The Tourism Industry Association of Canada has just announced that the Government of Canada has made several changes to federal support programs related to COVID-19. While full details are not yet available, below is a summary of changes to come:
· CEWS Extension – the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) is being extended through June 2021. Support will be available at a rate of 65% until December 19, 2020.
· CEBA Extension – the Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) is expanding existing funding for businesses by an additional $20,000, bringing total available funds up to $60,000 for Canadian businesses who require funds to cover expenses. Up to 50% of these additional funds are eligible for loan forgiveness.
· Changes to Rent Assistance – Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) for small businesses provides relief for small businesses experiencing financial hardship due to COVID‑19 and is being changed to provide rent support directly to tenants instead of through commercial landlords. The program will flow through the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA). This welcome change to rent assistance will make rent and mortgage support up to 65% available for hard hit businesses through June 2021. The maximum amount will be available to those experiencing income decreases of 70% or more.
These changes are a significant win for tourism sector businesses who continue to struggle due to barriers caused by COVID-19. TIAC has been calling for these improvements, and many others for many months, and believe that these new measures will be key in assisting tourism business survival through 2021.
TIAC wishes to thank the Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages, Melanie Joly as well as Small Business Minister Mary Ng and Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland for their support in making these changes possible, and assisting businesses through these difficult times.