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Yaffle your next project

Job Halfyard would like more people to consider the workers behind every delicious plate of Newfoundland mussels.

By Rebecca Cohoe

Yaffle.ca is Memorial's online connecting tool. One of its most significant jobs is to provide a way for people from outside Memorial to ask for research help. With hundreds of community-suggested opportunities to choose from, your next project is just a click away. Here's one . . .

The opportunity:
Job Halfyard, owner of Sunrise Fish Farm, is proud of the effect that mussel farming has had on rural parts of this province. Along with providing a market for provincially manufactured equipment, his operations, one in La Scie and one on the southern coast of Newfoundland between Hermitage and Harbour Breton, provide much needed jobs to the residents in the region. Most of his employees are seniors, ranging in age from 61 to 71 (Mr. Halfyard himself is 81). They are long-time residents in the area, and the income, along with employment insurance (EI) provided as a result of their part-time employment, allows them to stay in their homes and communities while contributing to the local economy. However, proposed changes to EI have him worried about his workers. By the nature of his industry, the work hours that he offers varies.

"They'll be working a week or two in a row, and then they might be off for a few depending on the marketing and what the weather is like," he said. "You only get an average of one day out of every two when you can get onto the water."

He fears the new changes might have negative effects on businesses like his that operate outside the usual 9-5 work schedule.

The project:
Mr. Halfyard is hoping to find someone at Memorial to help him make sense of the impact that the proposed changes could have both on his operation, but also on his workers.

"It's an issue that will affect people across the country," he said. "These workers been with me a long time now, but we aren't sure what impact the changes will have. I'm looking for someone to figure out the issues."

According to Mr. Halfyard, the project could be undertaken from any location, without the need for a researcher to make the trip to La Scie. His daughter lives in St. John's, and would be the primary contact for the specifics of the project that relate to their situation; however, much of the project would involve assessing the proposed changes.

Interested in learning more about this project? Think you could help? Bojan Fürst, manager of knowledge mobilization at the Harris Centre, would love to tell you more. Call him at 709-864-2120 or email him at bfurst@mun.ca.

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