Seafarers' union launches legal challenge

Says use of temporary foreign workers leaves domestic seamen out of work
By Sabrina Nanji
|Canadian Labour Reporter|Last Updated: 10/06/2015

Despite an overhaul over the past year, Canada’s temporary foreign worker program is again the target of flak — this time, from the union representing domestic sailors who are legally challenging the federal government.

The Seafarers’ International Union of Canada (SIU) filed an application against the federal government for judicial review in mid-September, saying the law allows a loophole for foreign vessels to hire temporary foreign workers — sometimes at wages as low as $2 per hour — over readily available Canadian seamen, 25 per cent of whom are underemployed, according to the union.

"Qualified Canadian maritime workers have lost more than 2,000 jobs," said SIU’s president Jim Given. "They have been replaced by temporary foreign workers earning just $2 an hour."