Recovery will come, “because people want to travel”: An interview with ACTA President Wendy Paradis 

CEWS and CERS support must be extended through 2021 for hardest-hit sectors: ACTA

OTTAWA — ACTA is supporting the call from The Coalition of Hardest Hit Businesses urging the federal government to provide enhanced aid for hardest hit sectors, including travel, through 2021.

The coalition, which includes ACTA, released a survey March 24 on Parliament Hill showing that 60% of Canada’s hardest hit businesses will not survive if the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) and the Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy (CERS) are not extended beyond the June 5, 2021 deadline to the end of the year. 

Backed by those survey results, the coalition is formally appealing to the federal government to extend its CEWS and CERS supports to the end of the year, as part of the April 19, 2021 budget.

Airlines including Air Canada and WestJet have said they’re hoping travel restrictions including the 3-day hotel quarantine requirement will be phased out this spring, potentially replaced by more standard quarantine and / or testing, if needed. 

The hotel quarantine was announced Jan. 29, 2021, at the same time that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that all 4 of Canada’s major airlines –  Air Canada, WestJet, Sunwing and Transat – had agreed to suspend winter sun flights until April 30, 2021.

While there was never any end-date given for the 3-day hotel quarantine rule, the federal government has consistently said throughout the pandemic that any travel measures will remain in place for as long as is necessary.

 

 

The coalition is also hoping for an easing of restrictions and a modest return of leisure travel for summer 2021. 

But conventions for fall 2021 have already been cancelled and business travel will not recover in the short term. 

The coalition includes 100+ stakeholders representing a variety of sectors including tourism, travel, arts and culture, events and festivals, accommodation and hospitality.

ACTA President Wendy Paradis says: “As a member of the Coalition, we support the Coalition’s request for the extension and enhancement of vital programs such as the wage and rent subsidy through to the end of 2021.”

Ahead of the release of the federal budget on April 19, Paradis says ACTA has also intensified lobbying efforts for the extension of other programs of critical importance to travel agencies, travel agents and independent contractors, including the Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB) and Employment Insurance (EI) until the end of 2021. And, of course, unique to the travel industry sector, funding to protect travel agencies and independent travel agents from recall commission when the government announces mandatory consumer refunds by airlines.

“The travel industry will be in a holding pattern until we see a fully developed ‘Roadmap to Recovery’ from the federal government that includes the conditions and metrics required to start easing restrictions such as the mandatory hotel stopover program, the 14-day quarantine, the travel advisories and other measures,” said Paradis.