My name is Marcie Lavoie and I am the Shop Steward for Canadian Auto Workers (CAW) Local 2182 in Thunder Bay, Ontario. I represent the radio operators at Thunder Bay Coast Guard Radio.
On May 17th, 2012 the Government announced sweeping reforms to the Marine Communications & Traffic Services program (Coast Guard Radio) including the closure of 10 Centres across Canada. One of the Centres slated for closure is located in Thunder Bay. The Government plans to shut down Thunder Bay Coast Guard Radio on July 1st, 2014. The entire area of radio coverage provided by Thunder Bay Coast Guard Radio will be transferred to Sarnia Coast Guard Radio. The Government does not plan to increase the staffing level at Sarnia Coast Guard Radio. This means that 2 radio operators will have the responsibility to listen for and respond to all calls for assistance from the Canadian waters of Lake Superior, St. Mary’s River, the North Channel, Lake Huron, Georgian Bay, St. Clair River, Lake St. Clair, the Detroit River and half of Lake Erie. Presently, for the most part, there are 5 radio operators (3 in Thunder Bay and 2 in Sarnia) on listening watch for this area. Furthermore, no operators from Thunder Bay are being transferred to Sarnia meaning that all of the local knowledge accumulated by the radio operators in Thunder Bay over the years will be lost.
CAW Local 2182 believes that the closure of Thunder Bay Coast Guard Radio puts mariner’s safety and the safety of the marine environment at risk. As such, we are asking for the support of all mariners and marine interests on the waters covered by Thunder Bay Coast Guard Radio as we rally to get this decision reversed.
On behalf of CAW Local 2182, my husband and I will be travelling to your area over the next week (June 28 through July 4). We will be bringing with us an information brochure about the planned closure, a petition which will be presented to the House of Commons in September, and a simple pre-done post card for boaters to send addressed to the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans telling him that as a boater lives will be at risk with the closure of Thunder Bay Coast Guard Radio.
We look forward to talking to the boaters in your area. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions or would like further information.
CAW 2182 Shop Steward, Thunder Bay Coast Guard Radio
(807) 767-5504 home
(807) 251-1431 cell