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

May 1, 2019

Algoma Central Corporation has taken work away from hardworking Canadian seafarers in favour of cheap foreign labour. The company has failed to comply with Canadian coasting trade, exploiting foreign labour at $3.00 per hour rather than using available Canadian workers aboard a Singapore-flagged crude oil tanker the Bro Alma.

To sidestep the Coasting Trade Act (cabotage) to use foreign labour instead of Canadian workers, the Bro Alma changed routes to pick up cargo in Chicago instead of Sarnia, Ontario. The SIU has reason to believe the vessel is still picking up Canadian crude oil, and as such should be covered by Canadian Coasting Trade laws. Despite this, Algoma did not obtain a Coasting Trade license for the Bro Alma.

“Algoma is failing Canadian workers, and failing to adhere to Canadian values of honesty and integrity in their operations,” says Josh Sanders, Vice President, SIU of Canada. “By failing to obtain a cabotage waiver for the Bro Alma, Algoma may be evading Canadian maritime laws and regulations, depriving Canadian seafarers of work that they are qualified and available to perform.”

The SIU is calling on the federal government to enforce the Coasting Trade Act.  A formal request for review of the Bro Alma’s activity has been sent to Canadian Border Security Agency, Employment and Social Development Canada and the Canadian Transportation Agency.

“When cabotage is not enforced, it’s the frontline workers who are most affected,” says Sanders. “Not only our members, who are now left without this work, but the foreign labour who are being severely underpaid. The federal government must do better to ensure those working on our waters are protected.”

Today, SIU of Canada members are fighting back, with a demonstration in St. Catharines, Ontario. The SIU of Canada will always stand up to companies that fail to comply with the important laws that protect our Canadian workers and Canadian labour standards.