Coalition of Hardest Hit Businesses urges CEWS extension

OTTAWA — The Coalition of Hardest Hit Businesses is urging the federal government to extend the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) into spring / summer 2021, and maintain the subsidy at the full 75% rate for businesses facing an ongoing revenue decline of 50% or higher.

Canada’s travel and tourism industries have been hit harder than most with the pandemic, says Susie Grynol, President and CEO of the Hotel Association of Canada.

Speaking at the CHHB’s press conference at the Fairmont Chateau Laurier in Ottawa yesterday, and later via Zoom, Grynol said COVID-19 “has had a Depression-era impact on our sectors.”

The federal government deserves full marks for all of its aid programs unveiled in the wake of COVID-19, she said, adding that the travel and tourism industries understand the need for the ongoing restrictions. “But winding down CEWS for all businesses at the same time doesn’t make sense,” she says. “And keeping the subsidy at 75% is critical.”

Currently, starting on Sept. 26, the amount of wage subsidy funding for all businesses will decrease until the subsidy is eliminated entirely in December.

Grynol added that the travel and tourism sectors “are not in recovery mode yet. We are still in an emergency. And that emergency is palpable and real.”

The CHHB includes TIAC, Canadian Hotel Association, Indigenous Tourism Association Canada, Festivals & Major Events Canada and ACTA. The group has more than 40 stakeholders in all, representing a variety of sectors including tourism, arts and culture, events and festivals, and hospitality.

“In the COVID-19 pandemic, our businesses were the first shut down, and we will be the last to recover – in short, we are the hardest hit businesses,” said Charlotte Bell, President and CEO of the Tourism Industry Association of Canada. “Our sectors will bounce back when COVID is behind us, but this fall we face bankruptcy and unemployment for over two million Canadians working in our sectors.”

Grynol noted that in industry polls about the impact of COVID-19, 60% of tourism and travel-related businesses “said they’re on life support” and 90% said extending CEWS into 2021 is crucial for their survival.

“With COVID restrictions ongoing but government support fading, many of the hardest hit businesses will not survive and those jobs will be gone forever,” said Grynol. “

More details about the CHHB, including how to get involved, can be found at

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