The Coalition of Hardest Hit Businesses (CHHB), a group of Canadian business owners and industry leaders representing tourism, arts and culture, events and festivals, and the hospitality sectors, is launching a campaign to call on the Canadian government to extend its federal Wage Subsidy program.
“Collectively, we represent over 2 million Canadian workers, and among the businesses impacted by COVID-19, we are the hardest hit. We were the first to shut down and we’re going to be the last to recover,” said Charlotte Bell, president and CEO of the Tourism Industry Association of Canada.
“Our sectors will bounce back once COVID is behind us, but this fall, we’ll face bankruptcy and unemployment. Today, we’re launching our campaign to extend the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) program to save jobs and businesses.”
The CHHB’s campaign is calling for the federal government to extend the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) program until Spring/Summer 2021, at the full 75% rate for the hardest hit businesses experiencing revenue declines of over 50%.
Currently, Canadian government plans to decrease the amount of wage subsidy funding for all businesses beginning September 26, with plans to completely phase out the program in December. This decrease in funding would have a detrimental impact of the most vulnerable businesses in the travel sector.
“Our sectors are different. We cannot offer curbside pickup, ecommerce, or pivot to manufacturing new products. We are fundamentally a people-facing business. We bring people together, which limits our ability to function during a pandemic,” said Susie Grynol, president and CEO of the Hotel Association of Canada.
“The federal government acted quickly to roll out this much-needed program in April, and we thank the government for this and applaud their willingness to listen and adopt necessary programs… but winding down and phasing out the CEWS program for all businesses at the same time does not make sense.”
“The CEWS program is the most accessible and successful of the government programs, and was critical to keeping Canada’s Indigenous people employed during the pandemic,” said Keith Henry, President and CEO of the Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada. “We need this program to be extended through spring 2021 at the full 75% rate to keep people employed.”