March 16, 2020, Coast Salish Territory (Vancouver, BC) – The Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada is working diligently with the Federal Government to ensure financial assistance and Indigenous-led solutions are being created for the Indigenous tourism industry. Below are two measures launched by the Government of Canada to support the financial needs of small and medium-sized tourism operators immediately:
Canada’s Regional Development Agencies (RDAs): as the front line for economic development in Canada, RDAs address key economic challenges by providing regionally tailored programs, services, knowledge and expertise.
- If you are a tourism operator, a small or medium-sized business and have received RDA funding AND COVID-19 is affecting your operations contact your local RDA office. You may be eligible to receive additional funding and/or flexible arrangements.
- If you are a tourism operator or a small or medium-sized business/organization impacted by the sudden shifts in the economy and need pressing assistance, the RDAs can assist you with access to federal funding to help you stay in business as well as advice and pathfinding services to other federal programs and services available.
Business Development Bank of Canada
The following support is being offered by the BDC for entrepreneurs impacted by the coronavirus COVID-19.
- Up to $100,000 can be obtained online in as little 48 hours from time of approval.
- Members can get extra funds to bridge cash flow gaps and support everyday operations.
- Members can increase their cash flow to fulfill domestic or international orders with very flexible terms.
All BDC advisors are working virtually and if members may reach BDC directly by calling 1-877-232-2269.
Federal Tourism Support Announced So Far
On March 11, the Prime Minister announced a $1.1 billion whole-of-government response to COVID-19. This comprehensive approach includes measures already underway to respond to the outbreak, as well as new investments to limit the spread of the virus in Canada and prepare for its possible broader impacts on our people, our economy, and our small businesses. These measures include:
- Waiving of the mandatory one-week waiting period to claim Employment Insurance (EI) sickness benefits for workers who have been directed to self-isolate, allowing them to be paid for the first week of their claim (estimated cost: $5M);
- Enhancing the Work-Sharing program to help support employers and workers who are experiencing a downturn in business due to COVID-19 (estimated cost: $12M);
- Exploring additional measures to support other affected Canadians, including income support for those that are not eligible for EI sickness benefits;
- Should the economy experience tightening credit conditions, the government will act to stimulate the economy by strengthening investment in federal lending agencies such as the Business Development Bank of Canada and Export Development Canada;
- Flexible arrangements can be made for businesses trying to meet payment obligations to the Canada Revenue Agency.
About the Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada
The Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada (ITAC) is the lead organization tasked with growing the Indigenous tourism industry across the country. Inspired by a vision for a thriving Indigenous tourism economy sharing authentic, memorable and enriching experiences, ITAC develops relationships with other groups and regions with similar mandates. By uniting the Indigenous tourism industry in Canada, ITAC works to enable collective support, product development, promotion and marketing of authentic Indigenous cultural tourism businesses in a respectful protocol. With Indigenous tourism outpacing Canadian tourism activity overall, and international demand for Indigenous experiences at an all-time high, ITAC recently updated its five-year plan. Additionally, ITAC just launched their Nations magazine, highlighting Indigenous people and experiences across the country.
For more information on ITAC visit www.IndigenousTourism.ca.
Deirdre Campbell, Beattie Tartan
Keith Henry, Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada