Yes indeed, I believe you are in exactly the right place to find the information you seek, otherwise, I've totally missed the mark on this project. www.dieselduck.net
was born out of the same concerns you have, and I am pretty sure any question you have now, have already been answered on the main site, otherwise, you can send me an email or post it here.
Like Jolly Jack says, the place to start is the Main Website, http://www.dieselduck.net
. Never mind the spelling mistakes on the Seafaring Page (http://www.dieselduck.ca/seafarer/index.html
)- i must have been smoking something, while my spell checker died - but start there, then move onto the Training Page (http://www.dieselduck.ca/training/index.html
) for an overview of what needs to be done. On the Ship's Library (http://www.dieselduck.ca/library/index.html
) you'll find additional insight; and on the "Work Page" some job resources (http://www.dieselduck.ca/job/index.html
I have an extensive update, with lots of career stuff in it, ready to go, as soon as I can get good internet. One interesting document in that update is the career path cost documents, which list all the costs and steps needed to become Marine Engineer in Canada. The best way is to follow the Cadet Route, available at Rimouski in Quebec, Owen Sound in Ontario, Memorial in Newfoundland or BCIT in Vancouver. This is of course if you are interested in working in the engine room; otherwise the same schools, also offer non engineering specific maritime training courses.
In Canada, jobs prospect are probably most plentiful in central Canada - Quebec and Ontario (St Lawrence and Great Lakes), due to the higher numbers of Canadian ship working in this area - tankers and bulk carriers. However, with the Cadet program you can consider a good step off point to work on any international trading ship, as the Certificate of Competency you get after jumping through all the hoops, making you a Ship's Marine Engineering officer, is internationally recognized.
The Union that represents most ratings in Central Canada - unlicensed mariners working on deck and in the engine room - is the Seafarers International Union (SIU). They have "hiring halls" in St Catherine's, Montreal, Quebec City amongst other places. Depending on what you want to do, deck or engine, rating or license, joining the union is probably not your first career step - try instead finding out about what it means to be a seafarer, and how you think you would fit in. If you want to just try out working on ships, then okay, I would suggest talking to the SIU - http://www.seafarers.ca/En_contact.html
, but even there its not just as simple as it sounds.
Forget all the US stuff, as it is irrelevant unless you hold right to work / citizenship there.