Richard Cashin was born on January 5, 1937 in St. John’s Newfoundland. He is a member of a prominent Newfoundland political family. He studied law and became a lawyer. He entered politics and was named parliamentary secretary to the Minister of Fisheries in 1966. He later returned to his law practice where he won a major settlement for fishermen in Placentia Bay in a lawsuit against the Electric Reduction Company whose toxic waste damaged the local fishing industry.
In 1970, he along with Father Desmond McGrath – another Honourary Member of CCPFH – successfully organized fish harvesters into a new union, initially called the Northern Fishermen’s Union. In 1971, a founding convention was held for the Newfoundland Fishermen, Food and Allied Workers Union, which brought together fish harvesters and fish plant workers. In 1987, Mr. Cashin led the breakaway of this group from the international union, UFCW, into the Canadian Auto Workers Union. He remained President of the Union, now called Fish, Food and Allied Workers (FFAW/CAW) until 1993.
Mr. Cashin was also the chairman of the Task Force on Incomes and Adjustment in the Atlantic Fishery in 1992-1993 (Cashin Report) and was a member of the National Forum on Health from 1994 to 1997. He was also chair of the Fishing Industry Renewal Board and a member of the Canadian Transportation Agency.
In 1989, he was made an Officer of the Order of Canada. Mr. Cashin was sworn into the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada in 1992 allowing him to use the style The Honourable.