North Island-Powell River MP Rachel Blaney welcomes the federal government’s $469 million in aid for fish harvesters who were ineligible for other aid initiatives.
The Fish Harvester Benefit and Fish Harvester Grant, as well as changes to EI fishing benefits aim to support commercial fishers who do not meet the specific criteria for the wage subsidy and Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA).
The Fish Harvester Grant will offer up to $10,000 based on “historic revenues” for harvesters unable to access CEBA.
The Fish Harvester Benefit will provide self-employed and crew members who can show a 25 per cent income loss with up to $847 per week much like the wage subsidy program.
For Employment Insurance fish harvesters will be able to reference previous years for eligibility.
Blaney welcomed the federal support for commercial fishers as fishing is “an important part of food security, culture and economy in smaller coastal communities.”
Blaney acknowledged that the COVID-19 crisis came as a challenge for commercial fishers on the coast after “devastating season” last year due to restrictions.
She also felt that support packages for fishing are essential to ensure that younger generations can see a “sustainable future” in the fishing industry.
Blaney said that she will be working with NDP fisheries critic Gord Johns and Minister Bernadette Jordan to ensure it meets the needs of local fishers.
Blaney will also receive feedback from fishers in the communities under her riding to make sure these programs work for them and address and to make sure that no one is falling through the cracks.