Today, we've highlighted a number of issues associated with the proposed and recently enacted amendments to the Coasting Trade Act. However, we would not come to you with problems were we not also prepared to recommend solutions we believe are reasonable and fair to all.
First, we ask that this committee recommend to the government the establishment of an operational enforcement protocol, led by Transport Canada, binding on the deputy ministers of all relevant departments and agencies. I wish to be clear that we are not seeking the establishment of a new enforcement arm of government. To do so would not be fiscally prudent or organizationally necessary. We simply ask that the government take note of the number and seriousness of the enforcement issues at play where foreign crews on foreign-flagged vessels are concerned. These include temporary foreign workers through IRCC and CBSA, a labour market impact assessment through ESDC, tax administration through CRA, safety inspections through Transport Canada, labour practices through ESDC, and workplace health and safety issues through ESDC, to say nothing of wage disparity and pressure.
Departments must speak to each other, and they must co-operate rapidly and meaningfully in order to enforce an intersecting group of important laws. It's not enough just to have done that inspection of the vessel or to check for its basic safety. We are assured that many of the positions on our vessels would be subject to visas for temporary foreign workers, and to be able to fully police that will take an effort of coordination across departments. After two years of engagement with the government, we have yet to see a concrete plan of action for enforcement. Right now, interdepartmental coordination is not governed by a clear process. It is under-resourced and puts the onus on the industry and workers to help police our waters. To us, this seems unacceptable for Canada as a modern maritime trading nation.
Second, we ask the committee to seek from the Government of Canada a firm commitment that enforcement will be funded appropriately and meaningfully, to ensure that Canadian dredgers can compete on a fair and level playing field with non-Canadian vessels, whether it be with respect to—