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.