Fishing industry nets $470-million in aid from Ottawa

Katie Ramirez
May 14, 2020

The federal government will try to align the openings of parks with provincial reopening plans.

As he pledged close to $470 million to support fish harvesters, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also said people should "buy Canadian" food to keep fishery workers and farmers in business during the COVID-19 pandemic.

All national parks and sites have been closed for more than a month to slow the spread of COVID-19.

Camping in parks will remain off limits at least until June 21, when the federal government will reassess whether it should be allowed. Ottawa will assess whether camping should resume at that point.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said that select national parks will be reopening next month.

Meanwhile, June 1 will also mark the loosening of restrictions on some national parks where social distancing can be safely practised, the prime minister said.

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Referencing the coming May long weekend, Trudeau said he knows it will be hard to not celebrate or spend the same kind of outdoor time as usual.

"We do know that it's not going to be summer as usual, that's for sure". That's the message from the prime minister as we hear of cases of families unable to reunite due to the ban on non-essential border crossings.

In mid-march, COVID-19 forced the closure of all national parks and historic sites. Specifically, no pleasure craft will be permitted to operate in Canada's Arctic coastal waters, or in the coastal areas of northern Quebec and Labrador, with boats used for essential fishing and hunting exempted.

Trudeau said the federal government is also introducing a $201.8-million non-repayable grant program to pay up to $10,000 to fish harvesters who own their own businesses.

He said fish harvesters who expect a 25-per-cent drop in income will get support to cover 75 per cent of losses up to $10,000.

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