A New Brunswick business owner says the local work force's preference to rely on employment insurance rather than full-time work is one of the reasons he's giving up on trying to build a business in the province.

Cory Guimond

Cory Guimond, the owner of Escuminac-based boat company, Millennium Marine. (Millennium Marine)

Cory Guimond's family has been building boats in Escumininac for three generations. At one time, Millenium Marine had 36 workers.

Now he has just a skeleton crew of two or three employees.

Guimond says he's tried to hire workers, but found few takers. He says many people in the area prefer a life of seasonal work at nearby fish or peat moss plants, supplemented by employment insurance payments.

'I believe it's a way of life. People work six months of the year and why work a full-time job, I believe.' - Cory Guimond, Millennium Marine

"I believe it's a way of life," said Guimond. "People work six months of the year and why work a full-time job, I believe."

Guimond also found few people willing to drive 30 minutes from Miramichi for full-time work. Efforts to get foreign workers ended in frustration.

"I tried. There were quite a few hurdles to jump over so I kind of forgot that idea."

Guimond says those who do want full-time work, leave for Alberta.

Miramichi's economic development officer, Jeff MacTavish, says a lot of businesses are losing skilled workers to Alberta.

"And that is really detrimental to some of the smaller companies that are trying to compete but can't offer than same dollar per hour."

Guimond says the difficulty finding full-time workers crippled his company's chances to thrive in New Brunswick.

"Our growth was set by the amount of employees we could hire," he said. "I mean, on many occasions I had to refuse contracts and even run late behind in finishing them because I was not able to find the skilled work force or just the work force in general for general labourers as well."

So with little luck in finding a full-time workforce, Guimond has moved almost all of his boat-building operation to Eastport, Maine. 

He says people in Eastport are lining up to work for him.