Fisheries employee wants paid lunch while in boat

Worker couldn't always go to shore to have lunch; claimed he was always on duty while in boat
|Canadian Employment Law Today|Last Updated: 02/06/2013

This edition of You Make Call involves a fishery employee who wanted to be paid when he ate his lunch in his work boat.

Bernard Arbour was an enforcement officer for the New Brunswick Department of Agriculture, Aquaculture and Fisheries, on a one-year contract starting on April 1, 2011. He worked on a Zodiac boat in the Bay of Fundy inspecting various sites and his workday included one-half hour unpaid lunch period, which he was free to take whenever he wanted to fit it into his day.

Due to the time involved launching the boat and the tide conditions in the bay, Arbour often took his lunch while out in the boat. There were usually two employees in the boat at any one time, so one could eat his lunch while the other controlled the boat. The boat was always kept running during lunch breaks because of the need to control the boat in the tides and waves. Employees who ate lunch on the boat were free to do what they wanted unless there was an emergency.