Transportation Minister Garneau Announces National Seafarers’ Welfare Board

Heddle Shipyards in Thunder Bay
Heddle Shipyards in Thunder Bay

OTTAWA – Minister of Transport Marc Garneau says, “The Government of Canada recognizes the essential role seafarers play in our economy and remains a strong advocate for the safety and welfare of maritime workers. The creation of this new National Seafarers’ Welfare Board, in partnership with Canadian marine industry stakeholders, is an important step in protecting seafarers both at home and abroad.”

in collaboration with the Canadian marine community, the Minister has announced the establishment of the National Seafarers’ Welfare Board.

As part of Canada’s commitment to the International Labour Organization’s Maritime Labour Convention, the National Seafarers’ Welfare Board will act as a forum for coordinating seafarer welfare in Canada. It will promote maritime workers’ access to recreational, cultural and medical services, as well as shore-based welfare facilities. The Board will also advise the government on policy and regulatory issues such as shore leave and crew changes.

The Board is composed of representatives from labour unions, marine missions located in ports across the country, ship owners, terminals, ports, and agents representing foreign vessel owners in Canada. Transport Canada will act as a Secretariat providing coordination and support for the Board’s meetings and activities.

The Board’s first elected Chairperson is Debbie Murray of the Association of Canadian Port Authorities. She is supported by co-chairs Peter Lahay of the International Transport Workers’ Federation and Dr. Jason Zuidema of the North American Maritime Ministry Association.

“The establishment of the Seafarers’ Welfare Board, facilitated by Transport Canada, will be an important and much-needed mechanism for systematically integrating the ongoing collective efforts of many stakeholders to improve seafarers’ welfare in Canada,” states Debbie Murray, Seafarers’ Welfare Board Chairperson (Association of Canadian Port Authorities).

“Seafarers are essential workers. Having a national, multi-stakeholder forum supported by Transport Canada that is dedicated to improving Seafarers’ welfare, sends clear and positive signals to the mariners I interact with daily that Canadian marine stakeholders care,” adds Peter Lahay, Seafarers’ Welfare Board Vice-Chair (International Transport Workers’ Federation).