In late August, the federal government opened the application period for the long-awaited Fish Harvester Benefit and Grant Program.
The application period for self-employed fish harvesters will be open from August 24 through to September 21, 2020.
Harvesters interested in applying should go to the Fisheries and Oceans Canada website: www.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/harvesters-pecheurs. This site provides details about the program, including guidance on eligibility and what documentation is required to complete the application process.
Totalling $469.4 million, the Fish Harvester Benefit and Grant Program marks the single largest investment in Canada’s fisheries in more than two decades.
These funds will help to ensure that Canada’s fish harvesters receive the financial support they need and prepare the sector for a strong recovery in the long-term.
Questions and answers:
Q1. Who is eligible to receive the Fish Harvester Benefit?
Fish harvesters and sharepersons who experience fishing income declines of greater than 25 per cent in 2020, compared with their higher of 2018 and 2019 gross self-employed fishing income and are unable to access the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy.
Eligible stakeholders are:
- Self-employed commercial fish harvesters (e.g., “owner-operators,” enterprise heads, inshore licence holders, or hold limited entry commercial licence eligibility (Pacific))
- Self-employed freshwater fish harvesters
- Indigenous harvesters who are designated by their community under a communal commercial fishing licence
- Sharepersons crew (crew members who earn a share of the revenue)
Q2. Who is eligible to receive the Fish Harvester Grant?
Fish harvesters impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic who are ineligible for the Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) or equivalent measures.
Eligible stakeholders are:
- Self-employed commercial fish harvesters (e.g., owner-operators, enterprise heads, inshore licence holders or hold limited entry commercial licence eligibility (Pacific)
- Freshwater fish harvesters (subject to provincial agreement to provide licensing information)
- Indigenous harvesters who are designated as vessel masters by their community under a communal commercial fishing licence.
To be eligible for a grant, harvesters will need to have reported commercial fishing landings in either 2018 or 2019 and have obtained a valid commercial fishing licence for 2020. They must also have a valid Fisher Identification Number or Unique Identifier issued by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada or from their provincial or territorial government for freshwater harvesters.
Q3. What is the application process for the program?
Those wishing to apply to the benefit and/or grant must complete the application form available at www.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/harvesters-pecheurs and provide required information as part of the application process.
The program will open for applications on August 24, 2020, through to September 21, 2020.
The application process is divided into the following steps:
- STEP 1 – Visit www.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/harvesters-pecheurs
- STEP 2 – Identify your situation as a self-employed harvester
- STEP 3 – Confirm eligibility for benefit and/or grant
- STEP 4 – Provide income details
- STEP 5 – Enter your personal information
- STEP 6 – Receive notification of payment
Q4. Why is the application period open for only four weeks?
Provisions in Bill C-14 that allow for the payment of the Fish Harvester Benefit and Fish Harvester Grant expire on October 1, 2020, so all applications and payments must be completed by this date.
Q5. When would applicants receive their first payment?
Successful applicants will receive immediate notification of their payment(s) amount and their first payment will be deposited in their bank accounts within five business days following their application. Payments by cheques will also be issued within five business days with delivery of cheques subject to regular mail delivery timelines.