The MEA is in service of its members and employees at the ports of Montréal, Contrecoeur, Trois-Rivières, Bécancour, Hamilton and Toronto in their work to ensure the reliability of the Canadian supply chain. 

Vision Vision Values Values Vision Vision Values Values Vision Vision Values Values
Vision Values Vision Values
Vision Vision Values Values Vision Vision Values Values


Becoming a people-focused, agile, and resilient maritime employer that promotes high-quality standards.


Courage: be resilient and welcome change by leveraging a solutions-focused approach. 

Respect: prioritize respectful relationships at all levels. 

Excellence: be sensitive and strive for excellence through continuous improvement. 

Benevolence: cultivate a people-centered approach focused on mutual cooperation. 

What do we do?

The MEA’s mandate is to provide longshoremen and checkers with competitive working conditions, to recruit and train them and to ensure workplace safety, in collaboration with terminal operators. 

The MEA ensures optimal workforce dispatch in order to provide top quality vessel transhipment services in key links in the Canadian supply chain including the ports of Montréal, Contrecœur, Trois-Rivières, Bécancour, Hamilton and Toronto. 


Conditions for longshore workers were difficult in the 1960s: unreliable work hours and income, almost no health and safety protections for workers, restrictive shift assignment practices. To further complicate the situation, there were many employers in the ports.

What’s more, before the advent of containers, loading and unloading ships was arduous physical labour because the merchandise was distributed on palettes or crates that had to be handled.

The Commission Picard established to study the situation published a report in 1967 that established the basis for contemporary port operations.


The Maritime Employers Association (MEA) was established by the Canadian government in 1969 in response to this publication. Entities were created to better manage work relations between shipping companies and port employees. MEA was designated as industry representative to act on behalf of the industry with workers. The terms and conditions are found in Section 34 of the Canada Labour Code.

Since then, MEA hires, deploys and trains port workers in addition to negotiating collective agreements. It is the employer of longshore workers and checkers.

The creation of this not-for-profit organization allowed some groups of port workers to benefit from guaranteed income despite the irregular schedules that are unavoidable in the maritime industry. It also enabled deployment according to fairly restrictive collective agreements, and a hiring process where it shares the selection process.

For employers, MEA makes it possible to retain a pool of qualified employees available year round based on various needs.

A modern Harbour Training Center

MEA established its Harbour Training Center in 1995 in response to industry needs. The maritime worker profession has changed significantly since loading and unloading palettes; workers now use heavy machinery and massive cranes.

This is why the Center equipped itself with a cutting-edge simulator and has machinery to train workers from their early days and throughout their careers at MEA.

Today, MEA is a modern organization focused on innovating to continue serving its members in a constantly evolving industry.

It also plays a critical role in the Québec, Canadian and North American supply chain because nearly 85% of everything consumed in these markets transits through the Port of Montréal alone, representing a market of 110 million people.

Our longshore workers and checkers are the backbone of this logistical chain and their work is essential to its fluidity.

The Maritime Employers Association is active in the ports of Montréal, Contrecœur, Trois-Rivières, Bécancour, Hamilton and Toronto.

55th Anniversary

Did you know that this year the MEA is celebrating 55 years at the heart of the maritime industry?

Visit this page often as well as our social media to see our video capsules covering the different decades.

Write to [email protected] if you want to tell us about working on the docks through the last 50 years or if you have archival photos.



Category 1

Ship owners, operators or agents.

  • Océanex inc.
  • Inchcape shipping services
  • Oocl canada inc.
  • Canfornav Limited
  • Laden maritime inc.
  • Poros shipping agencies inc.
  • Cie maritime méditerranéenne (canada) inc.
  • Maersk Canada inc.
  • Protos shipping limited
  • Cma-cgm (canada) inc.
  • Mclean kennedy inc.
  • Richardson international ltd.
  • Colley motorships ltd.
  • Montreal marine services inc.
  • Robert Reford
  • Currie maritime corporation
  • Ceres Terminals Canada
  • Montship inc.
  • Scandia shipping agencies inc.
  • Fednav limited
  • Navitrans Shipping agencies
  • Gresco ltée
  • Norton lilly international inc.
  • Hapag-lloyd (canada) inc.
  • Cosco shipping lines (canada) inc.
Category 2

Employers of unionized employees.

  • Arrimage cerescorp
  • Termont montréal inc.
  • Société terminaux montréal gateway
  • Viterra inc.
  • Groupe Somavrac inc.
  • QSL International Ltd dba Empire Stevedoring
  • Logistec arrimage inc.
  • G3 canada limitée
  • Le groupe neault