Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced his new cabinet on Oct 26, unveiling changes to Canada’s economic development, health, tourism and foreign affairs portfolios.
Some individuals that the Association of Canadian Travel Agencies (ACTA) has spent the past 18 months building relationships with as part of its advocacy efforts remain active.
Ministry of Finance and Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland and Transport Minister Omar Alghabra, for example, both remain in their positions.
The Ministry of Economic Development is now merged, with Mary Ng taking on the role of Minister of International Trade, Export Promotion, Small Business and Economic Development
Minister Mélanie Joly, meanwhile, takes over as Minister of Foreign Affairs.
Patty Hajdu, who has emerged as a central figure in travel’s restart during the pandemic, will leave her post as Minister of Health and serve as Minister of Indigenous Services and Minister responsible for the Federal Economic Development Agency for Northern Ontario.
Canada’s new Health Minister is Jean-Yves Duclos from Quebec. Meanwhile, Carolyn Bennett takes on the role of Minister of Mental Health and Addictions and Associate Minister of Health.
Additionally, Alberta MP Randy Boissonnault has been named Tourism Minister.
Letters going out
In a news release on Wednesday (Oct. 27), ACTA said it is eager to continue working with returning ministers and develop relationships with new ministers while advocating for support to travel agencies and independent travel agents.
“We will begin our advocacy immediately with personal letters going out today to each minister, explaining key points and priorities for our sector,” stated Wendy Paradis, president of ACTA. “While we were pleased to see several measures take place last week that will ease the way for travel to resume, there is still work to be done on several fronts.”
ACTA said its current federal advocacy priorities include:
- The extension of financial support to independent travel agents and furloughed travel agency employees.
- The immediate roll-out of the new Tourism and Hospitality Recovery Program
- The easing of the “avoid all cruise” travel advisory for fully vaccinated travellers
- The removal of the pre-departure molecular COVID-19 test for fully vaccinated travellers returning to Canada.
ACTA’s position is that all barriers currently impacting travel, including Canada's expensive mandatory molecular testing requirement at the border, equates to being in lockdown.
“We assert that any COVID-19 related restrictions on the border, including travel advisories and onerous testing requirements, constitute a government-imposed public health lockdown that interrupts the work of travel agents,” Paradis told PAX in a statement last week.
As such: “Continued financial support is necessary.”