December 15, 2021

The holidays are quickly approaching, but I want to reassure you that our work on your behalf is going as strong as ever.

Bill C-2 needs to be re-introduced in the House for a 3rd reading and final vote. We are crossing our fingers that this will be approved by the House, and sent immediately to the Senate. Here, we hope it will be voted on as a Committee of the Whole and not referred to Committee for further study. As this is the last week Parliament is sitting this year, we are staying the course with our communications to get this passed.

The new Omicron variant has caused much confusion with new restrictions. We will be advocating for a process to be followed across the country when new variants emerge, as opposed to making quick decisions about new requirements. The tourism industry needs to be part of developing this process, and it needs to provide for predictability. The constant modifications without notice of requirements is a considerable issue for the industry, especially when things are not clear and not uniformly applied across Canada. We know this, and we are working to ensure consistency and clear communication to industry.

The team is combing through the Fiscal Economic Update presented yesterday afternoon, and have provided an analysis below.
 
Please reach out with any comments or questions on our advocacy work at beth@tiac-aitc.ca.

Sincerely,

Beth Potter
President & CEO
Tourism Industry Association of Canada
Dear Tourism Stakeholders,

The TIAC Team is pleased to provide you with this update on the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, including the steps government is taking to address the situation, as well as highlights of our recent advocacy efforts. We are working hard to make sure the industry’s voice is heard by government, and that you have the information you need to keep your business going in these uncertain times.

Please find the latest updates on official announcements and a recap of TIAC’s advocacy work on behalf of Canada’s Visitor Economy:
TIAC Advocacy Update

Last week, TIAC President and CEO, Beth Potter, appeared before the House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance to discuss the importance of targeted support for hard hit businesses. Coalition of Hardest Hit Businesses Co-Chair, Susie Grynol, President and CEO of the Hotel Association of Canada, also appeared to represent the hardest hit sectors.

We appeared to discuss Bill C2 - An Act to provide further support in response to COVID-19. We are actively advocating that this Bill pass before the House rises. If it is delayed, this will cause a disruption in subsidy support lasting several months. And although the support is retroactive, our members will face cash flow challenges in the short term.
 
Travel Advisory Update 

The federal government has re introduced its advisory against Canadians travelling outside of Canada for non essential purposes due to the rapidly circulating Omicron COVID-19 variant. The advisory will remain in place for at least four weeks and then be re-evaluated.

The government is also going to further expand its on-arrival testing and isolation rule which so far is only being randomly applied to air travellers. The government has said it will be made universal to all air travellers outside of the United States, but it hasn’t yet said when that will happen.

These new restrictions, especially on the cusp of the holiday season, will be another devastating blow to Canada’s tourism industry, which has already been the hardest hit of all industries by the pandemic.

This now adds even more pressing urgency for Parliament to pass Bill C-2 and move as quickly as possible to launch the Tourism and Hospitality Recovery and Hardest-Hit Business Recovery programs. The survival of our industry depends on it.

TIAC and the tourism industry across Canada believe the health and safety of all people, including all travellers, is of paramount importance, and that COVID-19 and its variants will be a fact of life for the foreseeable future. This reality must be managed effectively and in a concerted fashion by both industry and all levels of government.

It is becoming increasingly clear that Canada needs a playbook that will help guide the most appropriate reaction to the resurgence of variants. It is critical that this playbook also ensure greater predictability and consistency to the thousands of operators that are on the front lines of travel and tourism and which are directly impacted and are being called upon to help manage the constantly changing travel restrictions and testing requirements.
 
Economic and Fiscal Update 2021
TIAC Analysis

Yesterday, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Chrystia Freeland, presented the 2021 Canadian fiscal update.

This year, it provides Canadians with a report on the nation’s finances almost two years into a global pandemic.

Click here for the Economic and Fiscal Update and for the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance's speech.

Snapshot on COVID-19 measures

The Economic and Fiscal Update outlined the government’s plan to:
  • Ensure that booster shots are free for Canadians in all provinces and territories;
  • Protect children by making sure that Canada has the pediatric vaccines needed for children five and over to get their shots;
  • Procure millions of rapid tests free to provinces, territories, and Indigenous communities;
  • Invest in new anti-viral drugs for COVID-19 patients that prevent hospitalizations and can save lives and in building ventilation improvements to prevent outbreaks at schools and workplaces;
  • Support works and businesses through new programs like Local Lockdown Support and the Canada Worker Lockdown Benefit; and
  • Move forward on ten days of paid sick leave for workers in federally-regulated businesses.
  • Proposing $1.7 billion to Health Canada and the Public Health Agency of Canada to continue supporting provinces and territories in securing the rapid testing supplies they need to keep Canadians safe and healthy, including through expanded school and workplace testing programs.

Key Items for Tourism:

  • Extending Highly Affected Sectors Credit Availability Program (HASCAP) to March 31, 2022. This program was set to expire on December 31, 2021.

Legislation introduced for the Hardest Hit Sectors:

  • Introduced legislation on The Tourism and Hospitality Recovery Program which would provide support through wage and rent subsidies to organizations in the tourism and hospitality sectors, with a subsidy rate of up to 75 per cent, and The Hardest-Hit Business Recovery Program which would provide support through wage and rent subsidies to organizations that have faced deep losses, with a subsidy rate of up to 50 per cent. 
  • This legislation would also Extend the Canada Recovery Hiring Program until May 7, 2022 for eligible employers with current revenue losses above 10 percent, and to increase the rate to 50 per cent.
  • Bill C2 will need to be re introduced in the House for a third reading and final vote, and will then be sent to the Senate. TIAC is advocating for the timely passage of this Bill before the House rises this week. 
  • The Local Lockdown Program would provide organizations that face new local COVID-19-related lockdowns with up to the maximum amount available through the wage and rent subsidy programs. 
  • These programs would be available until May 7, 2022, with the proposed subsidy rates available until March 12, 2022. From March 13 to May 7, 2022, the support would decrease by half, in anticipation that the virus will be even more fully under control and our recovery will be firmly taking hold in all areas of the economy. Lockdown Support would continue to provide additional rent support of 25 per cent and be pro-rated based on the number of days a particular location was affected by a lockdown until May 7, 2022.
  • Extending the deadline for repayment of Canada Emergency Business Account loans.

Small Businesses Air Quality Improvement Tax 

  • The government proposes a refundable Small Businesses Air Quality Improvement Tax Credit of 25 per cent on eligible air quality improvement expenses incurred by small businesses to make it more affordable for them to invest in safer and healthier ventilation and air filtration. Businesses would receive the credit on eligible expenses incurred between September 1, 2021, and December 31, 2022, related to the purchase or upgrade of mechanical heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems and the purchase of standalone devices designed to filter air using high efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters, up to a maximum of $10,000 per location and $50,000 in total.

Vaccine Mandates Making Travel Safer
Vaccine mandates are helping businesses safely reopen and recover, which help
create jobs, increase workers’ hours and wages, and grow the middle class. To
protect the safety of travellers and workers, the government took action to put in
place a requirement that:

  • All travellers now departing from Canadian airports, on VIA Rail and Rocky Mountaineer trains, or on cruise ships (or non-essential passenger vessels on voyages of 24 hours or more) must be fully vaccinated, with very limited exceptions. 

  • All employers in the federally regulated air, rail and marine transportation sectors must establish vaccination policies that ensure employees are fully vaccinated against COVID-19. The government proposes to provide $37.4 million over three years, starting in 2021-22, to Transport Canada to support the implementation and oversight of this vaccine mandate for federally regulated air, rail, and marine employees and passengers.

Support for Proof of Vaccination 
The federal government is committed to a national proof of vaccination standard
and is working with every province and territory to develop a standard proof of
vaccination. This will help fully vaccinated Canadians to travel within the
country and internationally. All provinces and territories have confirmed that
they are moving forward with a standardized proof of vaccination certificate. The
government is putting aside the necessary funds for provinces’ and territories’
expenditures related to the implementation of their proof of vaccination
programs.

The federal government has also been working with international partners so
that the Canadian proof of vaccination standard is recognized widely at foreign
borders, allowing fully vaccinated Canadians to travel around the world.

  • TIAC is very pleased with this measure as we have been consistently calling for one, standardized national proof of vaccination mandate, to help ensure a seamless travel experience for both domestic and international travellers. 

The Economic Update also provided alternative economic scenarios based on the
ability to adapt to Omicron, and possible future variants of concern. These
scenarios would impact the tourism industry in increasingly devastating ways.
TIAC is monitoring the omicron variant and its impacts.
To learn more or provide comments on any of our advocacy initiatives, please reach out to Madison Simmons, Director of Government Affairs, at msimmons@tiac-aitc.ca.
TIAC in the Media

President and CEO Beth Potter has been active in the media over the past two weeks given the numerous announcements. Watch Beth’s interviews here:

PHAC Resources on COVID-19

Among the eligible population, young adults aged 18 to 39 years have the lowest vaccination coverage, as of October 16, 2021.
  • 75% of 18 to 29-year-olds are fully vaccinated. 
  • 77% of 30 to 39-year-olds are fully vaccinated.  
  • Between July 14 and October 18, 2021, within the 18 to 39-year-old age group: 
  • 2,037 people have been hospitalized with COVID-19; 
  • 384 people have been admitted to ICU; 
  • 45 people with COVID-19 have died. 
  • There is no way to tell how COVID-19 will affect you. While young people may sometimes have mild symptoms when infected with COVID-19, they can still get sick from the virus, spread the virus to others, and experience longer-term effects.  
  
Being fully vaccinated is one of the most effective ways to protect our families, communities and ourselves against COVID-19. By sharing this information with your stakeholders, clients and employees, you can help all of us to get back to the people and activities we miss.    
   
  
COVID-19 Awareness Toolkit is also available online with additional COVID-19 resources and in multilingual formats 
Travel Restrictions

Destination Canada provides up-to-date domestic travel restrictions and traveller self-isolation requirements for all provinces and territories.