St. John’s, NL, 14 October 2022 The Association of Seafood Producers (ASP) says a newly
released report on the Fishing industry Collective Bargaining Act (FICBA) in the province is a
good start, but more work remains in terms of reviewing the entire collective bargaining regime,
not just the Panel process.
Minister Bernard Davis, Minister Responsible for Labour Relations in Newfoundland and
Labrador announced the review in July and appointed former Labour Relations Board head
David Conway to review select clauses of the FIBCA. That report was released earlier today.
Derek Butler, Executive Director of ASP says that is fine as far as it goes, but more is required.
“I think everyone knows we have a broken model here, and stakeholders wear that, as does
government which is the author of and controls the model. A more comprehensive review is the
next right step,” says Butler.
Butler says the the review report is well-written, and that he and his members will be reading it
very closely in the days ahead. But he remains skeptical whether it would have addressed the
challenges in 2022.
“As we said when the review was announced, 2022 is going to be the best year on record for
harvesters in crab, our main species. But it is the worst for producers. On top of that, we had
delayed shrimp, delayed sea cucumber, and no northeast coast capelin fishery. These are all
consequences of the model. It requires a more substantive look.”
Butler says the review dealt mostly with elements of the collective bargaining legislation around
the panel arbitration, but says he fears it won’t be enough to overcome the inherent flaws in the
model under FICBA.
“We think what is needed is a larger review into the whole collective bargaining model, and I
think that has support among processors and harvesters,” said Butler.
“This review process was not at that level, but for what it covered, we participated, we
appreciated the initiative, and we look forward to future engagement with the province and
stakeholders on some of the things that were recommended, some of which can work, and
perhaps others not,” said Butler.