Delivering on our mandate to increase jobs

September 13, 2018

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