Canadian seafarers ready to fight Ottawa over foreign crew

The Seafarers International Union of Canada is readying to take the federal government to court over the use of foreign sailors on internationally-flagged ships in local waters.

The union is seeking a judicial review of the practice of issuing foreign sailors temporary work permits.

The union has shown how many ships plying Canadian routes are paying their seafarers as little as $2 an hour.

“The Government of Canada is letting foreign ships replace thousands of qualified Canadian workers at a time when 25 per cent of our workforce is unemployed,” the union’s president, Jim Given, told local media. “The law is very simple. They’re giving work permits to foreign workers on ships in Canadian waters when the law says those jobs should go to qualified Canadians first.”

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.
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