Canada Transportation Act Review - Report

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Have you read the Canada Transportation Act Review?

Poll ended at Wed Mar 30, 2016 6:41 am

No
0
No votes
Yes - the whole thing
1
25%
Yes - only the "marine bits"
1
25%
Yes - only Chapter 10 - on Marine Transport
2
50%
 
Total votes: 4

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JK
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Re: Canada Transportation Act Review - Report

Postby JK » Sun Mar 13, 2016 7:50 pm

Don't underestimate how bad things are at TC.

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Re: Canada Transportation Act Review - Report

Postby mentatblur » Mon Mar 14, 2016 5:07 am

Thanks all for your honest answers.

I'd just like to say thanks to you guys for keeping this website going and full of current issues that affect us all directly. What's the best way for younger engineers to try and make a difference? Easier said than done of course (understatement of the day).

I took a few years break from sailing to study economics and math, and let me tell you, the economy itself is in a shit situation, not just TC and our industry. That being said, as a proud canadian I truly believe that we have the means at our disposal to make things better. If we could only turn the public's attention onto this instead of the nonsense we constantly see on TV and "social media". Perhaps we should start our own marketing (sorry, I mean educational) campaign? haha.

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Re: Canada Transportation Act Review - Report

Postby JK » Mon Mar 14, 2016 5:35 pm

I was around for the 80s tumble and it wasn't pretty. It went from boom, with the nautical school going flat out to dead. It was bad for several years. This is worse because if the foreign nationals get in with a cheaper wage, Canadians who are working nationally are screwed. There will be no recovery. Combined with the new SCTW, getting and keeping an international engineering certificate will be harder, if not impossible. The problem is, the people making the rules are the people with absolutely no seagoing time. They just have "Managerial" experience, and a Performance Management mandate to meet. They don't give a rats ass about the guy at the pointy end. Scream loud and get your opinion out Mentatblur.

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Re: Canada Transportation Act Review - Report

Postby JK » Mon Mar 14, 2016 5:40 pm


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Re: Canada Transportation Act Review - Report

Postby The Dieselduck » Tue Mar 15, 2016 6:17 am

After reading, rereading, and then rereading some more the CTA Review by Emerson, I find this report to be an absolute travesty. Insulting to the tax payers, and laying a road map of disaster (literally) for Canada, an in particular the end of Canadian seafaring - how I feed my family.

Not surprising for Harper, his cronies, and puppet masters, but every time I think of it, it makes me upset. I have composed a four page letter, countering two assertions found in just two paragraph, of the Marine Transport section; the report is something like 290 pages long, so you can imagine how much horseshit is in there. This guy, Emerson, should be prosecuted, as this is fraud, industry's myopic vision of their world passed off as "comprehensive report" based on broad stakeholder input - which is absolute bullshit. Now I am not sure exactly who set the terms of reference, but that guy too should be fired.

Here is my draft letter to the minister, feel free to leave comments, so I may polish it before sending in. Of course this is time consuming, and tedious, but if you have the energy, I highly encourage you to submit your comments about this report / review, as they are solicited.

------------------------------

March 14, 2016

Dear Minister Garneau,

I am writing to you, to express my disappointment in the recent submission of recommendations under the Marine Section of the Canada Transportation Act Review (CTA), submitted to you, in December 2015, by the review panel’s chair, Hon David Emerson.

A little about me; I am a Transport Canada Marine Safety certified Marine Engineer, under the STCW code. I completed a Marine Engineering apprenticeship at BCIT in Vancouver, and I have been sailing on commercial ships all over the world since 1996, the last 8 years as a Chief Engineer. I am married, and we reside in Nanaimo, where my wife looks after our three young boys, one with disabilities.

I am known amongst my seafaring peers as the creator of www.dieselduck.net, a website focusing on the Marine Engineering and seafaring affairs that affect professionals in our field. With about 27,000 visits every month, it is fair to say that I am fairly successful at having my finger on the pulse of our industry.

Through the discussion on the website, I recently became aware of the Canada Transportation Review (the Review) as submitted to you in Dec 2015, in particular the Marine Section of the report, as this pertain to my livelihood. I instantly devoured it, and immediately recognized the recommendations put forth to you, as long standing demands from shipping business interest. Not to say that these are bad things, but I must stress that they certainly are to the benefit of a small group of stakeholders.

Mr. Emerson would have you believe that an extensive consultation of stakeholders was undertaken, but I submit to you that there is no evidence in the report, that anyone other than the shipping business interest, who’s own singular financial interest are of paramount concern, were consulted. I would propose to you that a healthy economy would benefit from varied input with national objectives and benchmarks, set according to a wider metric than just company’s A, B or C profit margin.

I believe that supplier, shipyards, service and equipment providers, educational institutions, government agencies, and of course, labour - workers, like myself, should have a say in planning the future of our industry, and its wide ranging social and economic impacts.
For instance, under the Short Sea Shipping section, page 220, and again on page 230, of Chapter 10 – Marine Transport, the report asserts that young people are not interested in a shipping career, and that “alternative recruitment” be explored.

Mr. Emerson does not expand on what “alternative recruitment” means, but judging from my 20 years of experience, this means engaging third world nationals onboard Canadian flag vessels, to undercut the competition and gain market share. My peers and I get it; cutting crew cost is one way to make more money.

On your dinner plate tonight, you may have seafood from your regular Canadian owned grocery store which may be a product of Thailand. The Thai seafood industry has been recently exposed by numerous media organization, such as the New York Times, for using “alternative crewing” in their drive to increase their “market share”.

The crew of some Thai fishing boats comes in the form of kidnappings, murder and essentially slaves (mostly from another third world nation - Burma), to be used for their fishing activities, generating huge profits for its fleet owners. This is happening right now. I suspect this is not the “alternative recruitment” Mr. Emerson is speaking of, but without further explanation, one has to wonder, where are the limits?

There are numerous other impacts to Canada’s social and economic well-being that Mr. Emerson recommendation of “alternative recruitment”, that seem to be glossed over. The impacts that the numerous public and private training institutions would endure as no more Canadian training would be required. Additionally, most of these “alternative recruitment” candidates will pay little, or no tax to Canada, or anyone for the matter; which is the same Canadian coffers that Mr. Emerson recommend funds numerous initiative to improve shipping in Canada.

Mr. Emerson states the myth that young people are not interested in a shipping career. Yet again, the report offers no data to support this long held belief by industry, which I say is complete rubbish.

I love my work, I always have, and I know many of my peers who do as well. I have had the pleasure of working with many young engineering professionals, who have a great deal of enthusiasm, and skills, that surpass any of their peers that I have experienced with, working on foreign crewed / flagged ships.

Had Mr. Emerson bothered to counter this claim by industry, and truly cared about this “major red flag” in the Marine industry in Canada, he would have actively sought the thoughts of young people on the subject, but again, there is absolutely no evidence of this in the report. We are led to believe that this report is to be a vision for you to adopt.

Had Mr. Emerson and his team done the simple task of talking to young people objectively at our nation’s (mostly) public funded marine training facilities, perhaps he would have realized that the same high amount of schooling and costs dedicated to being a seafarer in Canada would yield equivalent results, if not more financial reward, in a shore based position. On that level alone the industry fails miserably to attract young people.

Regardless, I meet a continuous stream of young passionate professionals who persevere through this major drawback, only to be demoralized by working on dangerous, old ships, with little comforts, often found on Canadian flagged ships. Even now, some Canadian operators are still refusing to offer internet access to their crew, due to cost. In this day and age, it is nearly inconceivable to find a worksite on land that has no internet access.

Then there is the very relevant issue of Transport Canada Marine Safety’s interpretation of International Maritime Organization (IMO) Marine Engineering Officer Certification requirements, which has nearly halted most paths of career progression for Marine Engineers in Canada. Our Canadian system is very unique in the world, deeply prohibitive and irrelevant. A topic of discussion on its own; if you are interested.

Many of my peers are actively working outside of Canada, because the conditions in the Canadian shipping industry are considered subpar and archaic, for the various reasons stated above. Many of those peers working internationally also have equal time 1/1 system contracts - usually meaning one month on the ship, one month off the ship. While Canadian operators expect 6 months on, 2 or three months off – a 2/1 system.

Canadian seafarers have a long history of unrecognized dutiful service to crown, and ship owners, they have made great stride in increasing shipping productivity in Canada. There has never been so much cargo moved by ship, with such low crewing requirements. Unfortunately, this means for all seafarers, long hard working hours, with little social interaction. These long, isolated hours of arduous work, going unrecognized, are, I would propose to you, the main culprit in industry failing to attract young people.

Work aboard a Canadian ship is not attractive to a young person, not (just) because of money, but because it prevents a person’s ability to find a mate, grow a family – a basic human need. The industry and its aging labour force has not had to think about this accommodate this fact, for a generation. The marine industry has been “fortunate” to have a long serving labour force serving onboard Canadian vessels. But the lack of constant intake and progression through the ranks, onboard and ashore, over the last thirty years, has now created a massive culture shock within business, which third world labour force will not change.

A little further on, in the Short Sea Section of the CTA Review, Mr. Emerson states another long held, convenient, assertion that Canadian crews are more expensive than their global competitor. Again, there is no supporting data given, and I find this, again, to be complete rubbish.

The main reason we (Canadian workers like myself) may be considered less competitive is that Canadian seafarers have to pay income tax on their income, no matter where in the word it is made. Comparatively, most of our seafaring peers – and not just from third world nations – pay no income taxes on their seafaring earnings. To not include the tax load on Canadians seafarers - again, taxes that are paying for the infrastructure shippers in Canada rely on, is another reckless and unsupported assertion of Mr. Emerson’s review that Canadians seafarers are not global competitors.

As I write this, I am working as Chief Engineer on a Canadian built (duty paid), Canadian flagged ship, crewed entirely by Canadians, and for the third year in a row, this ship is working in the Caribbean, on the global stage.

We are currently working a sub-contract for a Brazilian construction company, building a power plant in the Dominican Republic. We are competing with multinational entities with global reach, and a Canadian ship, its Canadian crew, win contracts time and time again. I am positive that our company is not performing charitable acts by doing so, and therefore I find Mr. Emerson’s “industry boilerplate” assertion completely groundless, highly questionable, at best.

I further would like to use the above statement to highlight one additional point of great importance, which I hope you will heed to. I think that bureaucracies tend to forget that not all the world operates in their reflection. I would propose to you that a large portion of Transport Canada’s client base is similar to me. Persons who are absent from home, for extended periods of time at unpredictable worksites; they have very limited if any communication means, and have delayed intake of information, due to these circumstances. I suspect this to be true for Train Engineers, to aircraft crews, truck drivers, etc, and I am sure, even astronauts, as much as it is for us seafarers.

I urge you to consider these worker’s schedules, when Transport Canada makes statements, regulations, or seeks input. It is physically difficult for us to be able to respond in a timely fashion. I encourage your leadership in letting Transport Canada to come out of its hardened shell, make genuine efforts to meet with all the stakeholders in a meaningful way.

I don’t have the resources from my family’s meager budget attend the CMAC conference, I wish I did, nor do I have ability to hire lobbyist to promote my seafarer’s needs to you. I ask that you consider implementing a communication strategy for Transport Canada that truly affords stake holders a true voice, on the future of our industry.

I love what I do, and I am excited to think we could have a marine sector in Canada that truly respects all stakeholders and that is the envy of world. I have a feeling that you will appreciate my passion for the marine industry in Canada, and if you are interested, I have many more thoughts on solutions to the problems of our industry, that Mr. Emerson speaks of in his review.

In conclusion, the narrow scope of input sought in the production of the CTA Review, evident to me by the issues brought up in the Marine Transport section of the report, lead me to be highly suspicious of the biased recommendations given to you. I believe the Marine Transport system in Canada is currently unsustainable due to the narrow mindset that has prevailed. Sadly, I see this continued mindset go even further as illustrated by such recommendations put forth by Mr. Emerson RTA Review.

Yours truly,

Martin Leduc



Some additional material you may be interested to provide context to this letter, and the shortage of seafarers in Canada.
• Reap what you sow - in this article written in October 2012, I explore how many engineers have been able to progress through the ranks of Marine Engineering over 20 years, on the West Coast of Canada, and its impact.
• Upgrading A view from the bilge - In this article written in January 2013, I explore what some of the challenges are to upgrading a certificate of competency under the Marine Engineering Certification system in Canada. To support A view from the bilge, I tabulated the costs associated with a Marine Engineering career in Canada, and they are summarized using the two current stream of entry.
o Costs of becoming an Engine Room Rating (2013)
o Costs to becoming TC 1st Class COC using the Cadet Stream (2013)
o Costs to becoming TC 1st Class COC using the Alternate Path (2013)
• A fork in the career road - With the difficulties of advancing my Marine Engineering career, I explore what the options are for us as a family. Written in Aug 2013.
• One option is the Blue Riband project, a theoretical business model for the year 2020 of a professional Marine Engineering organization and how it may address some of the current issues. You can visit the project website here. Created in January 2012.
• Australian Adventure - In this Aug 2013 article, I tell the story of our "drastic" attempts to immigrate to Australia, for professional reasons.
• The Seafarers and the Taxman explores the income tax applied to foreign going Canadians and how this puts them at a major competitive disadvantage
Martin Leduc
Certified Marine Engineer and Webmaster
Martin's Marine Engineering Page
http://www.dieselduck.net

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JK
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Re: Canada Transportation Act Review - Report

Postby JK » Tue Mar 15, 2016 8:17 am

Martin, I would not be too too surprised if he was given the end effect wanted and told to fill in the words to match.

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Re: Canada Transportation Act Review - Report

Postby The Dieselduck » Tue Mar 15, 2016 3:14 pm

Yes I believe that is exactly what happened.
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Re: Canada Transportation Act Review - Report

Postby Revolver » Wed Mar 16, 2016 12:41 pm

This is a great write up Dieselduck, very reasonable and informative coming from a long time working marine engineer and someone who, as you said, has his finger on the pulse of our industry.
Let us know what comes of it, and if you have any other ideas in which more people may provide additional support to the cause.

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Re: Canada Transportation Act Review - Report

Postby Sébastien » Sun Mar 20, 2016 12:20 pm

The Review heard repeatedly in consultations and from stakeholder submissions that seafarers are aging and the pool is diminishing, not just in Canada, but throughout the Western world. Recruitment is difficult—young people are not attracted to the maritime lifestyle and the prospect of long periods away from home. Alternative recruitment methods should be explored to ensure that Canada has the skilled and experienced workforce it requires for the immediate and longer term.

Today, with only one shipping registry, a small market, and a high-cost operating environment, Canada has relatively few national carriers. Other jurisdictions, such as Norway and Denmark, have established a second national ship registry aimed at competing with the costs of vessels registered under flags of convenience, such as Panama and Liberia. Such “international” registries were established in recognition of the fact that the operating and crewing costs of national fleets had lost important transport assets. Using globally recognized certification bodies that ensure compliance with the safety, security and environmental rules of the International Maritime Organization, vessels enrolled under these national certification programs comprise globally competitive fleets that bring lower costs to domestic trades while retaining skilled jobs in the host country.

A second Canadian international ship registry would allow vessels to move freely in and out of Canadian domestic trades. This would open new commercial opportunities for ship owners and, by offering experienced foreign nationals preferred access to the Canadian immigration process, would enlarge the pool of Canadian seafarers.

4.
The Review recommends that the Government of Canada act to increase the competitiveness of Canadian shipping and competition in the short sea shipping market by:
a.
promoting short sea shipping as a mechanism to alleviate congestion in urban areas and reduce Canada’s growing greenhouse gas and air pollutant emission levels, especially through ports along the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Seaway System;
b.
modernizing recruiting and training of Canadian seafarers, and improving processes for attracting and certifying foreigner workers with needed skill sets;
c.
phasing-out the operating restrictions on the basis of reciprocity in the Coasting Trade Act, beginning immediately with container services; eliminating restrictions altogether within a transition period of no more than seven years;
d.
phasing-out all remaining duties on imported vessels within a transition period of no more than seven years to respect Canadian ship-owners’ recent investments in specialized vessels;
e.
aligning regulations governing Canadian-flagged ship operators to put them on a competitive basis with international operators who would be gaining access to Canada’s domestic trades.

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Re: Canada Transportation Act Review - Report

Postby The Dieselduck » Tue Mar 22, 2016 12:17 pm

The SIU has a pre-formated letter composed for anyone wishing to send to their MP or the Minister of Transport on the subject of CTA Review - demise of Cabotage in Canada. http://www.seafarers.ca/resources/cta-review/

I highly suggest sending in a submission, your own letter is best, but use this too, as it seems to only thing we can do.
Martin Leduc
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Transport Minister acknowledge receiving comments on CTA review

Postby The Dieselduck » Mon Jul 25, 2016 1:15 pm

Well, at least the minister finally acknowledged getting my comments.

----------------------------------------


Dear Mr. Leduc:

Thank you for your correspondence of March 15, 2016, regarding the Canada Transportation Act Review Report. Please accept my apology for the delay in replying.

The government is taking time to review the Report, which includes recommendations concerning the various themes raised in stakeholder submissions. I am interested in hearing the perspectives of private and public stakeholders, and I thank you for sharing your views on the Report’s recommendations. The Report’s findings provide an opportunity to consider the broader perspective of the vitality of Canada’s transportation sector, including the issues that you raised.

Collaboration with all key partners will be essential to move forward and ensure that Canada’s transportation system is well positioned to capitalize on global opportunities, contribute to a high-performing economy, and meet the evolving needs of Canadians.

To this end, and to expand on the advice generated by the Review and to assist in the development of a long-term agenda for transportation in Canada, Transport Canada officials and I are engaging stakeholders throughout the spring and summer of 2016. This engagement includes a limited number of roundtables, which are coming to a conclusion, in addition to existing workshops, events and meetings attended by myself or Transport Canada officials. Perspectives on key transportation issues and priorities gained from industry representatives, stakeholders, provinces/territories and Canadians are also informing this work. Further information on the process can be found at www.tc.gc.ca/eng/future-transportation-canada-678.html.

I would like to thank you for your valuable input, which will be considered along with other feedback and perspectives shared by Canadians and transportation stakeholders.

Yours sincerely,

The Honourable Marc Garneau, P.C., M.P.
Minister of Transport

c.c. Ms. Sheila Malcolmson, M.P.
Nanaimo–Ladysmith


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