Op-Ed: FCC Future Leaders Canada program starts strong


Paul Lansbergen

Published on
June 21, 2019

Paul Lansbergen is president of the Fisheries Council of Canada.

This year, the Fisheries Council of Canada (FCC) launched a new sector-specific career development program. The huge success of a similar program in the U.S. gave us confidence that Future Leaders Canada would be valued by the sector. Our expectations for the first year were modest to build momentum for future years. The response and reactions from the sector during the application phase were encouraging. In the end, we have seven very strong Future Leaders in our inaugural class.

Our first session started Sunday, 12 May, in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. Participants got to know each other real quick by playing an escape game at @AmazeOttawa. The Monday started with a “government 101” presentation and discussion, followed by hands-on advocacy training, including role-playing. The group also received briefings from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and Fisheries & Oceans Canada. The first full day ended with a special reception hosted by the His Excellency Pétur Ásgeirsson, Icelandic Ambassador to Canada. The Tuesday morning participants put into use their new advocacy training by meeting with Parliamentarians. Next was lunch and discussion with Ambassador Ásgeirsson and His Excellency Peteris Ustubs, European Union Ambassador to Canada. Then they jumped on a train to Drummondville. In the morning they toured the Cascades packaging plant. Next was a bus to Montreal, Quebec, Canada to tour the port. They finished the day with a debrief discussion of the session before heading to the airport to go home. 

Here are some quotes from a few of the participants.

“Even just the first session exposed us to things that I am sure some of us never imagined we would experience in our industry. Can’t wait to see what we do next,” said Bob Courage, BAADER. He continued, “This experience I feel will be the growing point for the Future Leaders program in Canada for the FCC.”

“The first session provided an invaluable opportunity to build a network of diverse individuals, not only from across the country, but also across all aspects of the Canadian Fisheries industry,” said Kris Smith, Ocean Choice International. “My fellow participants are scientists on fish farms, distributors of advanced technology for seafood processing, advocates for fisheries sustainability, and representatives of Canada’s First Nations. There’s a great opportunity to learn from one another as well.”

“In my position I engage with a wide variety of companies on sustainable seafood certification. After the initial Future Leader’s session, I have gained an improved appreciation of other business and policy considerations with which fisheries and supply chain companies have to contend," said Kurtis Hayne, Marine Stewardship Council. “Including sustainability itself. I look forward to gaining even more information about our industry in the next two sessions.”

“Being in a class where the majority of the participants are in the wild-capture and I being the only one from the aquaculture industry allowed me a unique experience that I would not get without this program,” said Amanda Luxton, MOWI. “Being able to integrate both sides of the industry and being able to share what I have learned and experienced on the aquaculture side is a strong selling feature for this program. “

The next session is in Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A., in July where they will learn more about U.S. port of entry regulations, cold chain logistics, distribution, retail, and foodservice. The last session will be in St. Andrews, New Brunswick, Canada, in August where they will learn more about aquaculture, lobster, and more.

Photo courtesy of Fisheries Council of Canada

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