Minister of Transport marks International Day of Seafarers and announces agreements to certify foreign seafarers in Canada

News release

June 25, 2023                    Ottawa, ON                    Transport Canada

From sailing cargo ships that bring us goods we need, to crewing ferries that bring us to where we need to go, Canadians rely on seafarers to contribute to a successful economy that works for everyone.  With an estimated 70 to 80 per cent of the goods Canadians use daily transported by ship, we are committed to encouraging more trained and qualified people to work in the marine industry.

Today, on the International Day of the Seafarer, the Minister of Transport, the Honorable Omar Alghabra, announced that Canada has signed agreements with Georgia, the Philippines, and the United Kingdom to allow their certified seafarers to work onboard Canadian vessels. These countries now join Australia, France, Norway, and Ukraine as participants in Canada’s Reciprocal Arrangement Program.

Launched in 2019, the Reciprocal Arrangement Program allows highly qualified workers to quickly gain employment in the Canadian marine sector. This means that once a foreign seafarer meets the requirements for work, Canadian companies can sponsor them to fill critical gaps in their workforce.

This builds on an additional investment of $29.8 million through Canada’s Oceans Protection Plan, to extend the Marine Training Program for four additional years. This program delivers marine training opportunities for underrepresented groups in Canada, such as Indigenous Peoples, Northerners, and women, to prepare them for jobs in the marine industry.

Through programs like these we are making sure Canada’s marine sector remains world-leading.


“Canadians from coast-to-coast-to-coast rely on the dedication of seafarers to get goods and ships where they need to go. On behalf of our Government, I want to thank all seafarers for their commitment. Through arrangements like this one, we are strengthening our workforce today and into the future with good-paying jobs for certified seafarers.”

The Honourable Omar Alghabra
Minister of Transport

Quick facts

  • June 25 is the International Day of the Seafarer, an occasion to recognize and show support for all those who work on ships in Canada and worldwide.

  • Seafarers with a valid International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers certificate issued by the applicable countries can now apply for a Canadian endorsement.

  • A foreign seafarer must meet the requirements imposed by Immigration, Refugee and Citizenship Canada and Employment and Social Development Canada to work in Canada, including obtaining a valid work permit.

  • To date, the Government of Canada has invested a total of $58 million in the Marine Training Program. This program has helped 650 students from underrepresented groups graduate, sending them to careers in the Canadian Coast Guard and other areas of the marine industry since 2016.

  • Seafarers looking for more information and/or to apply to work in Canada can do so by visiting the Transport Canada website.

Associated links


Nadine Ramadan
Press Secretary
Office of the Honourable Omar Alghabra
Minister of Transport, Ottawa

Media Relations
Transport Canada, Ottawa

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