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Boat Building Brings Jobs and Skills to Membertou

Membertou Regional Band Council and Canadian Maritime Engineers to establish vessel construction site at the Sydport Industrial Park

May 25, 2018 – Membertou, NS – Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA)Strong leadership and a diversified business portfolio have enabled the Membertou Reserve Band Council to become a benchmark for successful urban indigenous communities across Canada, as well as the third largest employer in the Cape Breton Regional Municipality (CBRM). That is why the Government of Canada is investing $750,000 in the Membertou Council to venture into the boat building industry and serve market demand for fishing vessels under 45 feet in length.The Honourable Mark Eyking, Member of Parliament for Sydney-Victoria, made the announcement today on behalf of the Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development and Minister responsible for the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA).

This investment, through ACOA’s Business Development Program , supports infrastructure enhancements to a Band-owned facility in the Sydport Industrial Park, which will be used to house the business. With an increase in lobster catches as well as in the overall value of landings, fishers with extra capital are interested in upgrading vessels to improve their efficiency, safety and comfort. The investment will create a minimum of ten new full-time jobs initially.The project, which is a joint venture with Canadian Maritime Engineering (CME), will provide Membertou Council with the skills, knowledge and training to produce quality vessels under 45 feet in length. Building on previous initiatives to create opportunities for youth in the community, Membertou Council plans to use this project as a means to build capacity with training programs and incentives for community residents.


“Membertou is a dynamic, inclusive community alert to opportunities that can help deliver economic and social gains to its residents and the broader Cape Breton area. Membertou’s ongoing focus on partnerships, education and entrepreneurship has created what is considered by many to be one of the most successful Indigenous communities in Canada. This new business line will further strengthen a growing sustainable local economy.”

–  The Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, and Minister responsible for ACOA

“Membertou Council is an integral part of Cape Breton’s community, providing sound business acumen and employment opportunities for hundreds of people. The region benefits greatly from its drive to diversify the economy and create meaningful training and mentorship programs for our youth. The Government of Canada is proud to be a continued supporter of the work being done here.”

– The Honourable Mark Eyking, Member of Parliament for Sydney-Victoria

“We are looking forward to the opportunities that will be realized thanks to the support of our federal partners on this project. We will create meaningful employment and work together to build a stronger Cape Breton and Nova Scotia.”

–  Terrance Paul, Chief of Membertou 

Quick facts

  • It is currently estimated that some fishers are waiting upwards of two to three years for vessel delivery once an order has been placed.
  • In 2002, Membertou was the first Aboriginal government in the world to get the ISO 9001 certification.
  • In 2014, Membertou Economic Development Corporation was named the inaugural winner of the Aboriginal Economic Development Corporation (AEDC) Award. 
  • Since 2007, the community has donated more than $1.1 million to local charities.


Alex Smith
Director of Communications and Outreach
Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency
Phone: 902-426-9417 / 902-830-3839 (cell)

Kelsea MacNeil
Marketing & Media Relations Director
Destination Membertou
Phone: 902-562-6826 ext. 5023


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