Fish Harvester Benefit and Grant Program
Status: The Program has completed phase-two appeal processing. Thank you to everyone who participated in the Fish Harvester Benefit and Grant Program.
Reminder: In February 2022, the Program waived interest payments on overpayment amounts owing until January 1, 2023. That waiver period has been extended until March 31, 2023. On April 1, 2023, the calculation of interest will commence on unpaid overpayment amounts owing.
Service Canada delivers the Fish Harvester Benefit and Grant Program on behalf of Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO). This includes:
- processing applications
- issuing payments
- mailing out tax slips
On this page
- File processing post-October 31, 2021
- Second application for the benefit
- Payment calculation
- Tax information and 2020 T4A slips
To help fish harvesters in Canada impacted by COVID-19, the Government of Canada created the Fish Harvester Benefit and Grant Program to provide financial support to self-employed harvesters who were not eligible for other financial relief programs.
For more information, consult the Program overview and eligibility page.
File processing post-October 31, 2021
The window for phase-two applications is now closed. Thanks to everyone who applied by the October 31, 2021 deadline.
The end of the phase-two application period does not mean that the program is closed. Work continues to process applications and appeals.
1. Phase-one overpayment letters
If you appealed your phase-one overpayment letter regarding program eligibility on or before the October 15, 2021 deadline, and have not yet received a final decision from DFO on it, your file remains open, active, and under review.
If you are found to have been eligible for the phase-one payment, DFO will contact you to let you know that you are cleared to make your second application for the phase-two benefit with Service Canada. This second application will be done over the phone with a Service Canada call centre agent.
2. Phase-two applications
If you filed your phase-two application on or before the October 31 2021 deadline, the program will process your application.
Should you disagree with your phase-two decision, you have a right to appeal it. Appeals must be initiated with Service Canada no later than 30 days following the date of your notification letter (see below for more details).
3. Phase-two appeals
If you decide to appeal your phase-two decision within the 30-day window noted above, the program will contact you to obtain any further information you might wish to provide in support of your appeal. The program will review your file in light of the additional information you supply, and issue a final decision on your phase-two appeal within 30 days of receipt of final information.
Phase-one benefit recipients who do not apply for the second payment: If you applied for and received a benefit payment in phase one, but did not apply for the second payment, you will receive an overpayment letter for the phase-one amount.
Should you receive such an overpayment letter, and disagree with the finding that you have not applied for the phase-two payment, you have until December 10, 2021 to initiate an appeal with Service Canada.
Questions and answers
How do I check on the status of my file?
If you have successfully filed an appeal or an application on or before the relevant deadlines, and have not received payment yet or been contacted by DFO or Service Canada, then your file is active and under consideration.
You can call Service Canada at: 1-833-674-8283 (TTY: 1-800-465-7735).
How do I know if I’m approved?
If you are waiting on the results of an appeal, you will be contacted by the program with the outcome.
If your appeal is about a phase-one overpayment letter, if your eligibility is confirmed, the appeal decision you receive will clear you to make your second benefit application via telephone with Service Canada, even if you are contacted after October 31.
If you are awaiting the results of your phase-two benefit application, you will either receive payment or an overpayment letter/email.
If you are awaiting the results of a phase-two appeal, the program will contact you with the outcome via letter or email.
I have already appealed my phase-one overpayment letter. Do I need to make a second application?
If the results of your phase-one appeal find that you were eligible for the phase-one payment, you will have to make application for the second part of the benefit. This will be permissible for files that were under appeal while the phase-two application window closed. If your appeal is successful, you will be able to make your second application over the phone to Service Canada even though it will be after October 31.
Second application for the benefit
This application for the second benefit payment is:
- mandatory – if you don’t reapply, you will automatically be in an overpayment situation
- only available if you applied for and were eligible for the first benefit payment
There is no second payment for the grant, therefore if you are a harvester who received only the grant, you don’t need to submit a second application.
To apply for the second payment of the Fish Harvester Benefit, you need to provide the following information:
- Social Insurance Number (SIN)
- Date of birth
- Contact information, if it changed since your first application, such as:
- home address
- 2020 tax information, including information from the 2020 Notice of Assessment from the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA), unless your income is tax exempt under the Indian Act. This information is required to confirm your eligibility and to calculate the amount of the second benefit payment.
- Banking information for payment, if you updated your banking information since your first application
- Business number, if applicable
The Income Tax Act permits taxpayer information to be shared by CRA with DFO and Employment and Social Development Canada for the purposes of administering and enforcing the program. You provided your consent on your initial application and will be required to do so again on the second application.
Indigenous harvester not required to file taxes
Some Indigenous harvesters are tax exempt as per section 87 of the Indian Act. Other records may be requested by DFO to support commercial fishing income losses while processing the second application, such as:
- Record of Employment – Self-employed Fisher
- Fish catch records from communities
- Trip Settlement Reports (or Reconciliation Reports) for crew members
- Other records to be determined with community Fishing Offices, as appropriate
Contact us for help
Service Canada’s call centre will be available to assist harvesters in applying for their benefits:
- TTY: 1-800-465-7735
After you have applied
Once Service Canada receives your second application, your application will be reviewed for approval. You may be contacted by DFO or by Service Canada for additional information about your application. This process may take several weeks.
Once approved, your payment will be issued within five (5) business days.
If you underestimated your self-employed or shareperson fishing income losses during your initial application, the second benefit payment may be higher than originally anticipated.
Likewise, if your losses were less than anticipated:
- your second benefit payment may be less than originally anticipated; or
- you could be in an overpayment situation
Similarly for the grant, you may be in an overpayment situation if you:
- overreported your revenues for 2018 or 2019, or
- have actual 2020 losses exceeding the grant you received
For administrative efficiency reasons, no payment is issued if the amount is less than $2.
You may use the Estimator to estimate your entitlement and payment/overpayment.
You may be in an overpayment situation if you:
- are deemed not eligible for the program, following information verifications from CRA or other records requested by DFO to support fishing income losses
- have received payment in excess of your entitlement, based on your actual fishing income losses as per your tax filing to the CRA or other records requested by DFO to support your revenue losses
- have received the first benefit payment but did not reapply for the second benefit payment no later than October 31, 2021
- have applied for or received Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) and/or Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) payments
If you are in an overpayment situation, you will be:
- notified by letter that you must pay back a portion or all of your initial benefit and/or grant payment
- provided with 10 weeks to reimburse the amount due to the Government of Canada. Instructions on how to proceed for repayment will be included in the letter.
If you do not agree with your ineligibility status or your entitlement, you will have 30 days from the date of the letter of overpayment or the date of your payment to:
- provide other supporting information
- appeal the decision
Interest waiver on overpayments
The FHBG program is waiving interest payments on overpayment amounts owing until January 1, 2023, on which date the calculation of interest will commence on unpaid overpayment amounts owing.
This waiver applies to overpayment letters issued during phase one and/or phase two of the program.
The program has issued overpayment letters to some recipients in each of its two phases for a variety of reasons, including for individuals whose income losses were less than anticipated or for those found to have been ineligible for the program.
Through this waiver, the program hopes to provide some flexibility to individuals who have repayment obligations, and might benefit from the additional time and opportunity to earn income from upcoming fisheries without facing interest charges.
If you received an overpayment letter, were successful in appealing the overpayment finding, and found not to have a net amount owing, then you have no repayment obligation.
If you are unsure of any repayment obligations, please contact Service Canada’s call centre at: 1-833-674-8283, TTY: 1-800-465-7735
Tax information and 2020 T4A slips
The Fish Harvester Benefit and the Fish Harvester Grant are:
- to be reported in your personal income tax
Further information is available on taxation and 2020 T4 concerns.
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