Rosario (Ross) de Gregorio of Manditours International Inc. in Richmond Hill, Ontario is not happy with the Ontario government and is urging the industry to speak up about policies that are impacting travel agencies in the province.
De Gregorio reports that last week Richmond Hill Travel, a successful applicant for the COVID-19 Small Business Support Grants, received the following message from ReliefFundSystem@ontario.ca:
“An audit of the program has now been completed. We regret to inform you that, despite your attestation, and after several reviews of your file, it has been determined that your business is not eligible for the Ontario Small Business Support Grant. We therefore won’t be sending you a second payment under this program.”
Writes de Gregorio: “We called the telephone number listed in this e-mail and asked for an explanation or a reason why we were not eligible to receive the Ontario Small Business Grant and the clerk who answered would not be able to offer any explanations. She would just say that there was no appeal to the decision. When asked to refer our call to a supervisor or someone able to provide further information, she replied that there was no such a person and she apologized for our situation.”
De Gregorio continues: “In February, 2021, we had applied successfully for the COVID-19 Small Business Support Grants, as “Retail required to close for in-person shopping (excluding grocery)” and were approved and received an initial $20,000.00. Subsequently, the Ontario Conservative Government made and announcement that Small Businesses that were approved for the first $20,000.00 grant were eligible to receive an additional $20,000.00 grant to help them stay open and continue their business activities https://news.ontario.ca/en/release/60884/ontarios-action-plan-doubles-ontario-small-business-support-grant.”
He points out that: “On the basis of this information, Richmond Hill Travel made the financial/commercial decision to stay open and continue with our existing commercial lease.”
And he concludes: “We think this is discriminatory and ask for a full compensation. If any Travel Agency owners in Ontario have received the same response, please contact Ross de Gregorio by either calling 905-737-6111 or 800-566-6608.”
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