Editor’s note: the following letter was written May 8 by four opposition Liberal MHAs in the Newfoundland and Labrador legislature, and sent to Gail Shea, Minister of Fisheries and Oceans.
letter to the editor
As members of the Newfoundland and Labrador House of Assembly, we ask that your Department establish a special assistance grant for those fishers and plant workers in northern Newfoundland and Labrador, as well as Northern Quebec.
Many individuals have exhausted Employment Insurance benefits and are unable to begin earning an income given the severe ice conditions that have already delayed fisheries.
In 2007, then fisheries minister Loyola Hearn announced on June 21, 2007 up to $7.9 million allocated for a special ice compensation program by signing an MOU with Service Canada. Eligible recipients received $377 for each week of eligibility. earnings. All applicants required a two week period after EI benefits were exhausted before eligibility to receive payments under the program. The program covered the period starting the week of May 6 and end June 23 for Newfoundland (South of Cape St. Charles) and Quebec fishers and started the week of May 27 to July 14 for those in Labrador (North of Cape St. Charles); the periods during which fishers would have normally commenced fishing and earning fishing income. A total of 1622 applicants received $1,650,418 in 2007, which became taxable income and provided needed support for people in coastal and rural communities.
We respectfully ask that you re-instate the ice compensation program as the previous eligibility date of May 6th has passed. We look forward to your positive response. Should you have further questions, please contact us at your earliest convenience.
— Written by Christopher Mitchelmore, (Straits-White Bay North), Lisa Dempster (Cartwright-L’Anse au Clair), Sam Slade (Carbonear-Harbour Grace), Jim Bennett (St. Barbe) and Randy Edmunds (Torngat Mountains).