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Union cites safety risk as marine centres slated for closure, including BC

VANCOUVER - Several marine communication centres across Canada, including three in British Columbia and two in Quebec, are being closed by the federal government.

The Canadian Auto Workers union says 77 jobs will disappear and as many as 104 workers will be relocated as the cuts take effect over the next three years.

CAW Local 2182 president Martin Gregoire confirms centres slated for closure include Vancouver, Comox and Tofino on the West Coast, Inuvik, Thunder Bay, St. John, New Brunswick and the Montreal and Riviere au Renard centres in Quebec.

Gregoire says his members provide marine communications and regulate marine traffic, handling everything from distress calls to the management of tankers and cruise ships in Canada's busy harbours.

He says the closure of the three B.C. centres means only the Victoria and Prince Rupert centres will remain on the West Coast, and he predicts the cuts will leave mariners without a vital safety link.

Confirmation of the closures comes one day after $79 million in cuts were announced, affecting about 400 jobs at the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard.

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