Investing to grow Newfoundland and Labrador’s ocean workforce

News release

Photo of 3 people at marine simulator
(Right to Left) Joanne Thompson, MP for St. John’s East, announces investment for COMPASS in the Marine Institute’s (MI) offshore simulator accompanied by Rick Ellis, COMPASS Board Chair and Dr. Angie Clarke, MI Associate VP

Government of Canada support will help marine sector professional organization promote careers in the ocean industry

August 11, 2023 · St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador · Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA)

Atlantic Canada’s ocean economy creates good, highly skilled jobs and represents tremendous growth potential in the region and in international markets. Within the next ten years, Canada’s ocean workforce is expected to experience a significant turnover in employment, with estimates that close to half of the workforce will retire. To help address this, the Government of Canada is investing in the Council of Marine Professional Associates (COMPASS) in Newfoundland and Labrador to promote marine sector careers among the province’s younger generations.

Funding to address talent needs and create awareness of marine industry jobs  

Today, Joanne Thompson, Member of Parliament for St. John’s East, on behalf of the Honourable Gudie Hutchings, Minister of Rural Economic Development and Minister responsible for ACOA, announced an investment of $170,000 for COMPASS.

This non-repayable contribution will help the non-profit organization assess industry talent needs and prepare younger generations of workers to enter the rapidly evolving marine industry. Through this project, COMPASS will foster and strengthen oceans-related education and digital skills among Newfoundland and Labrador youth to help build a robust and skilled ocean workforce.

Today’s announcement further demonstrates the Government of Canada’s commitment to develop Atlantic Canada’s high growth potential sectors – such as the ocean and technology sector – to enhance the economy and create a thriving and prosperous region.


“Atlantic Canada’s ocean industries are among our strongest assets. This investment will help maximize ocean-related opportunities for our future generations. As the ocean sector continues to grow in our communities and globally, it is very important that we build a skilled workforce to keep the momentum flowing and ensure we remain competitive.”

- The Honourable Gudie Hutchings, Minister of Rural Economic Development and Minister responsible for ACOA


“The marine industry has a rich history in Newfoundland and Labrador. The rise of emerging technologies ensures this sector will continue to provide good, skilled jobs. With this support from the Government of Canada, through ACOA, we can educate our younger generations about the new and exciting ocean-related career opportunities that are now available to them.”

- Joanne Thompson, Member of Parliament for St. John’s East


“It’s essential to introduce students to ocean sector careers by providing skills development through technology, hands-on exposure through mentorships, and information on pathways for career development early. COMPASS appreciates the support of its members and ACOA to launch this project that will focus on labour shortages in the marine sector, increase awareness in career planning and skills identification and address longstanding industry barriers.”

- Rick Ellis, Board Chair, COMPASS

Quick facts

Associated links


Hugo Alvarez

Press Secretary

Office of the Minister of Rural Economic Development

Paul McGrath

Director of Communications

Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency

Rick Ellis

Board Chair



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