Access to justice denied; Labour Board refuses FISH-NL request to live-stream upcoming hearing

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Monday, Aug. 13th, 2018

The Federation of Independent Sea Harvesters of Newfoundland and Labrador (FISH-NL) is dismayed that the province’s Labour Relations Board has rejected a request to broadcast an upcoming hearing on social media, meaning thousands of inshore harvesters around the province won’t be able to witness the proceedings.

FISHNL-LOGO.jpg

“While we’re urging inshore harvesters to attend the hearing in person, the reality is most will not be able to make it,” says Ryan Cleary, President of FISH-NL. “For them, access to justice will be denied as a result of this decision.”

Almost 20 months after FISH-NL submitted an application for certification to represent the province’s inshore harvesters — breaking them away from the FFAW-Unifor — and the Labour Relations Board has scheduled an Aug. 20th hearing.

Earlier this month, David Goodland, FISH-NL’s lawyer, wrote the Labour Relations Board for permission to live-stream the hearing, and share the recording on FISH-NL’s Facebook page. 

“The request is made in order to ensure all parties affected by the outcome of the hearing have access to justice and in particular have reasonable access to this hearing,” Goodland wrote, adding if the request isn’t granted the “vast majority" of harvesters won’t be able to observe the hearing.

In an Aug. 10th response, the three-person panel struck to deal with FISH-NL’s application unanimously decided to decline the request to live-stream the hearing, which would “include any other form of electronic recording or transmission of the hearing.”

The panel stated it’s not the position of the province’s Labour Relations Board — or any other provincial labour board in Canada — to allow for live-streaming or video recordings of hearings. The panel added, however, it could consider revisiting whether to adopt a policy on live-streaming or recordings of hearings in future. 

Cleary noted that all decisions of the Labour Relations Board in relation to FISH-NL’s application are forwarded to all fish processors and buyers in the province, but not to individual harvesters, who are directly impacted by the application. 

The Aug. 20th hearing is scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. at the former School for the Deaf, 425 Topsail Rd. in St. John’s. The hearing is open to the media and public, and FISH-NL encourages all harvesters to attend.

-30-