The Tourism Industry Association of Canada (TIAC) said it is encouraged by the tourism-specific support measures outlined in the Fall Economic Statement presented on November 30 by the Honorable Chrystia Freeland, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance.
“We appreciate the work and commitment that the government has put forward in the FES. It is reassuring that our sector is being acknowledged and that its unique needs are being recognized as we continue to look for hope of recovery through the pandemic,” said Vince Accardi, Acting CEO of TIAC. “We want to thank the government, specifically Minister Joly, for fighting for the sector.”
TIAC works with the government and various partners to establish specific support measures for tourism. As members of the Most Affected Business Coalition, TIAC and colleagues placed particular emphasis on three priorities: increased wage subsidy support, relief from fixed costs, and access to liquidity.
The Economic Statement, titled ‘Supporting Canadians and Fighting COVID-19‘, recognized and highlighted the specific challenges facing the tourism sector, and proposed financial support based on industry demands. However, the statement did not take into account all of these requests.
The following commitments are encouraging for the visitor economy:
- Creation of the Highly Affected Sectors Credit Availability Program, a low-interest loan program fully guaranteed by the government and aimed at the hardest-hit businesses.
- Increase to 75% of the maximum rate of the wage subsidy program for the next three periods, or until March 13, 2021.
- 3. Extending the current subsidy rates of the Government’s fixed cost relief program, Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy to March 13, 2021, to provide greater certainty to businesses.
- Additional funding of $ 500 million granted to regional development agencies to financially support local businesses that do not have access to other forms of support from the federal government.
- Anticipated support for airlines and festivals and events.
While such commitments on the part of the government are certainly encouraging, there is still a fair amount of work to be done in order to ensure the effective and strategic deployment of such programs.
“Tourism businesses have been facing months of reduced or no revenue – and without certainty of support, including timing, they cannot plan for their financial future,” added Accardi. “We look forward to continued work with the government to ensure these supports get to those who have been hardest hit, on the right terms and as soon as possible.”