The Challenge
Virtually every industry lists workforce renewal as a top three challenge to business. For marine, it's within the top two and a current threat. (In drastic cases, marine vessels have been idled due to lack of experienced crew.) Unlike other sectors, marine requires more than a generational turnover of workers, rather it depends on an ongoing talent pool willing to undergo specific training at all levels, including entry level. It is a skill-intensive industry for shoreside and especially seagoing positions. Marine cannot simply compete with other sectors to fill sudden or unexpected labour shortages, it must invest over the longer term in efforts such as industry awareness and workforce renewal backed by professional nurturing and also mentoring. This is the focus of the Canadian Marine Industry Foundation.

About the Foundation
The concept of the Canadian Marine Industry Foundation stemmed from the IMO Goodwill Maritime Ambassador Scheme that was established In February 2015 to reach new target audiences and inspire a new generation of maritime experts and seafarers. The work is carried by IMO Goodwill Maritime Ambassadors from 50-nations and representatives from inter-governmental and non-governmental organizations.

Captain Marc-André Poisson, nominated by Transport Canada in 2019 to serve as Canada's IMO Goodwill Maritime Ambassador, engaged with leaders of the Canadian maritime community during the Summer of 2017 until Spring of 2018. As a result of input and encouragement received from Coast to Coast to address an existing and growing need for the recruitment of human resources to the marine industry, a decision was formalized in December 2018 to establish the Foundation. The Foundation was incorporated in July 2019 under the Federal Not-for-profit Corporations Act.

Goals of the Foundation
The CMIF will aim to mitigate the threat that a labour shortage poses to the commercial marine sector and, by extension to the Canadian economy, as well as in the public sector where similar needs for both shipboard and shore side personnel exist. The Foundation will work with stakeholders and supporters to achieve the following objectives:
  1. To serve as a national forum to bring together key marine industry stakeholders across Canada to synergize efforts to attract talent to the marine industry;
  2. To develop and administer services and programs that promote greater public awareness of careers in the private and public sectors of the marine industry;
  3. To serve as a resource centre for information on careers at sea and ashore in the marine industry and as a point of contact to direct educational, mentoring and employment inquiries to appropriate channels;
  4. To identify and publicize scholarship and bursaries available to support maritime studies at nautical schools and academic institutions at all levels of study.

Founding Members

The CMIF is a unique initiative conceived and developed through a vision shared by Canada's private and public sector marine stakeholders. The Chamber of Marine Commerce and the three Federal Government departments with responsibilities in the maritime field - Transport Canada, the Canadian Coast Guard and the Transportation Safety Board of Canada, have agreed to work together to establish the Foundation with the principal objective of ensuring marine workforce renewability.

Implementation of the Foundation's business plan is being guided by a steering committee including representatives from TC (Elisabeth Bertrand), CCG (Catherine Salter), TSB (Clifford Harvey), CMC (Raymond Johnston) and Canada's IMO Goodwill Maritime Ambassador (Marc-André Poisson).

The Campaign: Imagine Marine!
Marine needs to attract the best and brightest talent, whether ashore or afloat, offering careers and vocations to satisfy a wide range of interests and goals. The new generation of marine professionals will deliver artificial intelligence, blockchain technology and cleaner energy along with commercial trade, community transportation and coastal protection and surveillance.

CMIF's role in helping to write this exciting new chapter of the marine story is to raise awareness of the industry so it can better compete for the skilled labour, trades and accredited professionals to steer the industry forward. The Foundation will harness the energy and resources of members to inform and educate the wider public on the virtues of marine and its extensive benefits. Its message campaign will speak of lifestyle, work-life balance and the pursuit of life's dreams, inviting candidates to consider an industry with a tradition and future like no other. It will ask them to Imagine Marine!

The Foundation's core efforts include a "public-facing" awareness campaign aimed at target audiences with a message that resonates in form and function. Leveraging the power of the Internet and Social Media, Imagine Marine will identify and engage potential workforce audiences ranging from entry level through to experienced professionals and also second career candidates. It will deliver marine's value message through real life words and images from existing industry workers, ashore and afloat. The goal is to generate interest, create dialog and direct job and career seekers to the Foundation's career resource centre Web site.

The Foundation aims to expand its membership to include public and private sector marine entities stretching from coast to coast to coast in Canada. It will present opportunities for sponsorship, resource sharing and also direct financial contribution. Every business and government entity directly or indirectly related to marine will be invited to join the Foundation, as the industry's future depends on full support.

Beyond attracting stakeholder support from industry and government, the Foundation will aim to enlist non-paying community members to share the message and help drive dialog from a grassroots, organic level. Success will be measured by the level of participation of both, and the degree to which the two groups engage in a mutually beneficial discussion that begins with how they Imagine Marine.

Marc-André Poisson T | 613.408.3380
Raymond Johnston T | 514.974.0475
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