VANCOUVER, BC, June 17, 2020 /CNW/ – Western Economic Diversification Canada
Fish and seafood processors play a vital role in the resilience of Canada’s food system and economy. They are at the heart of their communities, creating local jobs and buying products from Canadian fish and aquaculture harvesters. COVID-19 has presented many challenges to the sector, putting a significant financial burden on small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) as they work to meet these challenges head-on.
That is why the Government of Canada has taken decisive action to support Canadians facing hardship as a result of the pandemic. The Canadian Seafood Stabilization Fund (CSSF) is a $62.5 million fund that will help fish and seafood processors in Western Canada, Quebec and Atlantic Canada get through the crisis and prepare for economic recovery, so that their communities can continue to thrive.
Today, the Honourable Bernadette Jordan, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans, and the Canadian Coast Guard, and the Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages, announced that Western Economic Diversification Canada (WD) will accept applications from Indigenous and non-Indigenous fish and seafood processors in the West as of June 22, 2020.
WD has been allocated more than $9 million in funding from Fisheries and Oceans Canada to support fish,seafood and aquaculture processors across Western Canada. The fund will be delivered to fish processors on the Prairies by WD, and through a partnership agreement with the Investment Agriculture Foundation of BC (IAF) in British Columbia. With more than 20 years of experience supporting British Columbia’s food producers, IAF will provide high-quality and cost-effective delivery of the CSSF to local processors.
The CSSF will help fish and seafood processors put in place health and safety measures to help protect workers against COVID-19 and maintain Canadian jobs. It will increase plant capacity to process, store, package, and distribute healthy, high-quality products, and to adapt processes and marketing to suit changing consumer demands. Bolstering the processing sector will be vital to supporting fish and seafood harvesters and strengthening Canada’s food supply chain.
The CSSF is one part of the Government of Canada’s ongoing effort to support Canada’s fish and seafood sector, which includes over $500 million in combined investments this year through this Fund, the Fish Harvester Benefit, and the Fish Harvester Grant.
More information on how to apply for the CSSF is available on WD’s website.
“COVID-19 has created real challenges for our fish and seafood processing sector, and they have continued to respond with tenacity and innovation. The Canadian Seafood Stabilization Fund will provide the sector with the support they need to increase their capacity and adapt their strategies to meet the changing demands of the consumer. And we know that by bolstering our processors, we are ensuring consistent buyers for our harvesters and a strong food supply chain, one that includes a consistent stream of Canada’s world class fish and seafood.”
– The Honourable Bernadette Jordan, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans, and the Canadian Coast Guard
“As some regions reopen their economy, it is important for us to support small businesses every step of the way now more than ever. The fish and seafood processors are facing new challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic and I am happy that Western Economic Diversification Canada is helping them to address the gap in this key sector for the West, which will help communities get through these challenging times. I want Canadians to know that we will be there with you so our regional economies can bounce back even stronger than before. Together we will rise above this crisis.”
– The Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages and Minister responsible for Western Economic Diversification Canada
- Regional Development Agencies help businesses and innovators grow and succeed. They also ensure that Canada’s regions are heard in Ottawa and provide support to advance and diversify regional economies – so communities can thrive.
- Because Canada’s RDAs focus on developing and diversifying regional economies, they are best suited to deliver fast and efficient support to Canadian SMEs in all sectors. They are on the ground every day, working with businesses and communities. They know where help is most needed.
- The Investment Agriculture Foundation of BC (IAF) is an industry-led, not-for-profit society that creates funding opportunities to support a thriving BC agriculture and agri-food sector through the effective delivery of programs. In British Columbia, fish and seafood processers and the organizations that support them should contact IAF for more information on the CSSF.
- Businesses in the fish and seafood processing sectors and organizations that support them in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba are encouraged to visit WD’s website for more information on the CSSF.