The federal government announced Wednesday it will provide emergency financial assistance to fish harvesters kept ashore by severe ice conditions in areas of Newfoundland and Labrador and Quebec.
Up to $5 million in funding is being set aside for payments to eligible applicants who fish out of ports in the most ice-affected areas.
“Fish harvesters off the coasts of Newfoundland and Labrador and Quebec have faced ice conditions that delayed their fishing season and impacted their livelihood,” Fisheries and Oceans Minister Jonathan Wilkinson said in a release Wednesday. “Our government is committed to supporting hard-working fish harvesters and their families through this difficult period.”
The release notes that eligible applicants must be fish harvesters who had established and exhausted an Employment Insurance (EI) fishing benefits claim based on their fishing activity in 2018, who are not receiving or eligible for any EI benefits, and who fish out of ports in the identified ice-affected areas.
Eligible applicants will receive up to $508 for each week of eligibility for a maximum period of six weeks.
The program will cover the period between May 5 and June 15 for areas most affected in Newfoundland, southern Labrador, and Quebec. For Labrador (North of Cape St. Charles), the period is between May 26 and July 6. The program eligibility period was established based on ice conditions and the typical start of fishing activity, the release stated.
The Ice Assistance Emergency Program application form will be available on the DFO website at http://www.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/fisheries-peches/initiatives/ice-assist-glace-eng.html, and at DFO and Service Canada offices in the ice-affected areas, as of June 10.
To be eligible for assistance, applicants must fish on a vessel operating in one of the ice‑affected areas: Notre Dame Bay/Fogo (Cape Freels to New Bay Head); Green Bay (New Bay Head to Cape St. John); White Bay - North (Cape St. John to Cape Bauld); Northern Peninsula - North (Ferrole Point to Cape Bauld); Quebec – Lower North Shore (Blanc Sablon to Kegashka); Labrador Straits (Blanc Sablon to Cape St. Charles); West Coast (South of Ferrole Point to Cape Ray): Labrador (North of Cape St. Charles).