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SIU Canada releases report on harassment and bullying in Canadian marine sector


The Seafarers’ International Union of Canada (SIU) today published a report on workplace harassment and bullying within the Canadian marine sector, which indicates that 46% of seafarers have experienced harassment or bullying at some point in their career as a seafarer.

The report is a summary of the data gathered from a survey that was conducted by the Union on the topic of workplace harassment in the Summer of 2023 which was sent to all members of the Seafarers’ International Union of Canada, who represent the majority of unlicensed seafarers across Canada.

The report points to some areas of concern in an industry currently experiencing a shortage of workers to fill available positions on board Canadian-flagged vessels in Canadian waterways. The Union hopes that releasing the results of the survey will help start an industry-wide conversation about how to address issues of harassment at sea to make seafaring a more sought-after career for potential job seekers. There are encouraging signs in the data gathered that harassment is less of an issue now that it has been in the past, however, it is clear more can be done to put an end to workplace harassment on Canadian vessels. 

“Harassment in the workplace is not something we take lightly and clearly it is an issue that the industry as a whole needs to do a better job at addressing,” stated Michael Given, President of the SIU Canada. “A career as a seafarer can be a fantastic way to earn a living and it’s an incredibly rewarding career, however, the workplace needs to be a safe and healthy environment for everyone on board if we want to address issues of recruitment and retention within the industry.”

Some of the key findings from the survey are:

  • 46% of seafarers have experienced harassment at some point in their career.
    • 69% of female seafarers have experienced harassment at some point in their career.
  • 9% of seafarers have experienced sexual harassment at some point in their career.
    • 35% of female seafarers have experienced sexual harassment at some point in their career.
  • 67% of those who have been harassed at work were harassed by a superior.
  • 48% of those who have been harassed did not report inappropriate behaviour to their employer.
  • 60% of seafarers answered ‘no’ or ‘not sure’ when asked if they felt their employer is doing enough to protect them from harassment at work.

The SIU Canada plans on working with the companies, shipowners, and all levels of government to address the issues brought up in this report. The Union is committed to finding solutions to address these problems and will be working diligently for all Canadian seafarers to help bring an end to harassment and bullying at sea. All industry stakeholders must do better to ensure that workers in the Canadian marine sector can earn a living in a safe and harassment-free work environment.

Algoma Central Corporation responds

Algoma Central Corporation, which owns and operates dry and liquid bulk carriers serving markets on the Great Lakes/St. Lawrence waterway and internationally, promptly responded to the SIU report, declaring:

“Thank you to the SIU for bringing additional focus to this issue and your dedication to raising awareness and finding solutions. The SIU has been a longstanding partner in addressing harassment cases within our organization and we are committed to continuing to work together to ensure a safe working environment for all. It is important that unions and ship operators collaborate and maintain an open dialogue. Together, we can take the lead addressing this issue and further develop cohesive, zero tolerance action plans across the marine sector.”

“At Algoma, we are dedicated to cultivating a workplace culture founded on principles of respect and inclusion. Recognizing the profound impact that all forms of harassment can have on the well-being of our employees, we prioritize the safety and health of our crews and staff. This commitment has always been, and continues to be, our foremost priority. In recent years, we have enhanced our Workplace Harassment and Violence Prevention Policy, reporting procedures, and training. That said, we recognize that more needs to be done.”

“There is no place for harassment at Algoma. Please go to to learn more about our Workplace Harassment and Violence Prevention Policy and how to file an anonymous report if you have seen or experienced harassment either shipboard or shoreside.”

(Image from SIU Canada)