The COVID-19 virus continues to create major issues for our Indigenous tourism sector. ITAC is monitoring the changing public policies by the day and the hour as things unfold.
ITAC CEO, Keith Henry, has shared video messages to address these concerns and outline the steps we are taking during these uncertain times. In his latest video, he was joined by the Federal Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages, Honourable Mélanie Joly.
Update: March 30, 2020
Government of Canada Announces Support for Businesses
Last week, the Government of Canada announced three new initiatives to help support Canadian businesses facing the impacts of COVID-19. The initiatives included:
- An enhanced wage subsidy program that allows qualified businesses and non-profit organizations seeing a drop of at least 30 per cent in revenue to qualify for a 75 per cent wage subsidy.
- Guaranteed loans of up to $40,000 for small businesses, interest-free for the first year and under certain conditions, up to $10,000 could be non-repayable.
- GST and HST payments, as well as duties and taxes owed on imports, will be deferred until June 2020.
We will keep you updated as more details on these initiatives become available
Parks Canada Helps Tourism Businesses with Impacts of COVID-19
Parks Canada has announced measures to help Canadian small businesses and the tourism industry. To help mitigate the impacts of COVID-19 on Canada’s tourism industry, Parks Canada will work with tourism operators in national parks, historic sites, and marine conservation areas to defer payments on commercial leases and licences of occupation without interest until September 2020.
Update: March 25, 2020
EDC: Working together to support exporters through the COVID-19 pandemic
Late last week, the federal government announced its latest measures in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, including the announcement of the Business Credit Availability Program which will enable EDC (and Crown corporation, the Business Development Bank of Canada) to provide Canadian entrepreneurs with an additional $10 billion to help companies access to credit during this evolving crisis.
EDC is prepared to act swiftly to help Canadian businesses access the capital they need. By working together, we can minimize the impacts that this crisis is having on Canadians. Most businesses can start to access these program enhancements immediately.
Update: March 18, 2020
Prime Minister Trudeau announces more support for workers and businesses through Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan
The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, announced a new set of economic measures today to help stabilize the economy and help Canadians affected by the impacts of this challenging time.
These measures, delivered as part of the Government’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan, will provide up to $27 billion in support to Canadian workers and businesses, plus $55 billion to meet the liquidity needs of Canadian businesses and households through tax deferrals.
The Office of the Honourable Melanie Joly shares the measures the government has taken to address COVID-19 and support businesses
The Office of the Honourable Mélanie Joly shared the measures the government has taken to date to address COVID-19 in Canada, as well as the most recent measures announced to support our businesses, our workers, and our Canadian economy.
“We understand that workers are experiencing heightened anxiety and that Canadian businesses need our support to recover from the global economic impact of COVID-19. While the situation is indeed evolving at a rapid pace, our country is well-prepared and well-positioned to mitigate the fallout.”
The President and CEO of TIAC writes a letter to the Minister of Finance to address the impact of COVID-19 on the tourism industry
Charlotte Bell, President and CEO of the Tourism Industry Association of Canada wrote a letter to the Minister of Finance, the Honourable Bill Morneau, to address the government’s support of the Canadian tourism industry in the light of COVID-19. The letter lays out, in detail, the measures that are needed in the following days to ensure the survival of the industry and tourism businesses in the coming months and years. The measures include:
- Specialized or fast-tracked liquidity options for businesses operating in the tourism and travel sector
- Tax relief measures
- Employment insurance measures
- Support for airlines and airports
- Recovery funding
Update: March 16, 2020
ITAC is a member-driven organization, and in order for us to continue to support our valued members and the Indigenous Tourism Industry, we need your assistance during these uncertain times.
The top ways that you can engage with ITAC right now:
The member information from the survey above will help us address your specific needs with the Federal Government.
Update: March 12, 2020
As Keith Henry outlines, ITAC is looking at multiple solutions such as supporting U.S. and domestic travel in more strategic ways and creating a stimulus package for our businesses. We are working with partners like Destination Canada, the Tourism Industry Association of Canada and the Government of Canada, but we need an Indigenous assessment of the situation. That’s why we’re asking you to take part in a short survey to understand the impact COVID-19 is having on your business.
Your answers will only be shared with the ITAC management team and relevant political parties. This information will help inform our response to the situation as it unfolds.
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 could be made for businesses trying to meet payment obligations to the Canada Revenue Agency.
Please find attached additional information concerning resources you can tap into through Canada’s Regional Development Agencies (RDAs). The Honourable Minister Joly’s office has also begun to disseminate this through their various networks and information channels. In particular, please note the following:
- The six Regional Development Agencies (RDAs) have been given more tools and flexibility to help local businesses deal with economic difficulties. They will help them deal with the immediate impact of COVID-19 on their operations by allowing, for example, deferred repayment, advance payments or reimbursement of legitimate claims.
- The RDAs will reallocate marketing efforts to support local and regional tourism, taking into account the latest advice from health agencies. Destination Canada is also closely monitoring the global situation and adjusting its marketing strategy accordingly, a central part of which is promoting domestic tourism.
- In collaboration with the Minister of Canadian Heritage, the government is ensuring that grants and contributions awarded to local events, festivals or other initiatives are maintained and take into account the possibility of cancellations due to COVID-19.
Businesses affected by the situation are asked to contact their local economic development officer. The Minister’s team at Economic Development and Official Languages is also ready to assist if need be.
In addition to the attached information, please find various links to initiatives already in place from the federal government and additional resources with useful information.
- Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan: Support for Canadians and Businesses
- WHO dashboard on the progression of COVID-19
- Global Affairs Canada (GAC)
- Canadian Chamber of Commerce
- Canadian Federation of Independent Business
Mental Wellness: At Risk During this Time of Crisis
As we are all forced to deal with sudden unprecedented disruptions, some of you may be feeling anxious, worried and even scared. The isolation is taking its toll on people, especially those without a proper support system in place.
Below is a list of national resources that can be of assistance in helping you manage the stress around the COVID-19 situation:
- Crisis Services Canada: 1-833-456-4566 or text 45645; 1-866-277-3553 (for Quebec)
- Kids Help Phone: 1-800-668-6868
- First Nations and Inuit Hope for Wellness Help Line: 1-855-242-3310
- Native Youth Crisis Hotline: 1-877-209-1266
The ITAC Team is here for you
We know these are difficult times for everyone and we are working hard to provide you with support and up to date information. It is imperative that our communities, businesses, and the Indigenous tourism industry remain united during these uncertain times.
Please feel free to reach out to any of our senior staff with questions or concerns. We are here to support you as best we can.
Keith Henry, President & CEO
Teresa Ryder, Director of Business Development
Sebastien Desnoyers-Picard, Director of Marketing
Cecilia Point, Director of Finance
Brady Smith, Chief Strategy Officer
We will continuously update this page as information comes in.