ACTA said it has been in several meetings with the Ministry of Finance to determine a framework for travel agents, consumers and airlines in establishing aid for the airline sector.
“Our talks have moved on from asking that travel agents and travel agencies be protected from commission recalls, to HOW to achieve that in whatever aid package is arrived at,” said Wendy Paradis, president of ACTA. “We are very encouraged by this and it is becoming clear that negotiations are at a critical stage and that decisions are expected very soon.”
ACTA’s advocacy efforts have intensified over concerns about the $200 million dollars in commission recalls should the government move forward with their plans to mandate consumer refunds.
“We are providing additional information that they are now asking for,” said Paradis.
HASCAP loans for travel agencies
ACTA is also providing feedback and recommendations to the Ministry of Finance to ensure that the Highly Affected Sectors Credit Availability Program (HASCAP), which opened on Feb. 1, is working for travel agencies and that there is ease of access.
ACTA is lobbying the government to allow a portion of the HASCAP loan to be forgiven, similar to what was offered with the CEBA program.
Meanwhile, ACTA is asking travel agencies share their experience with applying for the HASCAP loan so the association can follow-up directly with the government if there are any roadblocks or issues.
CRB & EI extensions
ACTA is also preparing to submit its recommendations to Pre-Budget Consultations with the federal government and is asking for extensions of support for the sector.
“Travel agencies, travel agents and independent travel agents are unique with sector specific challenges including the recall of commission tied to consumer refunds, and the need to extend the Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB) beyond the current 26 weeks. CRB should be at minimum 52 weeks, or until 90 days after travel and border restrictions are eased, and the extension should also include those collecting EI Benefits,” said Paradis. “There is strength in numbers and collectively our voice is recommending changes to several federal support programs.”
An upcoming ACTA webinar will cover advocacy, provincial programs and restarting. It will be held on March 2, 2021 (English) and March 4, 2021 (French), which will cover the latest updates on advocacy aid, provincial programs and travel industry restart plans.