By Nicole Di Tomasso
The Hotel Association of Canada (HAC) and the Coalition of Hardest Hit Businesses are launching a campaign calling on the federal government to extend the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) and the Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy (CERS) to ensure the survival of the hotel, tourism, arts, culture and hospitality industries into the fall and winter.
Budget 2021 confirms the subsidy programs will be phased out between July and September 2021, however, many businesses will still need financial support until normal travel and events can resume.
“If certain segments do well, they will not need, nor be eligible for, support. But for those businesses directly tied to international travel, business events and business travel, as well as major festivals, fairs, events and other experiences that need much more lead time to plan, they won’t come back until spring of 2022 at the earliest and will need a bridge to get there,” says Alana Baker, vice-president of Policy and Government Affairs, HAC.
According to the Coalition of Hardest Hit Businesses, 60 per cent of businesses will be unable to stay operational without an extension to CEWS and CERS. It will be devastating for businesses that managed to survive until now through subsidy lifelines, only to have to shut their doors before entering into a period of sustainable revenue growth.
In response, HAC is urging hotel businesses to take action by sending letters to Members of Parliament, attending events and sharing messages on social-media pages so the government understands the severity of the situation and continues to provide support to businesses anticipating another revenue crisis.
“One thing is for sure: we’re not seeing a permanent shift in human behaviour. Multiple polls and studies have found that Canadians are eager to travel again and that Zoom will never replace large face-to-face events. These events will come back in the spring once the industry has enough time to organize them,” says Baker. Our recovery is certain, just not imminent. Our sector is resilient, and we’re stronger together. We know that our businesses are integral to the tourism ecosystem and our communities, and we’ll continue to push to ensure we can make it through to the other side.”