Relief for Tourism and Aviation Sectors Expected From Ottawa on Monday

Monday could be the day that Canada’s aviation sector and tourism industry have been waiting for.

Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland on Monday will issue a fiscal update on behalf of the government. Multiple news outlets have said Freeland is expected to finally announce sector-specific help for airlines and the aviation industry, as well as for tourism and hospitality businesses.

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In a report in the Globe and Mail, Susie Grynol, head of the Hotel Association of Canada, said she hopes the government improves existing programs, such as the rent subsidy, wage subsidy and business loans.

The Liberals “deserve credit” for the programs already rolled out, Grynol said, “but what we’re seeing is that they are not meeting the mark for the hardest-hit businesses and they need to be further tailored.”

Grynol said recently that one-half of Canadian hotels could go under without added assistance from Ottawa. She also noted that most hotel workers are vulnerable members of society, including visible minorities and recent immigrants.

In a story posted on the CP24 website, Canadian Chamber of Commerce.president Perrin Beatty said the Trudeau government has to be careful about who it targets for help.

“What we need to do is to make sure that we are providing assistance to those who need it and not to those who don’t,” he said.

Trevin Stratton, chief economist and vice-president of policy with the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, said in the Globe and Mail that targeted support for sectors is critical because not all businesses have been able to adjust their models in the pandemic.

Restaurants, hotels and live arts and entertainment are among the industries that have struggled more in the pandemic “because their business models almost rely on physical presence for it to work,” he said.

The Liberal government in early November said it would start talks with airlines, airports and the Canadian aviation sector about a direct financial aid package. Those talks, however, were slow to start and it’s unclear just how much information has been exchanged.

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