ACTA Sounds The Alarm

With new testing rules and travel restrictions weighing heavily on travel agencies and the industry at large, ACTA is sounding the alarm, telling Ottawa that for travel agencies who have been without financial support since October, they could be facing bankruptcy if Bill C-2 is not passed before the holiday break.

Wendy Paradis, president of ACTA, said: “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.”

Paradis warned that if Bill C-2 is not passed before the lengthy government holiday break, many travel agencies will not survive.

Said ACTA’s president: “We implore this government not to go on their holiday break without passing this bill. 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.”

And Paradis added: “This bill is the only lifeline open to travel agencies right now.”

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.

ACTA’s Paradis pointed out that: “The last day the house sits is Friday, December 17, and they will not reconvene until January 31, 2022 so ACTA is urging all Members of Parliament to pass this bill before Friday.”

And she concluded: “Travel agencies simply cannot wait until February at the earliest for assistance.”

The industry association is joining the Coalition of Hardest-Hit Businesses in a call to action for travel agencies to write to their Members of Parliament today, urging them to pass Bill C-2 without delay

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.

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

In support of this, 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

Members are urged to continue meeting with their MPs and sharing their stories. 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 we are to get action.

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