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August 10, 2021

August 10, 2021 – Since the second part of Service Canada’s and the Department of Fisheries and Oceans’ Fish Harvester Benefit opened for application online less than 1 week ago on August 5th, FFAW-Unifor has received consistent feedback from members reporting issues with the application process and appalling waits for the helpline.

The most common issue reported to FFAW by members is the prompt for information that is not cited on their Notice of Assessment. Another significant issue is that many harvesters on the North and West Coasts of the province cannot process the application on a desktop or laptop computer because of limitations with the internet provider for the areas. There have also been several reports of members being ‘locked out’ of the application system for several days after receiving an error notice, and some members have even received an order to repay their first installment.

“To make matters even worse, there are members who are being notified that the first portion of the benefit may need to be paid back due to failures in the administrative system from the very beginning”, said Keith Sullivan, FFAW-Unifor President.

“Service Canada initially announced that the Benefit portal would be open for application on April 1st, and the volume of error reports and accessibility concerns have added to the frustration of a 4-month delay”, said Sullivan. “The intention of the Benefit is to provide relief and reliable benefits to workers in a unique seasonal industry, and instead, it is insufficient.”

FFAW has been corresponding regularly with Service Canada to report the issues members in the fishing sector have encountered in effort to troubleshoot, however, because this is a federal government program, they are calling on provincial MPs to help resolve the problematic system. The Fish Harvester Benefit is open for application until October 1st, 2021.



For media inquiries, please contact:

Courtney Langille, FFAW-Unifor Communications Officer | (709) 693-8454