Learn more about the Fur Institute of Canada's (FIC) role and about its ongoing engagement in supporting Canada’s Sealing Industry.
FIC's Role in the Sealing Industry
Sealing in Canada remains vital to the culture and economy of many northern and coastal communities –providing food, income, material for clothing and craft, as well as maintaining close ties to the land, sea and wildlife. These values remain at the heart of the modern seal harvest in Canada today. Sealers are highly skilled, the hunt is closely regulated and monitored, and the harvest of seals is sustainable. Moreover, a carefully managed seal hunt plays an important part in maintaining a balanced ecosystem – giving fish and crustacean stocks space to recover, offering employment and sustainable food source for coastal and indigenous communities, and ensuring seal populations and marine ecosystems remain healthy.
Over the past decades the Canadian sealing industry has made remarkable progress in defending the interests of Canada’s sealing industry and promoting the sustainable harvest and use of seals. This important work continues today with leadership from the Seals and Sealing Network (SSN) administered by Fur Institute of Canada (FIC) through the Institute’s Sealing Committee. Through a multiyear consultative process, SSN members are now working to strengthen the traceability and branding of Canadian seal products needed to secure greater access for seal products in current and new domestic and international markets. National sector coordination, program development and advocacy are central to achieving these program and market goals and form the substance of a multiyear funding proposal submitted to the federal government in May 2019, which has been awarded. In the intervening 2019-2020 period the sealing sector will continue the successful collaboration through the SSN and the FIC’s Sealing Committee, a collaboration that will be critical to successfully managing and implementing the anticipated changes and opportunities that lie just ahead.
Bring together Canada’s sealing industry harvesters, processors, manufacturers, retailers, and Indigenous Peoples of Canada to promote and market high quality and sustainable Canadian seal products.
Canada’s seals are harvested for seal population and marine ecosystem health by a strong and innovative Canadian sealing industry that is dedicated to: the responsible management of marine resources and their sustainable use; the delivery of high quality products to Canadian and international customers; and, the cultural, social and economic health of Canada’s northern and coastal communities.
- Secure, sustainable and high quality seal products are available to a larger customer base in a larger number of domestic and international markets.
- A dynamic and viable sealing industry contributing to Canada’s health, social, reconciliation, environmental and economic goals.
- Marine ecosystems and their resources are in balance with the assistance of a well-regulated and sustainable seal harvest.
Duties of the Sealing Committee
Product Quality, Traceability and Safety:
- Support claims and provide assurance to the consumer on the quality, safety and traceability of Canadian Omega-3 seal oil, seal meat, seal fur and leather products by compiling key messages and deliver to target audiences by way of seal specific website (currently SSN), social media, press releases, letters and reports.
- Promote and facilitate scientific work and product research to support market development and enable the full utilization of seals and seal products.
- Collect information through consumer and market research as a foundation for a detailed and comprehensive seal products marketing strategy.
Culture and Livelihoods:
- Identify spokespeople to represent the views of each specific stakeholder sector.
- Help to promote sealing as a dynamic and viable industry contributing to Canada’s health, social, reconciliation, environmental and economic goals by compiling and delivering key messages to target audiences by way of seal specific website (currently SSN), social media, press releases, letters and reports.
Sustainable & Humane Harvest:
- Promote, within an ecosystem management context, the responsible management and harvesting of seals according to conservation and animal welfare principles by compiling and delivering key messages to target audiences by way of seal specific website (currently SSN), social media, press releases, letters and reports.
- Attend meetings, symposia or other gatherings to promote the wise management and sustainable use of seals.
The Industry Representative:
- Bring together the Industry across the full value chain by conducting broader stakeholder forums on a regular basis to enable discussion and problem-solving on different aspects of the sealing industry.
- Maintain a database of seal stakeholders in all sectors.
- Ensure that the members’ perspective on sealing issues is available and accessible to industry organizations and sectors, the Canadian public and government, and the media.
- Support the establishment of an independent sealing sector association: Facilitate the planning for, transition and establishment of an independent sealing sector association including changes in governance and responsibilities for funding as well as exploring and reaching where possible agreements between FIC and the sealing organization on shared accommodation and administrative support.
- Prepare a work plan and budget to guide the Committee’s activities and report on this work on a regular basis to the Board of Directors and the FIC’s Annual General Meeting.
- Hire and manage the staff, consultants and agencies required to carry out the various projects identified in the Action Plan.
- The Sealing Committee will be composed of 7 to 12 members. Sub committees may be formed for fur, meat, oil, Indigenous and others as required, with the same number of stakeholders.
- Representation on the Committee will be sought from all sealing regions and industry sectors in Canada including indigenous and non-indigenous harvesters, processors, science and research, support industries, governments and manufacturers. The participation of other sectors, such as fisheries, may also be warranted.
- Ex-officio members will include the Chair of the FIC Board of Directors and the FIC Executive Director.
- The FIC Board of Directors elects the Chair of the Sealing Committee. The Committee members are nominated by the Committee Chair and approved by the Board of Directors. Ex-officio members will include the Chair of the FIC Board of Directors and the FIC Executive Director.
- The Committee will report and be accountable to the Board of Directors of the Fur Institute of Canada and work in close collaboration with the Seals and Sealing Network (SSN)
- Insofar as the work of the Sealing Committee coincides with the expertise of other Fur Institute of Canada committees (e.g. Communications, Research and Development), the Chair, Staff or Identified members of the Sealing Committee should be able to avail of and contribute to these other committees in conducting their work, and reporting back to the Sealing Committee on their progress.
- In the event that the Committee Chair is not a member of the FIC Board, the Board will elect a member of the Board to serve as Vice-Chair of the Sealing Committee.
- At all meetings of the Committee, every question will be decided by a majority of the votes cast on the question. Each committee member is authorized to exercise one (1) vote at each meeting.
- The Committee Chair or such Officer designated by the Chair, and the Executive Director, shall be members of the committee but without voting rights.
- The Chair shall not vote except in the case of tie-votes in which case the chairman shall cast a deciding vote. The vice-chair shall have voting rights unless serving in the absence of or having been designated by the duly elected chair.
Duties of Chair and Committee Members
- The Chair of the Committee will be accountable for the activities and finances of the Committee to the Board of Directors of the Fur Institute of Canada.
- The Chair of the Committee will convene meetings as they see fit, and will lead the direction of the Committee under the Fur Institute of Canada.
- The Chair and Committee members may be exposed to privileged information, which shall be kept in the confidence of the Committee.
Administrative and Professional Support
- The Institute office shall provide administrative support to the Committee to ensure appropriate meetings are convened, minutes are kept, action items followed up on, and budgets prepared, submitted, and maintained.
- From time to time, additional staff or contractors may be required to carry out the duties of the Committee based on identified financial resources for specific projects.