Federal Fisheries Minister Dominic LeBlanc pledged Tuesday to enshrine owner-operator and fleet separation policies into law as part of the Fisheries Act.
LeBlanc made the announcement at meetings of the Canadian Independent Fish Harvesters’ Federation.
The Fish, Food and Allied Workers (FFAW-Unifor) union applauded LeBlanc’s vow in a news release Wednesday, saying as law instead of policy, the enforcement of owner-operator and fleet separation will be stronger, with legal consequences for corporations holding fish harvesters in controlling agreements.
“The best way to build a strong middle class, create jobs and protect and strengthen the economy in coastal communities is through enforcing the owner-operator and fleet separation policies,” said FFAW-Unifor president Keith Sullivan.
“(This) announcement is the result of consistent calls from FFAW-Unifor and other fisheries organizations across Canada to keep fishing licenses in the hands of those who actually fish by taking concrete steps to enforce existing policies.”
LeBlanc also said he intends to make major changes eliminating the financial barriers for getting into the fishery and will seek input on how licensing processes can be made fairer, with consultations to come in the near future.