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The Employment Insurance Fishing benefits now allow workers to establish a fishing benefit claim based on earnings in their current qualifying period or earnings used to establish a fishing claim of the same type (summer or winter) in 2018 or 2019, whichever is highest. Fishers can also benefit from the minimum weekly benefit rate of $500 and the ability to establish an EI fishing claim based on earnings from a previous year.


These measures will apply to the summer benefit period beginning as early as September 27th, 2020 and in the coming winter benefit period, which begins as early as March 28th, 2021.


To apply for EI fishing benefits, claimants must submit an application via Service Canada as per normal. More details on EI Fishing Benefits and how to apply can be found here. When applying, fishers should submit their earnings from their current season. Under no circumstances should they provide earnings from previous seasons. This could lead to delays in processing and finalization of their claim. If a claimant has insufficient earnings in their current qualifying period to qualify for fishing benefits, Service Canada will subsequently adjust their claim to use the earnings from a previously established fishing claim.


The EI Fishing claim will be established with the current data first. The claim will subsequently be adjusted if the earnings in the previous seasons would have resulted in a higher benefit rate. This means that there may be a period of time from when fishers begin getting paid their claim, to when their claim is adjusted to the amount that they may be entitled to based on a previous years’ earnings. If this is the case, once their claim is reconciled and their proper weekly benefit rate is established, they will receive back pay amounting to the difference for the weeks of benefits already received.


In regards to questions and concerns from fishers regarding claims established throughout the last claim period, prior to September 27th, 2020. There will be no changes made to these claims. Individuals currently on an EI fishing claim will be able to access these measures on their next claim.



  • Since the onset of this public health crisis, our government has worked to provide fish harvesters and the industry with the support they need.
  • We expanded the CERB to ensure seasonal workers and fish harvesters who needed immediate support could access the benefit.
  • The CERB was a lifeline for more than 8.7 million Canadians, many of whom were fish harvesters, and was monumental in our country’s effort to slow the spread of the virus, keep Canadians safe and support economy.
  • Recognizing that many self-employed fishers have been facing hardships due to the pandemic, we made a commitment in Spring 2020 to introduce measures that would allow self-employed fish harvesters and sharepersons to access EI benefits on the basis of insurable earnings from previous seasons.
  • We are delivering on this commitment with temporary measures that allow workers to establish a fishing benefits claim based on their earnings in their current qualifying period or the earnings used to establish a fishing claim in 2018 or 2019, whichever is highest.
  • Self-employed fishers can apply online for EI fishing benefits. These temporary measures will be automatically applied to their claim.
  • Additionally, the minimum unemployment rate of 13.1% announced on August 10, 2020, reduces the requirement to $2,500 in fishing earnings across Canada and allows claimants to receive the new $500 minimum benefit rate, if their benefit rate would have been lower.
  • We also invested $469 million to fund the Fish Harvesters Benefit with up to $847 a week for those whose income has decreased by 25%, and the Fish Harvester Grant of up to $10,000 to cover other costs.
  • We will continue to provide fishers with the help they need to continue their important work that contributes to a stronger and more resilient Canada.