Call to Action: A Plan to Vaccinate Seafarers is Needed NOW!
April 20, 2021
Brothers and Sisters,
The SIU of Canada is asking all Members to copy and paste the below email and send it to the federal Minister of Health, Patty Hajdu, and request immediate action be taken to vaccinate seafarers against the COVID-19 virus. We hope you join us in our fight!
Subject: A Plan to Vaccinate Seafarers is Needed NOW!
I am writing to you today as a seafarer and member of the Seafarers’ International Union of Canada to urge you to take immediate action to come up with a plan to vaccinate federally regulated marine sector workers against the COVID-19 virus. Provincial governments across the country have ignored our sectors’ pleas for a COVID-19 vaccine plan and we are now demanding that the federal government take action to ensure the health and safety of Canadian seafarers or risk a shutdown of the marine sector.
We, as seafarers, are at a crossroads. Our Brothers and Sisters onboard are getting sick, some have died, and we fear that if the federal government does not step in and take immediate action, more of our vessels will be hotbeds for the COVID-19 virus. If swift action is not taken by the federal government to ensure our safety, we will be forced to take matters into our own hands, which may include getting off our vessels, and bringing the Canadian shipping industry to a halt.
Canadian seafarers have made countless sacrifices for our country over the past year during the pandemic, ensuring that no community we serve goes without the goods they need, and we have asked for very little in return. However, we are now asking that our government treats us with the respect and dignity that we have earned after playing a key role in ensuring the Canadian economy stayed afloat during the pandemic.
We understand the logistics of vaccinating an interprovincial workforce is challenging, however, our Brothers and Sisters of the sea in the United States have shown that getting seafarers vaccinated is possible and is a priority, so why hasn’t the Government of Canada done the same?