While ACTA says that government measures announced to help small businesses deal with the economic impact of the pandemic are in line with the feedback the association has been giving the government, more needs to be done.
ACTA president, Wendy Paradis said: “The new measures announced last Friday are aligned with ACTA’s feedback to the government.”
However, she also pointed out that ACTA has “made it clear to our government contacts that we expect that the travel industry will have a longer recovery and experience some unique issues compared to most other industries. Special programs and consideration will be required to support travel agencies and travel agents.”
Measures announced by the federal government include:
- A 75% wage subsidy for qualifying businesses, for up to 3 months, retroactive to March 15, 2020. This will help businesses to keep and return workers to the payroll. ACTA actively lobbied for a 75% wage subsidy, knowing that the previously announced 10% was insufficient.
- Allow businesses, including self-employed individuals, to defer all Goods and Services Tax/Harmonized Sales Tax (GST/HST) payments until June. It will help businesses so they can continue to pay their employees and their bills, and help ease cash-flow challenges across the country.
- Launch the new Canada Emergency Business Account. This program will provide up to $25 billion to eligible financial institutions so they can provide interest-free loans to small businesses, in the form of lines of credit of up to $40,000 to businesses with payrolls of less than $1 million. A quarter of this loan (up to $10,000) is eligible for complete forgiveness.
- Launch the new Small and Medium-sized Enterprise Loan and Guarantee program that will enable up to $40 billion in lending, supported through Export Development Canada and Business Development Bank, for guaranteed loans when small businesses go to their financial institutions to help weather the impacts of COVID-19. This is intended for small and medium-sized companies that require greater help to meet their operational cash flow requirements.
ACTA will continue to meet with government on a daily basis and lobby for longer-term financial aid for travel agencies and travel agents given the uniqueness of our industry.
Said Paradis: “What we have been advised so far is that employees can apply for the Emergency Relief Fund (ERF) and then apply for EI when the ERF expires. Independent Travel Agents can apply for the Emergency Relief Fund.”
ACTA’s president continued: “We have further been advised that the 16-week period will be re-assessed as the longer-term impact of the COVID-19 pandemic unfolds. ACTA has made it clear to the government that 16 weeks will not be enough for Independent travel agents due to the uniqueness of the impact of the pandemic on the travel industry.”
Go to www.acta.ca for more.