“Many will not survive without it”: ACTA sounds the alarm as CEWS, CERS and CERB start to wind down

TORONTO — ACTA is voicing its grave concern and disappointment that the federal government has still not earmarked any sector-specific support for the travel industry, especially needed now as lifeline programs like CEWS, CRB and CERS start to wind down.

For months now ACTA has warned the federal government that many travel agencies and independent travel agents could fail in the face of decreased federal supports. The winding down of the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) and the Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy (CERS) started July 4 and continue through September, when the programs end.

“We are extremely disappointed that the government has not heard our plea for the travel sector – as part of the hardest hit industries – to receive extended support through the end of this year,” said Wendy Paradis, ACTA president. “We will continue our efforts to push for this because we know many will not survive without it.”

ACTA has lobbied extensively for continued support for the travel sector, given that borders are still closed and travel advisories remain – and there is no clear plan for re-opening, she adds. There has been no agreement from the government to extend support to the sector, even with a provision in the budget for some support to be extended to November. 

ACTA is a partner in the Coalition for Hardest Hit Businesses (CHHB). Yesterday the CHHB renewed its call for additional financial support for the tourism and travel industries.

CEWS, CERS and CRB TIMELINES

Paradis notes that CEWS and CERS decline to 60% for the period July 4 to July 31. Effective August 1 to August 28 both programs decline further to 40% and both programs decline to 20% effective August 29, ending on September 25.

Not only that, but the Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB) is reduced effective July 18 to 31, from $900 to $540 (after taxes withheld) for a 2-week period.

Eligible CRB recipients can apply for a total of 25 periods (50 weeks) between September 27, 2020 and September 25, 2021.

As Paradis notes, many travel agencies have been relying on the wage subsidy and rent subsidy programs and many independent travel agents on the CRB.

CALL FOR SUPPORT

While the House of Commons has shut down for the summer, MPs are still working from their constituency offices, and agents can still make their voice heard. Provinces are also easing restrictions allowing people to hold in-person meetings. 

“Over the past 15 months, ACTA has asked you to write to your local MP and tell them your story. Now is the time to call and request an in-person meeting if possible. Tell them the importance of extending CERS, CEWS, and the CRB in full. Along with ACTA’s advocacy work, travel agents need to do everything they can, including sharing their stories in local papers and on social media in an effort to get government’s attention,” says Paradis.