ACTA is in an upbeat mood, with good news for the industry coming from several fronts, including from the federal government and TICO.
Wendy Paradis, president of ACTA, observed that: “Our advocacy for government support continues to strengthen throughout the COVID-19 health and economic crisis. We are pleased that our advocacy was successful with the federal government, the Ontario government and TICO.”
The industry association had lobbied both TICO and the Ontario government for relief from registration fees for another year.
Said Paradis: “We are pleased that the Ontario government gave additional exceptional funding to TICO so that fees could once again be waived for a third year.”
ACTA’s president pointed out that: “Removing this financial barrier will make a significant difference for many Ontario travel agencies, and ACTA is thankful to the Government of Ontario and Ross Romano, Minister of Government and Consumer Services for unlocking funding to TICO in support of this fee waiver.” She also said that during ACTA’s meetings with government, it advocated for a full review of TICO and the Compensation Fund, and will continue that work going forward.
ACTA is further advocating with the governments of British Columbia and Quebec for fee waivers during the COVID-19 crisis.
There was more good news from the federal government with announcement of extensions to the Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) and Regional Relief and Recovery Fund (RRRF) loan repayment deadlines.
Paradis said that: “The COVID-19 crisis is lasting much longer than we all anticipated and ACTA is advocating for further loan forgiveness to support industry survival.”
ACTA continues to advocate for independent travel agent financial support, and has sought clarity on independent travel agent access to the Canada Worker Lockdown Benefit (CWLB), which provides $300/week to eligible workers in a lockdown region.
Over the holidays, ACTA submitted a proposal to the Ministry of Tourism — the Independent Travel Agent Relief Program (ITARP)– which pushes for equality in terms of financial support for independent travel agents and other small businesses. The ITARP is being considered by the Ministry of Tourism, who are interested in finding solutions to support independent travel agents.
Further, knowing that the rent and wage subsidies are scheduled to drop significantly starting in March, ACTA is already advocating for the extension of the Tourism and Hospitality Recovery Program wage and rent subsidies at the highest levels to support travel and tourism business survival.
Details on the various programs are as follows:
CEBA/RRRF loan repayment extension
- The repayment deadline to qualify for partial loan forgiveness is extended by a year to Dec. 31, 2023.
- For the CEBA, repayment on or before the end of 2023 will result in loan forgiveness up to 1/3 of the total value (up to $20,000).
- Outstanding loans after 2023 will be converted to a two-year term loan with interest of 5% per year, to be paid in full by Dec. 31, 2025.
- No new applications for CEBA or RRRF loans are being accepted at this time.
TICO fee waiver
- TICO annual registration renewal fees and Compensation Fund contributions owed from April 1, 2022 to March 31, 2023 are waived for travel agencies and wholesalers.
- The waiver applies to all those who are licensed with TICO as of March 31, 2022.
- Registrants are still required to complete and file a Registration Renewal Form and Compensation Fund Form (Form-1), but no payments are owed.
Canada Worker Lockdown Benefit
- The CWLB is not a sector-specific program, and is available to all Canadian residents. Individuals must determine personally if they meet the criteria established by the Canada Revenue Agency.
- Furloughed travel agency employees and independent travel agents are encouraged to contact the Canada Revenue Agency to discuss their personal eligibility: 1-800-959-8281
Go to www.acta.ca for more.