PEI

P.E.I. government announces new $750K fund for farmers during COVID-19 pandemic

The P.E.I. government has announced a new fund to help those in the agriculture sector negatively affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Recreational fishing season will be delayed till June 1

'In a lot of ways, farming has built Prince Edward Island' says Agriculture Minister Bloyce Thompson. (Ken Linton/CBC)

The P.E.I. government has announced a new fund to help those in the agriculture sector negatively affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Minister of Agriculture Bloyce Thompson announced the $750,000 COVID strategic fund for agriculture at a 4 p.m. news briefing Thursday.

Thompson said the fund is supported by the Canadian agriculture partnership to help commodity groups and small processors through the pandemic.

"In a lot of ways, farming has built Prince Edward Island," Thompson said.

Thompson also said there will be enhancements to the farm student bursary by increasing the money paid to students who work in the industry this year.

"I hope this will be an incentive to help both our farming community and our high school and post-secondary services. There will also be job matching services that will help pair job seekers and farmers," he said.

Minister of Transportation Steven Myers announced the start of recreational fishing season will be delayed till June 1. (Ken Linton/CBC)

Thompson said his department is still offering programs to those in the agriculture sector and is reviewing all programs to ensure they meet the pressing needs of the industry.

"The important thing here is that agriculture remains the pillar of Prince Edward Island's economy and a vital source of employment and exports," he said.

Thompson also suggested farmers take advantage of risk management programs.

Labour issues for farming, fishing industries

Transportation, Infrastructure and Energy Minister Steven Myers said he hopes Islanders will step-up to fill the labour voids within the farming and fishing industries.

He said the Island has unemployment rates of up to 21 per cent.

"However, we do understand that some of these farms and fish processors have already secured their labour force for the upcoming season through the temporary foreign worker program," he said.

"In regards to temporary foreign workers these programs are administered and regulated federally."

Myers said the province has put rules in place to screen temporary foreign workers entering the province.

Temporary foregin workers will also be required to quarantine at a "central location" approved by the Chief Public Health Office.

Health and security officials will ensure those workers are adhering to health guidelines, Myers said.

Fishing season pushed back

Myers also announced the start of recreational fishing season will be delayed till June 1.

"COVID-19 has not changed enforcement activity by conservation officers. Fishing out of season was illegal before the pandemic and will be after the pandemic too," he said.

As of April 9 there have been nine illegal fishing charges, Myers said.

COVID-19: What you need to know

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

Common symptoms include:

  • Fever.
  • Cough.
  • Tiredness.

But more serious symptoms can develop, including difficulty breathing and pneumonia, which can lead to death.

Health Canada has built a self-assessment tool.

What should I do if I feel sick?

Isolate yourself and call 811. Do not visit an emergency room or urgent care centre to get tested. A health professional at 811 will give you advice and instructions.

How can I protect myself?

  • Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Clean regularly touched surfaces regularly.
  • Practise physical distancing.

More detailed information on the outbreak is available on the federal government's website.

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