Further to the review of the Canada Transportation Act, in 2016 the federal government undertook a review of the Pilotage Act. The purpose of the review was to “modernize the legislation to better align with the existing and future realities of the marine transportation system.” In April 2018, the chairperson of the review committee, Marc Grégoire, submitted his report to the Minister of Transport.
UCTE has now had the opportunity to review the Pilotage Act Review Final Report. This report makes 38 recommendations to the Minister of Transport on the operations and structure of the Pilotage Authorities across the country. We are seeking input from UCTE members who work in this area and we will be communicating with the Minister on a number of concerns that have already been raised.
Below are some of the recommendations that we have highlighted for UCTE members who work for the Pilotage Authorities.
Recommendation #3 recommends:
…that the Great Lakes Pilotage Authority and the Laurentian Pilotage Authority be amalgamated into the St. Lawrence and Great Lakes Pilotage Authority, headquartered in Montreal, with a view to reducing costs, increasing efficiency, and providing a basis for assessing the feasibility and desirability of more extensive consolidations.
We have many questions about this proposed merger of Pilotage Authorities and the impact this will have on the job security and working conditions of UCTE members. It is our position that there should be no loss of employment, benefits or union security as a result of this proposed merger of Pilotage Authorities.
Recommendation #8 recommends
…that the Pilotage Act be amended so that the Pilotage Authorities are able to use the workforce configuration that best meets their needs. The Pilotage Authorities should be free to manage, through an effective dispatching system, hiring their own employees, any contracting with a pilot corporation, and use of entrepreneurial pilots in any given district.
We do not know what the full intention or implications of this recommendation may be on UCTE members. It is our position that there should be no loss of employment, benefits or union security as a result of this recommendation.
Recommendation #9 recommends
…that the final offer selection process be amended such that the arbitrator must consider the purpose and principles of the Pilotage Act (as amended in Recommendation 1), when making arbitration rulings.
We do not know what the full intention or implications of this recommendation may be on UCTE members. It is our position that no outside body should be interfering in the collective bargaining process or trying to influence it through regulatory or legislative changes.
Recommendation #10 recommends
…that all safety regulatory provisions be removed from the service contracts between the Pilotage Authorities and pilot corporations within one year.
We do not know what the full intention or implications of this recommendation may be on UCTE members. It is our position that nothing should lower or reduce safety protection for union members at the worksite.
Recommendation #12 (and subsequent Recommendations in this section) recommends
…that the Pilotage Act be amended to provide the Minister of Transport, with the approval of the Governor in Council, the authority to make all regulations pertaining to pilotage safety. The Act must also clearly state that the Pilotage Act and its regulations have primacy over pilotage services contracts.
This recommendation and the ones that follow raise a number of red flags for UCTE. As noted above it is our position that nothing should lower or reduce safety protection for union members at the worksite. There are also references to allowing Transport Canada to implement a Safety Management System for the Pilotage Authorities. Our concerns in this area is that we have seen SMS instituted in other modes of transportation and the model that Transport Canada has implemented allows industry to inspect itself and Transport Canada only provides a monitoring or audit role. That has led to increased safety concerns, accidents and incidents in the aviation sector. We would not want to see that happen in the marine sector, particularly within the Pilotage Authorities.
Over the next few weeks we are actively seeking comments, suggestions and input from UCTE members in the Pilotage Authorities and your elected representatives. Once we have received that feedback we will be drafting our response to the Minister of Transport and reporting back to the membership on any replies we receive or any further information that becomes available.