ACTA has been in several meetings with the Ministry of Finance, which has now taken over the discussions from the Ministry of Transport to determine a framework for consumers, travel agents and airlines in establishing aid for the airline sector.
Wendy Paradis, president of ACTA, said: “Our talks have moved on from asking that travel agents and travel agencies be protected from commission recalls, to how to achieve that in whatever aid package is arrived at.”
Paradis noted that: “We are very encouraged by this and it is becoming clear that negotiations are at a critical stage and that decisions are expected very soon.”
ACTA’s president noted that since the New Year, the association’s advocacy efforts have intensified and that the government is acutely aware of ACTA’s concerns about the $200 million dollars in commission recalls should the government move forward with their plans to mandate consumer refunds.
Said Paradis: “We are providing additional information that they are now asking for.”
ACTA is also providing feedback and recommendations to the Ministry of Finance to ensure that the HASCAP program, which opened on Feb. 1, is working for travel agencies and that there is ease of access.
The association is strongly lobbying the government to allow a portion of the HASCAP loan to be forgiven, similar to what was offered with the CEBA program.
Meanwhile, ACTA is asking travel agencies to advise ACTA of their experience with applying for the HASCAP loan so that we can follow-up directly with the government if there are any roadblocks or issues.
ACTA is also preparing to submit its recommendations to Pre-Budget Consultations with the federal government and is asking for extensions of support for the sector.
Paradis said that: “Travel agencies, travel agents and independent travel agents are unique with sector specific challenges including the recall of commission tied to consumer refunds, and the need to extend the Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB) beyond the current 26 weeks. CRB should be at minimum 52 weeks, or until 90 days after travel and border restrictions are eased, and the extension should also include those collecting EI Benefits.”
ACTA is aligned, where possible, with other organizations– including those Members of the Coalition of Hardest Hit Businesses, specifically the Tourism Industry Association of Canada and the Hotel Association of Canada, as well as the Canadian Travel and Tourism Roundtable.
“There is strength in numbers and collectively our voice is recommending changes to several federal support programs,” said Paradis.
ACTA will host a webinar on March 2, 2021 (English) and March 4, 2021 (French), which will cover the latest updates on advocacy aid, provincial programs and travel industry restart plans.
To register, go to https://register.gotowebinar.com/register/3520274905533880844