Julie Payette, Governor General of Canada, delivering the throne speech on 23SEP.
The Liberal government laid out its plan to guide the country through the rest of the COVID-19 pandemic in its throne speech yesterday, promising “further support for industries that have been the hardest hit, including travel and tourism, hospitality, and cultural industries like the performing arts.”
Specifically, it pledged to extend the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) through to next summer, expand the Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) to assist businesses with fixed costs, and improve the Business Credit Availability Program.
Wendy Paradis, president of the Association of Canadian Travel Agencies (ACTA), says the extension of CEWS is “great news for businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, especially Canada’s hardest hit industries such as travel agencies. We commend the government for working with ACTA and our other sector partners and committing to extend a program so critical to so many Canadians.”
Details as to what support for travel and tourism will look like were not disclosed during the throne speech but, in speaking with Open Jaw, Paradis says the mere fact the sectors were mentioned “is very encouraging.”
“The throne speech doesn’t normally go into details. It’s very unusual to provide insight into new programs being tabled such as travel and tourism,” she told Open Jaw in a phone call.
She said ACTA’s efforts lobbying for ongoing sector-specific aid for travel agencies and advisors will continue.
“Although we are encouraged with the remarks shared in the throne speech– and that our voices have been heard — ACTA’s advocacy efforts don’t stop here. In fact, we’ve just entered the next step of critical lobbying to ensure that travel agents are part of all types of financial aid support for as long as possible,” said Paradis.
“Our businesses are resilient and will thrive in time, and I am encouraged the government recognizes the need for bridge support to get us through these difficult times.”
The Liberals also said they will work with partners to support regional routes for airlines, CBC reports.
“It is essential that Canadians have access to reliable and affordable regional air services. This is an issue of equity, of jobs, and of economic development. The government will work to support this,” says the speech.
NACC Presses For “Coherent, Concrete” Plan For Aviation Sector
While acknowledging the government’s intention to introduce further support for the travel and tourism sectors, The National Airlines Council of Canada (NACC) urged Ottawa to come forward with a “coherent and concrete plan” to support the industries.
“The government’s plan must address the industry’s immediate concerns, including liquidity, and the promotion and development of a rapid testing protocol that can be utilized across the aviation sector, similar to what is already in place in other countries,” the NACC wrote in a news release.
COVID-19 has had a “devastating impact” on the air transport and tourism sector, which supports over 630,000 jobs and represents 3.2% of Canada’s GDP, notes NACC.
“Canada’s major trading partners and every major trading nation introduced support for their aviation sector months ago, precisely because of the critical role aviation must play in the economic recovery and the need to ensure their aviation sectors remain globally competitive. Some countries are now preparing a second sectoral support plan,” the NACC writes.
“We look forward to working with the government and all political parties, on a clear plan to support aviation. But we must work quickly.”
Anna Kroupina Journalist
Anna is OJ’s newest member and she joins the team as a writer/reporter. She co-writes the daily news and covers events. Although she’s new to the industry, pursuing a career path in travel/tourism has been a goal since her first family road trip to the Florida Keys sparked a desire to discover the world and this exhilarating, fast-paced industry.