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April 2nd 2019 - Bill C-68 An Act to amend the Fisheries Act and other Acts in consequence - Minister Jonathan Wilkinson & Fisheries and Oceans Canada

Senator Poirier: Thank you, minister, for being here. I have two questions and then I’ll leave it. If I have time for a second round, I go on the second round.

My first question, minister, concerns subclause 31(5) of the bill, modifying paragraph 43.1(g) of the act. I’m looking for clarification when it comes to the transfer of the licence, specifically the prohibition on the transfer of the licence as states in the new paragraph 43.1(g.01). Could you explain to us what you mean by “except under prescribed conditions” from the new 43.1(g.01)?

Mr. Wilkinson: I will probably, given the detailed nature of that question, turn to my officials to see if they can —

Mr. Morel: I think we can provide more detail.

Mr. Wilkinson: We can provide a detailed answer. That’s a pretty specific question.

Senator Poirier: We’ll follow up that, since I have time. I’ll give you the reason I’m asking it. I have heard from people in my area of the country, in New Brunswick, that under the circumstances where a licence-holder would pass away, the family could face the possibility of losing the licence, and the licence is therefore going out of the control of the community completely. Could you please give me some kind of a guarantee that Bill C-68 will not negatively impact families when the licence-holders pass away?

Right now, minister, when a fisher passes away, the wife and children can keep the licence. If I understand it right, they keep it until the child becomes old enough to be able to take on the licence and keep it within the community and family. From my understanding, there seems to be something in this bill that maybe would bring that to a time frame. I think I have five years in mind, if I am remembering. If the child would be, for example, only eight or nine, they used to be able to keep it until they became the age to fish. Now, under the new law, he would not because the age is too young. That’s just a concern.

So I can get some answers back in writing, it would be greatly appreciated.

Mr. Wilkinson: On that one, it’s an important concern you raise. Maybe I’ll ask Sylvie to respond specifically to that.

Sylvie Lapointe, Assistant Deputy Minister, Fisheries and Harbour Management, Fisheries and Oceans Canada: Yes. There is nothing in the bill that is so prescriptive that it would impact on any existing policies that we have with respect to licensing. Once the bill goes into effect, we would need to enter into a regulatory phase to implement some of the provisions. At that point, we’ll be out consulting broadly and getting feedback from folks across Atlantic Canada.

Senator Poirier: As it stands right now, you are telling me there is no part of the bill that addresses that concern they had.

Ms. Lapointe: That wouldn’t change any existing policy.

Senator Poirier: Apparently, it seems like there are groups that are buying licences, and there could be groups that are running fish plants and different things like that and are buying it. Some of them are not even from the community, and not even from the country at this point. The concern is the economy of the community. We just want to make sure that is kept in consideration.

Mr. Wilkinson: If you’ll permit me, if there are specific people or groups that are raising this as a concern and you could pass to us their names and contact information, we can certainly follow up with them and have that conversation.

Senator Poirier: All right. Thank you.

Back to: Questions in Fisheries and Oceans Committee