Apply now for ACTA’s first River Cruise Summit with Avalon Waterways

The urgency is real: ACTA calls on all agents to contact MPs now to help expedite passing of Bill C-2

TORONTO — There’s a chance Bill C-2 and its financial support for hardest-hit sectors may not pass before the holiday break, and that has ACTA sounding the alarm bell.

Travel agencies who have been without financial support since October, when the government’s main COVID-19 financial aid programs wound down, could be facing bankruptcy if Bill C-2 is not passed in the coming days, says ACTA President, Wendy Paradis.

“The recently added testing regime for travellers, along with new travel restrictions, have caused a lot of concern and confusion – and customers are calling travel agencies looking for clarity asking what they will have to do, will they be covered by insurance – and should they be travelling at all,” said Paradis in a statement issued this morning.

“We implore this government not to go on their holiday break without passing this bill,” says Paradis. “The government has brought in new travel restrictions and testing requirements that have dampened Canadians’ enthusiasm for travel and it is imperative that they support travel agencies through this. This bill is the only lifeline open to travel agencies right now.”

If Bill C-2 is not passed before the lengthy government holiday break, many travel agencies will not survive, she added. ACTA has also alerted the government and the industry that independent agents are not covered by Bill C-2.

Bill C-2, which introduces the Tourism and Hospitality Recovery Program, is currently before the House of Commons. It would provide up to 75% wage and rent support to businesses with revenue losses of over 40%. The Finance Committee is currently reviewing the bill.

The House of Commons closes out the year on Fri. Dec. 17 and won’t reconvene until Jan. 31, 2022, notes Paradis. “So ACTA is urging all Members of Parliament to pass this bill before Friday. Travel agencies simply cannot wait until February at the earliest for assistance.”

ACTA’S CALL TO ACTION

ACTA is joining the Coalition of Hardest-Hit Businesses in a call to action for travel agencies to write to their MPs today, urging them to pass Bill C-2 without delay. The link to that template is here.

Paradis says ACTA has also been intensely advocating for independent travel agents who would not receive support from Bill C-2. Self-employed independent travel agents make up 40% of the travel industry in Canada.

As Paradis notes, Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland has said support for self-employed workers will be announced soon, but it is unknown whether independent travel agents will be eligible.

ACTA has a separate letter writing campaign for independent travel agents, urging parliamentarians to pass legislation that includes support for independent travel agents. Grassroots advocacy is critical to success, says Paradis. That link is here.

Members are urged to continue meeting with their MPs and share their stories. Paradis says that in this phase of ACTA’s advocacy strategy, we are hoping to get 1000s of letters sent using the templates provided to get the attention of MPs at this critical stage. The more these letters are sent, the more likely there be action, she added.