ARCHIVED - 2010-2013 Strategic Human Resources Plan

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Trends and Strategic Considerations

The CCG functions within the global marine industry and must therefore consider international and domestic trends and considerations as it develops its human resources strategies.

Worldwide Trends

As seagoing employees account for more than half of CCG's workforce, worldwide marine industry trends factor heavily in our ability to attract and retain personnel. The industry has conducted various studies to help project the requirement for seagoing personnel over the next decade. Most indicate a significant worldwide shortage, in the neighbourhood of 10,000 officers or 2% of the global workforce. Recruitment challenges extend to shore-based employees such as Radio Operators, Electronics Technologists and Engineers. These broad-based shortages underline the need for strategic human resources planning.

That said, the economic downturn that took hold in 2008 caused a decline in shipping activities, easing a once very difficult market for hiring skilled personnel. Still, recruitment remains a priority for the private and public sectors alike.

Canadian Trends

A multitude of domestic trends - demographic, political and economic - influence CCG and shape our future.

Retirements have been increasing rapidly in the federal public service since the start of the millennium, as the oldest of the baby boom generation takes its leave. According to Statistics Canada, the number of retirements in March 2007 was almost triple the number at the beginning of the millennium. About 8 % of the public service workforce in early 2007 could retire immediately without penalty, and one quarter of those studied could retire by 2012. Public service retirements have increased more rapidly than those in the labour force as a whole, due in part to an older average age than among workers in the general labour force.1

The recent economic contraction has had some impact on the Canadian labour market. Since employment peaked in 2008, job losses have been felt, particularly in the manufacturing and natural resources sectors. The CCG will need to be imaginative and innovative if it is to recruit sufficient numbers of technically-skilled people, and will look at drawing from these sectors to recruit people with technical skills well matched to CCG jobs.

Between 2001 and 2006, more than 1.1 million immigrants came to Canada.2 CCG will look to this potential labour pool as the Agency continues to increase the proportion of visible minorities in its workforce. The 2006 Census revealed that Canada's Aboriginal population grew by 45% between 1996 and 2006, compared to 8% in the non-Aboriginal population.

Strategic Considerations

As with all other government departments and agencies, the CCG is faced with new challenges following the introduction of Budget 2010. Over the next few years, the CCG will need to find efficient and effective ways to deliver services to the public within tighter financial parameters. However, the scheduled 1.5% pay increases for staff will be respected and the Coast Guard will continue to recruit new employees to maintain a vital workforce.

Stabilizing and strengthening Canada's economy is a top priority of our Government. The Coast Guard plays an important role in facilitating commerce and helping ensure our national security. We serve clients in all economic sectors: the general public, commercial shippers, ferry operators, fishers, recreational boaters, remote coastal communities and other government departments and agencies. We act upon federal maritime priorities and provide environmental and search and rescue services when emergencies occur. We support DFO programs and help manage and protect fishery resources. We support the non-military activities of other government departments and agencies, including support to maritime security activities. In cooperation with other departments, we strive to create an environment that encourages the health and longevity of our economy.

With $1.4 billion approved in recent budgets for fleet renewal, the CCG will provide key support to the shipbuilding industry. Canada's Economic Action Plan allocated funds to undertake major repair work on 35 large CCG vessels; these funds are over and above those notionally allocated within CCG budget plans. CCG is expediting the repair work so that local economies benefit as soon as possible from the new jobs. The refits are expected to be complete by March 2011. In addition, CCG is working closely with other government departments to develop a strategy for major equipment purchases. The goals are to lower the cost to government while providing industry certainty.

Canada's 2010 Speech from the Throne reinforced the strategic importance of a strong domestic shipbuilding industry, vowing continued support through adoption of a long-term approach to federal procurement. To ensure the successful delivery of its new vessels, CCG has established an organization dedicated to the management and administration of these complex procurement projects. The organization's newly-appointed Deputy Commissioner will ensure CCG procurement activities align with evolving government priorities.

As the Government's civilian maritime fleet, the CCG works closely with numerous other government departments to further many aspects of the Government's agenda. The Agency has an ongoing role in support of natural resources management and Aboriginal communities, and is a key player in the implementation of the Government's Northern Strategy. The CCG continues to work closely with the Department of National Defence to help support Arctic sovereignty.

In August 2009, Bill C-3: An Act to Amend the Arctic Waters Pollution Prevention Act received royal assent, extending Canada's jurisdiction to enforce environmental laws and shipping regulations up to 200 nautical miles from its shores in Arctic waters. This increase doubles the previous distance which means that the CCG may have to adjust its efforts in the Arctic.

The Government's strong emphasis on safety and security has resulted in enhanced CCG cooperation with Transport Canada, the Public Safety Canada portfolio, and others. Through these partnerships, marine security, domain awareness and vessel tracking have improved.

Snapshot of Our Workforce

As Graph A illustrates, the Coast Guard has 4,465 employees, the majority working across five regions; Newfoundland and Labrador (NL), Maritimes (MAR), Quebec (QUE), Central and Arctic (C&A), and Pacific (PAC). CCG is further represented in Sydney, Nova Scotia, at the Canadian Coast Guard College and at its Headquarters in the National Capital Region (NCR).

CCG operates 116 vessels, providing programs and services across the country, every hour of the day, every day of the year.

Graph A
National Employment Distribution

Graph A National Employment Distribution

Note: Graph A reflects a snapshot of the CCG workforce on April 1, 2009. It partially reflects the transfer of the CCGS Terry Fox and the CCGS Louis S. St-Laurent from the Maritimes Region to the Newfoundland and Labrador Region.

The proportion of seagoing (51%) to shore-based (49%) personnel has changed only slightly from previous years. Shore-based operations include the coordination of SAR activities, providing environmental response, MCTS, operational support, technical services, instructional services, aids to navigation and business management functions.

Table A breaks down our workforce by tenure, from 2005 to 2009. (See Annex A for employment tenure breakdowns by region, for the College and at Headquarters.)

Table A
Employment Tenure from 2005 to 2009
2005 3664 227 228 149 3 4271
2006 3770 252 287 150 7 4466
2007 3784 332 275 146 17 4554
2008 3680 383 267 114 15 4459
2009 3770 328 263 86 18 4465

Note: Figures were tabulated on April 1 of each year. They do not include the higher number of students typically employed in the summer.

Hiring students benefits CCG, insofar as the access to a pool of educated, motivated and technically proficient short-term employees complements the existing workforce. The opportunity also benefits students by offering them hands-on work experience to add to their academic skills. Since 2005, the number of student work terms with Coast Guard has increased year over year (see Table B). This type of recruitment enables CCG to deliver crucial services to Canadians and supports the Public Service Renewal initiative. Furthermore, each CCG region delivers an Inshore Rescue Boat (IRB) Service, where post-secondary students are trained to respond to mariners in distress. Approximately 160 students are hired each summer and they provide almost 40,000 hours of service per year. Upon graduation, students can be considered pre-trained personnel who are eligible for entry-level positions at CCG or elsewhere in the Public Service.

Table B
Student Employment
Fiscal YearStudent Work Terms
2004-2005 183
2005-2006 208
2006-2007 283
2007-2008 309
2008-2009 322
Average Number
of Work Terms

Snapshot by Occupational Group

Snapshot by Occupational GroupThe Canadian Coast Guard has identified five occupational groups that are essential to service delivery to be at-risk: Ships' Officers (SO), Ships' Crew (SC), Radio Operations (RO), Engineers (EN) and Electronics Technologists (EL). As Table C shows, the majority of our workforce (67%) is made up of these at-risk groups; this proportion has seen little overall change in the past five years. The proportion of ENs has increased slightly, while the proportion of the SC, SO, RO and EL groups has dropped slightly. Since 2006, the number of executive-level (EX) employees has increased annually. The majority of these new EX positions are required for oversight of projects concerning fleet renewal and the management of vessel maintenance.


Table C
Distribution by Occupational Group
SC 1359 1428 1474 1385 1368 67%
SO 872 917 917 910 906
RO 357 376 384 368 362
EL 256 266 262 256 255
EN 65 66 68 75 79
EG 46 50 43 47 46 33%
CR 207 206 213 225 231
GT 300 315 325 328 344
GL 288 319 314 295 277
AS 219 229 239 246 265
EX 29 29 38 48 54
LI 121 112 102 108 114
STDNT 3 7 17 15 18
Other 149 146 158 153 146
Total 4271 4466 4554 4459 4465 100%

Snapshot by Age Group

Snapshot by Age GroupMany of the demographic challenges faced by the CCG are being felt across the federal public service. The average age of our employees is well above that of the Canadian labour market, with approximately 76% over the age of 40 and 40% over the age of 50.3 The average age of all CCG employees is 46 years, slightly higher than the public service average of 44 years.4 The average age of the CCG seagoing population is 45 and of shore-based personnel is 47. The average age of the five at-risk groups is 45.

Snapshot by Gender

Graph B represents the ratio of women to men within each of the noted age groups. The ratio reversal as age increases demonstrates that CCG is making progress in the recruitment of women (for more details, see Graph H.1 in Strategy 1).

Graph B
Distribution by Age Group and Gender (April 1, 2009)

Graph B Distribution by Age Group and Gender (April 1, 2009)

Projected Retirements

With the number of retirements increasing year over year, projected retirements have become a more heavily weighted factor in our human resources (HR) planning. According to the Public Service Superannuation Act, an employee can retire without penalty if he or she has reached 55 years of age and has 30 years of pensionable service, or has reached 60 years of age with at least two years of pensionable service. As illustrated in Graph C, the number of employees eligible to retire has been increasing since 2005.

Graph C
Retirement Eligibility

Graph C Retirement Eligibility

Table D shows the number of employees who will become eligible to retire each year from 2009 to 2014, highlighting each of the at-risk occupational groups.

Table D
Retirement Eligibility
YearSCSOROELENOthersRetirement Eligibility
of Total Workforce
2009 92 57 30 31 10 170 390
2010 35 40 9 18 2 72 176
2011 56 45 10 19 2 70 202
2012 60 36 14 10 0 66 186
2013 67 48 11 7 5 68 206
2014 45 39 12 8 1 62 167
Total 355 265 86 93 20 508 1327
26% 29% 24% 36% 25% 34% 28%

Note: These figures reflect eligibility to retire rather than intent. Percentages are based on the assumption that distribution by occupational group will remain the same.

On average, 38% of employees who were eligible to retire exercised that option between 2004 and 2008. In 2008-2009, the number of actual retirements rose to almost 42%. This trend may continue, as the combination of those newly eligible and those who have deferred retirement become a larger percentage of our population. It may also be reflective of the influence of baby boomers, who have become the driving force behind current retirements. In fiscal year 2006-2007, they made up two thirds of the workforce and two thirds of retirements. Baby boomers in the public service tend to retire younger (in their late fifties), after having banked more years of pensionable service than the pre-boomers retiring in 2006-2007.5

At present, approximately 44% of public servants defer their retirement by an average of four years.6 Table E shows the percentage of CCG employees, in each occupational group, who retire immediately upon eligibility.

Table E
Rate of Retirements upon Eligibility
Rate of Retirements
at Eligibility
LI 20.8%
EN 33.3%
SO 34.4%
CR 38.5%
EG 40.0%
AS 41.2%
RO 42.9%
GT 43.5%
SC 45.6%
EL 51.4%
GL 60.7%
EX 72.7%
Other 20.0%
Average 41.6%

As the proportion of CCG employees eligible for retirement increases, retaining an effective workforce becomes more challenging. To help manage large numbers of departures, CCG could offer alternative work arrangements to retirement-eligible employees. CCG would then benefit from knowledge transfer from experienced employees to new hires. CCG will also need to provide incentives to attract and retain new hires to fill vacancies, especially in at-risk groups. Evolving technologies make it essential that these new hires are highly computer literate.

Historically, approximately 13% of retired Coast Guard employees return to our workforce in another capacity (such as term, casual or contract employees) after they retire. This is highly beneficial, as it allows corporate knowledge transfer to existing staff and makes available to CCG trained resources able to fully perform their duties from day one.


Although attrition rates (including retirement rates) have remained fairly stable, 2009 saw a slight increase. Given the growing number of employees eligible to retire, this indicator will be closely monitored as attrition rates may now begin to increase year over year.

The EX group continues to have the highest rate of attrition at 18.1%. Across the public service, the EX attrition rate is even higher as the average EX is 51 years of age.7 The CCG must emphasize knowledge transfer and succession planning in anticipation that it will follow this broader trend.

Table F shows actual attrition at CCG. These rates are based on five-year historical data and reflect both retirement and residual attrition (resignations, transfers out and deaths). Although CCG continues to face increasing rates of attrition, we have maintained a stable workforce and will continue to do so.

Table F
Actual Attrition (2005 - 2009)
2005 2.6% 1.4% 4.0% 165
2006 2.7% 1.2% 3.9% 168
2007 3.5% 1.7% 5.2% 228
2008 2.8% 1.4% 4.2% 182
2009 3.7% 1.8% 5.5% 240

In its planning, CCG is assuming attrition rates will rise. By 2014, CCG anticipates that approximately 1,331 employees (30% of our total workforce) will have left the Agency (see Table G). This includes the potential loss of 786 employees from our at-risk groups (SC, SO, RO, EL and EN), representing 59% of total projected departures.

Table G below shows projected attrition from 2010 to 2014. Calculations do not take into account potential workforce growth or reductions.

Table G
Projected Attrition
SC 60 64 65 69 65 323 59%
SO 52 52 50 55 53 262
RO 21 18 18 17 17 91
EL 20 21 18 15 13 87
EN 5 5 4 5 4 23
EG 3 3 3 2 2 13 41%
CR 17 16 14 13 15 75
GT 26 23 21 22 20 112
GL 23 22 22 23 22 112
AS 19 24 23 21 21 108
EX 5 4 8 6 5 28
LI 11 9 8 7 6 41
Other 13 11 11 11 10 56
Total 275 272 265 266 253 1331 100%

Note: These figures are higher than 2008 projections because calculations are based on a higher rate of attrition of 5.5%.

Temporary Employment

Indeterminate employees make up approximately 84% of CCG's workforce, with the remaining 16% comprised of term and seasonal employees, casual workers and students. Short-term employment is necessary to support our increased human resource requirements during the summer season, the need to have ships with a full complement of professionally qualified officers and crew before a vessel can leave port, and our need to respond quickly to unpredictable events and conditions.

CCG continues to emphasize fairness, access, representation and transparency, as well as strategic human resources planning in its use of term, seasonal and casual employees.

Term employment of more than three months (Graph D.1) began gradually increasing at CCG in 2005. In 2008, the Clerk of the Privy Council pointed to "the excessive reliance on casual, temporary and term recruitment offers" among all government departments. The CCG strongly encourages its managers to reduce reliance on short-term measures, and, since 2008, CCG has decreased the use of casual and term appointments.

CCG is working to shorten the duration of term employment. In 2009, the number of term appointments of more than three months dropped from 322 to 296. As can be seen in Graph D.2, term employment of less than three months has also dropped considerably - in 2009, there were half as many terms as in 2008.

Graph D.3 demonstrates that casual employment continues to decrease - it is almost half of what it was in 2006 - indicating a shift toward more stable hiring practices.

Graph D 
Term and Casual Employment


Graph D.1 Term Appointment more Than 3 Months (2005-2009)


Graph D.2 Term Appointment Les Than 3 Months (2005-2009)


Graph D.3 Casual Appointments (2005-2009)

Term Appointments over Two Years

In 2008, CCG began a concerted effort to reduce the number of term appointments over two years (see Table H), 64% of which were in seagoing positions. Out of the total term population, the percentage that are over two years has grown from 12.6% to 25.9%, an increase that is due to an increase in the number of seagoing terms over two years combined with a decrease in the total term population. Permanent staffing measures are expected to significantly decrease the number of seagoing terms over two years. The CCG will continue to monitor term appointments over two years in its ongoing efforts to stabilize its workforce.

Table H
Term Appointments over Two Years
YearShore-BasedSeagoingNumber of
Term Appointments
over Two Years
Total Term
2008 22 39 61 485 12.6%
2009 20 65 85 328 25.9%

Note: Data prior to 2008 is unavailable.

Additional Requirements

Table I shows the additional personnel that CCG will need to satisfy the pressure for increased service delivery. In particular, the procurement of new and replacement vessels require additional human resource capacity over the next several years to oversee vessel procurement, manage vessel acquisition projects, and to staff and maintain the new vessels once delivered. The Major Crown Projects Directorate and the office of the newly-appointed Deputy Commissioner to oversee vessel procurement will require approximately 50 additional employees between now and 2014.

Table I
Additional Requirements
SC 323 30 353
SO 262 40 302
EN 23 37 60
GT 112 14 126
TI 1 19 20
Total 721 140 861

CCG is considering the creation of additional permanent positions to work on capital projects. They would support the acquisition of small vessels and craft, as well as the maintenance, repair and acquisition of shore-based assets. Further details will be available in the 2011-2014 Strategic Human Resources Plan.

Summary of Projected Requirements over the Next Five Years

These additional requirements combined with projected attrition rates will result in the need for 1,471 employees by 2014 to replace departing employees and fill newly created positions. Of these, 61% belong to the five at-risk groups. Finding sufficient pools from which to draw qualified candidates for these groups will be an ongoing challenge.

Official Language Representation

As a national institution that serves all Canadians, the CCG requires a bilingual workforce. In 2009, approximately 22% of CCG employees declared French as their first language, and 78% declared English. This ratio is consistent with recent years. In 2009, the highest percentage of employees in CCG history met the linguistic profile of their positions (see Table J), demonstrating that the Agency's efforts to recruit bilingual candidates and provide language training are yielding positive results. We will continue to seek out qualified, bilingual candidates for seagoing and technical positions, and will make efforts to attract additional bilingual instructors for the Canadian Coast Guard College.

Table J
Incumbents Meeting Requirements of Bilingual Positions
Number of
who Meet
of Position
Percentage of
who Meet
of Position
2005 724 637 88%
2006 715 648 91%
2007 735 685 93%
2008 739 679 92%
2009 741 715 96%

Employment Equity

The Employment Equity Act (1995) spurred a national effort to address the under-representation of certain groups in Canada's workforce. Four groups have been identified as under-represented in the federal public service: women, Aboriginal peoples, persons with disabilities and visible minorities.

In 2003, the Canadian Human Rights Commission conducted an employment equity (EE) compliance audit of DFO. The result was the 2004-2007 DFO Employment Equity Management Action Plan (EE MAP) and the more recent 2008-2011 DFO EE MAP, both of which identify employment equity gaps, potential barriers to reducing gaps, and actions to address these barriers.

As Co-Champion of employment equity for DFO and Champion of the Visible Minorities Champions and Chairs Committee, the Commissioner of the Canadian Coast Guard leads us in reaching our employment equity goals. Since 2004, CCG's overall national EE gap has decreased by 58% despite increasing Workforce Availability (WFA)8 estimates. This is largely due to an 85% decrease in the national EE gap for women, from 255 in 2004 to 39 in 2009.

In 2009, the CCG created and implemented the EE MAP Report Card (see Annex C), which demonstrates that we are reducing barriers faced by EE designated group members. The CCG recognizes that by recruiting and portraying designated group members in promotional materials, we create a great opportunity to increase overall representation. As a result of these practices, approximately 30% of our workforce has self identified as members of an EE group.

CCG has increased overall national representation (see Graph E) by an average of 5% each of the past five years. With the commitment of our Commissioner, and the support of our employees, CCG will continue to improve representation of all groups, with particular attention on persons with disabilities and visible minorities.

Graph E
National Employment Equity Trends

Graph E National Employment Equity Trends


It is important to note that representation figures are based on the number of employees who complete a self-identification form. As form completion is voluntary, CCG may have a higher representation than indicated. Promotion of self-identification and outreach efforts to EE groups will continue to ensure Coast Guard's figures are a true measure of representation.

Graph F shows the percentage of CCG employees who have self-identified as members of an EE group. As of September 30, 2009, 19.4% of CCG employees were women, 2.8% Aboriginal peoples, 4.4% persons with disabilities and 2.8% visible minorities.

Graph F
Employees who have Self-Identified

Graph F Employees who have Self-Identified

Note: The percentage of workforce refers to employees who have self-identified and only includes indeterminate, term (more than three months) and seasonal employees.


Our workforce is represented by seven unions: Union of Canadian Transportation Employees, a component of the Public Service Alliance of Canada (UCTE/PSAC); the Canadian Merchant Service Guild (CMSG); the Canadian Auto Workers (CAW - Local 2182); the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW); the Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada (PIPSC); the Canadian Association of Professional Employees (CAPE); and the Association of Canadian Financial Officers (ACFO).

Graph G
Employee Representation by Union

Graph G Employee Representation by Union

Approximately 78% of the CCG is represented by UCTE/PSAC (including Ships' Crew) or CMSG (including Ships' Officers). Graph G illustrates the percentage of employees represented by each union.

Developing and maintaining effective working relationships with unions is essential to our operations. The CCG Union Management Consultation Committee, an executive-level body, meets regularly to consult on labour relations. The CCG remains committed to working with unions, both formally and informally, to address issues and to resolve disputes and grievances.

While effective communication with all seven unions is an ongoing challenge, it yields significant results. For example, the new Ships' Officers Collective Agreement contains provisions for one common hourly rate of pay for all crewing systems, effective April 1, 2010. This change removes a barrier in attracting SOs to rotational shore assignments and acting appointments in shore-based management positions.

In Summary

As in previous plans, recruitment will be one of our biggest challenges. Increasing numbers of seasoned employees will be eligible for retirement, crew and maintenance staff will be needed for new vessels, and demand for our services is increasing.

We recognize that we are about to lose valuable experience and corporate knowledge, but also that employee turnover can create opportunities. We will work to improve our bilingual capacity and the diversity of our workforce through targeted hiring. Combined with our developmental efforts, we will ensure that we have skilled people in place to fulfill our mandate.

This Plan will help us integrate recruitment planning, succession planning and training strategies to address the high level of attrition we anticipate. We will also address the particular pressures associated with the five occupational groups at highest risk.

2010-2013 CCG Human Resources Strategies

This year, we have refined our HR strategies, reducing from four to three. We have integrated employment equity into recruitment and retention, in recognition that our efforts to recruit and retain the right people go hand-in-hand with our commitment to be representative of the Canadian population. Our strategies are:

  • A Qualified and Representative Workforce
  • Develop and Support People
  • Fair and Effective Management

Commitment tables have been added to each strategy, highlighting the measurable actions to be taken. Those addressing challenges identified in the 2007 Report of the Auditor General are flagged with the acronym "AG". Commitments related to the Coast Guard's 2006 A-base review are identified by "A-base" and those related to the Public Service Employees Survey are identified by "PSES". Commitments related to the 2008-2011 DFO Employment Equity Management Action Plan are flagged with "2008-2011 DFO EE MAP".

CCG faces a set of unique challenges regarding human resource management and succession planning for seagoing personnel.

Seagoing personnel must meet professional competency requirements by obtaining the proper certification to occupy a seagoing position. In order to be able to sail, CCG ships must meet a legal standard for crewing certificates.

Many seagoing employees are currently eligible to retire or nearing retirement eligibility. In addition to the expected loss of a number of qualified employees due to retirement, other organizations routinely hire away seagoing personnel, thus placing further strain on HR planning. To address the approaching shortages of professionally certified seagoing personnel, Fleet management is instituting the Ships' Crew Certification Program.

In an effort to explain these challenges, the Plan features a new section this year, "A Window into the Seagoing World," which illustrates the complex operational human resource challenges associated with SOs and SCs and highlighting the strategies Fleet Management will employ to mitigate the associated pressures.

1Statistics Canada, "Latest release from the Labour Force Survey", (consulted on January 8, 2010).

2Natural Resources Canada, "The Atlas of Canada", (consulted on December 14, 2009).

3Statistics Canada, "Latest release from the Labour Force Survey", (consulted on January 8, 2010).


5Statistics Canada, "Federal Public Service Retirements: Trends in the New Millennium", 11-621-M, Number 68, December 2, 2009, (consulted on January 25, 2010).


7Privy Council Office, "Remarks on Public Service Renewal to the University of Waterloo Alumni", February 5, 2009, (consulted on March 25, 2010).

8WFA is a measure that determines the percentage of employment equity group members working in a specific occupational group. It is important to note that these numbers do not take into consideration organizational hiring opportunities.