ACTA’s talks with the Federal Ministry of Finance “have moved from asking that travel agents and travel agencies be protected from commission recalls, to how to achieve that” if an aid package is offered to the airline industry, the association’s President Wendy Paradis said.
“We are very encouraged by this and it is becoming clear that negotiations are at a critical stage and that decisions are expected very soon,” she said.
In NOV, then-Minister of Transport Marc Garneau stated that any airline support put forth by the federal government would be contingent on airlines providing millions of dollars in refunds for cancelled tickets. That meant Canada’s travel advisors could be at risk of losing $200 million in commissions.
Paradis says that since the New Year, the government has become acutely aware of ACTA’s concerns on commission recalls should the government move forward with their plans to mandate consumer refunds.
The Ministry of Finance has since taken over the discussions from the Ministry of Transport.
Government Seeks Input on HASCAP Loans for Agencies
Another one of ACTA’s lobbying efforts includes working with the Ministry of Finance to ensure agencies have easy access to the Highly Affected Sectors Credit Availability Program (HASCAP), which opened on 01FEB. HASCAP is a government-backed low-interest loan program for Canadian businesses that have been adversely affected by COVID-19.
ACTA says it is lobbying the government to allow a portion of the HASCAP loan to be forgiven, similar to what was offered with the Canada Emergency Business Account program.
“ACTA is asking travel agencies to advise ACTA of their experience with applying for the HASCAP loan so that we can follow-up directly with the government if there are any roadblocks or issues,” the association said.
CRB & EE Extensions Key Points in Pre-Budget Submission
ACTA is preparing to submit its recommendations to pre-budget consultations with the federal government and is asking for extensions of support for the sector.
“Travel agencies, travel agents and independent travel agents are unique with sector specific challenges including the recall of commission tied to consumer refunds, and the need to extend the Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB) beyond the current 26 weeks. CRB should be at minimum 52 weeks, or until 90 days after travel and border restrictions are eased, and the extension should also include those collecting Employment Insurance (EI) Benefits,” said Paradis.
ACTA Webinars to Cover Advocacy, Provincial Programs and Restart
ACTA will host webinars on 02MAR, 2021 (English) and 04MAR, 2021 (French) to cover the latest updates on advocacy aid, provincial programs and travel industry restart plans. Interested parties can register to attend the webinar at https://register.gotowebinar.com/register/3520274905533880844