Federal Budget Promises Support For Visitor Economy

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Chrystia Freeland

The 2021 Federal budget, tabled in the House of Commons on Monday by Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland, offered several supports to help get Canada’s visitor economy on the road to recovery.

MMBC has advocated for support for the business events industry leading up to the budget. Specifically, we have been asking for continued business survival support in the form of the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) and the Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy (CERS), industry specific support for tourism, and incentive funds for attracting future business events to Canada.

Here is MMBC’s initial high-level snapshot of the supports outlined in the budget to aid the recovery of Canada’s tourism industry, which includes meetings and business events:

  • $1 billion over three years for tourism, starting in 2021-22
  • Extension of the CEWS and CERS programs to September 25, 2021, with potential to extend until November 20, 2021. The budget proposes to gradually decrease the subsidy rate, beginning July 4, in order to ensure an orderly phase-out in tandem with vaccinations.
  • A $500-million Tourism Relief Fund, administered by the regional development agencies, to support investments by local tourism businesses in adapting to the pandemic.
  • A commitment to the safe reopening of Canada’s borders through funding further air travel protections and mandatory quarantine measures. This includes $82.5 million to Transport Canada to support major Canadian airports in making investments in COVID-19 testing infrastructure, and $105.3 million over five years to collaborate with international partners to further advance the Known Traveller Digital Identity pilot project, which will test advanced technologies to facilitate touchless and secure air travel.
  • Introduction of the new Canada Recovery Hiring Program to provide eligible employers with a subsidy of up to 50% on the incremental remuneration paid to eligible employees between June 6, 2021 and November 20, 2021.
  • $595 million to make it easier for businesses to hire back laid-off workers or to bring on new staff.

MMBC Chair, Clark Grue, had this to say about the budget: “We are pleased the federal government recognizes that the hardest hit businesses, including those in the business events industry, require continued financial support to survive the shutdown due to the COVID pandemic. Given the long sales cycles for our events, there is still work to do to ensure that the federal government continues to support these businesses through the elongated recovery process.”

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