TORONTO — ACTA says quick passage of Bill C-2 is essential or thousands of travel and tourism jobs will be under threat.
ACTA is also alerting the industry that so far independent travel agents and agencies are not covered under Bill C-2.
Deputy Prime Minister Freeland tabled Bill C-2 in the House of Commons last week. Bill C-2 is aimed at providing further support in response to COVID-19.
If passed, the bill will provide up to 75% wage and rent subsidies to travel agencies who suffered a revenue decline of 40% or greater – with conditions. As ACTA also notes, at this time there is no indication that independent travel agents will benefit from either program.
ACTA President Wendy Paradis says ACTA continues to meet with politicians and key government officials, urging them to amend the bill to include independent travel agents, or to introduce new financial supports for these sole proprietors.
Paradis adds that new border restrictions due to the omicron variant, just weeks before the busiest travel season of the year, is adding to the industry’s concerns.
“ACTA is closely analyzing the situation and is deeply concerned about the impact on travel agencies and independent travel agents, who are currently without financial support,” she said.
ACTA’s ask includes the urgent need for all MPs and Senators to pass Bill C-2 into law and to introduce support for independent travel agents.
The new Tourism and Hospitality Recovery Program, announced last month, is part of Bill C-2. As proposed, the bill will provide backdated wage and rent support from Oct. 24, 2021 through May 7, 2022.
Wage and rent supports drop in half starting March 13, 2022. ACTA gives this example: a business eligible for 75% subsidy would get that between October 24, 2021 – March 12, 2022, and then up to 37.5% subsidy between March 13, 2022, and May 7, 2022.
To be eligible, businesses must have had a 40% or greater revenue decline for each month between March 15, 2020, and March 13, 2021. Further, eligibility is determined monthly starting October 24, 2021, where a minimum revenue 40% drop or greater is required.
The program works similarly to the previous wage and rent subsidies and will be administered by the CRA.
Also announced last month, the proposed Canada Worker Lockdown Benefit provides financial support to workers impacted by a lockdown issued by any level of government, including federal, provincial, and municipal. However, current indications are that border restrictions and advisories do not constitute a lockdown under this program, says Paradis.
CALL TO ACTION
ACTA is urging travel agencies and independent travel agents to write to their MPs to share their stories and need for immediate financial support.
ACTA is meeting with politicians and government decision makers in an effort to secure implementation of the proposed bill as quickly as possible.
And in response to the omicron variant, ACTA is calling on all governments “to follow the science to ensure the best possible health and economic outcomes. Where appropriate, governments should coordinate their response globally.”