Managers have told DFO habitat workers in Prince Rupert that they could be “affected” by the federal government’s cutbacks to the Habitat Monitoring Program in the recent budget.
DFO is quick to point out that this doesn’t necessarily mean that the employees will be losing their jobs, but they certainly didn’t rule out the possibility. The monitoring program is, after all, being scaled back by 25 percent to 130 positions nation-wide.
“They may be asked to relocate or be redeployed within the department or government,” says the Habitat Monitoring Program’s representative, Carrie Mishima.
“DFO is transforming the way in which we deliver our Habitat Management Program across the country to increase efficiency and focus on priorities that matter to Canadians.”
Exactly what the end result of this transformation will look like, and how many Prince Rupert jobs may be lost or relocated, is still to be determined. What is known is that other than staffing reductions there will be changes to what rules apply to what kind of projects on the water. At the moment every project must meet all of the program’s rules. The government believes that this is “unnecessary to protect the productivity of our fisheries.”
But before the program and its regulations are changed too dramatically, there will be consultation done with stakeholders such as anglers, conservation groups, aboriginal groups, municipalities, commercial fisherman and others.
“Through this process, we will further define our new approach and develop the tools required to implement it, in order to provide predictability and clarity for Canadians working on or near water. We will also look for ways to strengthen partnerships with provinces, conservation authorities and others with expertise and interest in fisheries protection and to develop new partnerships where it makes sense,” says Mishima.