FDFA: Canadian government extends wage benefits for Hardest Hit Businesses after coalition appeal

A group of Canada’s businesses most impacted by COVID-19, which joined forces to help save two million Canadian jobs, received a positive response from the government.

Last week the Coalition of Hardest Hit Businesses (CHHB)—of which the Frontier Duty Free Association (FDFA) is a member — launched a campaign calling on the federal government to extend the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) program until Spring/ Summer 2021. The program gave wage subsidies of 75% for businesses facing an ongoing revenue decline of 50% or higher.

In a speech from the throne on Sept. 23, the Canadian government agreed to extend the CEWS to 2021, a move applauded by the CHHB.

The CHHB is an industry-driven group of over 40 stakeholders representing tourism, arts and culture, events and festivals, and hospitality.

     “In the COVID-19 pandemic, our businesses were the first shut down, and we will be the last to recover – in short, we are the hardest hit businesses,” said Charlotte Bell, President and CEO of the Tourism Industry Association of Canada. “Our sectors will bounce back when COVID is behind us, but this fall we face bankruptcy and unemployment for over 2 million Canadians working in our sectors.”

 On July 17, Canada’s federal government announced it would make the wage subsidy program more accessible for the summer months and then wind it down over the autumn. Beginning on September 26, the amount of wage subsidy funding for all businesses – including the hardest hit businesses experiencing revenue declines of over 50% — was due to decrease until the subsidy was eliminated entirely in December.

 “With COVID restrictions ongoing but government support fading, many of the hardest hit businesses will not survive and those jobs will be gone forever,” added Susie Grynol, President and CEO of the Hotel Association of Canada.

 For more information on the CHHB, visit www.HardestHit.ca.