Labour for seafood industry Canada-wide problem, MacKinley

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Ron MacKinley, minister of fisheries in Prince Edward Island.

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.”

Organizations: Aquaculture Ministers, Canadian Council of Fisheries, European Union Atlantic Council of Fisheries

Geographic location: Canada, Calgary, Prince Edward Island

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Recent comments

  • former fish plant worker
    July 03, 2014 - 08:47

    is it any wonder they have a hard time getting workers. employers expect them to work 7 days a week for minimum wage and in some cases 15 hrs a day. who in their right mind would even apply for a job like this. then a long comes tfw and they work them like slaves and pay them as little as possible. they are just another piece of property for their owners and they do what they want with them. we r back in the slave days again.

  • LMD
    July 03, 2014 - 08:30

    Is this supposed to make it okay for PEI then? You cannot tell me that the processors are not making money. Pay a decent wage and they'll have to trouble finding people to work.

  • don
    July 03, 2014 - 07:50

    ronnie between you and the plant owners i'm not sure who is more full of crap. tell us ronnie with all your brains and i guess you are smarter then Albert Einstein how did these fish plants operate before the tfw? all they want is more profits and to help keep you in lobsters. tell us ronnie but we know that you can not tell the truth now can you. i would love o be able to give you and your fish plant family and all the mla's a dose of Sodium thiopental, better know as truth serum. then at long last we the tax payers and your boss's would get the REAL TRUTH.

    • Well Don
      July 03, 2014 - 10:01

      Here's your answer ( how did these fish plants operate before the tfw? ) Islanders were not as lazy as they are now & actually wanted work . Government taking over EI & buying votes with it has put the fishing industry in the stage it is now . Easier to go to the mail box every two weeks & pick up money donated by the working Canadians , then sit back & complain there isn't any work when there is 100+ tfw's doing the work that should be done by Islanders in most plants in the Maritimes . That's the truthful answer to your question , most likely not the one you want to hear . LOL

    • SlyFox
      July 03, 2014 - 20:50

      To Well Don,that is quite a fable you have spun there.How are governments buying votes with EI,the last i have heard one had to work a certain amount of hours for it.The real problem is profit and that is what the processors want more of since they are in business for their shareholders.Now one has to remember that this is a seasonal industry,so there is a very short time for the company to maximize their profit and by hiring TFW for slave wages it increase their bottom line. If the processor want more workers then they should do what any other normal company would do,provide a better working environment or raise the wage to meet the job demands or a compromise of both.If they do not want to do this then let them go bankrupt or turn in their processor license and let someone who is willing to do it give it a go.

  • John W.A. Curtis
    July 03, 2014 - 05:57

    Many businesses banned from Temporary Foreign Workers are low wage employers. Employees are expected to be laid off and receive E.I. Employees don't receive any money for the first two weeks and only one week Employment for the first four weeks. Employers don't compensate their employees so nobody wants to earn low wages and low E.I.

  • Jackie D.
    July 02, 2014 - 23:52

    It is definitely a Canada wide issue. I hear Saskatchewan doesn't even have one worker in their lobster plants this year.

  • WHAT DO YOU EXPECT
    July 02, 2014 - 21:08

    The problem is not a shortage of workers. The problem is processors working people excessive hours at slave wages. Pay proper wages and have better working conditions and there will be no shortage of workers.

  • What a disaster!
    July 02, 2014 - 20:10

    McKinley knows nothing about the lobster industry; except that he loves to eat them! What a disaster as a Minister of Fisheries!! He is great at blaming others, and trying to deflect criticism of himself. He says that he will continue to work on behalf of fishers and processors; well, that will be a first for him!!!

    • don
      July 03, 2014 - 07:53

      the only real work ronnie knows id food and his belt size proves it. i hope the cowards of cornwall kicks this bum out.

  • John W. A. Curtis
    July 02, 2014 - 19:51

    The problem is many fish plant owners lay off their employees. Their employees then go on E.I. and have no income for two weeks. Their employees get one week Employment Insurance in four weeks. None of these businesses compensate their employees but expect their employees to take a financial hit every year. This is why people avoid working fish plants and I support the ban on Temporary Foreign Workers. Employees earning minimum wage are taken advantage of by their employers.