OTTAWA — A coalition of organizations representing the tourism sector says the federal government must keep its wage-subsidy program in place well into next year for businesses with dire prospects for recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. The Coalition of Hardest Hit businesses says the phaseout of the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy program beginning this month could mean the loss of millions of tourism jobs. The program sees the federal government cover as much as 75 per cent of wages depending on how much revenue a business has lost due to COVID-19. But it's slated to wind down to a close in December, and the coalition says without it, there's the risk many tourism-related businesses simply won't survive.
Susie Grynol, the president of the Hotel Association of Canada, points out that the tourism sector can't pivot to online shopping or curbside pickup to try to make ends meet. She says the group understands and supports ongoing health restrictions but the pandemic has created Depression-era conditions, and operators are increasingly reporting they will go under if support is not extended.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 17, 2020.