During these unprecedented times, it is more important than ever that we work across all levels of Government to ensure Canadians are safe and local economies are supported. Today, provincial Fisheries and Aquaculture ministers from across Eastern Canada joined me for a call to discuss the rapidly evolving impacts of the COVID-19 on the industry in Quebec, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island.
The COVID-19 situation is fluid and rapidly evolving, and the Government of Canada will be there every step of the way to protect Canadians, support local businesses, and ensure families have the funds needed to weather the storm. In collaboration with our international partners, and based on the best available public health advice, Canada has taken a number of actions to help reduce the health impacts on Canadians. While this is a public health emergency, we know that it is exacting a toll on many people, personally, socially, and economically.
Today marks the start of National Invasive Species Awareness Week, giving Canadians an opportunity to learn more about aquatic invasive species and how we all can play a role in stopping their introduction and spread in Canada’s watersheds.
Yesterday the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans, and the Canadian Coast Guard Jonathan Wilkinson accompanied by Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations, and Rural Development in British Columbia Doug Donaldson, were in Lillooet, B.C. to participate in a helicopter fly-over assessment of the Big Bar Landslide on the Fraser River. While in Lillooet the Ministers met with key specialists working on the slide and impacted First Nations. The focus was on what next steps could be taken to best manage the impacts of this natural disaster on Fraser salmon runs.
As Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, I'm thrilled to mark this year's Western Arctic Oceans Day, which is being celebrated on July 1st in Sachs Harbour, the most northern community in the Northwest Territories.
Fisheries and Oceans Canada and the Government of British Columbia are very concerned about a significant rock slide that occurred near Big Bar, BC just north of Lillooet, BC. Between June 21st and 23rd, 2019 a large slab of rock calved off just upstream of a narrow portion of the Fraser River near Big Bar, creating a 5m waterfall. The sheer magnitude of the obstruction raises concerns about whether salmon migrating upstream can reach their spawning grounds.
This afternoon, Bill C-68 received Royal Assent by the Governor General and has officially become law. This is a victory for the environment, independent fishers, and all Canadians because today, the important amendments to this Act, put forward by our government are being enshrined in law.