Maritime activities are closely linked to Quebec’s economic development. However, the major Canadian flag carriers are struggling to meet their needs for skilled labor on their ships.
Posted at 6:00 am
And specialized trainers like the Institut maritime du Québec (IMQ), based in Rimouski and Lévis, are not enough to meet the need for graduates in navigation or ship mechanics.
“The need for qualified maritime personnel is significant in Canada, particularly in Quebec on the St. Lawrence River and the Atlantic Seaboard,” says Mélanie Leblanc, Managing Director of IMQ.
In this context, our  Graduates are in great demand. They receive working conditions that have become exceptional compared to twenty years ago.
Mélanie Leblanc, Managing Director of the IMQ
“When it comes to working hours, for example, it has become much more flexible to meet young people’s desire for a better balance between their working time on the ship and their personal time. In terms of salary, a junior navigating officer or newly qualified maritime authority-licensed mechanic can start at about $70,000 per year in addition to bonus benefits. And that can increase to around $175,000 through years of experience and advances in navigation patents. »
According to Mathieu St-Pierre, CEO of the Société de développement économique du Saint-Laurent (SODES), competition between airlines to attract qualified seafarers has brought employment conditions to a very competitive level for young people looking for a career plan.
Desgagnés shipping company, which operates 18 vessels (bulk carriers, tankers, ferries) on the St. Lawrence River, Arctic and Atlantic coasts, reports conditions for seafarers who place high value on work, family or leisure.
Management of times on board is much more flexible and accommodating for our crew members.
Erick Bergeron, Director of Crew Management at Desgagnés
“For example, crews on our river voyages work 30 days on board and 30 days ashore, while crews on Arctic voyages work a few months on board and ashore. . On average, in six months of work, our crew members earn a salary that is equal to or greater than that of a full-time worker in a non-maritime job with comparable skills. »
At CSL, whose Canada Steamship Lines division operates 17 ships on the St. Lawrence River and Atlantic Seaboard, Human Resources Director Stéphanie Aubourg says, “For our crew members, our way of improving work-life balance is to encourage flexible working hours offer to their needs. For example, navigators can choose between a six-week onboard and six-week ashore schedule, or a two-month onboard and one-month off-ship schedule. »
In addition, M emphasizesme Aubourg: “During their time on board, the crew members function as a family and support each other. Depending on the ship’s telecommunications capabilities, they can keep in touch with loved ones on land at almost any time.
Attract the next generation
Desgagnés maintains close relationships with training centers, notably the IMQ, to keep a contingent of around twenty trainees among its 850 crew members in high season.
[Il] must be creative and competitive to attract candidates from a limited pool of graduates in Canada.
Laurie Villeneuve, Flight Crew Management Consultant at Desgagnés
In addition, Desgagnés offers them financial support and internship awards until they obtain their diploma and first navigation certificate. In return, Desgagnés asks her to work on his ships for at least one to two years.
At CSL, too, students “are offered a scholarship program of up to $15,000 after their first year of school and their first internship,” says Stéphanie Aubourg, director of human resources.
In return, students commit to working at CSL for at least two sailing seasons after graduation.
“It’s a great way for students to earn an income while studying while safely securing a job after they graduate and get their first navigational license,” says Ms.me Auburg.