Decision to extend wage and rent subsidies in Canada welcomed by FDFA

By Charlotte Turner |

A decision to extend the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) and the Canadian Emergency Rent Subsidy (CERS) until October 2021 has been welcomed by the country’s land border duty free industry, who recognise this as ‘a positive step’.

 

“The land border duty free industry is pleased with today’s announcement extending the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) and the Canadian Emergency Rent Subsidy (CERS) until October 2021 and view it as a positive step,” says the Frontier Duty Free Association.

 

“However, our businesses have been essentially shuttered since March 2020 and have seen a 95% reduction in revenues due to the land border closure. While we are pleased with the extension of the programs and the increase of the subsidy rates, these rates are not enough for the hardest hit businesses such as duty free stores and other tourism businesses to achieve recovery. A program that targets the tourism sectors is essential to business survival.”

 

As reported, during a press conference, the Frontier Duty Free Association’s Executive Director, Barbara Barrett called on the Canadian Government to save export businesses by granting them a specific relief package; a small percentage of the $500m Tourism Relief Fund announced by the government last year.

 

BACKED BY MPS

In an interview with TRBusiness, Barrett said that that during a virtual meeting between members of the land border duty free industry and 12 cross-party MPs, which took place a few weeks ago, the MPs agreed that the requested allocation of funds was a ‘fair request’.

 

She also revealed that the MPs were happy to sign a letter addressed to Canada’s Minister of Tourism, Mélanie Joly, urging her to recognise land border duty free operators as tourism businesses. This is pertinent as Barrett explained to TRBusiness that land border duty free businesses have been denied access to some tourism relief funds as the government identifies them as being ‘retail’ and not ‘tourism’.

 

Responding to the Government’s latest announcement, the Tourism Industry Association of Canada said: “Today’s announcement extending the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) and the Canadian Emergency Rent Subsidy (CERS) until October 2021 is a positive step in supporting the tourism industry that has lost most of the summer and still suffering from travel restrictions and border closures.

 

“This is a very positive step and the government deserves credit for listening to our sector.  However, we know that this will not be enough to keep thousands of businesses from closing their doors permanently and losing important tourism infrastructure.

 

“The tourism and travel industries were the first hit in the pandemic and the hardest hit, and we will be the last to recover. Without business survival programming that targets our sector, many tourism businesses will not survive.”

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