OTTAWA — The Coalition of Hardest-Hit Businesses is calling on the federal government to protect travel and tourism businesses and their employees in Canada as the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) and the Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy (CERS) are phased out.
Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the CEWS and CERS programs have been essential for travel and tourism businesses to stay afloat and avoid permanent closure. If these two financial support programs wind down on July 4, many businesses will face another revenue crisis in the fall and winter months.
“Our members need these programs to survive,” says Beth Potter, president and CEO of the Tourism Industry Association of Canada (TIAC). “Our most recent survey from June shows that nearly 60 per cent of Canada’s hardest-hit businesses will not survive if CEWS and CERS are not extended. This, together with the increased uncertainty around the re-opening of our international borders, the absence of major tourism events and conventions, and the slow return of business travel means we could see a potential collapse of our industry.”
“Our industry was the first hit, the hardest hit and will be the last to recover,” says Susie Grynol, president and CEO of the Hotel Association of Canada (HAC). “We know that recovery for our businesses will be slower than other sectors; it will not happen with the flick of a switch. For our members who are directly tied to international and business travel, and major events and festivals that need much more lead time to plan, continued and tailored wage and fixed cost support will be needed for those that need it most to ensure we can get to the other side.”
“The tourism industry employs thousands of Canadians,” says Philip Mondor, president of Tourism HR Canada. “The wind down of these programs will mean many businesses will have to let staff go and millions of Canadians will be out of work.”