Federal Support for Fish Harvesters | FFAW-Unifor | Fish Food & Allied Workers Union

Federal Support for Fish Harvesters

AUGUST 24 UPDATE — the application process for the Fish Harvester Benefit and Fish Harvester Grant is now open. Click here, scroll to the bottom on the page and click “Apply online” 

The Benefit will cover income losses beyond a 25% threshold for the 2020 tax year when compared to 2018 or 2019. The maximum benefit is $10,164.

The Grant program a non-repayable grant to self-employed fish harvesters with a valid commercial fishing licence in 2020 and non-deferrable business costs of up to $40,000. The grant program provides non repayable support of up to $10,000, dependent on the level of the fish harvesters’ historic fishing revenue in 2018 or 2019. A lesser grant amount may be provided on a sliding scale relative to revenue or actual expenses.

Enterprise owners should be eligible to apply for both the Grant and the Benefit if they did not avail of the CEBA loan or wage subsidy programs.

Crew members can avail of the Benefit program IF they are a shareperson, not a waged crew member.

All of the eligibility information is available at the following link:

No information was provided today on Employment Insurance but we expect an update from the federal government soon.

The Minister’s announcement from today can be read here: https://www.canada.ca/en/fisheries-oceans/news/2020/08/minister-jordan-announces-the-fish-harvester-benefit-and-fish-harvester-grant-to-open-on-august-24th.html

How is your Fish Harvester Benefit payment calculated?

You are eligible for Fish Harvester Benefit if you expect a fishing income decline of more than 25% in 2020, as compared to your higher gross fishing income from either 2018 or 2019. In other words, your expected income for 2020 must be less than 75% of your higher income from either 2018 or 2019. This becomes your fishing income decline threshold. The Fish Harvester Benefit is calculated based on your fishing income decline threshold, less what you expect to earn in 2020. You’ll receive 75% of that value to a maximum of $10,164, with a first payment of 60% of your total. This amount is taxable and taxes have not yet been deducted. 



The following calculations use the example of an income of $30,000 in 2019 and an income of $20,000 in 2020.

Your higher gross fishing income is $30,000 so your income decline threshold is 75% of $30,000 = $22,500.
Your expected income for 2020 is $20,000.

  • The total expected Fish Harvester Benefit amount is 75% of, your income decline threshold less your expected income, to a maximum of $10,164:
    75% of ($22,500 − $20,000) = $1,875
  • Your first payment is 60% of $1,875 or 60% of the maximum $10,164, whichever is lower:
    60% of $1,875 = $1,125

How is your Fish Harvester Grant payment of $3,000 calculated?

The following calculations use the example of an income of $30,000 in 2019 and an income of $20,000 in 2020.

You are entitled to 10% of the higher of your 2018 or 2019 gross fishing income.
Your higher gross fishing income is $30,000 for 2019 and your expected eligible expenditures for 2020 is $5,000.

This amount is taxable and taxes have not yet been deducted. 


  • Your payment:
    10% of $30,000 = $3,000
    Your total Fish Harvester Grant amount cannot exceed your expected eligible expenditures of $5,000 or a maximum of $10,000whichever is lower.



Changes to Fishing Employment Insurance

The changes to Employment Insurance (EI) will allow self-employed fish harvesters and sharepersons to access EI benefits on the basis of insurable earnings from previous seasons (winter and summer claims).

More details will be available soon.


Canadian Emergency Business Account


The Canadian Emergency Business Account (CEBA) program will now include businesses that have a payroll lower than 20k. Until now a number of fishing fleets were not able to access this program because of the previous payroll requirement. This $25 billion program provides interest-free loans of up to $40,000 to small businesses and not-for-profit companies, to help cover their operating costs during a period where their revenues have been temporarily reduced, due to the economic impacts of the COVID-19 virus.

More details, including the launch date for applications under the new criteria, will follow in the days to come.

You should contact your financial institution to apply for these loans.

FFAW-Unifor will continue to post program announcements and updates as they are received.


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