Yesterday, the federal government tabled its first budget in two years. The AHLA is pleased to see the inclusion of further supports for the hotel sector, although it is clear that effective advocacy will still be necessary over the long term to ensure the survival and growth of the industry.
Key proposals in the budget include:
- Extend the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) until September 25, 2021, and consider extending further until November 20, 2021. However, the budget also proposes to gradually decrease the subsidy rate, beginning July 4, to begin phasing out the program as vaccinations are completed and the economy reopens.
- Extend the Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy (CERS) and Lockdown Support until September 25, 2021, and consider extending further until November 20, 2021. Similar to the CEWS, the budget also proposes to gradually decrease the rate of CERS, beginning July 4, to begin phasing out the program.
In response to the proposals to extend the subsidies, AHLA President & CEO Dave Kaiser reflected: “We are pleased to see that Budget 2021 proposes to extend the CEWS and CERS. However, the proposed tapering and wind up of both programs is disappointing. Given the current state of the pandemic and the long road to recovery that is projected for our industry, further supports will likely be required.”
- Introduce the new Canada Recovery Hiring Program for June 6 – November 20, 2021, to offset a portion of the extra costs employers take on as they reopen, either by increasing wages or hours worked, or hiring more staff. Eligible employers would claim either the CEWS or this new proposed subsidy, whichever is higher.
- Introduce a $1 billion package to assist recovery of the tourism sector, starting in 2021-22.
- Provide $100 million to Destination Canada for marketing campaigns to help Canadians and other visitors discover and explore the country.
- Establish a $500 million Tourism Relief Fund, administered by regional development agencies, to support local tourism businesses in adapting their products and services to public health measures and making other investments that will help them to recover and grow.
- Apply the GST to short-term accommodations that are facilitated through a digital accommodation platform, effective July 1, 2021.
Many of these proposals are a result of the Hotel Association of Canada’s (HAC) advocacy work. “We are grateful for the tireless efforts of the HAC to ensure that the federal government understands the needs and concerns of the hotel sector as it struggles to recover from the pandemic,” said Kaiser. “The AHLA will continue to fervently support the HAC’s efforts — and encourage our members to do the same — so they can continue to advocate on behalf of the industry.”
The AHLA will keep members informed as more details are released about these proposals.