A Message from SIU President Given to All Members Regarding COVID-19

March 17, 2020

Sisters and Brothers,

As you have seen on our social media channels, our website and through emails, we have closed all SIU Union Halls for at least a two-week period, in an attempt to keep all of you and the SIU staff safe and healthy. The COVID-19 virus is causing many organizations to take unprecedented action to help prevent the spread of the illness, and the SIU will not take the chance to risk the health and safety of all of you. While it is still unclear on the severity of the virus and its risk to Canadians, it is important that we take the necessary steps that are being recommended by the Government of Canada to prevent the spread of COVID-19. It is better to overreact in a situation such as this, than underreact.

We have been in constant contact with our Companies and are working closely with them and Transport Canada to ensure that we are all adopting and implementing the necessary measures to keep you safe while you are on board your vessels. We will be sending out emails to all ship’s delegates in the coming days outlining what action and guidelines your specific company is taking to protect your health and safety, so if you have any company specific questions regarding the COVID-19 response, please contact your ship delegates. These guidelines are important to take note of, as there may be measures in place that impact your day-to-day work, and if shore-leave is prohibited.

95% of all goods in Canada are delivered by ship, making all of you the backbone of the Canadian economy. Canadians rely on us every day, whether they know it or not, to make their lives easier. Your continued work during these times is a testament to the strength of all seafarers, and the strength of the maritime industry in Canada. When times get tough, Canadians depend on the toughness of seafarers to carry on, doing the work that few others have the ability to do.

The SIU of Canada is doing everything within our power to keep you safe during these troubling times, and we will continue to monitor the situation and work closely with our Companies and the Government of Canada to ensure your safety. We will be providing updates as needed through our website (www.seafarers.ca) our Facebook page (www.facebook.com/SIUofCanada/) and via email to your inbox. We encourage you to reach out to us if you are in need of any assistance during these times, as we will continue to work for you throughout the life of the virus and beyond. Your Union has your back.

We have fought together time and time again, and this is no different. We will come out on the other side of this virus, and we will continue to be stronger together.

Fraternally,

James Given

President, SIU Canada