OTTAWA, Feb. 27, 2012 /CNW/ - The Union of Canadian Transportation
Employees (UCTE) learnt on Friday February 24, 2012 that the Canadian
Coast Guard has submitted the positions of the Search and Rescue
coordinators in St. John's, NL and Quebec City, Quebec as essential
positions to the safety and security of Canadians. These SAR positions
are part of the overall designated essential services submitted to the
Union for agreement. UCTE finds this hypocritical and shocking in
light of CCG's unwavering insistence to closing the Marine Rescue
Sub-Centres (MRSC) in these two locations.
The MRSC in St. John's NL handles the largest volume of maritime
incident calls in Canada while the MRSC in Quebec City, Quebec is the
only fluently bilingual centre in the country.
CCG has named the centres essential under the Public Service Labour Relations Act but are insisting and even accelerating the closures. The Act defines
essential services as "a service, facility or activity of the
Government of Canada that is or will be, at any time, necessary for the
safety or security of the public or a segment of the public.?
"It's like they don't know what they are doing. On one hand the Union is
being told that should there ever be a strike these services are
essential - and we agree. But on the other hand, CCG is saying that
these services are not so essential for the safety of Canadians in
order to close them" said President Collins.
Additionally on the same day, UCTE learnt that as a result of their
inability to recruit qualified staff, the CCG is considering changing
the requirements of SAR Coordinators in order to staff the positions
being moved to Halifax, NS and Trenton, ON from St. John's, NL and
Quebec City, QC.
Currently, SAR coordinators are required to have a Watchkeeping Mate
Certificate. CCG is considering substituting this criterion for the
Maritime Naval Officer Certificate which requirements are less
"What are they thinking?" said Christine Collins, UCTE National
President. "In no way is a Naval Officer Certificate equivalent to the
Transport Canada Watchkeeping Mate certificate. SAR Coordinators are
put through a series of rigorous testing that demonstrates an ability
that is unparalleled. Naval Officer Certification is an inappropriate
equivalent. It's like saying just because I go kayaking, I'm a
The Union of Canadian Transportation Employees (UCTE) is the national
union representing Canadian Coast Guard Search and Rescue members.
SOURCE Union of Canadian Transportation Employees
For further information:
Ph: (613) 238-4003
Communications & Special Projects Officer
Ph: (613) 238-4003 or Cell: (613) 558-4003