General Information

Historical background of professionalization

Bureau d'accréditation des pêcheurs et des aides-pêcheurs du Québec (BAPAP)
Fisher and assistant fisher information
BAPAP Board of Directors
Administration Offices

Historical Background of Professionalization  
Since the beginning of the 90's, fishers and assistant fishers have shown their desire to be professionally recognized as workers at sea. In 1992, the Alliance des pêcheurs professionnels du Québec produced a first draft on professionalization. From 1993 to 1994, discussions took place between government representatives and organizations that represent fishers and assistant fishers in order to develop a bill respecting the training of workers at sea and their profession.

In 1996, the Comité sectoriel de main-d'oeuvre des pêches maritimes (CSMOPM), (Maritime fisheries labour sector committee) decided to give priority to the professionalization dossier, by establishing a working group wich includes representatives from fisher and assistant fisher organizations. The working group's mandate was to make solid recommendations on the standards of professionalization and the certification conditions for fishers and assistant fishers.

The working group filed a report in March 1999, thus initiating lengthy consultations with all fisher and assistant fisher organization representatives. These consultations allowed to better understand the report and encouraged comments and suggestions from the persons involved, and eventually lead to a meeting of all organizations in May of that same year. The purpose of this meeting was to establish a solid consensus in regards to the content of the report as well as the steps to follow for the professionalization process.

During 1998, a temporary office was established to prepare the registration process and the certification of fishers and assistant fishers. Three thousand of them voluntarily authorized the provisional certification board to receive from the Department of Fisheries and Oceans of Canada the nesessary information in order to prepare and update their files.

During the years 1998 and 1999, the Comité sectoriel de main-d'œuvre des pêches maritimes offered training courses in the various maritime regions of Quebec, thereby raising fishers' and assistant fishers' awareness on the importance and the requirements of professionalization. Furthermore, thanks to the Comité's financial support, the activities of the Certification Board prepared the grounds for the establishment of the BAPAP.

Bureau d'accréditation des pêcheurs et des aides-pêcheurs du Québec: the BAPAP
Incorporating Act

The Act respecting the Bureau d'accréditation des pêcheurs et des aides-pêcheurs du Québec was approved on June 19th, 1999 following its adoption by the Assemblée Nationale du Québec. It was established as the BAPAP, whose mission is to develop and implement a system of certification of the professional qualifications of fishers and assistant fishers operating in tidal waters, other than in relation to fishing for anadromous and catadromous species.

Under the provisions of the Act, the Certification Board:

  • issues certificates attesting that the applicants qualify to carry on their trade of fishers or assistant fishers according to commercial fishing requirements;
  • advises the Minister on any matter relating to the professional qualifications of fishers and assistant fishers.

On June 15th, 2006, Bill 12 was ratified under the following title: An Act to amend the Act respecting the Bureau d'accréditation des pêcheurs et des aides-pêcheurs du Québec.

The Act defines the implementation of certain provisions of the Act, the conditions for issuing certificates, and the composition of the Bureau's Board of Directors.

The certification board shall make regulations:

  1. determining the criteria for the issue of a fisher's or assistant fisher's certificate and the fees payable;

  2. determining the professional training required to qualify for a certificate, including apprenticeship at sea, and equivalent qualifications, including experience;

  3. determining the criteria for the issue of an apprentice fisher's certificate and the fees payable;

  4. concerning the issue, content and updating of the fisher's booklet, the assistant fisher's booklet and the apprentice fisher's booklet.

The certification board may make regulations determining :

  1. the obligations of certificate holders and the information and documents that they must send to the certification board or keep;

    1.1 the obligations of certificate holders as regards continuing education;

  2. the professional conduct of certificate holders;

  3. the cases, according to the particular circumstances, in which certain persons may be exempted from the application of all or part of the regulations.

Regulations concerning the training requirements are submitted to approval from the Government.

Fisher and Assistant Fisher Information

The fisher and assistant fisher information concerning professionalization is an important and constant concern for the Board of Directors of the Certification Board. Until now, written communication has been privileged, directly with every one of the workers in our data bank, considering BAPAP available financial means and the delays of the agreements that have given it the necessary powers so that it may apply the regulations equally to all fishers and assistant fishers involved.

Furthermore, the members of the Board of Directors, who are also members and directors of various organizations and professional bodies within the sector, transmit the available information and documentation directly to the fishers and assistant fishers involved.

A great number of workers contact the BAPAP, either personally or at the toll-free phone, to obtain information, complete a file or transmit their comments and suggestions that the Certification Board will take into consideration.

BAPAP Board of Directors

The certification board shall be administered by a Board of Directors composed of seven members as follows:

  1. one member appointed by the Minister among the employees of the Government or its bodies or among persons appointed to a government department or body by a minister or the Government;

  2. five members appointed as follows by the most representative associations throughout Québec, of the following groups:

      1. two midshore fishers;
      2. two inshore fishers;
      3. one assistant fisher, who is not however entitled to vote on any matter relating to the professional certification of fishermen;

  3. one member appointed by all the regional fishermen's associations that are not part of the associations referred to in subparagraph 2.

The administrative positions of the Certification Board are as follows:

Mr. O’neil Cloutier, interim President
Inshore fisher, Percé (Gaspé Peninsula).

Mr. Gilles Albert, midshore fisher
Newport, Gaspé Peninsula.

Mr. Georges Bourque, midshore fisher
L’Étang-du-Nord, Magdalen Islands.

Mrs Hélène Brassard

Mr. Mario Deraspe, inshore fisher
L'Étang-du-Nord, Magdalen Islands.

Mr. Jean-Pierre Element, midshore fisher
Sept-Îles, Upper and Lower North Shore.

The administrators continue their mandate until they are either replaced or reappointed in accordance with the clauses contained in the regulation.

Administration offices

The BAPAP headquarters and administration offices are located in Grande-Rivière, on the Gaspé Peninsula. The office space is rented from the ÉPAQ (École des pêches et de l'aquaculture du Québec), a campus of the Cégep de la Gaspésie et des Iles. One full-time employee work there to ensure the proper opreations of the Certification Board.

During the intensive period of the annual registrations and issuing of fisher and assistant fisher certificates, the Certification Board employs casual personnel.