Cree Hunters and Trappers Income Security Board
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FAQ

Who can apply to the Cree Hunters
and Trappers Income Security Program?

Clientele

The clientele of the Cree Hunters and Trappers Income Security Program are the Crees beneficiaries within the meaning of the Chapter 3 of the James Bay and Northern Québec Agreement, who have a Cree Beneficiary Number under the James Bay and Northern Québec Agreement.

Eligibility criteria

When applying, the Cree beneficiary must:

  • Live in the province of Québec
  • Be at least 18 years of age
  • Practice harvesting and related activities as a way of life on traditional territory
  • Be the head of the family, and is defined as “the member of a family who habitually is the chief provider for the needs of such family, taking account established Cree custom.”

Am I eligible?

To be entitled to the Cree Hunters and Trappers
Income Security Program, the Cree beneficiary must:

  • Be on the Eligibility list prepared by the Local Committee
  • Spend at least 120 days conducting harvesting and related activities of which
    at least 90 days were spent away from the settlement conducting such activities
  • Spend more time harvesting than working for a wage income
  • Earn more from harvesting than from wage labor

(These criteria must be met during the year preceding the application
to the Program and must be met every year afterwards)

How do I apply?

Contact or meet with the local administrator
in the Cree community where you are residing.

Chisasibi : 819-855-2067
Eastmain : 819-977-2165 ext. 23
Mistissini : 418-923-3334
Nemaska : 819-673-2030 ext. 22
Oujé-Bougoumou : 418-745-3911 ext. 246
Waskaganish : 819-895-2247
Waswanipi (including Amos, Matagami, Pikogan, Senneterre) : 1 800 363-1560
Wemindji : 819-978-3145
Whapmagoostui : 819-929-3615 ext. 234

Deadline for application: each year, between July 1 and July 31.

Can I apply if I am a new graduate?

New graduate

New graduates who apply for the first time may enroll on the Cree Hunters and Trappers Income Security Program without having to fulfill the regular eligibility requirements.

Specifically, this means that students who enroll immediately after graduation are eligible even if they did not spend 120 days in the bush during the previous year.

Conditions

To be entitled to this special measure, the new graduate must meet the following conditions:

  • Be under 25 years of age
  • Be in school during the year preceding application to
    the Cree Hunters and Trappers Income Security Program
  • Graduate Secondary V or the equivalent during the year preceding the application
  • If you are a student currently in school and considering life in the bush after your graduation, talk to your local administrator today. This way, you will ensure that you do not miss any deadlines and take full advantages of this special measure.

What does the Program pay?

Daily allowance

The Cree Hunters and Trappers Income Security Program provides a daily allowance (currently between $55-$60) for all days spent in the bush, up to a maximum of 240 days each for the individual and his consort.

Basic amount

Depending on the situation of the family, there is the possibility of an additional basic amount based on the number of adults and children in the family unit (this amount is affected by all income received by the family).

Daily allowance for far harvesting region

At the end of each year, an additional amount (currently between $15-$20) is provided for each day spent in a far region. Far regions are determined based on distance from the community and access, and a map of far regions is available for each Cree community.

Calculation of payments

At the outset, the beneficiary of the Program and the local administrator agree on a forecasted number of days to be spent in the bush for the whole year. Once determined, calculations are made, taking into account all other sources of income of the family. Then, the amount payable is divided into four equal payments.

Retro cheque

At the end of the Program-year, an additional payment may also be issued to correct for days spent in the bush over and above the initial prediction.

This is also when the Cree Hunters and Trappers Income Security Board pays the amounts owed for days spent in far region, as well as for indexation of the Income Security Program.

This retroactive payment is what most beneficiaries refer to as the “Retro” cheque.

Not all beneficiaries receive a Retro cheque: all depends on the initial forecast, other sources of income, and the amount of time spent in the bush.

Issuance of benefits payments

The benefit cheques are remitted in person to beneficiaries in September, January, April and June at the interview conducted by the local administrator with the head of the beneficiary unit. Then, the payment can be issued, cancelled or replaced.

Relevé 5 and T5007 slips

Beneficiaries receiving benefits under the Cree Hunters and Trappers Income Security Program during the year, will receive a Statement of benefits (Relevé 5 and T5007 slips) by mail at the latest before the end of February.

How are interviews conducted?

Frequency

4 times per year : September, January, April and June.

Interview

During the interview, the beneficiary must report on his activities in the bush. The main document provided is a calendar where beneficiaries circle the days spent in the bush.

A file may be modified at any time during the year. For this reason, it is essential that beneficiaries report on any change to their family status, report any income they have received (themselves or their consort), or any other information which may affect the calculation of benefits (for example: marriage, separation, birth of child, etc.).

File modification and calculation of benefits occur at the head office of the Cree Hunters and Trappers Income Security Board in Québec City. For this reason, benefits may vary from one period to the next, based on any new information provided in the file.

Control and verification measures

The Cree Hunters and Trappers Income Security Board has signed a information exchange agreements, approved by the Commission d’accès à l’information, with the ministère de l’Emploi et de la Solidarité sociale.

This agreement enables the Board to verify if a beneficiary receives Social Aid benefits because Complementary Agreement No. 15 stipulates that a person benefitting from the program shall not be entitled to combine the benefits from the program with benefits from Social Aid. The beneficiary is oblige to declare if he receives Social Aid benefits.

What are separate payments?

ISP Payments are generally made to the head of the beneficiary unit. However, the consort of the file may request that 50% of the benefits payable to the family be issued in their own name, by signing a form provided by the local administrator.

Who can request separate payments?

The consort in the file can request separate payments by meeting with their local administrator and signing a form. The signature of the head of the family unit is not required.

How are payments separated?

Each ISP payment is separated into 2 equal amounts. One cheque is issued in the name of the head, the other is issued in the name of the consort.

When can the consort receive their cheque?

Even if a consort receives separate payments, no payment can be issued to the head or the consort until an interview in person is conducted with the head. As usual, all information regarding the family situation and any other income received by all adults in the family (such as work salary, Employment Insurance, Social Aid, etc.) must be declared before any cheque can be issued.

ISP and Work

The Cree Hunters and Trappers Income Security Program is for Crees who choose the traditional way of life of harvesting as their main occupation. However, seasonal or temporary work is possible while on the Program, as long as you spend and least 120 days in the bush and more time in the bush than working throughout the year.

How does work affect my ISP benefits?

  1. Any days you spend in the bush are payable except during periods when you are working.
  2. You cannot be paid by the program for days for which you receive a salary,
    even if your job takes place in the bush.
  3. Any income you receive from employment is accounted for in your file. 40% of this income will be deducted from your Basic Amount (which is based on the number of adults and children in your family unit).

What if I start working?

Contact your local administrator as soon as possible to tell them you or your consort are working. Your local administrator will make sure that no overpayment is created in your file by making the necessary adjustments. They may, however, need to cancel an ISP payment if the modification to your file was not made in time. Doing so helps you by not creating an overpayment that will need to be repaid to the Board.

You will need to mention how long you plan to work and how much you will be earning. When your temporary/seasonal job is over, your local administrator will give you a salary confirmation that must be filled out by your employer and sent to the Board.

IMPORTANT: You must provide all documents requested by the Board and your local administrator concerning your job. Otherwise, the Board will estimate your income and calculate your benefits accordingly.

Other Important Facts

  • If head of the family is working, no days are payable for the consort during that period of time, even if the consort harvests in the bush.
  • If the consort works, the salary received is accounted for and deducted from the basic amount. Days spent in the bush by the Head during this time are payable.
  • If you are unsure if you will work during the year or how much you will earn, your local administrator and you will estimate an amount to be included in your file. As long as you stay under that amount, no changes will be made to your benefits. At the end of the year, when you have provided all your salary confirmations to your local administrator, your file will be adjusted with the exact amounts.

Examples of benefits if you work*

Preliminary rates for 2007-2008

Exemples de calcul de prestations

As you can see from the examples, no matter the amount earned from a job, the amount received for days spent in the bush remains the same. If you worked but still spent 120 days in the bush, the Board will pay you 120 days in the bush. Only the basic amount changes when you earn a salary.

* Please note that ISP benefits vary according to your family and financial situation. Please contact your Local Administrator for the best evaluation of your ISP benefits.