in The Apprenticeship Strategy, which will directly help those employed in the skilled trades. Furthermore, the pre-apprenticeship program will help build awareness of careers in the trades, which is of utmost importance to our industry. Our work on the Be A Seafarer campaign seeks to raise awareness of seafaring to young people and skilled workers considering a career in the maritime industry. We are very pleased to see the government recognize the need for more skilled workers in Canada.

 

The government’s new investments in innovation and skills development could not come sooner for Canada’s thriving marine shipping industry.

 

Today, the SIU has an immediate need to hire hundreds of skilled workers to address an ongoing labour shortage, and with over 20 per cent of current SIU membership set to retire in the next five years, the sector’s demand for skilled workers is only increasing.

 

“With the increase in domestic and global trade, we need more skilled Canadian workers on Canadian waters,” says James Given, President, SIU of Canada. “The SIU commends the government for making skills training a signature piece of this year’s budget. As a country, we have an obligation to better prepare and train Canadians, today and in the future, so they can take advantage of opportunities in growing industries like ours, and secure a more prosperous future for themselves.”

 

Domestic and global trade is growing, and marine shipping is a major facilitator of trade, accounting for approximately 1.8% of the Canadian economy, or about $30 billion. The marine shipping industry is also a direct and indirect source of approximately 99,000 jobs across the country, helping thousands of proud, hard-working men and women provide great lives for their families.

 

In 2018, thanks to SIU advocacy efforts, the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TWFP) maritime policy was changed to ensure Canadian workers always have first access to jobs. This essentially means there are now more lucrative seafaring positions available for skilled Canadian workers than ever.

 

In June, the SIU partnered with the Seafarers’ Training Institute to launch a national hiring initiative aimed at recruiting, training and retaining young people. While the initiative proved successful, the SIU believes the federal budget’s emphasis on skills development and training will be of great benefit to future recruitment efforts.

 

-30-

SIU of Canada aims to bring hundreds of skilled workers on board

Canada’s marine shipping industry offers stable, high-paying jobs to Canadians with marine or trades experience

 

OTTAWAMarch 15, 2019 /CNW/ – With the opening of maritime shipping season only a few weeks away, the Seafarers International Union (SIU) of Canada has an immediate need to hire hundreds of skilled workers to address an ongoing labour shortage in Canada’s fast-growing marine shipping industry.

 

Skilled workers with trades and/or marine experience possess valuable and transferrable skills needed on board a merchant vessel. In June 2018, the SIU partnered with the Seafarers’ Training Institute to launch a national hiring initiative aimed at recruiting, training and retaining young people. The initiative has been highly successful. However, the need for skilled workers is only increasing, with over 20 per cent of current SIU membership set to retire in the next five years.

 

Canada’s marine economy is thriving, and more demand for seafarers means skilled workers can earn great pay and benefits in a long and stable career they can be proud of,” says Vince Giannopoulos, SIU member and recruitment campaign spokesperson. “If you have marine or trades experience, and you are a Canadian Citizen or Permanent Resident, the SIU can help you transfer your skills on board and ensure a smooth a transition.”

 

Upon joining the SIU of Canada, members immediately become part of a strong brotherhood and sisterhood of the sea, working for great Canadian companies like Algoma Central Corporation, Groupe Desgagnés and Canada Steamship Lines, among others. SIU members have the unique opportunity to sail Canada’s waterways (and potentially to international ports) in modern, Wi Fi-equipped vessels that ensure Canadian sailors are never too far from home.

 

While seafaring is a tough job that requires workers to get their hands dirty, the SIU’s commitment to the industry’s top safety standards means our members are some of the best trained in the world. Thanks to a partnership with the Seafarers’ Training Institute, SIU recruits develop in-demand skills and have access to skills upgrading throughout their career.

 

In 2018, thanks to SIU advocacy efforts, the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TWFP) maritime policy was changed to ensure Canadian workers always have first access to jobs. This essentially means there are now more lucrative seafaring positions available for skilled Canadian workers than ever.

 

“With the increase in domestic and global trade, joining our country’s merchant marine is not just a smart career move, it’s a strategic one,” says James Given, President, SIU of Canada. “If they’re up for a little adventure, we’re giving skilled workers the opportunity to make a great living for their family with access to full benefits and one of the best pension plans in the industry.”

 

Interested candidates can visit www.seafarers.ca/careers to learn more and apply.

 

About the SIU of Canada: The Seafarers’ International Union of Canada (SIU) is affiliated with the Seafarers’ International Union of North America serving unlicensed sailors since 1938. The most important sailors’ union in Canada, the SIU represents the majority of unlicensed sailors working aboard vessels on the Great Lakes, the St. Lawrence River, on the East and West Coasts.

 

SOURCE SIU of Canada

 

For further information: Danielle Smith, FleishmanHillard HighRoad, danielle.smith@fhhighroad.com, 905-719-9314

SIU of Canada President calls for global day of action in support of Australian seafarers

James Given concludes trip to Australia committing to global fight against government inaction

 

MONTREAL, QC MARCH 13, 2019 – Earlier this week, SIU of Canada President James Given concluded a successful trip to Australia, where he brought a message of solidarity and support for Australian seafarers. During his visit, President Given participated in demonstrations against government inaction to protect domestic maritime jobs.

 

President Given’s visit comes on the heels of Canadian seafarers demonstrating in solidarity with their Australian brothers and sisters. In February, over 100 SIU of Canada members rallied outside of the Australian embassies in Ottawa and Toronto, calling on the Australian government to strengthen important cabotage laws which are crucial to protecting jobs.

 

“The SIU of Canada along with international resources through the International Transport Workers’ Federation are unwavering in their support for Australian Seafarers,” says Present Given, also Chair of the International Transportation Workers Federation (ITF) cabotage taskforce. “We are mobilizing across the globe to combat this negligence,” says Given.

 

During his trip to Australia, President Given addressed members of the Maritime Union of Australia (MUA), which is working tirelessly in Australia to prevent further layoffs and strengthen domestic labour protections. President Given solidified the international maritime union community’s commitment to Save Australian Shipping. “ The leadership of the MUA has initiated a strong local Campaign but the Global Union movement must now flex our muscle to assist,” says Given.

 

The SIU of Canada is calling for a world day of action to support Australian seafarers. The ITF will remain active in Australia and continue its efforts to strengthen Australian cabotage law. At home, the SIU of Canada is committed to continuing its efforts with Canada Steamship Lines to get Australian seafarers up to the gangway.

 

“The time has come for a coordinated action across the globe to highlight the blatant disregard for Australian Seafarers. When we support our brothers and sisters, our industry becomes stronger. It is our duty as maritime leaders to protect our workers and protect our industry,” says Given. “The whole of the global union federation is watching Australia right now, and we will not back down.”

 

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About the SIU of Canada: The Seafarers’ International Union of Canada (SIU) is affiliated with the Seafarers’ International Union of North America serving unlicensed sailors since 1938. The most important sailors’ union in Canada, the SIU represents the majority of unlicensed sailors working aboard vessels on the Great Lakes, the St. Lawrence River, on the East and West Coasts.

Setting a Strong Course: SIU Members Update – March 2019

It has been full steam ahead for President James Given in the new year.

 

Known for always standing up for Canadian seafarers, on February 11, President Given stood in solidarity with our brothers and sisters in Australia when he led a protest of Canadian seafarers outside the Australian embassy in Ottawa.

 

While many of us returned to stable employment after the holiday break, 80 hard-working Australian seafarers returned to work only to find their employment contracts terminated due to the lack of protections for seafarers in the country.

 

Standing in front of a raucous crowd of SIU members in Ottawa, President Given delivered a strong message of support, which was broadcast throughout Australia on the national news that evening:

 

“Your politicians are going to hear your voice. They’re going to hear our voices and they’re going to hear the voices in Britain, and in Norway, and in Brazil, and in New Zealand, and all across the world until you do the right thing. Put Australian seafarers back to work.”

 

After years of fighting tirelessly to protect Canadian maritime jobs, the SIU is proud that Canada is now world renowned for our progressive cabotage laws. And we will continue to fight for stricter enforcement of Cabotage Law here at home and abroad.

 

Later in the month, President Given participated in a technical meeting at Employee and Social Development Canada (ESDC) on the development of a new Labour Market Information (LMI) tool for the Temporary Foreign Worker Program. The purpose of the new LMI tool is to ensure TFWP officers have access to relevant data in order to properly assess wage and job vacancy rates when processing applications to the program.

 

In 2018, thanks to SIU advocacy efforts, the TFWP maritime policy was changed. It now requires employers to first circulate any available positions on board the majority of vessels obtaining a Coasting Trade waiver with the SIU. This ensures Canadian worker have first access to jobs.

 

Always on the lookout for new opportunities for Canadian seafarers, President Given also recently traveled to Bergen, Norway for meetings with a Norwegian shipping company considering marine operations in Canada and looking to recruit Canadian seafarers.

 

At the end of February, President Given visited Australia to continue showing solidarity with our brothers and sisters in Australia, wrapping up what has been a long, hard month of fighting for the rights of seafarers in Canada and around the globe.

 

Taking a lot of positive momentum into the month March, President Given is looking forward to a busy schedule that will see him continue to work tirelessly on behalf of his brothers and sisters in the SIU.

 

Samantha McPherson: A seafarer who’s not afraid to get her hands dirty

International Women’s Day is celebrated on March 8 every year. This is the perfect opportunity to recognize the exemplary work of our sisters and thank them for their vital contribution to the Union and seafaring as a whole.

 

In 2019, the theme of this special day is #BalanceforBetter. More than ever, gender balance is essential to the prosperity of the marine industry. At the SIU of Canada, we believe in offering the same opportunities to all our members, regardless of gender. This is one of the many reasons why Samantha McPherson is proud to be part of the Seafarers’ International Union of Canada.

 

It was in 2018 that Samantha started considering a career at sea. In search of new challenges, she got into the Unlicensed Apprentice Program last August. Although she grew up near the canal, she never thought of becoming a seafarer. “I knew many people who were working on ships, and I remember telling them that I could never do that.”

 

However, her opinion changed after completing the UA Program, which proved to be a unique experience for Samantha. After learning more about seafaring, she developed a true interest in the marine industry.

 

“The job is so different from boat to boat that you’re always learning. Plus, the crew is always happy to help you and show you new things.”

 

In October 2018, Samantha began her career as a mechanical assistant with the SIU. She loves her job. Every day is a new opportunity to learn and refine her skills. What she loves most is the atmosphere and the team spirit aboard the ship.

 

“The truth is, I get treated so well and everyone is very respectful. It doesn’t matter that I’m a woman. I’m part of the crew like everyone else. I really feel like I have the same opportunities as the other guys and I love it.”

 

Samantha feels accomplished as a mechanical assistant. She loves her routine, her team and the fact that she has a lot of opportunities to develop her expertise. She encourages other women to strongly consider a career at sea.

 

“If you are willing to work hard, to get your hands dirty and to learn, this is the job for you. There are so many opportunities for women, which is super exciting. Don’t believe the stigma that you will be treated differently because you are a woman. If this is the only thing preventing you from joining, just forget about it and make the jump.”

SIU Employees Come Out for Training

SIU of Canada members are the most important part of the Union, and our staff are dedicated to serving their needs. This is why, twice per year, the SIU of Canada brings together its port agents, patrolmen and dispatchers to better help them work together to provide the best service to members.

 

February 6-7, SIU of Canada employees met in Montreal to participate in professionally facilitated training sessions that refreshed the team on the Union’s goals and taught them best practices for engaging with media, members and resolving issues while keeping a positive attitude. Throughout the two days, employees were engaged, actively participating in training sessions and said they learned a lot about trusting one another to get the job done.

 

The staff participated in a number of activities which exhibited the comradery and brotherhood/sisterhood the SIU of Canada is built on. With every team, it is important to engage with each other in person, both professionally and socially, especially when staff are spread out all over the country.

 

The training was also a time for employees to share their ideas on improving Union services in 2019. Some suggestions included being able to print out a PDF version of The Sailor, SIU of Canada’s quarterly newsletter, for members who don’t use email or are on ships without reliable Wifi. Another suggestion was to create a short SIU pamphlet reminding members what the Union stands for and providing potential members with information on joining. These are some examples of things we have already started working to provide for our members and should be coming to you soon.

 

Thank you to everyone who participated in the training sessions. Keep up the good work! The SIU of Canada will continue to train our staff to better serve the needs of our brothers and sisters of the sea.

 

2019: taking communicating with you to the next level

Over the last year, we’ve made some major improvements in how the SIU communicates with you. In 2019, we want to build on this progress, continuing these improvements and transparently communicating with members on all Union activities.

 

Through 2018, we made improvements in four key areas: regular Union updates sent to members’ email, direct engagement through member surveys, transparent communication from the SIU executive through email, newsletters and videos, and improved updates from Port Agents and Patrolmen during ship visits.

 

Some highlights from 2018 include:

 

 

 

 

 

 

In 2019, we are excited to build on the positive momentum of last year. All through this year we will be looking to you, the members, to guide us in our activities. Expect to see even more direct email communication, more membership surveys, regular updates from the executive and even more online services developed.

 

One of our goals for 2019 is to have the membership become an integral part of our online presence. We want you to contribute more to our social media content by submitting your sea stories, photos, videos and updates so we can share them with the broader SIU community – you can do so directly by Facebook messenger to the SIU Facebook page. Additionally, should you ever have suggestions or ideas for the SIU website or social media pages, please contact us at info@seafarers.ca or through Facebook Messenger.

 

Stay tuned for more details! We look forward to making 2019 our strongest yet.

Final Voyages – Winter 2019

 

Brother Larry Giba, who joined SIU of Canada on July 31, 1976, passed away on December 21, 2018 at age 59. He worked on the J.N McWatters and his last vessel Algosteel.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Brother James Houghton, who joined SIU on September 15, 1975, passed away on December 18, 2018 at age 67. He worked on the Helen Evans and his last vessel Laurentian.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Brother Barry O’Brien, who joined the SIU on November 30, 1998, passed away on April 18, 2018 at age 55. He worked for Seabase and he last worked for Maersk Supply Service Canada.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Brother Gillees Lavalliere, who joined the SIU on  April 7, 1966, passed away on January 28, 2019 at age 83. He worked on the Cedarbranch and he last worked for Dragage FRPD.

 

 

 

 

Brother Ken Bye, who joined the SIU on  February 7, 1966, passed away on February 1, 2019 at age 62. He worked on the Frontenac and his last vessel the Capt. Henry Jackman.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Brother Harald Krueger, who joined the SIU on  March 1, 1981, passed away on February 9, 2019 at age 88. He worked on the Grand Manan Ferry.

 

 

Virgil Légaré: A seafarer with a real desire to learn

After several years working in hardware stores, Virgil Légaré was looking for a new challenge. After discussing with a friend working onboard an oil tanker, Virgil began to consider a career at sea. Having always had an interest in boats and an ease on the water, he decided, in June 2018, to embark on a new adventure and become a seafarer.

 

As a deckhand, Virgil assumes the role of a real handyman and ensures the proper maintenance of the ship. He truly loves working as a deckhand and finds it very rewarding. “This job brings me a lot of self-validation. For example, when I manage to dock the boat correctly, I know that I did some great work and it makes me proud”.

 

Virgil also loves that every day on the ship is different and brings new challenges. There is no routine, and you never know what tomorrow will bring. This is what excites him the most as a seafarer. Each new challenge represents an opportunity to learn and develop his skills. Virgil says that learning is an integral part of everyday life aboard the ship, as everyone is encouraged to try new things and improve their skills.

 

Although he has only been a seafarer for a few months, Virgil has acquired many skills and wants to continue to perfect them. He enjoys working with more experienced colleagues who are happy to share their know-how.

 

According to Virgil, this exchange of knowledge is essential to the success of the crew. It is by using the strengths of each member that everyone can progress and push their limits. “Some people start their career thinking they know everything. However, the key to success is to remain open to what others can teach to you. This is something that is strongly encouraged on board”.

 

Speaking of new recruits, Virgil believes that a career as a seafarer is a great option that many young people should consider. “Since they may not have a family or ties yet, they can afford to go on long sea trips. This is a unique chance to see the world while gaining valuable skills that will be useful to them for the rest of their lives”.

 

Virgil is proud to be a seafarer and SIU member. He is always enthusiastic about his work and intends to develop his career as a sailor for many years. Like many others, he aspires to become a captain or SVMO one day, and continue to grow his skills. His best advice for anyone considering a career at sea is to not be afraid to make mistakes.  “Learning from mistakes makes is possible for workers to improve”.

James Given: Canada Leads in Global Fight Against Exploitation of Marine Workers

This article was published in the Hill Times newspaper on February 4, 2019

 

While many of us returned to stable employment after the holiday break, 80 hard-working Australian seafarers returned to work only to find their employment contracts terminated.

 

How could this happen? Why did it happen? Unfortunately, the Australian government has failed to protect the domestic maritime workers who dedicate their lives to this demanding work.

 

Despite calls from labour unions, the workers they represent and political stakeholders, the government did not enforce cabotage laws, which protect the jobs of maritime workers.

 

Cabotage Law ensures that domestic transportation (the movement of goods or people between two points in the same country) is reserved for vessels registered under the flag of that country with employment conditions regulated by domestic labour laws.

 

Canada is now world renowned for our progressive cabotage laws. The Coasting Trade Act requires that no foreign ship may engage in cabotage without a license. Cabotage mandates that ships operating in Canadian waters must use Canadian or permanent resident workers and can only use foreign workers when Canadians are unavailable.

 

Cabotage regulations also help promote continued investments in the Canadian fleet of vessels and Canadian seafarers, and ensures the timely and safe transportation of Canadian cargoes. The law protects our economy and our environment by ensuring we have the best-trained, most qualified sailors navigating Canada’s waterways.

 

In the absence of enforced cabotage laws, Australia has allowed shipping companies to have foreign ships and crews regularly operate in their country, many of which are known for exploiting low-wage foreign labour. The result?  Thousands of Australian sailors losing their jobs.

 

It was just this past December when the SIU of Canada hosted a delegation of Australian representatives. They came to Canada on a fact-finding mission to learn how we were able to preserve and strengthen this important policy.

 

As President of the Seafarers’ International Union of Canada (SIU), I told our friends from Australia that Canada’s strong cabotage laws took years of advocacy. In fact, it wasn’t until late 2018 that a functional system of only granting Temporary Foreign Worker (TFW) permits to foreign crew as a last resort was put in place.

 

The SIU also continues to fight for stricter enforcement of Cabotage Law here at home. There have been several instances where we have caught foreign-flagged ships operating on waivers– wherein foreign crew members retained on board were being paid only a fraction of what is owed to them under the regulations of the TFW Program — and the government had no idea.

 

Without proper monitoring from the government, Canadian seafaring jobs will be compromised, as operators attempt to drive down costs by exploiting foreign workers. The SIU works hard to ensure instances like this are prevented before they happen, but alignment with government agencies is essential, and we work closely with Transport Canada and Employment and Social Development Canada to ensure they are aware, and they act appropriately.

To borrow a line from the government itself: we must do better. Establishing and maintaining an effective monitoring and enforcement mechanism is essential to ensuring full compliance requirements of the TWFP and the Coasting Trade Act. This will ensure domestic jobs remain protected, and that any foreign labour working in Canada will receive the prevailing industry wages and protections under Canadian labour standards.

 

Furthermore, as the government explores new trade corridors, cabotage remains on the table for negotiation. This was the case when the government negotiated CETA. To make sure our workers remained protected, the SIU fought hard to ensure concessions made on cabotage were limited to very specific activities – and we succeeded. While cabotage was off the table during recent NAFTA renegotiations, it remains under threat as Canada pursues trade talks with Asia-Pacific countries and others.

 

Cabotage should never be on the negotiating table. Canada’s workers should always come first.

 

We remain unwavering in our commitment to protecting cabotage in Canada and around the globe. While some political actors seek to undermine this important regime, we cannot allow governments in Canada or Australia to compromise our seafarers’ livelihoods in favour of cheap labour. We will continue our relentless advocacy to ensure Canadian seafarers’ jobs are safe, secure and stable.

 

 

 

Survey Says: Canadians’ see Seafaring industry as vital to Canadian Economy

 

In December 2018, the Angus Reid Institute in collaboration with Clear Seas Centre for Responsible Marine Shipping published a study on the importance of marine shipping to Canadians, especially during a time of uncertainty around trade and pipelines. As an advocate for the industry, the Seafarers International Union of Canada is pleased to see the positive change in Canadians’ view of the marine shipping sector – particularly that 78% of Canadians agree the shipping industry is “critically important” or “very important” to the Canadian economy. This figure has risen by 6 per cent in the last two years, from 72% in 2016 to 78% in 2018.

 

 

Data Source: Angus Reid Institute

 

The SIU of Canada has worked hard to drive the conversation around marine shipping to the forefront in our engagement with the federal government and everyday Canadians. In June 2018, the Union in partnership with the Seafarers’ Training Institute and some of Canada’s largest marine shipping companies launched the Be a Seafarer campaign, aimed at educating and recruiting Canadians to consider a career at sea.

 

We are encouraged by the results of this survey as it is clear Canadians’ understanding of seafaring is increase. There is still work to be done, and we will continue to raise awareness of seafaring as an important and stable career and maintain our advocacy efforts to protect and strengthen the maritime sector across Canada.

 

The metrics in the area of importance of the marine shipping industry have increased since the survey was last conducted in 2016.

 

Not only do Canadians think the shipping industry is vital to Canada, the Institute found that an overwhelming number of Canadians surveyed (94%) believe marine shipping is safe and they are confident (75%) in the rules and regulations governing the sector in Canada. Especially significant for the SIU of Canada is a large majority of Canadians feel the shipping industry (77%) does a good job in terms of its
The survey found residents from British Columbia and Atlantic Canada see shipping as highly important to their communities and provincial economies. Interestingly, the prairie provinces recognize the significance of shipping as critically or very important (85%) to cities and towns near the ocean.

 

Data Source: Angus Reid Institute

 

We agree. This is why the SIU of Canada will never stop advocating for strong Cabotage Laws in Canada to protect our jobs, our environment and our economy. For more information on Cabotage Law and why it is so important for Canada, please watch our YouTube video.

The Institute looked at the shipping industry from both a general perspective and through the lens of shipping petroleum products. It showed that Canadians are concerned about environmental impacts of shipping such as oil spills, fuel spills, endangerment to marine life, water pollution, etc. Therefore, many said Canada’s marine shipping safety should receive more attention when it comes to safety policies and procedures, and oversight and enforcement of marine shipping safety policies.

 

The results of this survey clearly show the importance of maritime shipping to Canada and Canadians, and the SIU of Canada is certain that our efforts and the efforts of our members is a contributing factor to Canadians’ increased awareness and understanding of the industry.

 

 

 

Fall Recruitment Update

Since launching Be A Seafarer in June we have seen an overwhelming response from youngsters and skilled workers alike, eager to get their hands dirty with the SIU and the Seafarers’ Training Institute. We have received hundreds of applications and countless inquiries from interested persons across the country who want to Be A Seafarer.

 

Over the last several months our representatives have been travelling across the country, meeting new recruits ready to start their career at sea. Most recently, we wrapped up a cross country tour where we hosted job fairs in Port Aux Basques, Gander and St. John’s NL, Halifax NS, Vancouver BC and Thunder Bay ON. We received over 150 applications from those wishing to launch their career as a Canadian seafarer.

 

Outside of our job fairs, we have visited a number of schools to speak with students, guidance counselors and careers teachers to make sure they know seafaring is a stable and well-paying career option. We learned that without a family member in the industry, most young people are unaware of seafaring. Increasing awareness of the career among young people is paramount as we aim to fulfill long-term labour needs in the maritime industry – beyond our immediate crewing needs.

 

Our efforts have captured media attention across the country. In case you missed it, news about our recruitment campaign was published in the Ottawa Citizen, on CBC news and the Daily Hive – just to name a few.

 

We’ve launched a number of new videos showing new recruits the various jobs they can have on a ship, what the inside of a ship looks like, and profiling some great SIU members. If you haven’t seen the videos, you can find them on our YouTube channel.

 

Thank you to all SIU members for your ongoing support throughout this campaign. If you are interested in getting involved with our recruitment efforts stay tuned for news on events happening in your area or send us an email at www.info@seafarers.ca

President’s Update: December 2018

Over the last several months, President James Given has been very busy advocating for a strong Canadian maritime industry at home and abroad. As a central part of his role as SIU of Canada President, he has been actively involved in discussions with stakeholders of all levels to promote opportunities for Canadian seafarers.

 

Most recently, part of this work has included discussions with a tanker company that is looking to bring in vessels under the Canadian flag. Per Canadian law, these vessels would be crewed by Canadian seafarers first. While discussions are not final, this work is very important and will increase opportunities for our Canadian seafarers.

 

Earlier in the Fall, President Given attended the National Canadian Marine Advisory Council (CMAC) meeting in Ottawa.  The CMAC represents parties with an interest in shipping, navigation and marine pollution concerns, and advises the government on issues and opportunities related to marine safety and security. As part of the CMAC, President Given ensures the SIU of Canada’s voice is heard federally on all major decisions relating to maritime.

 

In September, President Given appeared before the House of Commons Standing Committee on Transport to provide the SIU’s perspective on the Canadian transportation and logistics strategy. President Given used the opportunity to advocate for increased efficiency of Canada’s marine corridors. He underscored that the SIU’s main priority will always be maintaining regulations pertaining to Canadian cabotage through the Coasting Trade Act. Any development can and must be done with the goal of supporting and benefiting Canadian workers first and foremost.

 

In October, President Given and a delegation of SIU of Canada representatives attended the ITF’s 44th Congress in Singapore. Here, President Given was re-elected as Seafarers’ Chair for North America. The ITF Seafarers’ section works to improve conditions for seafarers of all nationalities and to ensure adequate regulation of the shipping industry to protect the interests and rights of the workers. The work done on the ITF allows President Given to take lessons learned from Canada’s experience with labour and cabotage, and assist the international community as cabotage is strengthened globally. The stronger this regime is globally, the better off Canadian seafarers will be at home.

 

Back at SIU of Canada headquarters this fall, President Given is very proud to have finalized enhancements to members pension plan and secured preferred banking for SIU members with CIBC. The process of securing this enhanced plan was long, but the end result provides SIU members with a retirement package that is among the best in the business. Under the new plan, members will be able to personalize their investment to best suit their needs, including their appetite for risk and how many years they have before retirement.

 

Over the coming weeks, President Given looks forward to enjoying the holidays with his family and continuing his hard work on behalf of SIU members in the New Year.

Final Voyages – Winter 2018

 

 

Sister Monique Laglois who joined the SIU on June 3, 1971 passed away on February 8, 2018 at age 77. She worked on the Paterson and her last vessel the Enerchem Catalyst.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Brother Robert Brett who joined the SIU on June 14, 1954 passed away on July 23, 2018 at age 89. He worked on the Leecliffe and his last vessel Algonorth.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Brother René Brûlé who joined the SIU on April 16, 1974 passed away on July 18, 2018 at age 83. He worked on the C.O Paradis and his last vessel the Atlantic Huron.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Brother Bruce Hubley who joined the SIU on April 22, 1952 passed away on July 10, 2018 at age 85. He worked on the Prescott and his last vessel the Richelieu.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Brother Bertrand Gamache who joined the SIU on May 9, 1958 passed away on May 4, 2018 at age 93. He worked on the J. Kennedy and his last vessel the Leonard W.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Brother Esrom Keeping who joined the SIU on July 4 ,1985 passed away on August 17, 2018 at age 75. He worked on the L. Rochette and his latest vessel the Algosar.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Brother George Bourgeois who joined the SIU on April 9, 1979 passed away on May 10, 2018 at age 94. He worked on the Federal #6 and his last vessel the Sanderling.

 

 

 

Announcing the SIU Retired Members’ Council

Our brothers and sisters remain part of the SIU family even after they retire. That is why the SIU of Canada is establishing a Retired Members’ Council. We want to ensure Union veterans continue to have a strong voice on issues facing retirees, and have the opportunity to provide input into key programs of the Union and the government. The knowledge and skills of our retired members are unmatched, and will help the SIU President and executive team to better serve our brothers and sisters of the sea.

 

With our aging workforce, our members are retiring a rapid pace. In the next five years, 20% of our members will be retiring. This Council will continue to grow and support retired members and the SIU executive for years to come.

 

The Retired Members’ Council will include veteran members from across the country. It will meet each year to discuss matters relevant to retired SIU of Canada members. Meetings will be held in key regions across Canada to ensure as many retired members as possible are able to attend.

 

Joining the SIU Retired Members’ Council

 

As a Union member, you helped build the Seafarers International Union of Canada. Over the years, you backed the Union as we fought for bigger paychecks, better fringe benefits, greater job security, and pensions that rank amongst the best in the country. The Union deeply values your thoughts and opinions as a longstanding member and wants you to continue contributing as our membership and industry evolves.

Benefits of joining include:

To join the Retired Members’ Council, SIU of Canada members must be a minimum of 60 years of age and have at least 10 years of experience with an SIU contracted company. Dues for joining this Council are set at $25 per year.

Volunteers from across the country will be selected to get this started and ensure that retired members have a voice.  From fighting for better government programs, to arranging for a friendly visit from another retired member to share Seafarer Stories, we want to make life better for our valued retirees.

 

If you are interested in helping us establish the Retired Members’ Council, please contact President James Given directly at president@seafarers.ca

 

Fighting for You

The SIU of Canada works to safeguard and enhance your retirement years in many ways:

 

Members’ Survey: Proud to be Seafarers and SIU Members

 

As our community of Canadian Seafarers continues to grow, we have been taking steps to be more informed on the opinions and thoughts of our members. Earlier this year, we launched our first members’ survey to better understand the needs of our members. Based on the results, the SIU has made some changes and took action to address members’ concerns.

 

As part of our commitment to serve members in the best way possible, we recently completed a second survey.

 

We asked our brothers and sisters how they regard the Union, its leadership, and how the Union communicates and conducts outreach. Over 200 members responded with essential feedback that will help us continue to deliver on our promises.

 

Overall, results from the September survey show that members are more satisfied with the SIU of Canada than they were in May of this year. A majority (45%) of the membership said the best part about being part of the SIU is that it protects their rights.

 

In the previous survey, members indicated they would like more engagement on ships. We listened and conducted training with Patrol Agents and Patrolmen so our members could have a more informed experience while working. The new survey results show members felt the difference. There is more satisfaction with the SIU of Canada’s executive team as well as Port Agents and Patrolmen, with more members feeling that patrol agents are friendly, positive and willing to answer their questions.

 

It was also important for us to see if members are enjoying their career. We learned that 4 out 5 seafarers are proud of their career, with 73% being proud to be a member of the SIU of Canada. This indicates about a 10% overall increase from the last survey results. Additionally, 88% of members plan to stay with the Union for next five years or more.

 

Trust in the SIU executive, including the President, is an important part of the union environment, which is why we wanted to know if you thought they were doing a good job. More than half the members believe the SIU executive including the President hears members’ feedback on policies and workplace issue and there is trust in the executive team to negotiate fair and reasonable contracts for the members.

 

Much of members’ feedback gave clear direction for improvement. We also heard members say they would like more communication from the Union, especially from the President. In the last survey, members indicated they would like greater email and social media engagement. Results show that members recognize the SIU of Canada has increased its social presence and improved the newsletter, The Sailor. But members still want more communication from leadership. They would like to hear more often from leadership and have leadership respond directly to their concerns.

 

We love seeing members engage with us across all platforms. The positive response to our efforts to provide up-to-date information to members is appreciated by the SIU and the survey shows members are getting the information they need.

 

SIU has implemented feedback from the first survey and this is shown in the results of the second survey. There are still areas to improve and members’ valuable feedback is key to ensuring that we’re moving forward in the right direction. We are going to take all feedback into account when making decisions for the future of our members.

 

If you’d like to receive email updates, please sign up by entering your email address at the bottom of the home page or sign up through our Facebook page. Members who do not currently receive email updates, but would like to, can email info@seafarers.ca to sign up.

Seafarers Training Institute holding job fairs across Canada to recruit the next generation of Canadian seafarers

The Seafarers’ Training Institute is hosting job fairs across Canada in hopes of recruiting the next generation of Canadian seafarers. Those interested will get to hear from real seafarers, ask questions and apply on the spot for training.

 

New recruits have access to free training with room and board through the Seafarers Training Institute, and are guaranteed a first job. Salaries start at $60,000 per year and jobs are stable.

 

We will be hosting job fairs at the following locations:

 

We invite and encourage all members to attend local job fairs to meet potential new recruits and answer any questions they may have.

 

Please share the job fair information with your friends, family and neighbors should they be interested in a career with the SIU. More information can be found on the Seafarers International Union of Canada’s Facebook page

President Given sees a bright future for the SIU

 

SIU of Canada President James Given has a strong vision for the future. We have heard your feedback loud and clear, and we’re taking steps to better serve our members and ensure our future is bright.

 

Over the next several weeks you will see a series of videos from SIU President James Given. The videos will help our members stay in the loop on ongoing activities happening at the SIU, address some questions we’ve received through email and social media, and help you understand the role the SIU plays in protecting Canada’s maritime industry.

 

Videos will be shared with members via email, and posted on social media. Feel free to share with friends and family so they can stay up to date with the SIU.

 

Enhanced pension plan for members comes into effect November 1

 

The SIU of Canada knows the importance of saving for your retirement. That’s why we’ve taken steps to introduce an enhanced retirement plan to help you and your family plan for your future.

 

As of November 12018, the SIU of Canada group pension plan will be transitioning from Desjardins to Manulife. The transition from Desjardins will be automatic, and an account will be created for you. All of your pension contributions after November 1 will be directed into this new Manulife account. It is important to note that your investments from Desjardins will be transferred to comparable investments at Manulife in January 2019. You will receive a letter from Manulife confirming your asset transfer to your home address no later than February 2019.

 

You will soon receive a welcome letter and opening statement from Manulife. Once you receive your welcome letter, you will need to register for your online account using your personal customer number found in the welcome letter and the last three digits of your SIN. Your online account allows you to view and make changes to your personal or investment information.

 

To register for your online account, go to Manulife.ca/GRO. Click the Sign In button and choose My Group Retirement, Click Register Now and follow the instructions. Once you have registered for your account, you can confirm your account information. This includes important items like your personal information, beneficiary designation, investments and contribution direction. Detailed instructions on how to access these functions can be found in the Manulife transition guide and welcome package you received.

 

You can log on to your account at Manulife.ca/GRO at any time to manage and monitor your retirement account, transfer funds between investments and view your personal rates of return. You will also have access to Manulife’s Steps Retirement Program to set and track your retirement goal along with the Financial Wellness Assessment tool, which can help you tackle your financial priorities. If you have any questions or concerns, Manulife representatives including Customer Service Support and Financial Education Specialists can be reached from Monday-Friday 8 a.m – 8 p.m.

 

Part of the changes being introduced to your group retirement program is a banking option with CIBC. This option will ensure banking that fits your life – meaning you will be able to access the services you need, anytime, anyplace through phone, internet or mobile. SIU members will have access to expert financial guidance from CIBC. Most importantly, the group banking option with CIBC grants SIU members with free banking and preferred rates.

 

The SIU of Canada is proud to offer this enhanced retirement package to our members. This will help you better save to ensure a comfortable retirement. If you have any questions about the retirement package, representatives from Manulife and CIBC are here to help. Your local union hall is also available to answer questions at any time.

A personalized pension plan to help all members save for retirement

Few things are more important to us than ensuring our members enjoy a comfortable retirement. Over the past several months, we have worked tirelessly with teams at Manulife and CIBC to offer a new and enhanced group retirement program for SIU members that is among the best in the business.

 

Coming into effect on November 1, SIU of Canada’s new group retirement program provides members with more customizable options for members at all stages of their life to plan for retirement.

 

Under the new plan, members will be able to personalize their investment that best suits their needs, including appetite for risk and how many years they have before retirement.  We will ensure there is plenty of support and education from during this process. Additionally, members will be able to contribute to their pension in addition to the annual contribution by companies negotiated by the SIU, giving them more opportunity to save for retirement years.

 

The new program also includes an exclusive group banking option with CIBC. With banking that fits your life, CIBC ensures no matter where our members are, at home or at work, it’s convenient to bank the way they want. Members will also have access to expert financial planning and advice for all life stages. Most importantly, our members will receive exclusive banking offers including free banking and preferred interest rates.

 

We are very excited to introduce this new program. We know this will help our members and their families better plan for retirement and support their financial planning needs throughout their career.

 

A video will be shared on November 1st outlining the enhanced pension program and group banking benefits If you have any questions about the benefits received by Canadian seafarers please contact your local union hall or visit www.seafarers.ca/resources

SIU of Canada welcomes USMCA

Maritime sector remains protected under new agreement

ST CATHARINES, Oct 1, 2018 – The Seafarers’ International Union of Canada welomes the new United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), which has not compromised protection of the maritime sector in all three countries.

 

“We are very pleased to see concessions were not made for maritime,” says James Given, President, SIU of Canada. “Enforced cabotage law and labour protections are central to ensure ongoing confidence in the maritime sector at home and internationally.  We welcome continued commitments to these areas under the new agreement.”

 

The SIU is currently reviewing the agreement in depth and looks forward to commenting further in the near future.

 

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About the SIU of Canada: The Seafarers’ International Union of Canada (SIU) is affiliated with the Seafarers’ International Union of North America serving unlicensed sailors since 1938. The most important sailors’ union in Canada, the SIU represents the majority of unlicensed sailors working aboard vessels on the Great Lakes, the St. Lawrence River, on the East and West Coasts. In addition to vessels operated in Canadian waters, SIU members also have the opportunity to work aboard vessels delivering cargoes in the United States, Europe and South America.

ITF Inspector finds labour abuse aboard the Duzgit Endeavour

Crew members have been refused patriation and have been without pay for two months

 

September 24, 2018 – Montreal, QC– The Seafarers’ International Union of Canada (SIU) is calling on the Government of Canada to enforce the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) standards aboard the Duzgit Endeavour vessel, where foreign seafarers have been subject to abuse under the TFWP.

 

After multiple visits by Port State Control officers and interventions by International Transport Workers Federation (ITF) Inspection Officers, the SIU has learned that the crew of the Turkish-flagged Duzgit Endeavour have not received pay since July 1, 2018.

 

Furthermore, it has been brought to our attention that there are issues regarding the repatriation of two crew members. The crew members had asked to go home at the end of their contract more than two months ago but their request was refused by the ship’s operator, who instructed them to remain onboard for the unforeseeable future, despite receiving no pay.

 

“The situation on board the vessel is essentially the same thing we’ve seen from every vessel under the program in the past few years. The seafarers have been given no information and haven’t been paid for over two months,” explained Vince Giannopoulos, an inspector with the ITF, who has received multiple complaints from crew aboard the ship.

 

The situation is urgent. The SIU of Canada is therefore calling on the federal government to move swiftly and ensure that the crew receives their hard-earned wages and are not subject to additional labour abuse.

 

“We applaud the actions of Port State Control and ITF Officers in finding these major abuses,” stated James Given, President of SIU Canada. “Further, we ask ESDC to take a hard look at everyone involved with this vessel, while engaged in Canadian Cabotage, and ban them from the program for this continued abuse of international seafarers.”

 

Under the Government of Canada’s new TFW Maritime Guidelines for Seafarers, which came into effect September 11, 2018, abuses such as these will be easier to deal with as foreign seafarers are required to know their rights and have new employment contracts outlining the company’s obligations when operating in Canada.

 

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About the SIU of Canada: The Seafarers’ International Union of Canada (SIU) is affiliated with the Seafarers’ International Union of North America serving unlicensed sailors since 1938. The most important sailors’ union in Canada, the SIU represents the majority of unlicensed sailors working aboard vessels on the Great Lakes, the St. Lawrence River, on the East and West Coasts. In addition to vessels operated in Canadian waters, SIU members also have the opportunity to work aboard vessels delivering cargoes in the United States, Europe and South America.

SIU of Canada welcomes changes to the Temporary Foreign Worker Program

New policy ensures safeguards for temporary workers and increases access to jobs for Canadian Seafarers

 

OTTAWA, Sept. 13, 2018 – On September 11, 2018 Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) implemented changes to the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) to address issues in the maritime industry. These changes are the result of the SIU of Canada’s ongoing advocacy efforts to improve the TFWP and ensure Canadian seafarers retain the first right to be employed in any available maritime jobs in Canada.

 

Under the new policy, all foreign vessel operators or Canadian charterers obtaining a Coasting Trade Waiver for a vessel for more than thirty days must obtain a letter of concurrence or objection from the SIU Canada with regards to crewing. This ensures that qualified SIU members and other Canadian seafarers are offered these jobs prior to a foreign seafarer being granted a work permit. Changes will also safeguard foreign seafarers against exploitation as Canadian vessel charterers will no longer be able to use the TFWP to employ cheap foreign labour as a means to undermine the Canadian maritime industry and Canadian seafarers.

 

“This is a significant and hard-fought victory for Canadian seafarers and the collective Canadian maritime industry,” says James Given, President, SIU of Canada. “We commend the government staff from ESDC who were involved in this process and on the Advisory Committee for their hard work and dedication in developing this new policy which was truly not an easy task to take on.”

 

In 2015, the SIU filed 42 lawsuits stating that the Government of Canada was violating the TFWP by systematically issuing work permits to non-Canadian crew members of hundreds of foreign ships engaged in Cabotage in Canadian waters. The SIU found evidence that many of these foreign workers made as little as $2.41 per hour while working in Canada. In July 2016, the SIU filed an additional 13 lawsuits with similar allegations. As part of the settlement terms with the SIU, the Government of Canada committed to conducting a full review of the TFWP policies and procedures as they relate to the use of TFWs employed on foreign-flagged vessel operating in Canadian maritime Cabotage.

 

In May 2017, Maritime Sector Review Governance Advisory Committee was established to draft a new TFWP policy. The Advisory Committee includes parties identified as having a vested interest in the policy development including maritime employers and Canadian vessel charterers, with the SIU Canada assuming the lead in representing maritime labour stakeholders.

 

“The next step will be ensuring that there are enforcement and regulatory procedures in place to ensure these policy changes are being strictly enforced,” says Given. “We look forward to reviewing all new departmental directives that will be implemented to address the enforcement and integrity of this policy.”

 

The SIU of Canada strongly believes this policy will provide greater clarity for inter-departmental cooperation for those tasked with enforcing maritime-specific immigration policies and for those tasked with looking after the welfare of all seafarers, both foreign and Canadian alike. The policy will dramatically improve the TFWP’s implementation in the maritime industry and is the result of years of work, protests, demonstrations and advocacy by the SIU.

 

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About the SIU of Canada: The Seafarers’ International Union of Canada (SIU) is affiliated with the Seafarers’ International Union of North America serving unlicensed sailors since 1938. The most important sailors’ union in Canada, the SIU represents the majority of unlicensed sailors working aboard vessels on the Great Lakes, the St. Lawrence River, on the East and West Coasts.

Delivering on our mandate to increase jobs

I am reporting to you with good news.  Our mandate four years ago was to increase jobs for our membership. We are thrilled to report that we have had more jobs through our union halls this year than at any time in recent memory. Our recent win with Employment and Social Development Canada along with our recruitment initiative mark a new era for our members.

 

Earlier this summer we launched Be a Seafarer with industry partners. This ongoing recruitment and training push are at the top of our agenda going forward. Growing our workforce will ensure the long-term stability of the industry. For members, growing our team will ensure we have enough members for jobs and ensure you have relief available should you want a vacation. Thanks to this initiative we’re already seeing new recruits come through our door and we look forward to having them fully trained and working very soon.

 

It is not all sunshine and roses, however. Our industry is facing challenges. We have all seen the news. We know that much of our industry relies upon a thriving Canada-U.S. trade relationship, something that has been put in jeopardy by the U.S. President. His apparent appetite for tariffs and other trade barriers have left us with some uncertainty in the upcoming season. Despite this uncertainty, our contracted companies forecast another good season and we anticipate our members to continue being very busy.

 

Advocating on behalf of our members and Canada’s maritime industry remains a core priority for myself and other SIU officials. As many of you may be aware, our efforts over the past several years have focused on protecting and enhancing Canadian Cabotage Law, ensuring our members have full access to available jobs. We recently helped secure a major win for Canadian seafarers with significant changes to the temporary foreign worker program.

 

Changes to the program will mean even more jobs for members and we must make sure we have available crew when called. Make sure you are registered and be available for work. If our members do not respond to the call for work, we risk losing jobs to foreign crew. These jobs will also be posted on the Canadian job bank. Members regularly refusing work could have issues with EI in the future. Canadian cabotage rests in your hands so let’s work together to protect it.

 

I’m very proud to report this progress to our members. I call on members to continue showing the world that Canadian seafarers are the best in the business. Take work when called, actively participate in votes and make your voice heard when you can. In the wake of uncertainties, we must work together to ensure our industry continues to thrive for the short and long term. Thank you for your ongoing support and hard work, we truly are #StrongerTogether

 

James Given

 

President, SIU Canada

 

“I would be proud to tell anyone that I am a seafarer” New recruits tell us why they want to be a seafarer

Since launching our national hiring initiative Be a Seafarer in June, we’ve heard from hundreds of men and women interested in joining the ranks of the SIU – each with a unique story to tell.

 

New applicants told us why they want to be a seafarer. Here’s what we heard.

 

“Working in the Maritime industry seems appealing to me because I grew up in St Catharines and have seen the ships go by quite a bit and have always found them fascinating. I think it would be a fun experience living on a ship and traveling to different places each day.”

 

“I am very confident that I would enjoy and thrive as a sailor on a cargo ship. I think it’s a very honorable and self-fulfilling way of earning a living.”

 

“Being a seafarer is something that I could have never previously imagined myself even considering doing as a career; however, after doing research on it and attending the information session, it opened my eyes to a job that sounds perfect for me”

 

“I am applying to become a merchant mariner because I am looking for a career I can be proud of, stability, and a chance to grow within a company”

 

“I take great pride in being able to change my own car tires or starter, and I have found that it’s abnormal for women to be in the trades. I don’t think it should be abnormal, and I know I am capable of learning and doing any job asked of me. I enjoy working with my hands and don’t mind getting dirty. I also know that I would be proud to tell anyone that I am a seafarer.”

 

Those interested in becoming a seafarer can apply at www.beaseafarer.ca

Summer Recruitment update

Earlier this summer the Seafarers’ Training Institute launched Canada’s first ever national hiring initiative aimed at attracting, training and retaining Canada’s next generation of Seafarers. Along with partners Algoma Central, Canada Steamship Lines, Groupe Desgagnes and The SIU of Canada, Be a Seafarer is off to a great start with the first round of recruits already receiving training.

On June 24, community members, SIU members, political officials and representatives from Canada’s maritime community gathered in St. Catharines to celebrate the launch of Be a Seafarer. Over 250 locals including many prospective seafarers joined together to learn more about the benefits a seafaring career offers. Participants heard from President Given as he spoke about the immediate need for more seafarers and the important role Canadian seafarers play in Canada’s economy.

 

We’re very proud that Be a Seafarer has captured media attention across Canada and internationally. In case you missed it, President Given was interviewed by Global News  Halifax, and Be a Seafarer spokesperson, Vince Giannopoulos appeared on Quebec’s  Journal Metro and Le Quebec Matin Week-End – just to name a few.

 

Throughout the summer we’ve launched a series of videos telling Canadians why they should consider becoming a seafarer. These videos follow our members, describe the various roles and responsibilities of a seafarer, and highlight the benefits of a seafaring career. If you haven’t seen the videos you can check them out on our YouTube channel. Stay tuned for more videos coming soon!

 

This summer our representatives have been working hard to help get the Seafarers’ International Union and Seafarers’ Training Institute’s name out there by attending several events including job fairs and meeting potential new recruits face-to-face. In Hamilton, Toronto and Sydney we met interested applicants and discussed what they can expect through our training program and through their seafaring career. We will be attending more events like these through the fall, so keep an eye on our Facebook and Twitter pages to find out where we’ll be next.

Back to school means more opportunities to bring on new recruits. Through talking with potential recruits and young people, we learned that young people often don’t know about seafaring as a career option. This fall, we’ll be talking with high school and college students to introduce them to seafaring, and to discuss the benefits of a career with the SIU. We’re looking forward to meeting more young recruits and growing our brother and sisterhood of the sea this year.

 

Thank you to all of our members for your ongoing support of this initiative. Our industry is growing, and as we look to bring the next generation of Canadian seafarers on board, we rely on the existing membership to ensure new recruits are successful in their roles.

Employment and Social Development Canada commits to September 11, 2018 launch date for new maritime-specific Temporary Foreign Worker Program Policy co-developed by the SIU Canada

In 2015, the SIU filed 42 lawsuits stating that the Government of Canada was violating the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (“TFWP”) by systematically issuing work permits to non-Canadian crew members of hundreds of foreign ships engaged in Cabotage in Canadian waters without first obtaining the required positive Labour Market Impact Assessment (“LMIA”). The SIU found evidence that many of these foreign workers made as little as $2.41 per hour while working in Canada for up to twelve months at a time when they should have been receiving the Canadian prevailing industry wages. In July 2016, the SIU filed an additional 13 lawsuits with similar allegations.

 

 

In July 2016, the Government of Canada admitted that it improperly issued work permits to the foreign crew of the New England, a Marshall Islands flagged oil tanker that was engaged in Cabotage operations in Canadian waters. The Federal Court granted the SIU’s judicial review applications and on February 14, 2017 the SIU and the Government of Canada reached a settlement on the remaining outstanding lawsuits.

 

 

As part of the settlement terms with the SIU, the Government of Canada committed to conducting a full review of the TFWP policies and procedures as they relate to the use of TFWs employed on foreign-flagged vessel operating in Canadian maritime Cabotage. Working with Employment and Social Development Canada (“ESDC”) a Maritime Sector Review Governance Advisory Committee was established in May 2017 to draft a new TFWP policy which would specifically address issues with the program in the maritime industry. The Advisory Committee includes parties identified as having a vested interest in the policy development including maritime employers and Canadian vessel charterers, with the SIU Canada assuming the lead in representing maritime labour stakeholders.

 

 

After numerous meetings and consultations over the course of the last 16 months, ESDC has committed to move forward with implementing this policy on September 11, 2018. This policy, which we believe will dramatically improve the TFWP’s implementation in the maritime industry, is the result of years of work, protests, demonstrations and advocacy by the SIU and we are very satisfied with the result up to this point.

 

Some highlights of the new policy include: 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Next Steps

 

This is a significant and hard-fought victory for Canadian seafarers and the collective Canadian maritime industry. The next step will be ensuring that there are enforcement and regulatory procedures in place to ensure these policy changes are being strictly enforced. The SIU remains committed to continuing the constructive and positive work that we have started with the Government of Canada and we commend the government staff from ESDC who were involved in this process and on the Advisory Committee for their hard work and dedication in developing this new policy which was truly not an easy task to take on.

 

 

We strongly believe this policy will provide greater clarity for inter-departmental cooperation for those tasked with enforcing maritime-specific immigration policies and for those tasked with looking after the welfare of all seafarers, both foreign and Canadian alike. We look forward to reviewing all new departmental directives that will be implemented to address the enforcement and integrity of this policy upon its implementation.

 

 

 

 

 

Final Voyages – Summer 2018

Sister Penelope Kukta who joined the SIU on July 30, 1984 passed away on July 6, 2018 at age 69. She worked on the Canadoc and her last vessel the Radcliffe R. Latimer.

 

 

Brother Clovis Pinard who joined the SIU on May 31, 1972 passed away on February 14, 2018 at age 80. He worked on the Cape Transport and his last vessel L’Orme 1.

 

 

Sister Bridget Cummings who joined the SIU on June 10, 1978 passed away on March 20, 2018 at age 89. She worked on the Doan Transport and her last vessel the Tarantau.

 

 

Brother Gilbert Ducasse who joined the SIU on August  6, 1964 passed away on April 23, 2018 at age 90. He worked on the M.V. Gasperieu and his last vessel the Camille Marcoux.

 

 

Brother Joseph Beaulieu who joined the SIU on July 27, 1970 passed away on January 23, 2018 at age 93. He worked on the Fort Lennox and his last vessel the Fort Lauzon.

 

Brother Gilles Tremblay who joined the SIU on October 23, 1977 passed away on February 18, 2018 at age 90. He worked for Compagnie de Gestion de Matane and last worked for Société des Traversiers du Quebec.

22 year-old Nicolas Smith shows us the next generation of Canadian seafarers are here to work hard and get their hands dirty

As one of the SIU’s newest recruits, Nicolas Smith is setting an example of how today’s youth can benefit from a career at sea. At only 22 years old, Nicolas completed his training at the Seafarers’ Training Institute and became a seafarer in January of this year. While still new on the job, Nicolas knows that he will enjoy a long and successful career as a proud Canadian Seafarer.

 

When asked why he chose to become a seafarer, Nicolas says “I wanted to better my life and my future, achieve my goals with greatness in the long term. I took this step forward I love it.” Last year, Nicholas attended the Seafarers’ Training Institute’s Unlicensed Apprentice (UA) program, an experience he calls “life changing.”

 

At the Institute, Nicolas excelled in the UA program and was identified early on as his class Bosun – or leader in charge. “It was my job to keep 20 other students in line and in order all before 7 a.m. room inspection, class, colours, meals and head counts. This was exactly suitable for me and my abilities.”

 

Nicolas officially joined the ranks of the Brothers and Sisters of the sea in January 2018 as an MA relief worker. While he’s enjoying his time as a Mechanical Assistant, Nicolas aspires to become a certified electrician. As part of the SIU, Nicolas will have access to skills upgrading and training throughout his career.

 

The work is hard and sometimes the days can be long, but Nicolas says that his experience as a seafarer has been gratifying. While he acknowledges the job has its challenges – especially the travel away from home – he says the job is “amazing overall.”  He adds that having his goals accomplished at such a young age is very rewarding. He knows his future is secure with good pay and stable employment.

 

For young people considering a seafaring career, Nicolas highly recommends they take control of their future and go for it. “Take that step forward and make your future, don’t let it make you!” He also has some advice for anyone wanting to participate in the UA program, “As for new recruits training, I highly suggest if you want to succeed, stay focused on your path to a new life and just do what they ask of you. It’s worth it.”

 

Anyone who meets him can tell that Nicolas takes immense pride in his work, and will most certainly enjoy a long career at sea. His determination, work ethic and pride in everything he does, shows us that the next generation of Canadian seafarers are ready to work hard and get their hands dirty in the classroom, and on the job.

 

Day of the Seafarer 2018: recognizing our members’ contribution to Canada’s maritime industry

Every year on June 25, the international maritime community recognizes the Day of the Seafarer, remembering that almost everything we use in our daily lives has been directly or indirectly affected by sea transport. This year’s theme is Seafarers’ Wellness, prioritizing seafarers’ mental health – which can be especially difficult when workers are away from family and the comforts of home.

 

Every day, but especially today, we would like to thank our members for their hard work and dedication. As you may know, we recently launched a nationwide recruitment initiative as our industry continues to rapidly grow. This initiative would not be possible if our members, did not demonstrate that Canadian seafarers are the best in the world. Without you, Canadians wouldn’t have the goods they need for day-to-day life.

 

In St. Catharines yesterday, President Given and SIU members gathered at a special celebration which recognized Day of the Seafarer and commended our hardworking members. President Given delivered remarks to local elected officials and community members, telling them how our great members are. We also enjoyed our annual Day of the Seafarer cake, shared between members of the SIU, their families, neighbors and friends.

 

 

Thank you for all your ongoing hard work and happy Day of the Seafarer to all!

Final Sailings – Spring 2018

BROTHER ABDOULAYE DJIGO

who joined the SIU on August 30, 2016 passed away on March 23, 2018 at age 54. He worked on the Catherine Desgagnés and his last vessel the Juno Marie.

 

 

BROTHER BURTON GREEN

who joined the SIU on July 31, 1982 passed away on July 9, 2017 at age 91. He worked for Coastal Transport.

 

 

SISTER IRENE DAVIDSON

who joined the SIU on July 30, 1968 passed away on October 6, 2017 at age 80. She worked on the Bennett and her last vessel was the English River.

 

 

BROTHER JILLALI KADDOUR

joined the SIU on July 10, 1984 and passed away on June 23, 2017 at age 75. He worked on the Catherine Desgagnes and his last vessel was the Algoma Spirit.

 

 

BROTHER GERALD McHUGH

who joined the SIU on June 6, 1977 passed away on October 11, 2017 at age 76. He worked on the Fort Henry and his last vessel was the Agawa Canyon.

 

 

BROTHER KEITH SHEARER

who joined on July 30, 1959 passed away on December 10, 2017 at age 78. He worked on the Windoc and his last vessel was the Algowood.

 

 

SISTER BRONISLAWA NAWROCKA

who joined the SIU on March 13, 1979 passed away on January 11, 2018 at the age of 82. She worked on the Ottercliffe and her last vessel the Essroc Canada.

 

 

SISTER ANITA GAGNE

who joined the SIU on July 6, 1969 passed away on December 15, 2017 at age 86. She worked on the Sieur D’Amours and she last worked for Societe des Traversiers du Quebec.

 

 

SISTER ANNA CRESS

who joined the SIU on Jully 26, 1953 passed away on November 30, 2017 at age 98. She worked on the Ferndale and her last vessel the Lake Winnipeg.

 

BROTHER YVON LAPERRIRE

who joined the SIU on August 31, 1981 passed away on March 3, 2018 at age 80. He worked for Compagnie de Gestion de Matane.

 

 

BROTHER CHARLES LANDRY

who joined the SIU on May 3, 1957 passed away on December 18, 2017 at age 100. He worked on the Bennett and his last vessel the Scott Misener.

 

 

BROTHER KEVIN NOSEWORTHY

who joined the SIU on May 14, 1968 passed away on August 9, 2017 at age 81. He worked on the Westdale and his last vessel the Manitoulin.

 

 

BROTHER LIONEL LEBOUTHILLIER

who joined the SIU on June 20, 1973 passed away on July 18, 2017 at age 81. He worked on the Royalton and his last vessel the Gaspe Transport.

 

 

BROTHER JAMES DEMPSEY

who joined the SIU on September 7, 1956 passed away on December 11, 2017 at age 89. He worked on the Soreldoc and his last vessel the A.G. Farquharson.

 

 

BROTHER CHRISTOS VLOYIANNITIS

who joined the SIU on June 28, 1965 passed away on May 19, 2013 at age 78. He worked on the Ralph Misener and his last vessel the Chi-Cheemaun.

 

 

BROTHER CLAUDE FOURNIER

who joined the SIU on March 16, 1973 passed away on April 21, 2017 at age 78. He worked on the Ed Simard and his last vessel the Aspha Marine.

 

 

BROTHER FRANK YARMKIWCH

who joined the SIU on December 29, 1947 passed away on August 18, 2017 at age 88. He worked on the F.H. Brown and his last vessel the M.V. Arctic.

 

BROTHER GEORGE OSBORNE

who joined the SIU on August 7, 1956 passed away on September 5, 2017 at age 84. He worked on the Ontadoc and his vessel the Willowglen.

 

 

BROTHER DONALD McINTYRE

who joined the SIU on October 30, 1965 passed away on July 20, 2017 at age 82. He worked on the Griffon and his last vessel the John B. Aird.

 

 

BROTHER RONALD MacNEIL

who joined the SIU on June 30, 1974 passed on September 2, 2017 at age 81. He worked on the Canadian and his last vessel the English River.

 

 

SISTER STANISLAWA BUCHOLC

who joined the SIU on April 20, 1972 passed away on June 26, 2017 at age 97. She worked on the Comeaudoc and her last vessel the Hubert Gaucher.

 

 

BROTHER GERALD GIGNAC

who joined the SIU on October 1, 1955 passed away on April 12, 2017 at age 81. He worked on the Trenton and his last vessel the Algocen.

 

 

BROTHER IVAN PENN

who joined the SIU on April 1, 1962 passed away on April 10, 2018 at age 92. He worked on the Niagara and he last worked for Arctic Transportation.

 

 

BROTHER MOHAMMAD GHANI

who joined the SIU on August 29, 1957 passed away on April 24, 2018 at age 97. He worked on the Petite Hermine and his last vessel the Sauniere.

 

 

BROTHER FRED GAGNE

who joined the SIU on December 15, 1987 passed away on May 30, 2018 at age 72. He worked on the Ontadoc and his last vessel the CSL Niagara.

 

 

 

 

President Given steps aboard to hear from members

Over the past few months, President Given has been busy taking the time to listen to Canadian seafarers and sharing the message of stronger together across the globe.

 

In early May, President Given began visiting ships from port to port, providing updates on the latest developments concerning contract negotiations and to gather feedback from members before finalizing a deal to be voted on.

 

President Given stepped aboard the Algoma Spirit, the Algoma Innovator, and the Tim S Dool, where he heard the latest from members and provided critical updates regarding contract negotiations with Algoma. These engagements with the membership provided an opportunity for President Given to have open and transparent discussions with SIU’s hard working members, and to hear the concerns and thoughts on our areas of strength and areas for improvement as a Union.

 

The visits allowed members to ensure their voices were heard on a variety of issues, including requests for new curtains for the crew mess aboard the Algoma Spirit. For those who were off, or on vacation, we encourage you to contact President Given via email for an update.

 

Later in the month, President Given took our Stronger Together message to Parliament Hill in Ottawa, where he met with Members of Parliament and senior officials at Transport Canada. The message was clear, SIU will not stand for abuses under the Temporary Foreign Worker Program, and called on the government to better enforce the standards under the program.

 

The meetings also gave President Given an opportunity to update government officials regarding recruitment efforts, and a new campaign which launched earlier this week. He highlighted that the industry is growing at a very rapid pace, and that SIU is doubling down on recruitment of the next generation of Canadian seafarers. By building off our strong foundation of brothers and sisters, we can only get stronger!

 

Overall, SIU’s presence in Ottawa ensures a consistent communications channel is open with Canadian authorities in the maritime sector, making sure our positions are not only heard, but respected and acted upon.

 

Stay tuned for more exciting updates, as we look forward to a busy summer season on the water and on the shore!

Members’ Survey: An Engaged and Passionate Membership

The seafaring industry is growing, and the Seafarers’ International Union of Canada strives to continually improve our communication with members and provide them with greater access to resources. Enhancements such as the launch of the SIU of Canada’s new website, increased social media presence and publication of the quarterly e-newsletter, The Sailor, are only the beginning.

 

As part of our commitment to serve our members in the best way possible, we conducted a national survey of members to see how the Union was regarded and what we can improve upon. Over 200 members provided valuable feedback that will help us continue to grow and serve our brothers and sisters better.

 

Overall, members are very satisfied with the SIU of Canada. More than half the members said they believe the SIU works to protect their jobs and the marine industry in Canada, and keeps them informed about activities happening within the SIU.

 

For many, the best part of being a seafarer is the pay and benefits. Members also enjoy that seafaring allows time off and flexibility, while providing opportunities to travel. They also greatly value being part of the Brotherhood and Sisterhood of the sea.

 

It was also important for us to understand how members like to receive information from the Union. Interestingly, most of the members prefer to receive updates through email. Although, younger seafarers also lean towards getting information from social media.

 

One of the major takeaways for us was that members crave communication from us, especially when it comes from leadership. Members noted that they would like to hear more often from leadership and have leadership respond to their concerns. Since our re-launch, access to leadership and the executive team has increased, a trend that we are committed to continue.

 

We also learned many members are unaware of the SIU of Canada’s “Members Portal” or have not yet used the portal. The Members Portal is great resource. It allows members to upload their documents so they are all consolidated in one place for job calls, taking away the need to scan and/or mail in required material.

 

It is great to see members engage with us across all platforms. The positive response to our efforts to provide up-to-date information to members on a daily basis is great to see and the survey shows members are getting the information they need.

 

If you haven’t signed up for The Sailor yet, please subscribe to get the next issue.

Seafarer Story: Calvin Chaulk

Calvin Chaulk grew up on the shores of Burnt Islands, Newfoundland with the stories of his father and grandfathers’ sailing trips. In 2006, Calvin Chaulk walked onto a ship for the first time as a sailor, ready to start an adventure and his career.

 

Over the twelve seasons working on water, Calvin has worked multiple jobs. He started off as porter and then moved on to steering the ships as an AB. After eight years, he decided to become a Seaman again, coming back to work on the deck of the ships.

 

“The hardest part of the job is being away from home but we get paid well, and the crew on board is like family.” After several years on board, Calvin is used to being away from home. He says, “I spend more time with the crew than I do with my family,” and while that creates an unbreakable bond, he still misses his family. “The time off helps. I’m off for one-month at a time.” This provides for quality time for him to spend with his daughter and his wife, and to do the things he enjoys, like fishing.

 

Even though sailors are often away from their communities, they keep up-to-date with events taking place on shore. This is how Calvin and his crew heard about the Humboldt Broncos’ devastating bus crash on April 6, 2018.

 

“Here on the ship, we have a few people that are big hockey fans. So, it was kind of sad when we heard on Facebook the news of what happened to those young kids.”

 

The crew decided to honour the memories of the young people who were lost that day, as the rest of Canada was doing, by finding some wood on board, cutting it to look like hockey sticks, and putting them up on the ship. As the ship cruised by, people on shore recognized their gesture.

 

“It was pretty cool, and going through the Welland canal, people would point it out and say it was a nice thing to do. And a couple of times it came over the radio from others around that it was a nice gesture. It was pretty cool.”

 

Being a sailor can be difficult, but it is a rewarding career that offers lifelong friendships, stable pay and new experiences every day.

Maritime Industry launches major youth employment initiative

Canada’s marine shipping industry hiring hundreds of Canadians for stable, good-paying jobs

 

ST. CATHARINES, ONT – JUNE 12, 2018 – The Seafarers’ Training Institute, in partnership with the Seafarers International Union (SIU) of Canada, Algoma Central Corporation, Canadian Steamship Lines (CSL) and Groupe Desgangés have launched a national hiring initiative aimed at recruiting, training and retaining youth for Canada’s growing merchant marine.

 

The initiative is the first of its kind and scale in the Canadian shipping industry, and positions filled will address an ongoing labour shortage and impending crisis in one of Canada’s fastest growing industries. Joining Canada’s seafarers is more than a job, it’s a career of Stability, Adventure and Pride.  

 

“The Seafarers’ Training Institute campaign will inform Canadian youth as well as experienced workers about the good-paying job opportunities in Canada’s marine industry,” says Vince Giannopoulos, SIU member and campaign spokesperson. “I started as a seafarer when I was 21 years old, and it was the best decision I ever made. I was making more than $60,000 a year right out of high school.”

 

In addition to stable employment, recruits can benefit from a paid education, skills upgrading and free room and board through the SIU’s Unlicensed Apprenticeship Program.

 

The SIU of Canada has an immediate need to recruit 300 new seafarers as well as an ongoing need to fill positions of an aging workforce. SIU members are hired to work for companies like Canada Steamship Lines, Algoma Central Corporation and Groupe Desgagnés on vessels in the Great Lakes, and on the East and West Coasts.

 

The SIU of Canada represents the majority of unlicensed sailors in Canada. Within the next five years, almost 20% of SIU members will retire, meanwhile Canada’s marine shipping industry is projected to increase significantly over the coming years.

 

At the national level, the Canadian commercial marine shipping industry directly contributes $3 billion to GDP. The hiring initiative through the Seafarers’ Training Institute will serve to provide Canadian youth and experienced workers with secure, good-paying jobs while ensuring Canada’s shipping industry continues to prosper.

 

“The economic importance of Canada’s marine shipping industry cannot be understated. We need to fill jobs so we can continue to deliver important cargo across our country,” says James Given, President of the Seafarers’ Training Institute. “Canada is a great trading nation, and joining our country’s merchant marine is a not just a smart career move, it’s a strategic one.”

 

The recruitment initiative is complimented by a campaign microsite where interested applicants can learn more about the benefits of a career at sea. Potential recruits are able to apply online at www.beaseafarer.ca.

 

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About the Seafarers’ Training Institute: The Seafarers’ Training Institute, affiliated with the Seafarers’ International Union of Canada trains and prepares Canadians for successful careers as merchant mariners. Through the Institute, tuition, along with room and board for seafarer training is free . New recruits can become certified through the Institute’s Unlicensed Apprentice (UA) Program. More experienced workers can also receive skills upgrades and regular training through the Seafarers’ Training Institute.

To learn more about a career in seafaring, or to apply, visit www.beaseafarer.ca

SIU of Canada will show strength at Ontario polls in support of the NDP

In the coming days, voters across Ontario will head to the polls to vote in the provincial election. After almost 15 years of Liberal leadership, it appears that Ontario is ready for a change.

 

The Seafarers’ International Union of Canada (SIU) proudly stands behind the New Democratic Party, and leader Andrea Horwath, in their pursuit of an economy that serves Ontarians, where prosperity is shared widely, not concentrated in the hands of few.

 

“It’s clear that the people of Ontario believe it’s time for change after 15 years of Liberal leadership,” said SIU President James Given. “The Seafarers’ International Union of Canada are proud to stand behind Andrea Horwath and the NDP to lead Ontario for the next four years.”

 

The SIU of Canada urges all members eligible to vote to show their strength at the polls on June 7, and vote strategically to ensure that Doug Ford, is not victorious. “Andrea Horwath is a proven leader – and an effective fighter – who is committed to fighting for the rights and wellbeing of workers. She will be a leader that SIU can count on, and she’s what the province of Ontario needs.” said SIU President Given.

 

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About the SIU of Canada: The Seafarers’ International Union of Canada (SIU) is affiliated with the Seafarers’ International Union of North America serving unlicensed sailors since 1938. The most important sailors’ union in Canada, the SIU represents the majority of unlicensed sailors working aboard vessels on the Great Lakes, the St. Lawrence River, on the East and West Coasts. In addition to vessels operated in Canadian waters, SIU members also have the opportunity to work aboard vessels delivering cargoes in the United States, Europe and South America.

SIU of Canada Calls on the Federal Government to Enforce TFWP Standards Aboard Ships

June 1, 2018 – Montreal, QC- The Seafarers’ International Union of Canada (SIU) is calling on the Government of Canada to enforce the standards of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) aboard the Bro Anna vessel, where foreign seafarers have been subject to abuses under the TFWP.

 

The Bro Anna is a Singapore flagged vessel operating on Canadian waters with a Cabotage waiver and is crewed by workers from Russia, Latvia and the Philippines.

 

While the crew members hold all of the required permits to work in Canada, they have been subjected to various pay and labour abuses. The SIU Canada has been following the government’s protocol for reporting abuses under the TFWP.

 

“There were clear violations of the TFWP aboard the ship. I have been calling the federal department of Employment and Social Development Canada and the TFWP hotline to report the labour abuses, and we await the government’s response” explains Vince Giannopoulos, an inspector with the International Transport Workers Federation (ITF), who has spent the better part of the last two days aboard the vessel.

 

The situation has escalated and is urgent. The SIU of Canada is therefore calling on the federal government to move swiftly and ensure that the crew receives their hard-earned wages and are not subject to additional labour abuse.

 

“We have called upon Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) to visit this vessel and enforce the regulations pertaining to the TFW program for this crew. This is not the first time the Bro Anna has violated the TFWP, and the consequences should result in both a fine and expulsion from the program altogether,” says James Given, President of SIU Canada. “Further, we ask that ESDC take the required action to detain the ship until such time as all wages and benefits are paid under the Canada Labour Code.”

 

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About the SIU of Canada: The Seafarers’ International Union of Canada (SIU) is affiliated with the Seafarers’ International Union of North America serving unlicensed sailors since 1938. The most important sailors’ union in Canada, the SIU represents the majority of unlicensed sailors working aboard vessels on the Great Lakes, the St. Lawrence River, on the East and West Coasts. In addition to vessels operated in Canadian waters, SIU members also have the opportunity to work aboard vessels delivering cargoes in the United States, Europe and South America.

 

SIU of Canada Stands with Government of Canada on Decision to Impose Retaliatory Tariffs

 

June 1, 2018 – Montreal, QC– The Seafarers’ International Union of Canada (SIU) fully supports the Government of Canada’s decision to impose retaliatory tariffs on imports of steel, aluminum, and other products from the United States.

 

The tariffs announced yesterday by the United States on Canadian steel and aluminum products are unnecessarily provocative, and not in keeping with a bilateral relationship defined by strong allies and long-standing trade partners in integrated trade and supply chains.

 

“Canada has long been a secure supplier of aluminum and steel to the U.S. defence industry, putting aluminum in American planes and steel in American ships” said SIU President Jim Given. “The national security threat suggested by the United States yesterday is both unacceptable and implausible.”

 

The SIU of Canada therefore applauds the Government of Canada for standing up for the interests of the Canadian labour community and agree that such retaliatory measures were required. Furthermore, SIU of Canada will continue to engage with stakeholders on both sides of the border to ensure the voice of the Canadian maritime industry is heard throughout these negotiations.

 

We are proud to stand up and fight back in the name of all seafarers worldwide. As always, we are stronger together.

 

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About the SIU of Canada: The Seafarers’ International Union of Canada (SIU) is affiliated with the Seafarers’ International Union of North America serving unlicensed sailors since 1938. The most important sailors’ union in Canada, the SIU represents the majority of unlicensed sailors working aboard vessels on the Great Lakes, the St. Lawrence River, on the East and West Coasts. In addition to vessels operated in Canadian waters, SIU members also have the opportunity to work aboard vessels delivering cargoes in the United States, Europe and South America.

Sacrifice at Sea: The Canadian Merchant Navy and the Second World War

When envisioning those who served in the Second World War, many picture the brave men and women, standing tall and proud in their uniforms. Those who served without uniform, specifically, those who answered the call as part of the Canadian Merchant Navy, however, are often forgotten.

The Canadian Merchant Navy was comprised of men and women tasked with the difficult job of faring vital equipment, supplies, and soldiers to Europe and the rest of the world. At the time, many of those who signed up for Canada’s Merchant Navy, were unaware of the “wolf-packs” of German submarines, known as U-boats, which often shadowed and preyed on the Allied convoys, sometimes moments after leaving home port.

 

An Allied convey assembles in the Bedford Basin, Halifax, April 1942.
PHOTO: LIBRARY AND ARCHIVES CANADA—PA112993

These German wolf-packs, under specific directive from Adolf Hitler himself, solely targeted merchant ships, resulting in heavy losses and high mortality rates for merchant crews. There is a famous quote from U.K. Prime Minister Winston Churchill, stating that “the only thing that ever really frightened me during the war was the U-boat peril.”

 

In total, 12,000 men and women served in Canada’s Merchant Navy, and more than 25,000 merchant ship voyages were made during the war.

 

The Battle of the Atlantic

 

A convoy crosses the Atlantic, from Newfoundland to Britain, during the Battle of the Atlantic, September 1942. PHOTO: LIBRARY AND ARCHIVES CANADA – PA137014

The Battle of the Atlantic was one of the only theatres during the Second World War that waged close to continental North America. It began the moment the United Kingdom and France declared war on Nazi Germany on September 3, 1939, and lasted until the total defeat of Nazi Germany on May 8, 1945. The Battle featured relentless attacks from German U-boats against coastal shipping vessels from the Caribbean to Halifax. In some cases, German U-boats penetrated deep into the Gulf of St. Lawrence and launched attacks from the same Canadian waterways our seafarers travel today.

 

Merchant mariners were deeply impacted during the Battle of the Atlantic, with a casualty rate of one in seven, a casualty percentage higher than any other Canadian fighting corps during the Second World War. A total of 59 Canadian-registered merchant ships were lost, claiming the lives of over 1,500 Canadian sailors, including eight women.

 

Two unidentified survivors of a torpedoed merchant ship find refuge in St. John’s, September 1942. PHOTO: LIBRARY AND ARCHIVES CANADA – PA116455

Sadly, only half of all merchant sailors survived the sinking of their ships during the war. The frigid waters of the North Atlantic brought a quick death, usually within five minutes, making the chances of survival one in 100 once a ship went down. Not to mention, ships were often instructed to continue on their missions without stopping for survivors. Despite the dangers, merchant mariners, even those who survived attacks, returned to duty and crewed other ships, knowing all too well the imminent danger lurking in the depths.

 

Fighting for Recognition

 

Unbeknownst to many, it wasn’t until 1992 when merchant mariners were granted official status as veterans, making them eligible to receive disability pensions, allowances, and health-care benefits. Unfortunately, retroactive compensation was not provided to the living, despite the absence of benefits since 1945. As a result, in 1998, four Merchant Navy veterans participated in a hunger strike on Parliament Hill, vowing to remain until death or until the federal government approved a new compensation package in lieu of the demobilization benefits provided to Canadian Armed Forces members at the end of the Second World War.

 

In a famous interview with CBC Radio, Merchant Navy Veteran Ossie Maclean, who protested the absence of benefits on Parliament Hill stated that, “We are the men that saved the world,” and demanded that they receive proper recognition. The protest was successful, and ultimately, the government acted. As the turn of the 20th century began, the government started awarding compensation under the Merchant Navy Special Benefit. In a final act of recognition, in 2003 the Government of Canada declared September 3 as Merchant Navy Veterans’ Day.

 

We will never forget

 

As a union that represents Canadian seafarers, every day we fight to protect Canadian sailors and honour the history of the maritime industry. It is with great pride that we recognize and remember the sacrifices of those who served without hesitation during Canada’s, and the world’s time of great need.

 

Our union roots are deep, and it is for this reason we pause year after year to remember and honour the Canadian men and women who have served our country and fought for freedom around the world.  Time may fade, but our memories cannot, we are the Seafarers International Union of Canada, and together, we are stronger!

“He said I couldn’t do it, so I did it” Margaret Szopinski tells us what it means to be a female seafarer in 2018

Meet Margaret Szopinski, a Mechanical Assistant and SIU member for almost sixteen years. With a drive to constantly improve her skills and develop new ones, Margaret isn’t stopping anytime soon. Margaret became a seafarer because someone told her she couldn’t do it – and she needed to prove them wrong. With fierce workmanship and dedication to her job, Margaret shows what it means to be a female seafarer in 2018.

 

“I’m really stubborn. My boyfriend at the time said I couldn’t do it, so I did it, and I really liked it so I kept going.” Margaret began her career with the SIU in 2002, and has held various positions during her sixteen-year tenure.  She started out on the deck then moved on to become an AB. From there she trained to work in the engine room where she now works. Margaret is constantly working to upgrade her skills, most recently finishing a tanker training course at Piney Point, so she can take on new opportunities aboard these vessels.

 

A strong mother of four and grandmother of two, Margaret has always pursued the things she enjoys, no matter what anyone else says.  “I came here [to Canada] from Poland in the 90’s and did a lot of different things. I was a stay at home mom, then a PSW and now I do this.” When she’s working, Margaret is very focused on her work, but she says one of the best things about the job is the long periods of time off. During breaks, she gets to spend time with family and work on her hobby. “When I’m not working I like to work on my houses. Tiling, making cabinets- everything about houses. I’ve built three kitchens from the ground up.”

 

When asked what it means to be a strong woman in an industry dominated by men, Margaret said she believes we need to get away from talking about jobs as “men’s” or “women’s” jobs, they’re just jobs. “People should do the jobs they like. I prefer working with my hands. I like what I like and I should be able to do it.”   To any young women wanting to pursue a career in seafaring, Margaret says they should take a leap and go for it.

 

Margaret does acknowledge however, that there are some barriers still facing women in this line of work. She notes that there are few women working in the engine rooms with her, but hopes that could change. “The industry is really getting better. Women can take the same courses as men, and involvement on the boats is the same. I’ve never had guys not be ok with me working- because I’m a hardworking woman.” Margaret believes the biggest thing stopping more women from becoming seafarers is family life.  “Sometimes there are barriers for women with families – being away for a long period of time, but other women do it and they do it for their family because the money is good.”

 

March is women’s history month in Canada and around the world. While our industry has traditionally been dominated by men, we’re seeing more and more women join us. Like all other seafarers, Margaret takes pride in working hard and leaving her post every day knowing she put her all into her job. She has broken barriers and defied those who challenge her abilities to thrive as a seafarer. Thank you, Margaret, for being a great example for the next generation of female seafarers.

 

President Given working to protect Canadian Seafarers and labour rights

Since our last update, SIU of Canada President James Given has been busy at home in Canada, advocating for the issues that matter most to our brothers and sisters across the country.

 

At the end of 2017, President Given participated in Canadian Marine Advocacy Council meetings with the Department of Transport. These meetings ensure our voice is heard by decision makers on a variety of issues. Our presence on the Council also helps us establish a consistent communications channel with authorities in the maritime sector, ensuring our positions are not only heard, but respected and acted upon.

 

As an important stakeholder in Canada’s maritime sector, President Given makes a point to speak with government officials and decision makers as frequently as possible. In early January, the SIU participated in a round table with Minister of Labour Patty Hajdu on changes to Canada’s labour code. In February, President Given participated in another Roundtable with Employment and Social Development Canada on enforcement of the Temporary Foreign Worker (TFW) program. Thanks to our efforts and the efforts of others involved in Maritime Labour, major changes to program delivery for the TFW have been published.

 

In January, Transport Minister Marc Garneau held a roundtable with stakeholders on NAFTA and the transportation sector. Unfortunately, we were not invited. In fact, only one voice representing the maritime industry was present – The Shipping Federation of Canada – which only represents international shipping in Canada and does not speak in favour of domestic shipping. The government suggested that we did not need to be present because the discussion would not focus on labour-related issues. We fought back and made sure the government heard us. While we were unable to participate in this meeting, we will be meeting with officials on trade deals and related-issues in the near future.

 

Outside of government-related activities, we recently participated in an anti-racism rally in St. Catharines Ontario. Our priority first and foremost is the wellbeing of our members and the health of Canada’s maritime industry. A close second, however, is advocating for fairness for all. We were able to rally several members and SIU staff to attend a counter-protest when we heard that white supremacists would be mobilizing outside of local MP Chris Bittle’s office. We could not stand for this type of hateful sentiment in our backyard and made sure our message was heard loud and clear.

 

Early on in 2018, our sister Union SEATU learned that employees of a local Tim Hortons had been intimidated and retaliated against when they attempted to unionize. Franchise management directly infringed upon employees’ labour rights. We took action to ensure the relevant authorities knew of the ongoing issues so they were equipped to take action.

 

As you may be aware, Unifor recently left the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC). As a member of the CLC we oppose this move. Since its departure from the CLC, Unifor has gone on to raid members of the union Unite Here 75. In early February the remaining 55 members of the CLC (including the SIU) met to condemn in the strongest terms Unifor’s actions following its disaffiliation. We see their moves as an attempt at empire building, and harmful to solidarity among workers and labour advocacy more generally.

 

Most recently, President Given has been in talks with many of the shipping companies regarding recruitment efforts. Our industry is growing at a very rapid pace, perhaps even faster than we can keep up with. This is a great problem to have, but it means we need to double down on our efforts to recruit the next generation of seafarers. We know that adding to our already stellar group of brothers and sisters can only make us stronger!  More on that to come…. Stay tuned!

 

 

Final Voyages: Winter 2018

This winter, we have seen two of our members embark on their final voyage. We send them our thoughts and prayers.

 

 

 

Brother Romeo Hamelin who joined the S.I.U. on July 2, 1954, passed away on November 24, 2017 at the age of 87. He worked on the Birchton and his last vessel was the Ferbec.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Brother William Airhardt who joined the S.I.U. on June 30, 2008, passed away on December 28, 2017 at the age of 30. He worked on the Tim S. Dool and his last vessel was the Atlantic Huron.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Member Announcement: New Online Members’ Portal

The Seafarers’ International Union of Canada is making it easier for members to have up to date documents on file for job calls! Rather than scanning and sending or even mailing in your required documents, you can now upload them yourself through the new SIU member portal on our website. This can be done on your computer or on your Smartphone. All members should go online and create their profile in the portal.

 

To sign up for an account, you must have an email address and your SIU Probationary or Book number. Full instructions on how to create a profile and upload documents can be found here. Documents include things like training certificates, police background check, passport, work visa, safety certificates and licenses all in one easy-to-access place.

 

When the Union dispatches you to a job, we can digitally access your documentation to pass it on to the employer and confirm the job. Going forward, this is how the union will be collecting member documents.

 

If you have any questions please contact your local union hall.

Sacrifice at Sea: The Canadian Merchant Navy and the First World War

During the First World War, the Royal Canadian Navy, and the Canadian Merchant Navy played a pivotal role in the Allied victory. Had it not been for thousands of Canadian sailors and their vessels, the War could have taken a turn for the worse.

 

At the outbreak of the First World War in 1914, the United Kingdom boasted one of the most powerful Naval fleets in the word– the Royal Navy. In Canada, on the other hand, the Royal Canadian Navy was just four years old, with only two ships in operation and fewer than 350 personnel.  By the end of the war in 1918, the Royal Canadian Navy would grow to nearly 9,500 sailors, with over 130 commissioned vessels, and countless other merchant marine vessels and sailors.

 

Lacking in supply vessels, troop carriers, and trained sailors, thousands of Canadian merchant sailors and mariners uprooted their lives to serve for crown and country. Selflessly, these men and women left behind the comforts of home and familiar waters, to fight for freedom around the world. Mariners who once sailed cargo from port to port in North America, were now tasked with making the dangerous trans-Atlantic trip to a land engulfed in war.

 

The Challenge

 

Surrounded by ocean, the United Kingdom had for centuries held its strategic advantage as an isolated island. However, starting in the early 20th century, the isolation nearly led to the demise of the entire British Commonwealth. For one of the first times in modern history, Allied Navy personal were up against a new enemy, one that was able to silently lurk beneath the surface and strike at will – the German U-Boat.

 

The First World War saw German submarines take a great toll on the Canadian Merchant Navy, which was tasked with carrying troops and desperately-needed supplies from North America to Europe. These vessels acted as a lifeline for the troops fighting overseas. At the time, the United Kingdom was operating and producing at capacity. In order to survive, food, munitions, oil, and various other goods had to be imported to feed the war machine.

 

With a vital flow of resources nearly cut off, the Allies moved to a convoy system, placing merchant ships into large groups and escorting them across the ocean with warships for protection. These trans-Atlantic convoys would sometimes consist of upwards of 60 ships, and would routinely make the haul from Eastern Canada, to ports in Europe. The challenge was great, but Allied efforts at sea helped turn the tide and allowed enough war materials to make it through for the Allies to eventually win the war in late 1918.

 

We will never forget

 

As a union that represents Canadian seafarers working in the Canadian maritime industry, every day we fight to protect Canadian sailors and honour the history of the Canadian maritime industry. It is with great pride that we recognize and remember the sacrifices of those who served without hesitation during Canada’s, and the world’s time of great need.

 

Our union roots are deep, and it is for this reason we pause year after year to remember and honour the Canadian men and women who have served our country and fought for freedom around the world.  Time may fade, but our memories cannot, we are the Seafarers International Union of Canada, and together, we are stronger!

 

NAFTA roundtable needs more maritime representation, says SIU of Canada

 

January 17, 2018

 

Montreal, QC- Today, federal Transport Minister Garneau will be hearing from transportation stakeholders at a North America Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) roundtable consultation in Montreal.  The Shipping Federation of Canada will be the sole voice representing the maritime industry. The SIU is disappointed that other maritime voices, including our own, will not be present to communicate concerns and insights regarding the modernization of NAFTA.  The members of the SIU work aboard vessels on Canadian waters, to transport globally traded goods and are directly impacted by trade agreements like NAFTA.  This is a missed opportunity for the Canadian government to better understand challenges facing the shipping industry as they relate to NAFTA.

 

“As an important stakeholder in the maritime transportation sector, we are disappointed to not have been included in tomorrow’s NAFTA round table with Transport Minister Marc Garneau. Nevertheless, we will be making our voices heard on critical issues within the industry,” says SIU Executive Vice President, Patrice Caron.

 

About the SIU of Canada

The Seafarers’ International Union of Canada (SIU) is affiliated with the Seafarers’ International Union of North America serving unlicensed sailors since 1938. The most important sailors’ union in Canada, the SIU represents the majority of unlicensed sailors working aboard vessels on the Great Lakes, the St. Lawrence River, on the East and West Coasts. In addition to vessels operated in Canadian waters, SIU members also have the opportunity to work aboard vessels delivering cargoes in the United States, Europe and South America.

James Taylor: keeping his shipmates strong with a taste of home

Meet James Taylor

 

James is a 26-year old professionally trained chef with a passion for making people happy through his food. After years of working as a restaurant chef, James decided the restaurant life wasn’t for him and joined the SIU to cook on board our shipping vessels. Now, James has a stable, well-paying job that offers him the opportunity to expand his skillset.

 

James never imagined his chef skills would take him on board tugs and large shipping vessels. “Before joining the union, I worked in restaurants but there was really no stability and employees weren’t treated very well.” After speaking to some family members who enjoyed long and successful seafaring careers, James thought he would give seafaring a try.  “Once I decided I would try it out the process was really quick, it only took about a week to get everything done.” He landed his first job just two weeks after, and hasn’t looked back since. “I could have stayed in Ottawa and worked in a fancy restaurant, but I would be working under worse conditions and make way less money.”

 

Well-fed seafarers make happy and hard-working seafarers. James takes pride in being able to cook the home comforts that make his mates feel comforted and warm. “I cook home food. For the east-coasters I make salt-cod dinners, and corned beef and cabbage. For others I make things like Shepard’s pie and stew. We also have steak night every Saturday which is very popular.”

 

As the only cook on board his ship, James prepares, cooks and cleans up for three meals a day and maintains the highest standards for his galley. “I once had an American pilot say that this was the cleanest galley he’d ever seen. I like to maintain restaurant quality standards in my kitchen.” James’ natural cooking talent and passion for producing comforting and delicious meals is clear to anyone who tastes his creations. “It isn’t an easy job. You are responsible for a lot of stuff. I’m not just in charge of cooking, I also order all of the food, take inventory and receive all of the food.”

 

When the ship James enjoys exploring the port towns with some of his crew mates. “When you’re on board, you have to get along with everyone. I’m lucky I’ve made some great friends during my tours.”

According to James, some of the most interesting ports are Toledo and Owen Sound, but his favourite so far has been Cleveland. “When you step off the ship, you’re right downtown near where Lebron plays. We even got to see fireworks there once. It’s a lot of fun.”

 

James is proud to be part of a union that backs its members with such force. “It’s so rare to find a chef job where you have a strong safety net behind you, not to mention benefits and a pension.” While he was unable to join his brothers and sisters picketing to protect Canadian maritime jobs, he fully supported their efforts and wished he could have participated.

 

Cooking on board isn’t where James thought his chef skills would take him, he hopes to continue to progress, learn and take on more responsibility.  “It’s good to always be learning. I want to do this as long as I can. I make good money and I like what I do.”

Supporting the Seafarers’ International Union of North America & the United States’ Jones Act

The SIU of Canada supports and strongly advocates for maritime Cabotage Law in Canada. We therefore also support the continued implementation and protection of the Jones Act in the United States.

 

The Jones Act is the law that implements Cabotage in the United States. Canada protects its maritime cabotage activities chiefly through the Coasting Trade Act. Under Canada’s Coasting Trade Act, the movement of passengers or goods between two Ports in Canada is reserved for Canadian flagged and Canadian crewed vessels, with very few exceptions. The Coasting Trade Act is the Canadian equivalent of the Jones Act.

 

The Jones Act is an exemplary model on which the United States has built and protected their maritime industry and goes a step further than the Coasting Trade Act by including a provision that requires all vessels operating Cabotage in the United States to be American-built as well.

 

The Jones Act is a strong, all-encompassing piece of maritime legislation through which our Brothers and Sisters in the Seafarers International Union of North America (SIUNA) have used to help bolster their industry and protect American seafaring jobs.  We encourage the U.S. government to remain committed to the Jones Act to protect the jobs and rights of seafarers, and the marine industry overall.

 

What is the Jones Act?

 

The Merchant Marine Act of 1920, commonly referred to as the Jones Act, was designed to create a safe network of merchant mariners within the United States after World War I. The Jones Act requires that all goods shipped from one American port to another must be transported on an American built, American owned, American flagged and American crewed ship. Effectively, the Jones Act implements cabotage in the United States. Cabotage, also known as “coastal trading,” is the commercial transport of goods or passengers between two places located within a nation state.

 

The overall goal of this legislation is to ensure national security by providing fleet capacity and manpower that the U.S. armed forces can draw upon to support military operations as well as support the overall U.S. maritime industry and the 500,000 American jobs it provides. The Jones Act ensures a strong and vibrant maritime industry, which helps ensure the United States maintains its expertise in shipbuilding and waterborne transportation. The law also requires all U.S. ships to obey U.S. labour laws to protect maritime employees and ensures vessels abide by the Environment Protection Agency’s regulations.

 

Why do Unions and Shipping Companies like the Jones Act?

 

Strong American Unions like our affiliate Union SIUNA, are better positioned to fight for their members when government legislation is in place to support their industry. American shipping companies are also better positioned to invest in and support maritime jobs secured through the Jones Act and because of support from both labor and industry members, the Jones Act helps drive the U.S. maritime industry forward.

 

The Seafarers’ International Union of North America, with the backing of the protections found within the Jones Act, ensures better protections for American maritime employees who may otherwise be replaced by foreign workers with much lower wages and significantly poorer working and labor conditions. With strong support from both the Republican and Democrat sides of the U.S. government, and long-advocated in favor of by U.S. maritime labour including the united voice of the Maritime Trades Department of the AFL-CIO, the Jones Act is a vital component to America’s strong maritime industry.

 

Misguided Attempts to Repeal the Jones Act

 

Supporters of America’s freight Cabotage law are continuing to fight back against false accusations concerning the Jones Act.

 

SIUNA and many of its allies recently took action to dispel the myths created in the American media that the Jones Act was hampering recovery efforts after Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico in September. The AFL-CIO responded to critics of the Jones Act, who were using the disaster for political opportunity, to reaffirm the American maritime industry’s ability and commitment to aiding Puerto Rico during the recovery period.

 

The Jones Act in no way impeded delivery of supplies to Puerto Rico and fully loaded American ships, proudly crewed by SIUNA members, began arriving to the island as soon as the main port in Puerto Rico reopened. Just as accusations that the Jones Act was slowing recovery efforts were baseless, so too, are the accusations that the Jones Act drives up costs on the island. Multiple U.S. government departments have studied this issue and found no evidence that the Jones Act increases expenses in Puerto Rico, and in fact, the U.S. Government Accountability Office, in an unbiased and non-partisan study, concluded that the Jones Act has helped ensure reliable shipping service between the island and the continental U.S. is maintained.

 

In addition, despite what some interest groups and some U.S. officials like Senator John McCain would have the public believe, Puerto Rico receives Jones Act shipping service that is cheaper, more regular and more reliable than foreign shipping rates and service to the Jones Act-exempt U.S. Virgin Islands, where consumer rates are also significantly higher. Foreign flagged vessels with cargo from ports outside the United States are, and always have been, allowed entry to Puerto Rico.

 

The SIU strongly supports our brothers and sisters in the United States who continue to fight for their cabotage laws and dispel the unfounded accusations against the Jones Act that would only serve to harm the global maritime industry and all seafarers worldwide. We are proud of their work defending American seafarers and proud to stand up and fight back together for all seafarers worldwide. As always, we are stronger together.

President Given fighting for Canadian seafarers across the globe

Over the past few months, President Given has been busy fighting for Canadian seafarers and sharing the message of stronger together across the globe.

 

In September, President Given attended the Seafarers International Union of North America (SIUNA) annual convention, which also celebrated the 50th Anniversary of the Paul Hall Centre for Maritime Training & Education. Alongside our American brothers and sisters, President Given and others from the SIU of Canada highlighted our union’s accomplishments, the ongoing fight to preserve Canadian seafarer jobs and protect workers’ rights.

 

In October, President Given travelled to St. Louis to attend the Maritime Trades Department of the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) 2017 Quadrennial Convention. The Maritime Trades Department is a constitutionally mandated department of the AFL-CIO.  Since its inception, it has given workers employed in the maritime industry and its allied trades a voice in shaping national policy.

 

During his time in the U.S., President Given met with U.S. Secretary of Transportation, Elaine Chao to discuss how the union is standing up for Canadian jobs and fighting to ensure Cabotage Law is upheld. The U.S. is often regarded as having some of the strongest Cabotage Laws in the world; however, as threats to the Jones Act grow, President Given emphasized the importance of the U.S.’ ongoing commitment to its merchant mariners.

 

Most recently, President Given has appeared at an International Transport Workers Federation (ITF) strengthen laws worldwide. The President is Chair of the ITF taskforce on Cabotage. The taskforce aims to challenge the threat of Cabotage liberalization posed by international trade talks, and weak enforcement by government. Unions participating in the task force represent groups from the USA, Norway, Nigeria, Canada, Brazil, Australia, Greece and the Philippines.

 

President Given will close out this year by participating in Transport Canada’s Canadian Marine Advocacy Council (CMAC) meetings. CMAC represents parties with an interest in shipping, navigation and marine pollution concerns. It advises the government on issues and opportunities related to marine safety and security and releases reports annually. Participation in CMAC compliments other Canadian government advocacy conducted by the union this year, including regular meetings with Members of Parliament and an appearance at the House of Commons standing committee on Transport, Infrastructure and Communities.

 

Stay up to date on union activities by following us on Facebook and Twitter

 

 

 

A renewed commitment to communicating with our members

Over the past several years, our industry has experienced growth, and faced challenges and threats that have the potential to impact our careers as seamen. The SIU of Canada’s role in protecting the jobs of Canadian sailors has become ever more prominent.

 

Recently, President Given, along with other members of the SIU, have been pushing the boundaries, fighting for strongly enforced Cabotage Laws and labour rights across the globe. As part of our increased effort to ensure the voices of Canadian seafarers are heard, we have launched new ways to communicate with both our members, and our external stakeholders, in Canada and abroad.

 

In recent weeks the SIU of Canada has launched a new website and refreshed our social media presence, as well as publishing our first of many quarterly e-newsletter, The Sailor. We also developed a short video clearly explaining why we fight so hard for Cabotage Law.

 

As many of you will know, we recently re-launched our Facebook page to regularly announce union updates, share news and promote engagement amongst our members, their families, and others interested in the marine industry. We’ve also been sharing regular updates on Twitter and launched a YouTube channel. Our community is strong and growing thanks to our supporters.

 

Earlier this month, we unveiled our new website. The new seafarers.ca features photos of our members hard at work, along with recent news and updates from the President, career opportunities and member resources. We’ve also launched a new series called Seafarer Stories, highlighting individual SIU members as they share stories about their career and themselves. You can read our first story on member Greg Wells here.

 

One of the biggest changes to how we’re communicating with members is a new email version of The Sailor. For many years, The Sailor has been a beloved newspaper for our members. We wanted to preserve this tradition, but in a new, updated format. The email newsletter will appear in members’ inboxes quarterly, and will include news updates, member photos and seafarer stories. You can sign up for The Sailor here.  

 

Through this renewed commitment to communication, we are better able connect directly with our members, prospective recruits, the government and international Seafarers’ organizations to talk about our industry. There are also more avenues for you to connect with us than ever before, and we are always happy to hear from you.

 

We’re not reinventing the wheel, we’re simply doing what needs to be done to provide up-to-date, world class representation for our members.

Final Voyages

Over the past few months, we have witnessed the passing of a number of our brothers and sisters. We send them our thoughts and prayers as they depart on their final voyage. Rest in Peace.

 

 

 

Walter Crowley

 

Brother Walter Crowley who joined S.I.U. on August 4, 1975 passed away on February 10, 2017 at the age of 81. He worked on the Canadoc and his last vessel was the Lucien Paquin.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jules Frenette

 

Brother Jules Frenette who joined the S.I.U. on November 1, 1965 passed away on October 29, 2016 at the age of 84. He worked on the Westmount and his last vessel was the Cartierdoc.

 

 

 

 

 

Armand Philippe

 

Brother Armand Philippe who joined S.I.U. on October 30, 1972 passed away on December 3, 2016 at the age of 77. He worked on the Heron Bay and his last vessel was the Paterson.

 

 

 

 


 

Henri G. Durette

 

Brother Henri G. Durette who joined the S.I.U. on April 1, 1975 passed away on January 21, 2017 at the age of 92. He worked on the Sieur D’Amours and his last vessel was the CamilleMarcoux.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Doreen Bandy

 

Sister Doreen Bandy who joined the S.I.U. on July 22, 1977 passed away on April 28, 107 at the age of 86. She worked on the Hiembecker and her last vessel was the Canada Marquis.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Marcel Tremblay

 

Brother Marcel Tremblay who joined the S.I.U. on May 26, 1966 passed away on January 21, 2017 at the age of 85. He worked on the Siur D’ Amours and he last worked for Société des Traversiers du Québec.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Robert Tremblay

 

Brother Robert Tremblay who joined S.I.U. on August 12, 1977 passed away on May 17, 2017 at the age of 66. He worked on the Frankcliffe hall and he last worked for Algoma Tankers Ltd.

 

 

 

 

 

Pauline Eggleton

 

Sister Pauline Eggleton who joined the S.I.U. on July 4, 1978 passed away on February 23, 2017 at the age of 95. She worked on the Hochelaga and her last vessel was the Algorail.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Donald MacLeod

 

Brother Donald MacLeod who joined the S.I.U. on June 30, 1965 passed way on March 17, 2017 at the age of 83. He worked on the Frankcliffe Hall and his last vessel the Sauniere

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ernesto Ramos

 

Brother Ernesto Ramos who joined the S.I.U. on October 24, 1977 passed away on June 15, 2017 at the age of 74. He worked on the Outarde and his last vessel was the Camillia Desgagnes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Humbert Solari Jr.

 

Brother Humbert Solari Jr. who joined the S.I.U. on October 26, 1972 passed away on September 23, 2015 at the age of 80. He worked on the Cabatern and his last vessel was the Ferbec.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gilles Turenne

 

Brother Gilles Turenne who joined the S.I.U. on April 11, 1955 passed away on June 4, 2017 at the age of 82. He worked on the Picton and last worked for Spectre.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Andrej Vlasov

 

Brother Andrej Vlasov who joined the S.I.U. on August 11, 1975 passed way on May 1, 2017 at the age of 78. He worked on the Fort St. Louis and his last vessel was the Birchglen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jacques Jomphre

 

Brother Jacques Jomphre who joined the S.I.U. on October 6, 1973 passed away on March 8, 2013 at age 70. He worked on Fort Ramezay and his last vessel was the Fort Lauzon.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Benjamin Jordan

 

Brother Benjamin Jordan who joined the S.I.U. on July 1, 1970 passed away on May 24, 2017 at the age of 83. He worked on the English River and his last vessel was the Melissa Desgagnes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Charles Desmeules

 

Brother Charles Desmeules who joined the S.I.U. on July 10, 1967 passed away on April 4, 2017 at the age of 83. He worked on the Manic and his last vessel was the Labradoc.

 

 

 

 

 

Austin Hillier

 

Brother Austin Hillier who joined the S.I.U. on June 24, 1952 passed away on April 29, 2017 at the age of 86. He worked on the Feux-Follets and his last vessel was the Paterson.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Roger Houde

 

Brother Roger Houde who joined the S.I.U. on July 28, 1964 passed away on March 4, 2016 at the age of 88. He worked on the Fort Lauzon and his last vessel was the Charles R. Huntley

 

 

 

 

 

John Puddister

 

Brother John Puddister who joined the S.I.U. on August 17, 1961 passed away on April 5, 2017 at the age of 82. He worked on the Elmdale and his last vessel was the Enerchem Catalyst.

 

 

 

 

Léon Lepage

Brother Léon Lepage who joined the S.I.U. on May 14, 1966 passed away on June 12, 2017 at the age of 89. He worked for the Sieur D’Amour and he last worked on the Société des Traversiers du Québec.

 

 

 

 

 

Khester Bacchus

 

Brother Khester Bacchus who joined the S.I.U. on February 13, 1974 passed away on Devember 21, 2012 at the age of 76. He worked on the Baffin Transport and his last vessel was the Cécilia Desgagnés.

 

 

 

 

Cephas Moris Declou

 

Brother Cephas Moris Declou who joined the S.I.U. on December 15, 1984 passed away on April 4, 2017 at the age of 80. He worked on the Vandoc and his last vessel was the Algogulf.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Clarence Pynn

 

Brother Clarence Pynn who joined the S.I.U. on April 18, 1952 passed away on May 24, 2017 at the age of 89. He worked on the Battleford.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Greg Wells: A proud Canadian seafarer for over 37 years

“I really liked being on the ships. It’s hard to explain, but when I was on them, I just got this feeling. Like it was what I was meant to do. It was a pretty rewarding life. I just really enjoyed my job.” (more…)

SIU of Canada advocates for labour law enforcement during strike against Algoma Tankers Limited

Algoma Tankers use foreign ships & crew while Canadian officers on strike

Montreal, QC – The Seafarers’ International Union of Canada (SIU) has learned that Canadian officers commenced legal strike actions against Algoma Tankers Limited on October 21.

 

Algoma Tankers Limited currently has two foreign tankers carrying cargo in Canadian waters, both are being crewed by foreign workers. The Temporary Foreign Worker Program rules enforced by Employment and Social Development Canada are clear: foreign workers cannot be used to replace striking Canadian workers. Further, the SIU has learned that wages owed for the vessels Sten Idun and Bro Angus are approximately $400,000 CDN for the time they have been sailing in Canadian Cabotage.

 

The officers on strike are represented by the Canadian Merchant Services Guild. As a result of this strike, SIU crews who work aboard some of the vessels have been laid off. This is standard procedure, however, due to collective agreements impacting the SIU members onboard the vessels.

 

The SIU believe that the right to strike is entrenched in Canadian labour laws, and Temporary Foreign Worker Program rules must be enforced by the Federal Government.

 

“Although the SIU is not on strike we are always prepared to mobilize our members to defend Canada’s cabotage and labour laws to protect Canadian seafarers,” says SIU President James Given.    

 

The SIU will stand up for all seafarers in this situation. We strongly encourage these foreign flag vessels to leave Canadian waters immediately, and we call upon the Government of Canada to address this issue.

 

 

About the SIU of Canada

The Seafarers’ International Union of Canada (SIU) is affiliated with the Seafarers’ International Union of North America serving unlicensed sailors since 1938. The most important sailors’ union in Canada, the SIU represents the majority of unlicensed sailors working aboard vessels on the Great Lakes, the St. Lawrence River, on the East and West Coasts. In addition to vessels operated in Canadian waters, SIU members also have the opportunity to work aboard vessels delivering cargoes in the United States, Europe and South America.

SIU of Canada Taking Action to Stop Foreign Cabotage and Strike Breaking

Calling on Algoma Tankers Ltd. and Federal Government to enforce laws and protect Canadian workers

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Seafarers call on the Federal Government to uphold labour standards for foreign sailors

The crew aboard the Bro Anna are working under abysmal conditions, being paid less than $2 per hour

(more…)

SIU of Canada President Defends Cabotage and Canadian Seafaring at Transport Committee Hearing

“The SIU’s priority is to ensure Canadian workers have opportunities for employment in the Canadian maritime industry.” (more…)

Government of Canada settles SIUC lawsuits

Government of Canada settles Seafarers’ International Union of Canada lawsuits alleging systematic breaches of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program

(more…)