CFOA in the News: More Support for Georgian's MED Centre

Bayshore Broadcasting - June 26, 2015

Canadian Ferry Association backs funding, says Conservatives should do more promotion.

(Owen Sound)-

The Canadian Ferry Association is pleased Ottawa is supporting a Marine Emergency Duties Training Centre in Owen Sound, but the organization says the federal government should be doing more to promote the marine sector.

On Tuesday, Bruce-Grey Owen Sound MP Larry Miller announced that $2-million would flow from federal coffers to help construct a MED facility at the City's Georgian College campus.

Queen's Park has also committed $2-million, matching Grey County's investment.

Serge Buy is a lobbyist and CEO of the Canadian Ferry Association -- and he says the Conservatives should be promoting the marine industry as a desirable, well-paying career option.

Buy says upwards of 70 per cent of the industry's current sailors will be retiring in the coming years and there just aren't enough qualified people/students to replace them.

Instead of political posturing, Buy tells Bayshore Broadcasting News the federal government should focus on the marine sector throughout its mandate, rather than when it's convenient.

He says Larry Miller, who is the chairman of the House of Commons Transportation Committee, has been a valuable asset in securing government money for marine projects, but a recent study failed to address ageing ferry infrastructure.

According to Buy, Canadian ferry operators transport more than 55-million passengers annually, which is slightly less than the amount of people transported via airlines.

Again, Buy reiterates the funding for the MED Training Centre in Owen Sound is critical, but he also says Ottawa has an obligation to help promote careers/opportunities in the marine sector.

That being said, Buy says the industry is responsible too.

Recently, the Canadian Ferry Association held a conference to identify the problems and potential solutions to issues currently affecting ferry companies.

Among others, the Owen Sound Transportation Company, Marine Atlantic and B.C. Ferries all attended that conference.

In Canada, the ferry industry employs nearly 9,000 crew/staff.

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