ACTA Sees Wins For Trade In Fiscal Update, But Says It "Doesn't Go Far Enough"
Anna Kroupina, Open Jaw
Wendy Paradis, President, ACTA.
Despite some shortfalls, ACTA says travel agencies and advisors benefit in a number of areas from in the federal government's Fall Economic Statement (FES), which was presented by Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland on Monday (30NOV).
“While the FES does not go far enough to protect the thousands of Canadian jobs in the travel industry, it does go a long way to answering some of our hard-fought advocacy on wage subsidy, rent and helping with liquidity through [theHighly Affected Sectors Credit Availability Program]with 10 years to repay and low interest,"says Wendy Paradis, President, ACTA.
While the fiscal update covered a lot of ground, Paradis tells Open Jaw"too many details" remain to be worked out.
"Some of the new spending measures will require legislation being developed before coming into effect. Hopefully this will happen before the House of Commons rises for the winter break on 11DEC. With this in mind, we’re back 'at it' this morning and already have meetings set up with the federal government in regards to the details and potential next steps," she said in an email this morning.
Advocating For Commission Protection
Freeland did not share details on an aid package for large airlines, but said discussions were ongoing.
As Open Jaw reported, Minister of Transport Marc Garneau previously said acondition for federal supportis that airlines must provide millions of dollars in refunds for cancelled tickets.
Paradis tells Open Jaw ACTA is "very involved with both the government and the airlines" on this issue and will continue to advocate that any airline aid package that is tied to refunds must address the commission recall to travel agencies and travel advisors.
Benefits to thetrade:
The government will increase the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) to 75% from 20DEC through to 13MAR, 2021.
"This increase is definitely a positive step for travel agencies and travel agents currently on the CEWS program, or might be once business starts to return more robustly," ACTA says in a news release.
The Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy (CERS) program will be extended at the current 65% base rate through to 13MAR, 2021.
According to ACTA, "This support measure is very important, as over 70% of travel agencies were not able to tap into the original rent subsidy program. There is also a top up to 90% for businesses shut down due to public health guidelines.”
The newly-created Highly Affected Sectors Credit Availability Program (HASCAP) offers government-guaranteed low-interest loans of up to $1 million up to 10 years for heavily impacted businesses. The rates lower than those offered in the Business Credit Availability Program (BCAP).
"ACTA and a number of travel agency leaders, along with the hardest hit industries coalition lobbied government extensively for this program," ACTA says. "The vast majority of Canadian travel agencies who applied for the BCAP loan program were denied loans simply because the industry they worked in was considered too high risk.”
For travel agents and independent contractors, the government has not yet indicated whether it will extend the Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB) to JUN 2021.
Anna Kroupina Journalist
Anna is OJ's newest member and she joins the team as a writer/reporter. She co-writes the daily news and covers events. Although she's new to the industry, pursuing a career path in travel/tourism has been a goal since her first family road trip to the Florida Keys sparked a desire to discover the world and this exhilarating, fast-paced industry.