As part of Canada’s commitment to the ILO MLC Convention, the National Seafarers’ Welfare Board will, firstly, promote seafarers’ access to recreational, cultural and medical services, as well as shore welfare facilities. The Board will also advise the government on policy and regulatory issues such as shore leave and crew changes.

The Government of Canada recognizes the essential role seafarers play in our economy and remains a strong advocate for the safety and welfare of maritime workers. The creation of this new National Seafarers’ Welfare Board, in partnership with Canadian marine industry stakeholders, is an important step in protecting seafarers both at home and abroad.

...stated Marc Garneau, Minister of Transport.

The Board is gathering representatives from labour unions, marine missions located in ports across the country, ship owners, terminals, ports, and agents representing foreign vessel owners in Canada. On its part, Transport Canada will act as a Secretariat for the Board’s meetings and activities.

The Seafarers’ Welfare Board's first elected Chairperson is Debbie Murray of the Association of Canadian Port Authorities. In addition, Peter Lahay of the ITF and Dr. Jason Zuidema of the North American Maritime Ministry Association are co-chairs.

The establishment of the Seafarers’ Welfare Board, facilitated by Transport Canada, will be an important and much-needed mechanism for systematically integrating the ongoing collective efforts of many stakeholders to improve seafarers’ welfare in Canada,

...said Debbie Murray.

The move comes amid an unprecedented humanitarian crisis in shipping industry which has left hundreds of thousands of seafarers stranded onboard ships due to pandemic travel restrictions.