ACTA is urging the quick passage of Bill C-2 which was announced last week by Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland and which will provide further support to the industry in response to COVID-19.
If passed, this bill will provide up to 75% wage and rent subsidies to travel agencies who suffered a revenue decline of 40% or greater – but there are some conditions.
However, ACTA points out, at this time there is no indication that independent travel agents will benefit from either program.
The association is continuing to meet with politicians and key government officials, urging them to amend the bill to include independent travel agents, or to introduce new financial supports for these sole proprietors.
ACTA is also raising further concerns following the emergence of Omicron, a new variant of concern, that has resulted in some governments quickly shutting borders, just weeks before the busiest travel season of the year.
Wendy Paradis, president of the association, said that: “ACTA is closely analyzing the situation and is deeply concerned about the impact on travel agencies and independent travel agents, who are currently without financial support.”
ACTA emphasized that there is an urgent need for all Members of Parliament and Senators to urgently pass Bill C-2 into law and to introduce support for independent travel agents, adding that without financial support travel and tourism businesses and jobs are immediately under threat.
As proposed, the bill will provide backdated wage and rent support from Oct. 24, 2021, ending May 7, 2022.
Wage and rent supports drop in half starting March 13, 2022; as an example, a business eligible for 75% subsidy would get that between Oct. 24, 2021 – March 12, 2022, and then up to 37.5% subsidy between March 13, 2022, and May 7, 2022.
To be eligible, businesses must have had a 40% or greater revenue decline for each month between March 15, 2020, and March 13, 2021. Further, eligibility is determined monthly starting Oct. 24, 2021, where a minimum revenue 40% drop or greater is required.
The program works similarly to the previous wage and rent subsidies and will be administered by the CRA.
Further, the Canada Worker Lockdown Benefit was proposed, which provides financial support to workers impacted by a lockdown issued by any level of government, including federal, provincial, and municipal. Current indications are that border restrictions and advisories do not constitute a lockdown under this program.
ACTA is once again calling on travel agencies and independent travel agents to write to their Members of Parliament to share their stories and need for immediate financial support.
In response to the Omicron variant, ACTA calls on all governments to follow the science to ensure the best possible health and economic outcomes and where appropriate, governments should coordinate their response globally.
Go to www.acta.ca