On November 24th, the Honourable Chrystia Freeland, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, tabled Bill C-2, An Act to provide further support in response to COVID-19 in the House of Commons which includes the Tourism and Hospitality Recovery Program (THRP), and the Hardest- Hit Business Recovery Program, among other proposed targeted programs in support of those still facing significant pandemic-related challenges. The list of eligible businesses included in the THRP can be found here, and we are so very pleased to see our industry specifically named as eligible.
As you know, CAEM is a member of the Steering Committee of the Coalition of Hardest Hit Businesses who have been central to driving this legislation to fruition. CAEM is pleased the Liberal Government is following through on its commitments to save valuable businesses and jobs that are so important to Canada’s overall economic growth. This also represents a significant turning point in CAEM's nearly two year Federal advocacy campaign. It is no small feat to get to a point where the trade show industry is actually defined as being part of the tourism and hospitality sector. This was a long time coming and much hard work went into finally gaining this recognition. We would be remiss if we did not thank Beth Potter, President & CEO of the Tourism Industry Association of Canada (TIAC) for recognizing the importance of our industry and working with us to ensure our sector was not left behind in this legislation.
As with any legislation, there are a few shortfalls. The most significant issue with the THRP at present is the current month revenue decline requirement which may have an impact on eligibility for seasonal businesses. The Co-Chairs of the Hardest Hit Coalition have held several meetings with the Finance Department over the course of the last week to raise their concerns over this eligibility requirement. We hope to be able to report about their progress in our next update.
Finally, there is a risk this Bill may not pass and actually end up in Committee. If this happens, the THRP coming into effect will be delayed for several months. As you know the Liberals have a minority government and as such they need the support of one of the opposition parties to be able to pass this legislation prior to the Holiday Break. Letters have been sent by the Hardest Hit Coalition to the Opposition Leaders to express how important this legislation is to the tourism and hospitality sector. You will find the letters here: Erin O'Toole Jagmeet Singh Yves-François Blanchet.