By Nick Moase
FOR THE VANGUARD
The Fisheries Safety Association of Nova Scotia is moving to Queens County, setting up shop in Queens Place Emera Centre.
A five-year lease has been approved by the Region of Queens council for the space within the Emera Centre, which also houses Liverpool’s ice arena. The space the association will occupy was formerly home to the Teen Access Zone.
Originally based in Yarmouth in a location on John Street, executive director Stewart Franck says the association outgrew their premises and was looking for a new space somewhere along the South Shore. Eventually they settled on Queens Place. The move will also come with a new employee as well.
Franck says the new location will give people the opportunity to drop in, and possibly hold training sessions in the space.
"We are very positive about this move and think it will be great for the industry," he says.
The lease starts on Sept. 1, so they'll be moving into the space very shortly, he says. Once they get settled, Franck plans on hosting an open house in the new space.
The association's goal is to promote safety in all aspects of the industry, from harvesters to processors and everything in between. Much of their work so far has focused on disseminating information and training seminars.
"We do a lot of crew overboard drills, and we work with our partners in government such as the Department of Labour, the Worker's Compensation Board and the Department of Fisheries and Oceans," says Franck.
A new initiative they have underway is called the Safe at Sea Alliance. This involves bringing leaders from the industry together to find out what issues and problems need to be addressed. The initiative also brings in people from the various levels of government and non-governmental organizations that can help people work through these issues.
The association has existed since 2010 and its goal is to help enhance workplace safety all aspects of the industry.
Though the association is a non-governmental organization, they work closely with government on the issues as well.
"We need to work with all these partners that might have more resources to share or more feet on the ground that we can work with," says Franck.
The association gets its funding through a levy that all businesses involved in the fishing industry and registered with the Worker's Compensation Board pay out. The levy can range from $50 up to $200, but the idea is it will eventually pay for itself.
"In the long term we hope to positively affect worker's compensation rates. Even a small swing in the worker's compensation rates would more than offset that levy," says Franck.
In the short term they have negotiated discounts with some of the companies that provide safety equipment for the industry.
Franck says both he and the board of directors are excited by the move. The board of directors is made up of representatives and advisors from all sectors of the industry, and they are very interested in seeing the work move forward.