ARCHIVED - MESSAGE FROM THE DIRECTOR GENERAL, FLEET, CANADIAN COAST GUARD (CCG)

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I am once again very proud to present the Fleet Annual Report for the Canadian Coast Guard (CCG). This report, covering the period from April 1, 2008, to March 31, 2009, is our third opportunity to explain to Canadians, clients, employees and interested parties the role, services and capabilities of the CCG Fleet. In so doing, the report attempts to demonstrate value for money but does not hesitate to address shortcomings, gaps and risks with a view to improving our services and capabilities. Additional information regarding the CCG Business Plan and CCG Strategic Human Resource Plan is available at www.ccg-gcc.gc.ca/eng/ccg/home.

This year’s report focuses on change and transition. The past year was a very dynamic and exciting time for the CCG and the Fleet in particular as we continue to make gains on a variety of Fleet renewal, human resources, and management fronts.

Notably, progress is being made on vessel construction with the first of many new units, the CCG Mamilossa, a state-of-the-art large air-cushion vehicle (ACV) being delivered to Quebec Region. Substantive progress continues to be made on the replacement of those vessels already funded for replacement in previous federal budgets. In addition, through the Economic Action Plan Federal Budget, CCG has received an additional $175 million over the next two years for vessel life extensions (VLEs), refits, and increased maintenance as well as for the construction of five search and rescue (SAR) lifeboats, three near-shore science vessels, and a large number of small craft. CCG is also self-funding a number of smaller vessels, which are nearing delivery.

Gary B. Sidock

Gary B. Sidock
Director General, Fleet
Canadian Coast Guard

In terms of our overall financial situation, Fleet funding continues to be stabilized by the implementation of the Fleet Operational Readiness program and the finalization of service level agreements (SLAs) with the Fisheries and Aquaculture Management (FAM) and Science sectors of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO). These pilot agreements mean that funding for Fleet services provided to Science and FAM (on the order of $60 million/year) now forms part of the regular Fleet operational funding, in exchange for a clearer and more accountable service delivery framework with these clients. CCG was also successful in obtaining, on a one-time basis, an additional $20 million to offset high fuel prices in support of continued operational delivery (CCG continues to work with the Department of Finance and Treasury Board on a longer-term solution). These initiatives, coupled with enhanced funding for VLEs, refits, and maintenance, have allowed CCG to stabilize Fleet and other operations, as well as improve planning and service, as we prepare for the arrival of the new builds.

During the past year, CCG has also focused in a serious and structured way on a number of human resources challenges. In the case of Fleet, many employees will retire over the next few years, while at the same time more marine personnel will be needed to sail aboard our newly built vessels. This challenge, combined with an estimated international shortfall of up to 30,000 mariners worldwide, means that we will need to focus on a number of human resources initiatives to attract and retain marine professionals. Such initiatives include finalizing the CCG College Transformational Plan and increasing intake to 64 officer cadets per year beginning in September 2010; creating the Ships’ Crew Certification Program; enhancing arrangements with provincial nautical schools; and concluding an essential service agreement with the Union of Canadian Transport Employees. CCG has also targeted recruitment as a priority and, in addition to the creation of the CCG National Labour Force Renewal Group, is creating the Seagoing Personnel Recruitment Program as part of a broader CCG recruitment program.

WHY CHANGE?

So, why is change necessary? Simply put, change is necessary to survive in a complex environment where risks abound and change constantly. As Canada’s civilian fleet, we are a critical part of Canada’s marine insurance policy. We are an essential component of onwater service delivery and ensure a viable, flexible and responsive marine capability should situations arise. If we are forwardlooking and adaptive, we will not only survive but thrive in this environment.

As mentioned earlier, the focus of this year’s report is on change and transition. We cannot really discuss change without a full understanding of our current operating environment and of all the risks inherent in the environment in which we live and work every day. To this end, I would like to break the discussion of change and risk into three parts: strategic and management; operational; and personal.

STRATEGIC AND MANAGEMENT CHANGE

APPROACH: AGGRESSIVE

Just a few years ago, CCG faced an aging fleet and was constantly strapped for cash because it was funded through various program streams and mechanisms. Maintenance planning was delinked from operational planning without a viable fleet renewal or long-term capital plan, and management systems and processes were primarily focused on internal rather than external and client requirements.

Spearheaded by the arrival of a new Commissioner and senior management team, coupled with the certitude of an increasingly unreliable asset base, CCG embraced the Auditor General’s and CCG A-Base reports and embarked on an aggressive campaign of change management at the strategic and management levels. In a few short years, CCG developed a comprehensive fleet renewal plan (which needs to be revised this year to make it more responsive to the evolving needs and expectations of Canadians); received $1.5 billion for the construction of the first wave of new vessels; received significant operating funding to stabilize operations and maintenance; revised, updated, fine-tuned or simply discarded a large number of Fleet management systems and processes; and, through SLAs with clients, put in place an entirely new way of conducting business and funding Fleet-delivered programs external to CCG.

CCG decided, quite intentionally, to approach these challenges in a very aggressive manner. Given the age and reliability of the Fleet, coupled with insufficient and uncertain funding and outdated approaches, the risk of not being aggressive was simply too great.

Just to be clear, many challenges remain for the Fleet. It continues to age, although we have stabilized Fleet funding and reliability while making significant progress on the construction of the first wave of new vessels. In terms of our Fleet management and planning systems and practices, it could be argued that CCG now enjoys a leadership position in many of these areas. CCG, and the Fleet in particular, is also extremely well positioned to receive additional external support in the coming years.

Again, in my view, not to have taken this aggressive approach would have been the riskiest thing to do and would have led to the continued decline of the Fleet with a commensurate reduction in service to Canadians.

OPERATIONAL CHANGE

APPROACH: RISK CONTROL AND MITIGATION

The CCG Fleet operates in an intensely riskbased environment 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Beginning 10 years ago, CCG began the development of the Fleet’s Safety and Security Management System (SSMS). To our knowledge, CCG is the only government fleet of its kind in the world operating to the standards of both the International Management Code for the Safe Operation of Ships and for Pollution Prevention (ISM Code) and the International Ship and Port Facility Security Code (ISPS Code) standards. Additionally, in response to incidents, changing requirements and technologies, and an operational culture of self-evaluation and improvement, CCG continues to implement a wide variety of initiatives designed to help “Coasties” (as we CCG members call ourselves) manage and mitigate the risks that we face every day so as to protect ourselves and others as well as serve Canadians better.

Some examples of these initiatives include: arguably some of the best rigid hull inflatable operator training anywhere; enhanced training and procedures as well as the best equipment available to support our evolving role in armed maritime security and DFO Conservation and Protection (C&P) Branch enforcement operations; significant enhancements to aviation safety; the development of a mission readiness (and supporting decision-making and reporting) structure; program enhancements to rescue diving, secure communications, e-mail at sea, flight following and vessel tracking; the development of leading-edge respiratory protection and hearing conservation programs; and the continuous development of a wide variety of risk control and mitigation protocols, practices and procedures as well as the continued acquisition of the best personal protective equipment available.

In the context of change and risk, not to have implemented and not to continue to develop these risk control measures, sometimes at the cost of great expense and time, would have led to much greater risks for Coasties and to reduced service for Canadians.

PERSONAL CHANGE

APPROACH: SELF-DETERMINED BUT ALIGNED WITH ORGANIZATIONAL NEEDS

This component of the discussion is clearly focused on Coasties. By personal change, I am referring to the individual and personal aspects of the working life of Fleet employees, both seagoing and ashore. As previously noted, a growing Fleet coupled with an aging demographic profile, means that CCG needs to fully embrace employee renewal in a more structured and systemic way. This report speaks to those initiatives that are already underway as well as those just being developed. But in addition to these requirements, CCG will need to ensure that its substantive knowledge and experience base is transferred to the new generation of Coasties.

For Coasties nearing the end of their working careers this aspect of change could mean a number of things, including: accepting any of the large number of shore-based assignments currently available; taking on the responsibility of being a mentor; leading or supporting training enhancements, engaging in national or regional project management; leading change and system improvement on board their vessel or in their work unit; or becoming involved in any number of other activities.

For Coasties at the beginning of their careers, I strongly encourage you to attain the highest level of marine or professional certification available; to accept stretch assignments; to take any and all training available; to become a protégé; to ensure that your career includes a blend of both seagoing and shore-based assignments; and to engage in any other number of activities that will put more tools as well as enhanced skills and abilities in your personal toolbox, allowing you to become a better Coastie and leader.

Above all, please remember that every Coastie is a recruiter.

I hope that you will find this third edition of the Fleet Annual Report an informative summary of our activities during this past year.

Sincerely,

Gary B. Sidock,
Director General, Fleet
Canadian Coast Guard

CCG Helicopter MBB-BO105 and an Air Cushion Vehicle
CCG Helicopter MBB-105 and an Air Cushion Vehicle.
Photo: P. Dionne, DFO