“The lives of those who live and work on the waters are that much safer again,” said Christine Collins, National President of the Union of Canadian Transportation Employees (UCTE) upon learning of the federal government’s announcement to reopen the Maritime Rescue Sub-center (MRSC) in St. John’s, Newfoundland. The announcement is part of the $1.5 billion investment in marine security through the Oceans Protection Plan.
UCTE, a component of the Public Service Alliance of Canada, is the union that represents the ships’ crews and search & rescue specialists within the Canadian Coast Guard.
The MRSC was closed in 2012 as part of the previous Conservative government’s budget cuts and centralization of services. Along with its re-opening, across Canada, the government will invest in other critical services such as lifeboat stations and pollution response.
The Union is cautiously optimistic about the funding. “CCG infrastructure and services have been under-funded for many years,” said Collins. “This is one reason why we believe CCG should be its own separate operating agency to mirror the importance the Prime Minister is placing on marine safety on all 3 of Canada’s coasts.” A separate operating agency status would allow the CCG to manage its own budget and give government the ability to properly allocate funds to enhance marine safety and security. UCTE hopes that the funding will continue past the 5-year timeline indicated.