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The Coast Guard’s competitive advantage is rooted in its professional and dedicated workforce. The Fleet’s marine personnel and staff ashore are critical to the delivery of quality services to our clients. They are also the reason that Canadians trust the Coast Guard to be there when they need it.
More than half (56%) of CCG’s 4,554 employees work on vessels as ships’ officers (SO), ships’ crew (SC), or hovercraft pilots and navigators (General Technical group, or GT). The remaining 44% work in shore-based operations or support. Each day, ROC employees monitor vessel locations, task vessels to programs and geographic areas, and engage with clients and management to ensure the optimal use of resources. Other tasks performed by shore-based staff include planning, budgeting, policy development, safety and security support, human resources, and information management.
Due to the dynamic nature of fleet operations, the total number of seagoing employees on strength varies over the course of the year (i.e. through seasonal, term and casual employment). Table 1 provides a snapshot of the distribution of marine personnel by employment type.
|On Strength (FTE2)||192||222||104||169||163||850|
|On Strength (Term)||3||2||6||3||16||30|
|Total SOs on strength||195||224||110||172||179||880|
|On Strength (FTE)||297||328||141||218||269||1,253|
|On Strength (Term)||115||88||40||47||106||396|
|Total SCs on strength||450||426||168||254||365||1,663|
|HOVERCRAFT PILOTS AND NAVIGATORS|
|On Strength (FTE)||-||-||-||5||14||19|
|On Strength (Term)||-||-||-||1||0||1|
|Total GTs on strength||-||-||-||6||14||20|
Glen James Blumberg, Engine Room Assistant of the CCGS Griffon
Photo: Marie-Pier Malboeuf
The Coast Guard places a great deal of importance on maintaining effective communications and working relationships with the bargaining agents representing its employees. Its diversified workforce is represented by seven bargaining agents, two of which, the Canadian Merchant Services Guild (CMSG) and the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) through the Union of Canadian Transportation Employees, represent our SOs and SCs respectively.
Through continued and open discussions with the Union of Canadian Transportation Employees, we have negotiated an agreement recognizing the Fleet as an essential service in support of continued mission readiness.
An aerial view of the Canadian Coast Guard College in Sydney, Nova Scotia
The Canadian Coast Guard College: A Unique Experience
For more than 40 years, the College has offered an education unlike any other and has built a solid reputation for top-notch maritime training. Over 1,000 officer cadets have graduated from the institution, taking their acquired skills across Canada and around the globe, many ultimately becoming Executives in the Public Service or leaders in Canada’s marine industry.
What’s Does the College Offer?
Graduates of the four-year CCG Officer Training Program receive commercial certification in either marine engineering or marine navigation, a Bachelor of Technology in Nautical Sciences degree from Cape Breton University, and a diploma from the CCG College.
The College also offers other programs:
- A nine-month basic training program in marine traffic regulating procedures and radiocommunications;
- Marine maintenance and equipment courses to prepare electronic technologists to maintain and repair all marine equipment used on ships and technical equipment used on shore to assist navigation;
- ER courses for government departments and private sector individuals involved in oil spill response; and
- Specialized SAR programs exclusively for CCG and the DND personnel assigned to Joint Rescue Coordination Centers, Marine Rescue Sub-Centers or at Mobile Facilities (SAR Units).
More than an Education
While students master navigational systems and ships’ engines and control systems, they also learn some important values. The College is a residential facility that instills a sense of family and teamwork, an important preparation for shipboard life. In exchange for their tuition-free education, room and board monthly allowances, graduates commit to working on board Coast Guard vessels as navigation or marine engineering officers for four years. After this period, many opt for a lifelong career with CCG.
How to Apply
The College accepts applications for enrolment in the CCG Officer Training Program from September until January for the following academic year, which begins in September. Potential recruits should contact the College either by calling 902-567-3208 or by visiting the Web site at www.cgc.gc.ca.
Working for CCG means working for an exciting organization committed to service to Canadians. Few careers present such a variety of challenging opportunities, both ashore and at sea, in almost every region of the country.
The Canadian Coast Guard College has been providing training and development since 1965. This bilingual institution delivers the CCG Officer Training Program, the primary source for recruitment of SOs. It also provides career programs in MCTS and highly specialized training in SAR, ER, marine equipment maintenance, and electronic equipment operation.
Leonella Mae Powell, Cook/Steward preparing lunch for the crew of the CCGS Griffon
Photo: Marie-Pier Malboeuf
CCGS Louis S. St-Laurent - Safety First, Service Always
Photo: Carolina Bookless
Succession planning is an important element of human resource planning. For the management of our marine personnel, succession planning is a key success factor and we need to predict our needs in terms of SOs well in advance. For the most part, certification is a four-year process and Canada does not have a large merchant marine component from which to lure alreadycertificated personnel. Table 2 shows how the marine personnel members on strength are distributed by age category.
|Average age (FTEs)||45||48||43||44||46||45|
|Less than 45||75||55||53||75||78||336|
|Aged 45 to 54||98||121||44||80||71||414|
|Aged 55 to 59||16||31||12||15||21||95|
|Aged 60 or greater||6||17||1||2||9||35|
|Total SO’s on-strength||195||224||110||172||179||880|
|Average age (FTEs)||48||50||46||49||46||48|
|Less than 45||216||150||85||92||209||752|
|Aged 45 to 54||153||194||64||108||105||624|
|Aged 55 to 59||50||59||16||44||38||207|
|Aged 60 or greater||31||23||3||10||13||80|
|Total SC’s on-strength||450||426||168||254||365||1,663|
|HOVERCRAFT PILOTS AND NAVIGATORS|
|Average age (FTEs)||-||-||-||41||41||41|
|Less than 45||-||-||-||3||7||10|
|Aged 45 to 54||-||-||-||3||7||10|
|Aged 55 to 59||-||-||-||-||-||-|
|Aged 60 or greater||-||-||-||-||-||-|
|Total SO’s on-strength||-||-||-||6||14||20|
These statistics indicate that only 38% of our SOs and 45% of SCs are less than 45 years old, reaffirming the need to put in place effective succession planning, particularly for certificated personnel. Succession planning practices include the development of ships’ competency (crewing) profiles, which outline the required professional competency, certification, technical training, and experience required to perform duties in accordance with the Safe Manning Regulations found in the Canada Shipping Act, 2001. In addition to their regulatory function, these profiles help SOs and SCs align their career paths with Fleet management’s succession planning requirements.
Operations Officer Des Mpenza at work in the National Coordination Centre in Ottawa
Photo: Paul Lefebvre
National Labour Force Renewal Directorate
The National Labour Force Renewal Directorate was created in February 2009 to lead the charge on CCG’s outreach, recruitment, and learning activities. Under the Commissioner’s direction, the Directorate has a two-year mandate to bring focus and coordination to CCG’s outreach, recruitment, knowledge transfer, and succession planning efforts. It will also act as a focal point for cross-regional and agency-wide discussions on ideas and best practices; for activities that will advance workforce renewal; and help integrate diversity in every aspect of the human resources renewal activities. This Directorate will lead succession planning activities for five at-risk groups: SCs, SOs, radio operators, engineers and electronics officers.
The Coast Guard is committed to continuous improvement, growth, and development of its employees. Training and development is vital to fulfilling our evolving mandate while respecting our culture of safety and service. Investing in people to maintain a skilled and professional workforce ensures that programs and services are delivered to the high standards that Canadians expect.
While employees must take ownership of their professional growth and be committed to the continuous improvement of our service, there is a joint employee-management responsibility to assess current competencies and future development needs in order to ensure full operational and mission readiness. CCG already makes significant investments in required technical training for marine personnel, and in mandatory Public Service courses and skills development, to ensure that employees have the skills required to fulfill the organization’s mandate.
CCGS Martha L. Black - High-Endurance Multi-Tasked Vessel/Light Icebreaker servicing aids to navigation in the St. Lawrence River
Photo: N. Letendre, QC Region
To mitigate risks associated with upcoming retirements and an increasingly competitive labour market, CCG will continue to focus on increased recruitment to the Officer Training Program at the College, as well as support our ongoing technical training, learning, and career development initiatives. These initiatives will help us build and maintain a skilled, well-trained, knowledgeable, and professional workforce.
At present, CCG offers numerous training opportunities and the College provides core national educational programs. The national learning and development framework will ensure consistent educational standards, maximize the use of common national training resources, and leverage best practices across the country. The framework will assist CCG in becoming a learning organization and will bolster the College’s role in the delivery of ongoing and specialized training.
Inshore Rescue Boat Program: Not Your Average Summer Job
Want to spend an exciting summer patrolling Canada’s waterways and participating in SAR missions? Then the Coast Guard may have the job for you. CCG hires and trains Canadian post-secondary students in SAR operations each summer through its Inshore Rescue Boat (IRB) program. Selected candidates are trained by regional staff and, following successful completion of training, are assigned as crew members to one of 24 IRB stations located in five regions in Canada:
- Newfoundland and Labrador: Notre Dame Bay, Conception Bay, Bonavista Bay
- Maritimes: Shediac, Charlottetown, Pictou, Saint John, Mahone Bay, Halifax
- Quebec: Valleyfield, Oka, Beaconsfield, Longueuil, Sorel, Trois-Rivieres
- Central and Arctic: Britt on Gereaux Island, Honey Harbour, Port Lambton, Long Point, Hill Island, Thames River
- Pacific: Nootka Island, Telegraph Cove, Cortes Island
Working on the water during the summer as an IRB crew member is challenging and rewarding work. The job comes with serious responsibilities, since SAR operations can occur at any time of the day or night during all types of weather and sea conditions, with lives potentially at risk. Each station is equipped with a 6 to 8-m fast rescue craft capable of operating at speeds in excess of 24 knots. IRB crews respond and provide assistance to mariners in distress or need of assistance through Joint Rescue Coordination Centre or Maritime Rescue Sub-Centre taskings. They also provide public education on boating safety.
The IRB program is open to full-time post secondary students in accredited institutions who are returning to full-time studies in the next academic term. For more information or to apply, go to http://jobs-emplois gc.ca/fswep-pfete/index-eng.htm.
The Coast Guard is committed to becoming a more representative organization. Our efforts to build a respectful and welcoming workplace that employs people as diverse as the population that we serve are continuous. The implementation of employment equity initiatives does more than meet targets. It makes good business sense to attract and employ the best talent available.
CCG Offers a Career for Everyone
The Coast Guard provides:
- A variety of ship and shore-based positions;
- An opportunity to work in all regions of Canada;
- A variety of work schedules, from 28 days of work followed by 28 days of leave to a more familiar, 9-to-5 schedule;
- An increasingly diverse workforce that continually strives to attract more women, Aboriginal peoples, persons with disabilities, and visible minorities;
- Its own bilingual training institution, the CCG College, which is instrumental in developing highly professional marine personnel to satisfy program and service requirements;
- Competitive salaries;
- Excellent benefits such as pension, health and dental plans;
- Professional development and advancement;
- Employment stability; and
- Job satisfaction second to none.
Captain Norm Thomas and Shannon Vollema in front of the CCGS Sir Wilfrid Laurier -
High-endurance Multi-tasked Vessel/Light Icebreaker
Photo: PA Region
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