The Union representing Search and Rescue (SAR) specialists with the Canadian Coast Guard (CCG) is unsurprised at findings of the Auditor General's Spring 2013 Report.
"Our members are strong, dedicated individuals so it comes as no surprise that they meet the standard to respond to an emergency 96% of the time. They should be applauded that they are doing so much despite the challenges they face," said Christine Collins , National President of the Union of Canadian Transportation Employees.
On the other hand the union points out that the Canadian Coast Guard's decision not to offer training in order to ensure that qualified personnel are always available is highlighted in the Auditor General's report.
"We have been telling CCG that our members are worried about the lack of investment in them. We worry about the day to day operations and the lack of succession planning. Ensuring that there is training to guarantee the safety of both the crew and the public is critical," said Collins.
UCTE is concerned about how the ability to respond might change. "At the time of the audit, both of the Marine Rescue Sub-centres in St. John's, NL and Quebec City, QC as well as the Kitsilano Coast Guard Station in BC were fully operational. With a shortage in personnel looming, and the closure of these vital resources, the Canadian Coast Guard has made Canadians who depend on the water vulnerable. I wonder if it will take another death before they do the right thing," Collins said.
The Union of Canadian Transportation Employees, a component of the Public Service Alliance of Canada, represents the ships' crew and search & rescue specialists with the Canadian Coast Guard.