Canadian laker Algoma Equinox loads grain at Richardson International’s elevator at the Port of Thunder Bay. (Photo: Thunder Bay Port Authority)
OTTAWA – With the opening of maritime shipping season only a few weeks away, the Seafarers International Union (SIU) of Canada has an immediate need to hire hundreds of skilled workers to address an ongoing labour shortage in Canada’s fast-growing marine shipping industry.
Skilled workers with trades and/or marine experience possess valuable and transferrable skills needed on board a merchant vessel. In June 2018, the SIU partnered with the Seafarers’ Training Institute to launch a national hiring initiative aimed at recruiting, training and retaining young people. The initiative has been highly successful. However, the need for skilled workers is only increasing, with over 20 per cent of current SIU membership set to retire in the next five years.
“Canada’s marine economy is thriving, and more demand for seafarers means skilled workers can earn great pay and benefits in a long and stable career they can be proud of,” says Vince Giannopoulos, SIU member and recruitment campaign spokesperson.
“If you have marine or trades experience, and you are a Canadian Citizen or Permanent Resident, the SIU can help you transfer your skills on board and ensure a smooth a transition.”
Upon joining the SIU of Canada, members work for Canadian companies like Algoma Central Corporation, Groupe Desgagnés and Canada Steamship Lines, among others. SIU members have the unique opportunity to sail Canada’s waterways (and potentially to international ports) in modern, Wi Fi-equipped vessels that ensure Canadian sailors are never too far from home.
While seafaring is a tough job that requires workers to get their hands dirty, the SIU’s commitment to the industry’s top safety standards means our members are some of the best trained in the world. Thanks to a partnership with the Seafarers’ Training Institute, SIU recruits develop in-demand skills and have access to skills upgrading throughout their career.
In 2018, the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TWFP) maritime policy was changed to ensure Canadian workers always have first access to jobs. This essentially means there are now more lucrative seafaring positions available for skilled Canadian workers than ever.
“With the increase in domestic and global trade, joining our country’s merchant marine is not just a smart career move, it’s a strategic one,” says James Given, President, SIU of Canada. “If they’re up for a little adventure, we’re giving skilled workers the opportunity to make a great living for their family with access to full benefits and one of the best pension plans in the industry.”