ACTA welcomes the federal government’s 09OCT announcement about changes to financial aid programs, but says the move doesn’t do enough to help travel advisors survive the coronavirus pandemic.
“We are pleased to see that some of our recommendations have been heard,” says Wendy Paradis, ACTA president. “However, our work will continue as this falls short of what is needed to save the travel industry while travel restrictions remain in place.”
Over the past several months, ACTA has been lobbying the federal government to provide sector-specific aid for the travel industry.
Some of the updates are difficult to find on the government websites, and ACTA has provided a summary overview of the latest programs:
Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS)
When the government extended CEWS to the end of the year, a sliding scale was implemented. The government now says the rate will be 65% up to 19DEC, 2020.
At this time, the government has not provided additional information as to what the rates will be after 19DEC. ACTA says it will continue to lobby for a minimum 85% subsidy.
Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy (CERS)
ACTA says it is “very pleased” the federal government made the rent subsidy available directly to tenants, extending it to JUN 2021. The CERS program will cover up to 65 % of rent or mortgage interest payments for businesses with a revenue decline of 70% or more.
The government also announced a top-up to CERS of 25% for organizations temporarily shut down by a mandatory public health order, in addition to the 65% subsidy.
“ACTA will continue to tell the government travel agencies should also be eligible for the top up because, while they may not be subject to public health orders, they have literally been ‘shuttered’ since March due to mandatory closed borders, travel advisories and 14-day quarantines, which currently remain in place. ACTA also has asked that the program be made available retroactively,” the association says.
Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA)
The federal government is expanding CEBA to enable businesses to access an interest-free loan of $20,000 in addition to the original $40,000 CEBA loan. Half of this additional financing would be forgivable if repaid by 31DEC, 2022. The deadline for CEBA is being extended to 31DEC, 2020.
Regional Relief Recovery Fund (RRRF)
The government announced an additional $600 million to support businesses through the RRRF. The Fund was established to be delivered through Canada’s Regional Development Agencies (RDA). It is intended for small- and medium-sized businesses.
Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB)
The new CRB provides $500 per week for up to 26 weeks, to workers who have stopped working or had their employment/self-employment income reduced by at least 50% due to COVID-19, and who are not eligible for Employment Insurance (EI).
The application process for the CRB can be completed through its My Account portal, which opened 12OCT, 2020, and includes new features:
- shorter eligibility periods of two weeks;
- retroactive periods, meaning that people will be required to apply after the two-week period has ended;
- a 10% tax withholding at source;
- a three-to-five-day window to receive direct deposit, and a 10- to 12-day window for cheque by mail.
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.