Union asks feds to pull Pattison Group's commercial-fishing licences

PRINCE RUPERT, B.C. – One of Canada’s largest private-sector unions wants the federal government to revoke the Jim Pattison Group’s commercial salmon-fishing licences over the closure of its cannery in Prince Rupert, B.C.

Unifor western director Joie Warnock says in a news release that the decision by the Pattison-owned Canadian Fishing Company will cost up to 500 jobs and virtually close the community’s largest employer.

Warnock says fish caught in northern B.C. waters are a Canadian resource and should be processed locally.

But company spokesman Rob Morley called the union’s job-loss estimate inaccurate and says about 330 people work regularly for the company and most will still process fish.

Morley says only a “tiny amount” of salmon the cannery processed this past summer was caught by company boats and most came from Alaska.

Unifor represents more than 310,000 private-sector workers across Canada.

The Jim Pattison Group acquired the company, known as Canfisco, in 1984, and the company sells products in North America, Western Europe, New Zealand, Australia and Japan.