DELTA, BC – The women and men of Canada’s fish and seafood processing sector are economic drivers in British Columbia and their contributions are vital to our national food supply chain. The sector faced immense challenges due to COVID-19, and the Government of Canada worked quickly to ensure they had the support it needed during this unprecedented time.
On April 25th, 2020, the federal government launched the $62.5 million Canadian Seafood Stabilization Fund (CSSF). This fund was created specifically to help Canada’s fish and seafood processing workers adapt to the challenges of COVID-19. Today the CSSF is supporting partners across Canada to retain their employees and maintain strong health and safety measures to ensure workers are protected. It is increasing the industry’s capacity process to store, package, and distribute healthy, high-quality products, as well as retool their processes and marketing to adapt to changing consumer demands.
By bolstering Canada’s seafood processing sector, the Government of Canada is helping position the national economy for strong, post pandemic recovery. Canada’s ocean industries contribute approximately $31.7 billion to Canada’s GDP every year, and the Government of Canada wants this number to grow. By investing in the fish and seafood processing sector at a critical time, the Government of Canada is paving the way for a stronger more resilient blue economy of the future.
Today, the Honourable Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion, on behalf of the Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages and Minister responsible for Western Economic Diversification Canada, announced an investment of $9,610,288 through this fund for 71 projects throughout British Columbia.
This investment has helped fish and seafood processors based in British Columbia weather the pandemic, keep jobs in their community and prepare for a strong economic recovery. For example, North Delta Seafoods Ltd. has used CSSF funding to equip employees with modern personal protective equipment and acquire new processing and packaging equipment. This maintained jobs and helped produce safely packaged consumer-ready products for the retail marketplace, contributing to Canada’s food supply chains at a time when it was most needed.
An initiative of Fisheries and Oceans Canada, the $62.5 million Canadian Seafood Stabilization Fund is being delivered by Canada’s regional development agencies. Western Economic Diversification Canada (WD) is delivering over $10 million in funding across the West. In British Columbia, WD has partnered with the Investment Agriculture Foundation of BC to deliver support to companies who need it most.