Mixed results in jobs search for workers at closed plants

Rob Antle
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Employment 1,360 workers affected by downsizing

Roughly half of those thrown out of work by a series of recent fish plant downsizings and closures had found work as of last fall, according to provincial government briefing notes.

The affected plants included facilities in Fortune, Marystown, Port aux Basques and Trouty.

In 2006, the Williams administration announced a framework program to help plant workers and regions hurt by such closures.

Roughly half of those thrown out of work by a series of recent fish plant downsizings and closures had found work as of last fall, according to provincial government briefing notes.

The affected plants included facilities in Fortune, Marystown, Port aux Basques and Trouty.

In 2006, the Williams administration announced a framework program to help plant workers and regions hurt by such closures.

The framework provides aid for short-term job projects, employment counselling and economic diversification efforts, including a transitional wage subsidy.

Total employment-creation expenditures under the program - named FPWESP - totalled $4.6 million as of late last year.

As of Oct. 31, 2008, roughly 700 of the 1,360 workers affected by the shutdowns were employed.

According to provincial documents, about 150 of those workers were working outside Newfoundland and Labrador. The other 550 were employed within the province.

Some had full-year employment; others seasonal. The province had insufficient data to provide a breakdown.

That leaves 660 not in the "employed" category.

Approximately 60 displaced workers had left the labour force, the briefing papers note.

Others did not find new jobs, according to the documents.

"Based on requests for Community Enhancement Employment Program (CEEP) projects after EI benefits resulting from the FPWESP expire (sic), there is some evidence that approximately 30 workers in Fortune, 50 workers in Marystown and 40 workers in Port aux Basques did not make a transition to other employment in the year after their plant was designated eligible under the support framework."

As of late 2008, employment projects had concluded in all areas except Trouty.

Fisheries Minister Tom Hedderson acknowledged that the government doesn't know what happened to hundreds of others, because they did not participate in either the career counselling or employment programming.

"They've moved on - now, where they've moved on to, we can't track them, because they haven't shown up in any of our programs," Hedderson said.

"So I can only surmise that some may have went out west, some of them may have went to another industry or another part of the industry."

Hedderson said the framework program is an important tool in cushioning the blow of plant closures.

"Making sure that we keep these adjustment programs a priority ensures we can do the transition in a successful way," the minister said.

The briefing papers were provided to Hedderson last fall.

The Telegram obtained them under provincial freedom-of-information laws.

rantle@thetelegram.com

Geographic location: Marystown, Port aux Basques, Newfoundland and Labrador

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Recent comments

  • Busta
    July 02, 2010 - 13:20

    Face it. The employment situation in this province and the rest of Canada is on the skids. The province still holds the highest unemployment rate in Canada even though we hear of surplus then loss all in the same press conference.

    All anyone has seen is a decline in wealth due to the loss of employment. Hearing from the Province that we are all that much better then the rest of the country, yet not one of us can name one incentive that has created employment in this province that has shown it has even started to off-set the decline.

    Lets have less talk about this and that, and start to see these great comments put into action to help the people and province for a change. Time is too short to continue to play around with budgets and my stick is bigger then yours badgering between the province, unions and federal government.

    Get on with it people, do the job you said you would do for all people of the province and country for a change.

  • Max
    July 02, 2010 - 13:08

    I believe that the unemployment rates are as high as they are because there are many able bodied people who don't want to work and are content on welfare. I'm not saying that all people on welfare do not want to work but rather that there are many that do not. I feel that there are many people who are abusing the sytem. I know of 24 year old that are getting their rent, power and medications paid for by the government while they sit at home waiting for the next cheque. They have no kids and are living quite well. they have cellphones, ATV's etc. yet they do not work.

  • Busta
    July 01, 2010 - 20:03

    Face it. The employment situation in this province and the rest of Canada is on the skids. The province still holds the highest unemployment rate in Canada even though we hear of surplus then loss all in the same press conference.

    All anyone has seen is a decline in wealth due to the loss of employment. Hearing from the Province that we are all that much better then the rest of the country, yet not one of us can name one incentive that has created employment in this province that has shown it has even started to off-set the decline.

    Lets have less talk about this and that, and start to see these great comments put into action to help the people and province for a change. Time is too short to continue to play around with budgets and my stick is bigger then yours badgering between the province, unions and federal government.

    Get on with it people, do the job you said you would do for all people of the province and country for a change.

  • Max
    July 01, 2010 - 19:43

    I believe that the unemployment rates are as high as they are because there are many able bodied people who don't want to work and are content on welfare. I'm not saying that all people on welfare do not want to work but rather that there are many that do not. I feel that there are many people who are abusing the sytem. I know of 24 year old that are getting their rent, power and medications paid for by the government while they sit at home waiting for the next cheque. They have no kids and are living quite well. they have cellphones, ATV's etc. yet they do not work.