Ucluelet’s municipal council has lent its support to a Temporary Foreign Workers application submitted by Ucluelet Harbour Seafoods.
UHS hopes to fill 19 fish cutters-fish processing positions with temporary foreign workers because the company has been unable to find qualified Canadian applicants, according to UHS’ general manager Tyson Yeck.
Yeck wrote a letter to Service Canada’s Temporary Foreign Worker Program in April and Ucluelet’s council reviewed this letter during July 14’s regular meeting.
“We have advertised extensively over the last few weeks, and continue to advertise on an ongoing basis without success,” Yeck wrote.
“Despite all the efforts done to hire Canadian candidates we are not able to find Canadian workers for this position.”
He suggested the company needs, but is struggling to find, employees who can fillet at least 140 whole Rockfish per hour.
“It is hard to find people with some experience in this position and it is not something that can be learned in a few days,” he wrote.
“We are desperate for qualified help as we are not able to handle the workload with the staff we currently have. Once we attain these workers we will be able to hire other people as support workers from the local workforce.”
He suggested the temporary workers would bring a significant boost to the processing facility’s daily production, which would lead to more work being available to locals.
“For every 1 TFW we have in our operations, they create 4-5 more jobs in our plant as a result of their work,” he wrote.
“We have complied with all guidelines and terms with regards to wages and working conditions required to hire foreign workers…With your approval, we hope to have these workers employed under the foreign worker program for 24 months.”
After reviewing the letter, Ucluelet’s council unanimously agreed to write a letter of support for UHS’ application to Service Canada.
“This was something that they have had in the past and they’re just going through the application process which is very, very, slow,” said Mayor Dianne St. Jacques.
“They’ve certainly tried hard to hire Canadian workers for the filleting positions.”