Media Releases May 26, 2020

Canadian Chamber calls for seasonal businesses to have access to support programs

(OTTAWA) – May 26, 2020 — The Canadian Chamber of Commerce’s Policy Advisor, Jarred Cohen, issued the following statement regarding the need for additional government assistance in recovery efforts in the travel, tourism, and hospitality sector:

“As the one of the first sectors to bear the economic impacts of COVID-19, the travel, tourism, and hospitality sector will consequently be one of the last to fully recover as consumers face new realities in a post-COVID scenario.

Whether it’s hotels or restaurants or airports or airlines, it is increasingly clear these companies need more help from business supports such as the Large Employer Emergency Financing Facility (LEEFF) the Canadian Emergency Wage Subsidy, and the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance Program. In some cases, however, businesses do not qualify due to their seasonal nature. They, and the Canadian Chamber, are calling on the federal government to adapt these programs to fill this critical gap.

The Canadian Survey on Business Conditions revealed that 42% of businesses in the accommodation and food sectors, compared to 26% of all businesses, are reporting revenue drops of over 50%. Just over a quarter of companies in these sectors cannot maintain full or even partial operations while social distancing measures are in place, compared to the national average of 17.5%. The statistics illustrate the highly precarious position that businesses in these sectors find themselves in and demonstrate that the federal government should move quickly to provide support.

The federal government has taken some action to help firms whose business is primarily seasonal in the form of a $1 billion regional relief fund. This funding will help to some extent, but inevitably, businesses in the travel, tourism and hospitality sector will require more targeted support.

Apart from short-term liquidity constraints, reopening these economic sectors will require consumer confidence and trust in the system. Consumers will need to trust that businesses are taking all the precautions and measures necessary to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19, be it through appropriate disinfection of facilities or implementation of social distancing guidelines. Trust takes time, and time is in short supply in the travel, tourism and hospitality sector.”

About the Canadian Chamber of Commerce – Because Business Matters

The Canadian Chamber of Commerce helps build the businesses that support our families, our communities and our country. We do this by influencing government policy, by providing essential business services and by connecting businesses to information they can use, to opportunities for growth and to a network of local chambers, businesses, decision-makers and peers from across the country, in every sector of the economy and at all levels of government, as well as internationally. We are unapologetic in our support for business and the vital role it plays in building and sustaining our great nation.

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For more information, please contact:

Phil Taylor