'A great day for ocean science': Government to hire 135 new aquatic scientists
A worker throws a sockeye salmon back into the river after counting it as the salmon make their way up the Adams River in Roderick Haig-Brown Provincial Park near Chase, B.C. Tuesday, Oct. 14, 2014. (THE CANADIAN PRESS / Jonathan Hayward)
The Liberal government is preparing to hire 135 new aquatic scientists, a major government hiring blitz that hasn’t been seen in the past decade.
The new jobs are part of a $197-million investment that the government says will help inform federal policy on Canada’s oceans, waterways and fisheries while also creating new full-time science jobs.
The announcement was made Wednesday in Ottawa by Hunter Tootoo, Minister of Fisheries and Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, and Minister of Science Kirsty Duncan.
"Today's investment highlights the Government of Canada's commitment to science, evidence-based decision making, and to using science to answer questions that are relevant and important to Canadians,” Duncan said at a press conference.
The jobs will be posted in a few days and will call for research scientists, biologists, oceanographers and technicians to apply.
It’s the single biggest recruitment push for Fisheries and Oceans Canada and marks a significant change in tone from Stephen Harper’s 10 years in office.
The former Conservative government cut funding to several major science programs and was accused of “muzzling” publicly-funded scientists, particularly on the topic of climate change. The government repeatedly denied those claims and often cited how many media interviews it had approved.
Leaders in the science community have been quick to applaud the investment and say they hope to see more science roles across other departments.
“Will it completely replace what was lost? I don’t know the exact numbers. It’s probably not equivalent to what was cut over the last 10 years, but it sure is a great day for ocean science in Canada,” said Sabine Jessen, Oceans Program Director for the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society.
Speaking with CTV’s Power Play on Wednesday, Jessen said the new hires would be useful in monitoring fisheries stock for accurate numbers, pinpointing new zones within the ocean to protect and further exploring how climate change continues to affect Canadian waterways.
“There is a lot we need to be on top of,” Jessen said.
The government says the $197 million investment will also help pay for research on salmon populations, sustainable aquaculture, freshwater ecosystems and the effects of underwater noise pollution, an aquatic stressor related to marine mammals such as whales and dolphins.