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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.

Table 1: Distribution of Marine Personnel by Employment Type,
as of March 2009
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
On Strength (FTE) - - - 5 14 19
On Strength (Term) - - - 1 0 1
Total GTs on strength - - - 6 14 20
TOTAL 645 650 278 432 558 2,543

1 NL, Newfoundland and Labrador Region; MA, Maritimes Region; C&A, Central and Arctic
Region; QC, Quebec Region; PA, Pacific Region
2 FTE, full-time equivalent

Glen James Blumberg, Engine Room Assistant of the CCGS Griffon
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.

2008–2009 Results
Concluded collective agreements with Treasury Board Secretariat and the unions (the CSMG and PSAC)
Established a single rate of pay for officers irrespective of the crewing system to which they are deployed, allowing for easier movement between various crewing systems, shore-based assignments and training

An aerial view of the Canadian Coast Guard College in Sydney, Nova Scotia
An aerial view of the Canadian Coast Guard College in Sydney, Nova Scotia
Photo: DND

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


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
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
CCGS Louis S. St-Laurent - Safety First, Service Always
Photo: Carolina Bookless

2008–2009 Results
Began planning, based on projected attrition rates and the need to crew five additional ships, to meet the requirement of 325 SCs members and 250 SOs by 2012,
Provided a $1-million permanent contribution to the CCG College to help stabilize the Officer Training Program
Identified the need for 69 new seagoing and shore-based positions to address increasing vessel maintenance requirements


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.

Table 2: Distribution of Marine Personnel by Age Category, as of March 2009
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
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.

2008–2009 Results
Completed ships’ competency (crewing) profiles for all Fleet units
Finalized crewing standards for selfmaintenance, refit or seasonal lay-up
Implemented rotational assignments for regional staff in the National Coordination Centre and for project management at Headquarters
Established regional developmental positions for marine personnel

Operations Officer Des Mpenza at work in the National Coordination Centre in Ottawa
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
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.

2008–2009 Results
Completed individual learning plans for 95% of shore-based employees and 81% of marine personnel
Consulted with employees and bargaining agents on the national learning and development framework and proposed action plan

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


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.

2008–2009 Results
Supported managers in improving the participation of Aboriginal peoples, persons with disabilities, visible minorities, and women in the workforce
Launched the Operational Women’s Network to better understand the challenges that women face in their seagoing careers
Expanded CCG’s participation in the Partners for Workplace Inclusion Program in Vancouver, Winnipeg, and St. John’s

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
Captain Norm Thomas and Shannon Vollema in front of the CCGS Sir Wilfrid Laurier -
High-endurance Multi-tasked Vessel/Light Icebreaker

Photo: PA Region