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TORONTO — Industry groups including ACTA and the Coalition of Hardest Hit Businesses are applauding the federal government’s announcement that the wage subsidy (CEWS) will be extended until summer 2021.
Of all the federal aid programs introduced in the wake of COVID-19, the wage subsidy has been the biggest lifeline for travel-related businesses in these difficult times.
“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.” says ACTA President, Wendy Paradis. “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.”
The announcement, made in yesterday’s Throne Speech, included other measures coming this fall, like expanding the Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) to help businesses with fixed costs and improving the Business Credit Availability Program
The federal government has also indicated that it will introduce further support for industries that have been the hardest hit, including travel and tourism and hospitality, as well as cultural industries like the performing arts.
“ACTA maintains that there is need for ongoing sector specific support for travel agencies, travel agents and the travel industry,” 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.”
Meanwhile the Coalition of Hardest Hit Businesses (CHHB) released this statement:
“Today, we applaud the Government for listening to stakeholders as they laid out their new priorities. Specifically, we thank the government for recognizing the unique position of our sectors – that travel and tourism, hospitality, and cultural industries like the performing arts are the hardest hit – and for committing to extend CEWS until summer 2021.”
The CHHB went on to say that Minister Melanie Joly “has been a strong advocate for our sectors, and we look forward to continuing to work with her and the government at large to ensure that the design of the CEWS program is amended to include the full 75% subsidy through to the summer 2021.”
REACTION FROM AIRLINES
With no direct federal aid in sight yet for the airline industry, the National Airlines Council of Canada said the federal government needs to “immediately come forward with a … concrete plan” to help the travel sector recover.
Canadian Airports Council president Daniel-Robert Gooch noted that tens of thousands of air industry jobs have been lost since March as costs and debt pile up.
Gooch said yesterday’s Throne Speech offered “some hope” to shore up the industry.
The council represents the largest Canadian carriers. Passenger numbers are down 94% from 2019 amid the pandemic’s ongoing travel restrictions.
With file from The Canadian Press