SECURING CANADA’S
FISH + SEAFOOD WORKFORCE
Real Challenges. Practical Solutions. Fresh Perspectives.

Fish + Seafood Workforce Survey Report

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The Atlantic Canada seafood processing industry employs approximately 17,000 individuals. The employment composition of the industry is mainly comprised of general labourers and line workers who require on-the-job training and skills acquisition through safety training and experience. Higher level occupations in the seafood industry include quality assurance/quality control inspectors, supervisors, skilled technicians such as refrigerator engineers, maintenance technicians, power engineers and other occupations.

 

Atlantic seafood is in high demand not only nationally, but also internationally due to problems at salmon farms in Europe and Chile, and increasing demands from Asian markets. Given the growing global requirements for protein sources, the demand is forecasted to increase.

 

Despite these significant growth opportunities there is a serious issue confronting the seafood processing sector – the aging workforce. With the average age of employees at 56, processors are facing the reality that their experienced workforce will soon be retiring. Add to this scenario, ineffective foreign worker programs and rural youth that are leaving Atlantic Canada communities to attend post-secondary education and to secure careers in other industries.

 

Growth of the seafood processing industry and economic development for the region is in jeopardy if labour constraints aren’t accurately understood and solutions implemented.

What we know
  • Atlantic Fish and Seafood Processors employ more than 20,000 workers
  • Between 2015 and 2016 Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) applications increased by 26% from 1,197 to 1,503
  • Recently, the sector has been negatively affected by changes to both the TFWP and Unemployment Insurance in Atlantic Canada
  • Together with government, Atlantic Seafood Processors have collaborated on a Labour Market Action Plan to address industry employment, training and retention initiatives to build and support a domestic workforce
  • The industry is experiencing a chronic labour shortage, driven by outmigration, urbanization, and aging demographics
  • It is a seasonal, weather reliant business that must process a live product, and is on dependant a reliable workforce
  • Seafood generates an export value of $5.9 billion per year

KEY FINDINGS

COMPARISON BY INDUSTRY
COMPARISON BY INDUSTRY
COMPARISON BY ROLE

Detailed Industry Insights

Through industry consultations, research, data collection and analysis, the study will tell the story of Canada’s meat and Atlantic seafood processing industry.

Detailed Industry Insights

Through industry consultations, research, data collection and analysis, the study will tell the story of Canada’s meat and Atlantic seafood processing industry.
Also available

Securing Canada's Meat Workforce

Through industry consultations, research, data collection and analysis, the study will tell the story of Canada’s meat processing industry.

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