Right Hon. R. B. BENNETT (Prime Minister) moved:
That it is expedient that parliament do approve of the convention concerning seamen's articles of agreement adopted as a draft convention by the general conference of the international labour organization of the League of Nations at its ninth session in Geneva on the 24tli day of June, 1926, reading as follows:- Convention Concerning Seamen's Articles of
The general conference of the international labour organization of the League of Nations, Having been convened at Geneva by the governing body of the international labour office, and having met in its ninth session on 7 June 1926 and
Having decided upon the adoption of certain proposals with regard to seamen's articles of agreement, which is included in the first item of the agenda of the session, and
Having determined that these proposals shall take the form of a draft international convention.
adopts, this twenty-fourth day of June of the year one thousand nine hundred and twenty-six, the following draft convention for ratification by the members of the international labour organization, in accordance with the provisions of Part XIII of the treaty of Versailles and of the corresponding parts of the other treaties of peace:
Article 1.-This convention shall apply to all seagoing vessels registered in the country of any member ratifying this convention, and to the owners, masters and seamen of such vessels. It shall not apply to: ships of war,
government vessels not engaged in trade, vessels engaged in the coasting trade, pleasure yachts,
Indian country craft, fishing vessels,
vessels of less than 100 tons gross registered tonnage or 300 cubic metres, nor to vessels engaged in the home trade below the tonnage limit prescribed by national law for the special regulation of this trade at the date of the passing of this convention.
Article 2.-For the purpose of this convention the following expressions have the meanings hereby assigned to them, viz.:
(a) The term "vessel" includes any ship or boat of any nature whatsoever, whether publicly or privately owned, ordinarily engaged in maritime navigation.
(b) The term "seaman" includes every person employed or engaged in any capacity on board any vessel and entered on the ship's articles. It excludes masters, pilots, cadets and pupils on training ships and duly indentured apprentices, naval ratings, and other persons in the permanent service of a government.
(c) The term "master" includes every person having command and charge of a vessel except pilots.
(d) The term "home trade vessel" means a vessel engaged in trade between a country and the ports of a neighbouring country within geographical limits determined by the national law.
Article 3.-Articles of agreement shall be signed both by the shipowner or his representative and by the seaman. Reasonable facilities to examine the articles of agreement before they are signed shall be given to the seaman and also to his adviser.
The seaman shall sign the agreement under conditions which shall be prescribed by national law in order to ensure adequate supervision by the competent public authority.
The foregoing provisions shall be deemed to have been fulfilled if the competent authority certifies that the provisions of the agreement have been laid before it in writing and have been confirmed both by the shipowner or his representative and by the seaman.
National law shall make adequate provision to ensure that the seaman has understood the agreement.
The agreement shall not contain anything which is contrary to the provisions of national law or of this convention.
National law shall prescribe such further formalities and safeguards in respect of the completion of the agreement as may be considered necessary for the protection of the interests of the shipowner and of the seaman.
Article 4.-Adequate measures shall be taken in accordance with national law for ensurin'* that the agreement shall not contain any stipulation by which the parties purport to contract in advance to depart from the ordinary rules as to jurisdiction over the agreement.
This article shall not be interpreted as excluding a reference to arbitration.
Article 5.-Every seaman shall be given a document containing a record of his employment on board the vessel. The form of the document, the particulars to be recorded and the manner in which such particulars are to be entered in it shall be determined by national law.
The document shall not contain any statement as to the quality of the seaman's work or as to his wages.
Article 6.-The agreement may be made either for a definite period or for a voyage or, if permitted by national law, for an indefinite period.
International Labour Conventions
The agreement shall state clearly the respective rights and obligations of each of the parties.
It shall in all cases contain the following particulars:
(1) The surname and other names of the seaman, the date of his birth or his age, and his birthplace:
(2) The place at which and date on which the agreement was completed;
(3) The name of the vessel or vessels on board which the seaman undertakes to serve;
(4) The number of the crew of the vessel, if required by national law;
(5) The voyage or voyages to be undertaken, if this can be determined at the time of making the agreement;
(6) The capacity in which the seaman is to be employed;
(7) If possible, the place and date at which the seaman is required to report on board for service;
(8) The scale of provisions to be supplied to the seaman, unless some alternative system is provided for by national law;
(9) The amount of his wages;
(19) The determination of the agreement and the conditions thereof, that is to say:
(a) if the agreement has been made for a definite period, the date fixed for its expiry;
(b) if the agreement has been made for a voyage, the port of destination and the time which has to expire after arrival before the seaman shall be discharged;
(c) if the agreement has been made for an indefinite period, the conditions which shall entitle either party to rescind it, as well as the required period of notice for rescission, provided that such period shall not be less for the ship owner than for the seaman;
(11) The annual leave with pay granted to the seaman after one year's service with the same shipping company, if such leave is provided for by national law;
(12) Any other particulars which national law may require.
Article 7-If national law provides that a list of crew shall be carried on board it shall specify that the agreement shall either be recorded in or annexed to the list of crew.
Article 8-In order that the seaman may satisfy himself as to the nature and extent of his rights and obligations, national law shall lay down the measures to be taken to enable clear information to be obtained on board as to the conditions of employment, either by posting the conditions of the agreement in a place easily accessible from the crew's quarters, or by some other appropriate means.
Article 9-An agreement for an indefinite period may be terminated by either party in any port where the vessel loads or unloads, provided that the notice specified in the agreement shall have been given, wdiieh shall not be less than twenty-four hours.
Notice shall be given in writing; national law shall provide such manner of giving notice as is best calculated to preclude any subsequent dispute between the parties on this point.
National law shall determine the exceptional circumstances in which notice even when duly given shall not terminate the agreement.
Article 10.-An agreement entered into for a voyage, for a definite period, or for an indefinite period shall be duly terminated by:
(a) mutual consent of the parties;
(b) death of the seaman;
(c) loss or total unseaworthiness of the vessel;
(d) any other cause that may be provided in national law or in this convention.
Article 11.-National law shall determine the circumstances in which the owner or master may immediately discharge a seaman.
Article 12.-National law shall also determine the circumstances in which the seaman may demand his immediate discharge.
Article 13.-If the seaman shows to the satisfaction of the shipowner or his agent that he can obtain command of a vessel or an appointment as mate or engineer or to any other post of a higher grade than he actually holds, or that any other circumstance has arisen since his engagement which renders it essential to his interests that he should be permitted to take his discharge, he may claim his discharge, provided that without increased expense to the shipowner and to the satisfaction of the shipowner or his agent he furnishes a competent and reliable man in his place.
In such case, the seaman shall be entitled to his wages up to the time of his leaving his employment.
Article 14.-Whatever the reason for the termination or rescission of the agreement, an entry shall be made in the document issued to the seaman in accordance with Article 5 and in the list of crew showing that he has been discharged, and such entry shall, at the request of either party, be endorsed by the competent public authority.
The seaman shall at all times have the right, in addition to the record mentioned in Article 5, to obtain from the master a separate certificate as to the quality of his work or, failing that, a certificate indicating w'hetlier he has fully discharged his obligations under the agreement.
Article 15.-National law shall provide the measures to ensure compliance with the terms of the present convention.
Article 16.-The formal ratifications of this convention under the conditions set forth in Part XIIT of the treaty of Versailles and in the corresponding parts of the other treaties of peace shall be communicated to the secretary-general of the League of Nations for registration.
This convention shall come into force at the date on which the ratifications of two members of the international labour organization have been registered by the secretary-general.
It shall be binding only upon those members whose ratifications have been registered with the secretariat.
Thereafter, the convention shall come into force for any member at the date on which its ratification has been registered with the secretariat.
International Labour Conventions
Article 18.-As soon as the ratification of two members of the international labour organization have been registered with the secretariat, the secretary general of the League of Nations shall so notify all the members of the international labour organization. He shall likewise notify them of the registration of ratifications which may be communicated subsequently by other members of the organization.
Article 19.-Subject to the provisions of Article 17, each member which ratifies this convention agrees to bring the provisions of articles 1, 2, 3, 4. 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13. 14 and 15 into operation not later than 1 January, 1928, and to take such action as may be necessary to make these provisions effective.
Article 20.-Each member of the international labour organization which ratifies this convention engages to apply it to its colonies, possessions and protectorates, in accordance with the provisions of Article 421 of the treaty of Versailles and of the corresponding articles of the other treaties of peace.
Article 21.-A member which has ratified this convention may denounce it after the expiration of ten years from the date on which the convention first comes into force, by an act communicated to the secretary-general of the League of Nations for registration. Such denunciation shall not take effect until one year after the date on which it is registered with the secretariat.
Article 22.-At least once in ten years, the governing body of the international labour office shall present to the general conference a report on the working of this convention and shall consider the desirability of placing on the agenda of the conference the question of its revision or modification.
Article 23.-The French and English texts of this convention shall both be authentic, and that this house do approve of the same.
He said: Mr. Speaker, I do not know whether or not any hon. members desire to discuss this particular resolution. There are some they would desire to discuss, but if there is to be no general discussion on this one I will limit my observations with respect to it. This draft convention was adopted on June 24, 1926, at a meeting of the international labour organization, and has since been ratified on the dates I shall mention and registered at the registry office at Geneva by the labour organization's registrar. The following are the dates of ratification:
Belgium, October 3. 1927.
Great Britain and Northern Ireland, June 14, 1929.
Bulgaria, November 29, 1929.
Colombia, June 20, 1933.
Cuba, July 7. 1928.
Estonia, May 10, 1929.
France, April 4, 1928.
Germany. September 20, 1930.
India, October 31, 1932.
Irish Free State. July 5, 1930.
Italy. October 10. 1929.
Luxemburg, April 10. 1928.
Mexico, May 12. 1934.
Nicaragua, April 12, 1934.
Poland. August 8. 1931.
Spain. February 23. 1931.
Uruguay, June 6. 1933.
Yugoslavia, September 30, 1929.
Broadly and generally, in our Shipping Act we have made provision for carrying into effect the main provisions recommended by the conference. It may possibly be desirable for me to say that Canada has not a very good record with regard to the ratification of draft conventions which have been adopted at Geneva. Up to January, 1935, the record was a rather unfortunate one, so far as we are concerned. The following list will indicate the number of conventions which have been ratified by the different countries:
Dominican Republic 4
Great Britain 18
Irish Free State 2,1
Tile Netherlands 15
New Zealand 0
South Africa 5
T urkey 0
I place this on record not in any spirit of criticism but rather to indicate that we have not taken as prompt action as some of the
International Labour Conventions
other countries of the world. It is highly desirable that we should ratify these convention agreements. The treaty of peace makes certain provisions to which, in connection with the discussion on one other convention, I shall refer this afternoon. The international labour organization which came into being under the treaty has adopted a number of draft conventions of which, as I have said, we have adopted a limited number.
But apart altogether from our moral obligation under the treaty to ratify these conventions, I think it is in the interests of this country that we should do so, having regard to the necessity of maintaining and improving the standards of work and of living in the other countries of the world, especially the industrial countries with which we compete. We have sometimes complained of unfair competition and of conditions of living and labour in other countries, but failure on our part to ratify certain conventions that have been made has had the effect of creating a rather unfavourable opinion amongst other countries that have adopted them. They have contended that they were led into believing that, when we accepted them at the conference, where we were always represented, they would be put into effect, and sometimes it has been difficult to explain to them that a federal confederation has divided jurisdiction as between provincial legislatures and the federal parliament. But undoubtedly the acceptance of as many of these conventions as possible will have the effect of removing causes of friction and ill-will, and will improve economic international relations. We believe that the best way in which to bring about a better understanding between Canada and the other countries of the world is, so far as it may be possible within our power, to ratify arrangements that have been made by the common consent of countries that have been represented at international labour conventions; and the standards that have been adopted in the convention are standards that will thereby have international application and, in my judgment at least, have a most beneficial effect upon the relations between the several countries of the world and our own. As a matter of fact, most of these conventions represent but minimum requirements, and there are many countries that maintain higher standards than those provided for in the conventions themselves.
The convention to which I now ask the house to give its assent is one concerning seamen's articles of agreement with respect to which, as I have said, the essential legal requirements are embodied in the Merchant
I Mr. Bennett. J
Shipping Act which we passed last session. I think there is nothing further I need say with respect to this particular convention, and the only reason that I am asking ratification now is that it has been adopted by so many other countries and is in fact embodied so far as the legal requirements are concerned in our Merchant Shipping Act.
Subtopic: DRAFT CONVENTION CONCERNING SEAMEN'S ARTICLES OF AGREEMENT