March 27, 2020
Ottawa, ON – The Honourable Bernadette Jordan, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans, and the Canadian Coast Guard and Lana Popham, Minister of Agriculture for British Columbia, issued the following joint statement:
“During these unprecedented times, it is more important than ever that we work together across all orders of government to keep Canadians safe and communities supported. Today, we spoke for the second time in recent days, to discuss the rapidly evolving COVID-19 impacts on the fish and seafood industry in British Columbia.
Harvesters, seafood growers, and processors, are essential to our collective food security and to coastal communities up and down the Pacific. We spoke about the need to maintain the supply chain while ensuring the health and safety of the essential workers who support it. Your health is of paramount importance to us.
We discussed industry concerns regarding fluctuating markets, financial losses, and the economic measures being put forward by the federal government to address some of those concerns. The small business measures – including additional liquidity from Business Development Bank of Canada and up to 75% wage subsidy for eligible employers – will help local businesses stay afloat and keep people on staff throughout this public health crisis. In addition, the new Canada Emergency Response Benefit will be there for people who can’t go out and fish or who have no earnings as a result of COVID-19’s impact on the market.
Seafood growers, shellfish farmers, and 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.
The B.C. government is going to support the British Columbian families who make their living from seafood during this pandemic and in the recovery process that follows. There are a number of programs the B.C. Government is working on to support all B.C. businesses and employees through these difficult days. The Ministry of Agriculture’s core programming that helps B.C. fish, shellfish and marine plant producers with local and international marketing efforts, clean technology and projects that promote habitat restoration will also continue, so people can continue to enjoy high-quality B.C. seafood now and for generations to come.
We know there is more to do, and we will continue to collaborate, to meet weekly, and to work together to weather this storm. 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.”