Master Mariners of Canada




The National and Divisional Councils may make Resolutions on National and Divisional issues respectively. The following Resolutions were adopted by the National Council or Capital Divisional Council as indicated. These Resolutions establish National or Capital policy on important issues. Members are encouraged to promote these issues at every opportunity. Furthermore, the general public is invited to support these Resolutions in any way possible.


Application of the term “Credible Evidence” as it applies to Merchany Navy Veterans


WHEREAS Canadian Merchant Navy Veterans who suffered from illness or injury were unable to apply for treatment or benefits under Veterans AffairS Canada (VAC) legislation because they were not recognized as veterans until some 54 years after the war;


WHEREAS the Government, shipping companies and health providers have lost or destroyed many merchant navy records during that period;


WHEREAS in most cases it is now all but impossible to secure documented evidence required by VAC to prove such illnesses or injury;


THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Minister of Veterans Affairs Canada meet with Merchant Navy Veteran’s Associations to develop a protocol to apply the term credible evidence in those cases where the records of merchant navy veterans were lost or destroyed during the 54 years when these veterans were not fully recognized.


[CR-Ol-2010: A Capital resolution to facilitate the delivery of health care and disability benefits to Merchant Navy Veterans who may not be able to produce documentation of wartime illness or injury.]


Minister of Veterans Affairs reply, 21 February 2011




Although Merchant Mariners were only recognized as “Veterans” approximately 50 years after the War, pensions were available to Merchant Mariners or their survivors/dependants since 1946 under the Civilian War Pensions and Allowances Act, as long as the disability or death was a result of enemy action or counteraction. In 1992, when Merchant Mariners became recognized as “Veterans,” the restriction of “enemy action or counteraction” was removed and pensions are now available for disability or death as long as it is “related to general service. ”


Evidence provided in support of an application for disability or death benefits may include official records, medical hospital reports, documents or opinions created at the time of the injury or at any time thereafter, or an affidavit (sworn statement) from the applicant or someone else who witnessed the event in question or who can offer other relevant information.


Adjudicators are guided by legislation, policy and work tools. There is a benefit of doubt provision for decisions related to disability claims, which allows the adjudicator to:

  • draw from all the circumstances and all of the evidence every reasonable inference in favour of the client;
  • accept any uncontradicted evidence that is considered credible in the circumstances; and
  • resolve in favour of the client any doubt in weighing of evidence as to whether a case was established.

Benefit of doubt does not replace evidence; however, when the evidence is evenly balanced, any doubt is resolved in favour of the applicant.



Merchant Navy Veterans Exposure to the Hazards of Asbestos Used Extensively in Wartime Build Ships


WHEREAS it is now an accepted fact that all Canadian and allied ships used asbestos extensively during the war years [1939 to 1945];


WHEREAS there is undisputed evidence that exposure to asbestos fibers or dust can lead to serious disabilities later in life;


WHEREAS Merchant Navy Veterans lived in a shipboard environment completely surrounded by asbestos lagged pipes and insulated bulkheads;


WHEREAS for many years the pitching, rolling and pounding in heavy weather damaged the protective lagging and insulation designed to protect seafarers from exposure to asbestos fibers and dust;


WHEREAS many Merchant Navy Veterans are not aware that their discomfort and/or deteriorating health could be caused by such exposure;


THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that Merchant Navy Veteran Associations petition the Minister of Veterans Affairs Canada to setup a testing and examination procedure so that all Merchant Navy Veterans can be assessed to determine if they suffer from any health condition that could be attributed to the use of asbestos in wartime ships;


BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that Merchant Navy Veterans who suffer from such exposure receive assistance from Veterans Affairs Canada regarding treatment and/or disability benefits.


[CR-02-2010: A Capital resolution submitted to the Minister of Veterans Affairs. This Resolution asks for the examination and treatment of Merchant Navy Veterans for any condition that could be attributed to exposure to shipboard asbestos and to treat those veterans that require medical attention.]



Minister of Veterans Affairs reply, 21 February 2011


Merchant Navy Veterans Exposure to the Hazards of Asbestos Used Extensively in Wartime Ships


Merchant Navy Veterans who have a disability related to exposure to asbestos during service may receive benefits from Veterans Affairs Canada


While there is no formal testing and examination procedure offered by Veterans Affairs Canada to determine if an individual suffers from asbestos is or mesothelioma, the Department will reimburse an applicant or provider at a reasonable rate in accordance with provincially recommended medical forms, for examinations or testing in support of a pension application.


Veterans Affairs Canada actively encourages individuals who believe they have a disability or illness related to their service to apply for departmental benefits, even if the exposure occurred decades ago.


Veteran’s surviving spouse, common-law partner or other eligible dependant may also apply if the Veteran did not make an application.


It is essential to Veterans Affairs Canada that all potential clients, including Merchant Navy Veterans and their families, are aware of the services and benefits to which they are entitled.


Veterans Affairs Canada has field offices across the country to serve its clients. In addition, the Department offers a number of support services via telephone and provides valuable details and other useful information to its clients through its newspaper Salute!


Veterans Affairs Canada also has a proactive screening unit that conducts proactive client screenings and surveys throughout the year to reach out to targeted client groups, including medically released Canadian Forces members disabled Veterans. These Veterans may not have had recent contact with the Department or they may not have easy access to it other than by telephone.


Veterans Affairs Canada relies on Veterans organizations, like the Company of Master Mariners of Canada, to reach the Merchant Navy Veteran community to encourage these Veterans to approach the Department for assistance and to ensure that Merchant Navy Veterans and their families feel recognized as significant client populations.



All Spouses of Deceased Merchant Navy Veterans Should Receive the Full Veteran Pension for Life


WHEREAS if a pensioner receiving a pension paid at a rate of 48% or greater, the survivor is entitled to a full survivor’s pension (which is equal to three-quarters of the basic pension paid to a single pensioner at the 100% rate);


WHEREAS if a pensioner was receiving a pension paid between the 5% and 47% rate, the survivor is entitled to a proportionate survivor’s pension (which is equal to one-half the disability pension in payment at the time of the pensioner’s death);


WHEREAS spouses of deceased Merchant Navy Veterans, whose disability pension is less than 48%, suffer great financial hardship when that spouse’s pension income is cut drastically following the death of their spouse;


THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that all spouses of deceased Merchant Navy Veterans receive the full survivor’s pension for the balance of that spouse’s life.


[CR-03-2010: A Capital resolution submitted to the Minister of Veterans Affairs. This Resolution asks for the removal of the 48% deceased veteran cut-off so the surviving spouse will collect the full pensionable amount for life.]



Minister of Veterans Affairs reply, 21 February 2011


All Spouses of Deceased Merchant Navy Veterans Should Receive the Full Veteran Pension for Life


Survivors of Merchant Navy Veterans can apply for an increase in pension, with supporting medical evidence, if they believe the pensioner’s disability should have been assessed at a higher level at the time of death. They can apply for a disability that was not claimed in the Veteran’s lifetime.


According to the resolution, all survivors should receive the full pension as allocated for tbe Veteran for the balance of their lives. Such a change to survivor benefits would require legislative changes that would be based on a thorough analysis. While Veterans Affairs Canada is not considering these changes at this time, it will continue to monitor the policies and programs that apply to Veterans, their dependants and survivors to ensure they are being treated fairly and that benefits meet their needs in the best way possible.

Military Sea Transport


WHEREAS recent events have shown that the Department of National Defence desperately needs modern cargo carrying tonnage to meet its international, United Nations and NATO commitments;


WHEREAS the Canadian fleet of naval supply ships is old and obsolete;


WHEREAS the Canadian shipbuilding industry, which is basically located in areas of high unemployment, is capable of designing and building some of the best ships in the world;


WHEREAS the naval personnel to crew these ships must be enlisted, trained and maintained with resources that are in short supply;


WHEREAS Canadian merchant seamen and women have the required skills and experience and are readily available to crew these ships at a fraction of the costs of engaging and maintaining naval personnel;


THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Department of National Defence replace its aging and obsolete fleet of naval supply ships with modern Canadian designed and built ships;


BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Department of National Defence crew these modern supply ships with Canadian merchant seafarers.


[R-01-2001: A National Resolution to crew the Department of National Defence’s naval supply ships with Canadian Merchant Seafarers]

National Observance OF Remembrance Day


WHEREAS for many years Canadians have recognized 11 November as Remembrance Day in memory of those men and women who lost their lives in Canada’s wars;


WHEREAS the Canada Labour Code (Code) currently identifies Remembrance Day as a national statutory holiday;


WHEREAS the Code only applies to about 10% of the total labour force, which are the people who work in the federally regulated sector (for example: railways, communications, shipping, banks, Canada Post, etc.);


WHEREAS all provincial and territorial governments would have to ensure that their labour codes recognized Remembrance Day in order to make that day a truly national statutory holiday;


WHEREAS a non-statutory Special Day may be designated by either a Royal Proclamation, a sponsoring Minister, the Prime Minister on the recommendation of a sponsoring Minister or by legislation;


[First option: THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that all Canadian Provincial and Territorial jurisdictions, that have not already done so, ensure that their labour codes designate Remembrance Day as a statutory holiday so that it will truly be a national holiday.]


[Second option:THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Federal Government sponsor a bill declaring Remembrance Day a national non-statutory Special Day for those jurisdictions that do not recognize it as a statutory holiday.]



Merchant Navy Day [Proclaimed as “MERCHANT NAVY VETERANS DAY”]


For several years the Company has been advocating that 3 September of each year be designated as “Merchant Navy Day.” A Resolution to that effect was passed at our Annual General Meeting in 2001. The United Kingdom also has a similar designated “Merchant Navy Day.”


Several other merchant navy veterans associations have also been active trying to achieve the same objective; however, not all agreed on what to call that day. Our choice was “Merchant Navy Day” while other suggestions were “Merchant Navy Veterans Day” and “Maritime Day.


The League of Merchant Mariner Veterans of Canada convinced Mr. Paul Bonwick, M.P., (Simcoe-Grey) to table Bill C-374 on 5 June 2001 to designate 3 September as “Merchant Navy Veteran’s Day.” This initiative received 1st Reading and then died on the Order Paper. Mr. Bonwick then reintroduced the Bill at the next session as C-411. This Bill received Royal Assent on 19 June 2003 and can be found in the Statutes of Canada 2003, c. 17. Please refer to and follow the links.


The Company is pleased at the outcome and invites Members to recognize this day as they would the “Battle of the Atlantic Sunday” and “Remembrance Day.


Congratulations to all who contributed to this achievement.



Text of our original Resolution


WHEREAS Canada’s motto A MARI USQUE AD MARE (From Sea to Sea) reflects the past, present and future importance of the oceans and shipping for the security and prosperity of Canada;


WHEREAS Canadian merchant seamen and women play a continuing vital role in ensuring this security and prosperity on behalf of all Canadians;


WHEREAS on 3rd September 1939 only hours after the beginning of World War 2 the Canadian Government passed P.C. 2483 that requisitioned merchant ships and made it an offence for merchant navy seamen and women to be absent from their ships without authorization from the master or a senior officer;


WHEREAS on 3rd September the first Canadian service person was killed in action when Ms. Hannah Baird a merchant navy seafarer was lost when the S.S. Athenia was torpedoed off the north coast of Ireland;


WHEREAS the continuing strength of the Canadian merchant navy is important because it will be the first Canadian property and service personnel placed on a wartime footing in the next national emergency [there are more than 240 Canadian registered ships capable of operating in “dangerous waters” and more than 16,000 Canadian seamen and women — in addition, there are more than 136 Canadian “controlled” ships registered outside Canada;


THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Federal Government designate a Special Day by sponsoring a bill declaring 3rd September “Merchant Navy Day” in recognition of the past, present and future importance of the marine sector to Canada’s prosperity and security.


The Canadian Government promulgated a directive on 28 August 1939 requisitioning ships and seamen and women.


The last Canadian service person to be killed in action was Lt. G.A. Anderson, RCNVR on 9 August 1945.


Canadian Merchant Fleet Lists 2000.


Analysis of the foreign-registered fleet’s share in Canadian merchant shipping, Transport Canada, 1996.


[R-03-2001: A National Resolution to designate the 3rd of September each year as “Merchant Navy Day”]