Canada has responded to a long-standing campaign by the country’s seafaring unions. The government has agreed that Canadian seafarers will have the first right to be employed in any available maritime jobs on vessels from all flag states working in Canadian waters.
The Seafarers International Union (SIU) of Canada has been fighting for the protection of Canadian seafarers’ jobs for many years. It previously took legal action against the Canadian government after it found that Canadian seafarers had not been offered jobs, and that many foreign seafarers were paid as little as CAD2.41 an hour while working in Canadian waters.
The Canadian government has now agreed that no temporary foreign worker permits will be offered to seafarers from other nations for more than 30 days without the written consent of the maritime unions of Canada, coordinated through the SIU of Canada. If no Canadian seafarers are available, foreign seafarers must be issued with employment contracts giving them Canadian wage rates and working conditions while they are working in Canadian waters.
SIU of Canada president Jim Given commented that: “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.”