In Friday’s morning briefing, Canada Prime Minister Justin Trudeau took time to specifically address all small- to medium-sized business owners, the largest collective employer in the country, announcing that the wage subsidy for employees would increase from 10% to a meaningful 75%, retroactive to March 15.
He also announced launching small business loans of up to $40,000, which will be interest free for one year. Finally, in what he targeted as a relief to cash flow, small business owners will be able to defer their GST/HST payments until June. This alone equates to a $30 billion dollar investment. “It will help ensure that, when this pandemic passes, Canadian businesses and their employees will be there to restart our economy,” said Trudeau.
On the advocacy front, ACTA has received over 2,000 letters from concerned travel advisors and delivered them to the doorstep of the Prime Minister, the COVID-19 Cabinet Committee Members, MPs, MPPs, and MLA’s Prime Minister, the MPS and elected officials.
According to Wendy Paradis, ACTA President, “We’d like to thank all of our member travel agents and agencies across Canada who are taking the initiative to show how invaluable travel agents have been throughout this crisis in a variety of creative tools. This has been helpful in our lobbying efforts.”
The federal government announced yesterday that they have increased their financial aid package to $107 billion dollars. ACTA has now summarized what this means specifically to the travel agency community, which is posted on their website, www.acta.ca.
There is a $10 Billion dollar Business Credit Availability program through a variety of financial institutions listed on Canada.ca.
The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) is deferring tax payment until Aug. 31, 2020 to help businesses with cash flow. Immediate relief for small businesses with a 10% wage subsidy for the next 90 days, up to a maximum of $1,375 per employee and $25,000 per employer.
Any worker that is no longer receiving an income as a result of the COVID-19 crisis, including independent travel agents, is eligible for the $2,000 Emergency Relief Fund per month for four months/ 16 weeks, provided the person has earned at least $5,000 in the last 12 months. It is retroactive from March 15. Workers should expect to receive this about 10 days after applying and the Application Portal for applying will be launched in early April.
ACTA also recognizes that refunds and future travel vouchers continue to embroil advisors in ongoing customer service issues with airlines and tour operators. ACTA along with other key industry stakeholders have been in contact with the federal government at the highest levels to tackle this challenge.
Advisors are encouraged to keep writing letters as ACTA lobbies for an additional $3 billion in financial aid specifically to support the travel community.