Why Are Canadian Shipbuilding Jobs Going To Foreign Workers?

Not long ago, I wrote about how Irving Shipbuilders subcontractor Gabadi LC brought in Spanish carpenters to work on new arctic patrol ships – taking jobs from Canadians. Many people were not happy with this, and it was rightfully seen as a big betrayal of Canadian workers.

Now, it turns out that more Canadians are having their jobs displaced by workers from another country.

This time, its people from the US being brought in and displacing Canadians:

As reported in the Chronicle Herald, some of the engineering and specialist jobs for Canada’s new Navy warships are going exclusively to US citizens.

The jobs are split between those requiring US citizenship, and those that require US Secret Security Clearance. The reason for this is supposedly the sensitive US systems being put into the ships.

As reported by the Herald, “Listings for both a combat systems interfaces lead and a combat support systems manager, which appear to be related to work on the CSC design, specify the jobs are based solely out of Halifax. Both positions require U.S. citizenship.”

When pushing for the program, jobs for Canadian workers was seen as a tip selling point, but the recent hires from the US and Spain have cast increasing doubt on the positive picture painted early on.

Also, Irving has hired a full-time “International Recruiter,” leading to speculation that more foreign workers are on the way to the shipyards.

Canadian shipbuilding jobs should go to Canadians

It’s incredibly disrespectful to Canadian workers to see shipbuilding jobs go to foreign workers, when there are talented citizens who can do those jobs. Canada’s government should have stood up for our own people and guaranteed those jobs for Canadians.

For those who would say the government couldn’t get around the US Security clearance issue, think about the idea of leverage. A shipbuilding contract is a negotiation, and US companies stand to benefit from having their components put into Canadian ships. That means they want contracts, and that desire for contracts is a point of leverage.

If the government really wanted to stand up for workers, they could have specified that Canadian workers be granted US Secret Security Clearance (After strong security checks of course). They also could have refused to let subcontractors bring workers from across the Atlantic ocean.

Just a bit of toughness could have gone a long way towards creating more jobs for Canadians.

As it stands now, there are people at the Irving Shipyards who now have to watch as Canadian jobs building Canadian ships at a Canadian shipyard somehow go to foreign workers.

It’s a disgrace, and another sign that the interests of Canada and our workers are being left far behind.

Spencer Fernando

Photo – Twitter