Joint statement on ongoing collaboration of federal-provincial ministers related to COVID-19 impacts
March 27, 2020
Ottawa, ON — Today, the Honourable Bernadette Jordan, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans, and the Canadian Coast Guard, and her provincial counterparts; André Lamontagne, Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food for Quebec, Ross Wetmore, Minister of Agriculture, Aquaculture and Fisheries for New Brunswick, Gerry Byrne, Minister of Fisheries and Land Resources for Newfoundland and Labrador, Keith Colwell, Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries and Aquaculture for Nova Scotia, and Jamie Fox, Minister of Fisheries and Communities for Prince Edward Island, issued the following joint statement:
“We continue to work together, across all levels of government, and in partnership with harvesters, processors, seafood farmers, and industry, to keep Canadians safe and communities supported. The seafood sector, and the hard working women and men behind it, are essential to our collective food security and to Eastern Canada’s economies.
Today, we discussed a number of important initiatives facing the seafood industry across the East Coast. The importance of opening dates were discussed at length, and we agreed, these decisions need to be made in consultation with impacted partners and with sound science-based approaches. We recognize that current market conditions facing our industry are challenging, and the need to ensure that logistical support systems are in place to facilitate the movement and sale of seafood products.
The new federal Canada Emergency Response Benefit was highlighted, which will give processors, captains, harvesters, and seafood growers access to a new stream of direct income support if they can’t go out and fish or earn an income because of COVID-19’s impact on the market. We continue to share market intelligence and feedback from the sector to help support the livelihood of this vital industry, while always ensuring the health and safety of fishers, processing plant workers, and aquaculturists are front and centre.
Aquaculture producers and shellfish farmers are key economic drivers for many coastal communities across the Atlantic. In addition to the above support, they, along with seafood processors, will have access to the $5 billion Farm Credit Canada loan program announced earlier this week by federal minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, Hon. Marie-Claude Bibeau.
Lastly, we discussed the recent federal announcement to secure an exemption for temporary foreign workers in the fish and seafood processing sector. They will be allowed, under very specific conditions, to travel to Canada, while following mandatory health and safety measures.
We will continue to collaborate and address new challenges as they arise. As we weather this storm together, know that we are working around the clock to support your livelihoods in the short term and ensure a strong recovery in the long term.”
Office of the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans,
and the Canadian Coast Guard
Fisheries and Oceans Canada
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