May 14th, 2020
Blaney welcomes support for coastal fish harvesters
Today’s announcement of support for commercial fishers is welcome news for North Island-Powell River MP Rachel Blaney.
While many details remain to be confirmed, the Fish Harvester Benefit and Fish Harvester Grant, as well as changes to EI fishing benefits aim to support the many commercial fishers who do not meet the specific criteria for previously announced business supports such as the wage subsidy and Canada Emergency Business Account.
“The COVID-19 crisis is just the latest challenge for commercial fishers on our coast, many of whom had devastating seasons last year due to restrictions,” said Blaney. “Fishing is an important part of food security and of our culture and economy in smaller coastal communities. It needs our support so that younger generations can see a sustainable future in fishing.”
The Fish Harvester Grant will offer up to $10,000 based on “historic revenues” for harvesters unable to access the Canada Emergency Business Account. The Fish Harvester Benefit will provide self-employed and sharesperson crew members who can show a 25% 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.
In the coming days Blaney will be working with NDP fisheries critic Gord Johns and Minister Bernadette Jordan to confirm eligibility criteria and ensure it meets the needs of local fishers. “As the details come out I want to hear from fishers in our communities to make sure these programs work for them and bring any gaps to the Minister.”