Hon. John C. Crosbie (Minister of Fisheries and Oceans and Minister for the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency):
Madam Speaker, there is no delay with reference to the administration of this program. This is a complicated program involving trying to assure assistance goes to certain fishermen of the maritime area.
June 16, 1993
We are dealing with an area where there is a mixed stock fishery, where most fishermen are licensed for more than one species and where they are not restricted for the most part just to the catching of groundfish. It is a program to try to compensate those who are primarily dependent on groundfish stocks for their livelihood. It is quite a complicated situation.
As I told the House yesterday we have received 458 applications, I think it is so far, by June 15 of which 161 have been approved. I do not have the information right before me. With respect to the hon. member, these are fishermen I am talking about. We have received another 1,199 applications from fish plant workers; 722 are in process; 397 have been approved; 80 so far have been declined. We have approved 43 fish plants, I think, as being eligible under the program, so everything will proceed much more quickly in the future.
We have to remember the program only becomes operative if plant workers find they cannot get work this year and their UI runs out, or a fisherman discovers that he cannot catch fish in the area where he normally fishes and this is found to be so by the department of fisheries, where he is not going to be able to qualify-
Topic: ORAL QUESTION PERIOD