Despite Best Efforts, Fishermen Unable To Meet New Transport Canada Safety Regulations

Posted on Friday, May 19, 2017 13:19 PM

Efforts to upgrade safety equipment on fishing boats in Nova Scotia are facing a major hurdle.

The Gulf Nova Scotia Fleet Planning Board is putting up $1.3 million dollars to purchase 1200 immersion suits, 600 beacons, 100 floatation devices as well a defibrillator for each wharf in their region.

The new equipment will help meet new Transport Canada regulations coming this July.

As the board's managing director Leonard LeBlanc explains, the problem is suppliers can't deliver the equipment before the deadline.

"Our orders will be filled sometime in September or October. And the MPs agree that there has to be some accommodation. If you can't buy the equipment to meet the regulations then somehow there's got to be some leniency."

LeBlanc says the industry is in favour of making work safer, they just need the time to get the equipment.

"For us to find any supplier that can give it to us by July 13th - we went out for tenders on this. And they all said July 13th was impossible to meet."

LeBlanc is concerned about what will happen in the meantime.

MP for South Shore-St.Margarets Bernadette Jordan understands the board's frustration and has been working to help.

She says she has spoken with Transport Canada and believes there will be leniency so long as each boat can show they have made the effort to meet the regulations.

"So if they can show that they've ordered the equipment or that it is on back-order... It's going to be a soft opening, is my understanding."  

Jordan says in that situation, workers won't be penalized for non-compliance of the new regulations.

"Appropriate consideration would be given to people in non-compliant situations if there are factors outside of their control. They still have to have it by September."

Jordan says the new regulations are designed to make the industry safer, not to penalize people for a shortage of supplies.