The Hotel Association of Canada is applauding Ottawa’s decision to extend the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy through next spring, saying the move will provide desperately needed help for this country’s ailing tourism trade, reports Ian Stalker in today’s issue of Press Today.
The federal government announced during Wednesday’s Speech from the Throne that it has decided to continue to make the subsidy — which sees Ottawa agree to pay up to 75% of the salaries of businesses that have seen their revenues cut by half or more because of the coronavirus pandemic — available well into 2021.
The program had been due to expire in December.
The extension was quickly welcomed by Susie Grynol, president of the Hotel Association of Canada, which had been lobbying with other tourism industry organizations for a CEWS extension.
“We are delighted to hear today that the government has listened,” Grynol said in a statement.
In its comments on the Throne Speech, the Tourism Industry Association of Canada (TIAC) said that it was “thrilled to see that, after relentless advocacy efforts by our team and sectoral partners, hardest hit businesses, such as those in travel and tourism as well as the visitor economy, are a priority to the government strategy moving forward.”
In a statement released following the Throne Speech, TIAC said that “… travel and tourism was among the only industries directly mentioned in the speech as a sector in need of further support.”
And TIAC pointed to support measures that included the extension of the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) program through the summer of 2021, investment in liquidity measures including enhancements to the Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) and Business Credit Availability Program (BCAP), and further support for industries that have been the hardest hit, including travel and tourism, hospitality, and cultural industries like the performing arts. TIAC said that: “These measures have the potential to provide much needed relief to many of you in the coming months as we wait for a return to conditions that will support a flourishing industry.”
And it added that it was also pleased to hear that the government is investing in technologies to improve COVID-19 testing, including faster and safer tests and a vaccine strategy once one becomes available. These measures will be key to returning inbound travel to pre-COVID-19 levels, and aide in the return of normal travel activities.
Other Throne Speech highlights include:
* Support regional routes for airlines
* The largest investment in Canadian history in training for workers
* Acknowledged that Immigration remains a driver of Canada’s economic growth
The Hotel Association of Canada was one of a quartet of tourism industry organizations that had been calling on Ottawa to extend CEWS well into 2021, bluntly warning that the survival of many tourism companies depended on it’s being available through spring.
Mid-September saw the newly formed Coalition of Hardest Hit Businesses launch a campaign urging that CEWS be continued, arguing the travel industry is particularly vulnerable to the fallout from the pandemic.
Along with HAC, the group included the Tourism Industry Association of Canada (TIAC), the Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada (ITAC) and Major Events and Festivals Canada.