Trudeau Announced Up To $469.4M To Support Canadian Fishers. Government Also Launches Fish Harvester Grant
Canadians working in the fishing industry are feeling the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. The fishing industry has been lobbying the Canadian Government for economic relief that would help provide families and communities across the country with high-quality fish and seafood.
Today Prime Minister Trudeau announced up to $469.4 million in new measures to support Canada’s fish harvesters, who are economically impacted by the pandemic but cannot access existing federal measures. This investment builds on the $62.5 million for the new Canadian Seafood Stabilization Fund announced last month to help Canada’s fish and seafood processing sector.
“Fish harvesters work hard to provide Canadians with nutritious food to put on their tables, and are a vital part of our food supply from coast to coast to coast. This investment will help ease the burden on the people and businesses at the heart of our fishing and seafood industry. We are here to support them.”The Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada
The Government of Canada will Launch the Fish Harvester Benefit, a program worth up to $267.6 million, to help provide income support for this year’s fishing seasons to eligible self-employed fish harvesters and sharespersons crew who cannot access the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy.
Support will be provided to those that experience fishing income declines of greater than 25 per cent in the 2020 tax year, compared with a reference period to be identified. This measure covers 75 per cent of fishing income losses beyond a 25 per cent income decline threshold, up to a maximum individual entitlement equivalent to what is provided under the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy ($847 per week for up to 12 weeks).
“Canada’s fish and seafood harvesters are the driving economic force behind many coastal and rural communities. While hardship and uncertainty are felt across the economy, the fishing sector faces unique challenges that require direct solutions. With this announcement, we are ensuring that Canada’s hardworking fish harvesters get the support they need now and into the future.”The Hon. Bernadette Jordan, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard
A grant program for Fish Harvester worth up to $201.8 million will be put in place that will provide grants to help fish harvesters impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, and who are ineligible for the Canada Emergency Business Account or equivalent measures.
This will give them more liquidity to address non-deferrable business costs. The program would provide non-repayable support of up to $10,000 to self-employed fish harvesters with a valid fishing licence. Size of the non-repayable support will vary depending on the level of fish harvesters’ historic revenue.
Propose measures or changes to Employment Insurance (EI) that would allow self-employed fish harvesters and sharespersons to access EI benefits on the basis of insurable earnings from previous seasons (winter and summer claims).
Small businesses in the fishing and aquaculture industry may be eligible for subsidies for employee salaries, encouraging them to keep staff on payroll through this difficult time, and businesses from across the sector may benefit from enhanced access to credit and deferred taxes.
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