Seafood industry labour is a Canada-wide problem, MacKinley

TC Media
Published on July 3, 2014

Clearwaters products include scallops, lobster, clams, coldwater shrimp, crab and fish. Photo special to Transcontinental media.

Fisheries, Aquaculture and Rural Development Minister Ron MacKinley says labour shortages in the seafood processing sector were front and centre at a recent Canadian Council of Fisheries and Aquaculture Ministers meeting in Calgary.

He says several ministers voiced concerns about the need to attract more workers to the seafood processing industry.

“Recent changes to temporary foreign worker policies announced by federal Employment Minister Jason Kenney stand to have a detrimental impact on processors which will in turn affect the fishery,” says MacKinley, who said he is asking Fisheries and Oceans Minister Gail Shea, to help out to ensure processors have access to a stable workforce in order to deliver their products to market.

He said he will continue to work with his fellow fisheries and labour ministers from across Canada to address concerns on behalf of fishers and processors.

Ministers attending the meetings in Calgary also received updates on the Canada-Korea Free Trade Agreement and the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement with the European Union. Proposed regulatory policies for invasive species to help safeguard valuable waterways were debated and Atlantic ministers gathered to discuss various aspects of the lobster fishing and processing sectors.

Prince Edward Island is now preparing to host the 2014 annual meeting of the Atlantic Council of Fisheries and Aquaculture Ministers in October.

MacKinley says solutions need to be found for the fisheries and aquaculture sectors.

“The entire fishing sector is a strong contributor to the Island economy with a value of approximately $350 million. I look forward to welcoming colleagues from around the region to Prince Edward Island this fall. We will discuss the importance of this vital industry while touring several fisheries and aquaculture operations to showcase the work that is taking place in communities across our province.”