No New Money for Travel Industry in Federal Budget; ACTA Calls for Town Hall to Plan Next Steps

Chrystia Freeland, Finance Minister
Chrystia Freeland, Finance Minister, presenting the budget in the House 07APR.

Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland presented the federal government's latest budget Thursday afternoon and there was no good news in it for travel businesses or entrepreneurs struggling to recover.

The budget did not include funds for an extension for the Tourism and Hospitality Recovery Program, wage or rent subsidies. According to ACTA, all of these temporary financial support programs Ottawa instituted for COVID relief are now expected to be phased out on schedule on 07MAY 2022.

Furthermore, as ACTA notes in its response to the budget, no direct financial support for independent travel agents is forthcoming. Despite ACTA's intense lobbying for the extension of existing programs and a new support program specifically for independent advisors, it failed to materialize.

Wendy Paradis, President, ACTA.
Wendy Paradis, President, ACTA.

Wendy Paradis, President, ACTA says the organization is "disappointed that the 2022 federal budget failed to address the ongoing need for support for travel agencies and independent travel agents, who are still far from recovery.

All temporary financial support programs are being phased out, despite the impact of the Omicron variant and the delayed revenue model of our sector."

She points out ACTA's "intense advocacy pressure" on the federal government "to protect travel agencies and independent travel agents --- who are among the most impacted by the pandemic."

Although the advocacy did not pan out, ACTA says the fight isn't over.

ACTA says the focus now "transitions from survival to recovery and advocacy will begin with all levels of government on lifting remaining barriers to travel, reducing regulatory burdens, tackling the labour crisis, and fostering an environment where travel agencies and independent travel agents can thrive."

Despite the setback, the organization expects to "work closely" with the Ministry of Tourism on the new post-pandemic Federal Tourism Growth Strategy to ensure resiliency and opportunity in Canada’s travel and tourism sectors.

With a goal of digging deeper into the impact and fine print of the budget and strategizing next steps following this pivotal and disappointing budget, ACTA has already scheduled a virtual townhall on 11APR.

All travel industry stakeholders are urged to attend ACTA's English webinar on 11APR  at 1PM Eastern (register here) or French event on 13APR  at 11AM Eastern (register here).


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