After over a year-and-a-half of lockdowns and sacrifice, Canadians are seeing the benefits of their efforts to stop COVID-19. The pandemic is not over, but we can now look beyond COVID to plan for our future. Now, the Canadian Chamber of Commerce is writing “mandate letters” to members of the Cabinet with policy priorities that will support growth of the Canadian economy.
Pandemic-related restrictions have disproportionately affected Canada’s tourism, travel, events, and hospitality sectors. These hardest hit sectors are important economic drivers and the heart of Canadian communities. It is more important than ever to ensure their survival through the ongoing fourth wave, and any subsequent waves, until they are able to recover. As businesses in these sectors were affected by necessary public health restrictions first and will be the last to see public health operating restrictions lifted, ensuring they have ongoing government support through the rest of 2021 and 2022 needs to be an immediate priority for the new government.
The Minister for Tourism should:
- Work with the Minister of Finance and Minister of Small Business to create a replacement program for the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy and Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy programs through to Spring 2022 that focuses on the hardest hit sectors (tourism, travel, hospitality) at the 75% support rate.
- Work with the Minister of Finance and Minister of Small Business to extend the Canada Recovery Hiring Program to March 31, 2022 to ensure businesses have access to funds as they recover and begin to increase staffing capacities.
- Work with the Minister of Finance and Minister of Small Business to introduce debt relief by extending repayment terms and forgiving interest payments on COVID-related government backed loans for SMEs in the hardest-hit sectors. This measure should apply to the Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA), the Business Credit Availability Program (BCAP) and the Highly Affected Sectors Credit Availability Program (HASCAP).
- Introduce new tax incentives and rebates to encourage domestic tourism, travel, and hospitality activities including a dine-in rebate for food and non-alcoholic drinks, and a domestic tourism tax credit to encourage families travel in Canada in 2022.
- Eliminate the alcohol escalator tax to help provide relief to the food services sector.
To see all 21 of our mandate letters to ministers, click here.