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Federal government’s fish farm announcement creates uncertainty for workers and B.C. coastal communities

June 25, 2024
Salmon Farming Rally

Last week, the federal government announced the closure of open-net fish farms along the coast of British Columbia. In five years, this decision will impact the livelihoods of hundreds of workers, including 130 workers at the Mowi Port Hardy Processing Plant and those at the Noboco Styro packaging plant in Campbell River.The United Steelworkers union (USW) Local 1-1937 represents workers at these plants, while USW Local 2009 represents related operations in the Lower Mainland.

With next-to-no consultation with impacted workers and communities, the federal government is promising a transition plan later this summer.

“The federal government must demonstrate that there is immediate funding and support to look after the workers and the families impacted by the move to closed containment or alternative aquaculture,” said Scott Lunny, USW Director for Western Canada and the Territories. “Traditional worker supports for training and transition are inadequate and fail to address the needs of coastal communities. Announcing the closure without detailing a commitment to maintaining real jobs in these communities, including those involving First Nations in the aquaculture industry, is short-sighted and irresponsible.”

The USW expressed concern that closures will increase the challenges facing small coastal communities, which already struggle to recruit and retain workers.

“Working people fear that distant decision-makers, who’ve never visited their communities, are ill-equipped to understand the impact of the loss of jobs such as those in aquaculture. The federal government can either validate those fears or back their transition plan with meaningful investments, infrastructure and support. Either way, they will be held accountable by workers and communities,” added Lunny.

About the United Steelworkers union

The USW represents 225,000 members in nearly every economic sector across Canada and is the largest private-sector union in North America, with 850,000 members in Canada, the United States and the Caribbean.

Each year, thousands of workers choose to join the USW because of the union’s strong track record in creating healthier, safer and more respectful workplaces and negotiating better working conditions and fairer compensation – including good wages, benefits and pensions.

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Media Contact

Scott Lunny
USW Director for Western Canada
Brett Barden
USW Communications

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