Those involved in the mature worker's program work at North Pacific Cannery.

Those involved in the mature worker's program work at North Pacific Cannery.

North Pacific Cannery getting some TLC this summer

The Hecate Strait Employment Society and the North Pacific Cannery in Port Edward are working together to give aging and -- for a variety of reasons – unemployed Rupertites a chance to develop new skills so that they can become more employable.

The Hecate Strait Employment Society and the North Pacific Cannery in Port Edward are working together to give aging and — for a variety of reasons – unemployed Rupertites a chance to develop new skills so that they can become more employable.

The cannery on the other hand gets some much-needed help with the marathon of renovations and repairs required to prevent the 120-year-old structure from falling into the sea.

This week Hecate Strait brought people participating in a program called the “Mature Workers Program” which the employment society has been running for a number of years to help those normally considered to be past the point in their lives to start a new career do just that.

“Its a program that started in May. We have 12 participants come in and do nine weeks of in-class work like training certificates and such, and at the end they go out and do a community project. It’s something in the community that hasn’t been done before and that stands out for people who might be thinking about hiring them,” says Lisa Tapper, who runs the mature workers program for Hecate Strait.

Over a century of standing on top of the ocean has left parts of the cannery with its paint stripping off and large parts of the wooden structure rotting away. This means that the cannery requires a never-ending barrage of repairs. The workers in the program were, among other things, helping the cannery by doing scraping off the flaking old paint on the cottages that once housed the cannery’s own employees back when it was still an active, and then repainting them with paint donated from General Paint in Prince Rupert.

“The key focus is getting a number of the heritage buildings repainted for a number of reasons. Number one: we’re doing it to get them back to their original colours and secondly, to protect them from the elements,” says the cannery’s manager of Conservation and Operations, Steve Milum.

But the workers aren’t just working on the buildings though. Tom Robinson used to be a cannery employee back in the day, but the building he worked in has long since been reclaimed by the ocean. He is now in the mature workers program helping to catalogue the cannery’s extensive archive of machine manuals and other business documents; things he is intimately familiar with because of his experience working in the industry.

“I’m trying to get back into the workforce again. I retired for a bit and found i had too much time on my hands , so I had to go back and try something new,” says Robinson.

But the mature workers aren’t the only people working at the cannery this summer to get a leg-up when looking for employment later on. Also working on the buildings are a group of people in a 8-month carpentry skills program. There is also a summer-student from UBC working on the archives at the cannery with Robinson, but she is collecting oral histories from people who have been around long enough to have worked in the canneries, and anyone with a story to tell is encouraged to go see her at the cannery.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

People skate on a lake in a city park in Montreal, Sunday, January 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
The end of hugs: How COVID-19 has changed daily life a year after Canada’s 1st case

Today marks the one year anniversary of COVID-19 landing in Canada

Wet’suwet’en supporters and Coastal GasLink opponents continue to protest outside the B.C. Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Thursday, February 27, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
‘We’re still in it’: Wet’suwet’en push forward on rights recognition

The 670-km Coastal GasLink pipeline was approved by B.C. and 20 elected First Nations councils on its path

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Employers might be able to require COVID-19 vaccination from employees: B.C. lawyer

‘An employer must make the case’ using expert science, explains lawyer David Mardiros

Local health authority maps are updated each week. The brown maps show the number of confirmed and active cases of COVID-19 for the week of Jan. 15 to 21, with the blue map showing cases over the past year. (Image supplied)
COVID-19 outbreak numbers increase at Acropolis and exposures are up in S.D. 52

Business COVID-19 safety plans are law, public needs to follow health protocols - Northern Health

Asher Hauknes shows his strength with Prince Rupert Gymnastics head coach Erin Hipkiss looking on Nov. 13. (Photo: K-J Millar/The Northern View)
Gymnastics Association benefits from Community Gaming Grant

Prince Rupert sports club to receive just less than $90,000 to build new facility

Crews with Discovery Channel film as an Aggressive Towing driver moves a Grumman S2F Tracker aircraft around a 90-degree turn from its compound and onto the road on Saturday, Jan. 23, 2021. It was the “most difficult” part of the move for the airplane, one organizer said. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: Vintage military plane gets towed from Chilliwack to Greater Victoria

Grumman CP-121 Tracker’s eventual home the British Columbia Aviation Museum on Vancouver Island

Rodney and Ekaterina Baker in an undated photo from social media. The couple has been ticketed and charged under the Yukon’s <em>Civil Emergency Measures Act</em> for breaking isolation requirements in order to sneak into a vaccine clinic and receive Moderna vaccine doses in Beaver Creek. (Facebook/Submitted)
Great Canadian Gaming CEO resigns after being accused of sneaking into Yukon for vaccine

Rod Baker and Ekaterina Baker were charged with two CEMA violations each

Police discovered a makeshift nightclub in a Vancouver apartment on Jan. 23, 2021, and say it wasn’t the first time this month officers have been called to the unit over social gathering concerns. (Phil McLachlan - Capital News)
Doorman of makeshift ‘booze-can’ in Vancouver apartment fined; police look to court order

This marks the fourth complaint about social gatherings inside the apartment in January

A Kelowna couple welcomed their Nooner baby in December. (Flytographer)
Kelowna couple welcomes baby girl from Hotel Zed Nooner campaign

Nicole and Alex will now have 18 years of free stays at the hotel

Kyrell Sopotyk was drafted by the Kamloops Blazers in 2016 and played two seasons with the Western Hockey League club. (Photograph By ALLEN DOUGLAS/KTW)
Kamloops Blazer paralyzed in snowboarding accident sparks fundraiser for family

As of Jan. 24, more than $68,000 had been raised to help Kamloops Blazers’ forward Kyrell Sopotyk

(Pixhere photo)
B.C. dentists argue for COVID-19 vaccine priority after ‘disappointing’ exclusion from plan

Vaccines are essential for dentists as patients cannot wear masks during treatment, argues BCDA

The fine for changing lanes or merging over a solid line costs drivers $109 and two penalty points in B.C. (Screenshot via Google Street View)
B.C. drivers caught crossing, merging over solid white lines face hefty fine

Ticket for $109, two penalty points issued under Motor Vehicle Act for crossing solid lines

A registered nurse prepares a dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine in Halifax on Monday, Jan. 11, 2021. Yukon’s Minister of Community Services, John Streiker, says he’s outraged that a couple from outside the territory travelled to a remote community this week and received doses of COVID-19 vaccine. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan-POOL
Couple charged after travelling to Yukon to get COVID-19 vaccine

The maximum fine under the emergency measures act is $500, and up to six months in jail

Metis Nation of B.C. President Clara Morin Dal Col poses in this undated handout photo. The Metis Nation of B.C. says Dal Col has been suspended from her role as president. The Metis Nation of B.C. says Dal Col has been suspended from her role as president. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, Metis Nation of B.C. *MANDATORY CREDIT*
Metis Nation of B.C. suspends president, citing ‘breach’ of policies, procedures

Vice-president Lissa Smith is stepping in to fill the position on an acting basis

Most Read