Govt. aid programs helpful but more assistance needed, says ACTA

ACTA “very pleased” with CERB extension, seeks more aid for agents

TORONTO — After months of lobbying, ACTA’s efforts have finally paid off with the recent news that the Canada Emergency Relief Benefit (CERB) has been extended by another four weeks.

The announcement was made last Thursday by Federal Employment Minister Carla Qualtrough, who confirmed that the CERB will now be made available to Canadians for a total of 28 weeks. The federal government also provided more details about the transition of CERB to Employment Insurance (EI) and that EI will now be available to more Canadians.

Moreover, a new proposed program – the Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB) – will be introduced for self-employed workers and those not eligible for EI. The CRB will provide $400 per week for up to 26 weeks over a one-year period. Details including changes to EI insurance premium rates, insurable hours and eligibility for the CRB can be found here.

Wendy Paradis, ACTA President, says the organization is “very pleased” that its coordinated industry lobbying efforts continue to see results.

“As the saying goes, ‘it takes a village’ and we are very grateful to all of the travel agents and travel agency leaders who took the time to send personal letters to their local government official, as well as the dozens and dozens of follow-up telephone calls over the past several months. It is certainly paying off,” she says.

Legislation will be introduced next month when the House of Commons resumes sitting to vote on the three new benefit programs, including the CRB.

Meanwhile, ACTA will be launching its new lobbying campaign in the coming days, following the recent resignation of Minister Morneau and subsequent position changes in Ottawa. On behalf of travel agencies and travel agents, ACTA is seeking sector-specific financial aid to weather the current financial crises. Among the most valued of the aid programs is the wage subsidy program, which ACTA says must be extended at the original rate of 75% or greater. With more than 95% revenue decline or greater for most travel agencies, this program is said to be essential to travel agencies’ survival.

“For all the meetings held with Members of Parliament and the thousands of letters sent to MPS and key Cabinet Ministers letting them know your story and the plight of those in the Canadian travel industry, ACTA wishes to acknowledge your efforts – thank you!” adds Paradis. “But we cannot let up, our industry is going to need continued relief into 2021.”

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