Transport Minister Omar Alghabra, one day after co-announcing Ottawa’s $5.9B relief deal for Air Canada alongside Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland, took to Twitter on Tuesday (April 13) to give Canada’s travel agent community a special shout-out.
Air Canada refunding its customers for cancelled travel during the COVID-19 pandemic is a key condition of the government’s financing agreement, which also mandates that travel agent commissions be protected.
“To Canadian travel agents—thank you for all the work you’re doing,” Minister Alghabra tweeted, attaching a screen shot of a Zoom call he had with the Association of Canadian Independent Travel Advisors (ACITA) last month. “Our government’s agreement with Air Canada affirms that your commissions will be protected."
"We will always be there to support the Canadian air sector and the jobs that depend on it.”
Both ACITA and the Association of Canadian Travel Agencies (ACTA) held meetings with Minister Alghabra in March as the advocacy groups outlined demands for commission protections, enhanced aid and establishing a roadmap to recovery.
Minister Alghabra, up until Monday night’s Air Canada announcement, had kept his lips sealed in terms of sharing exactly how travel advisors would fit into Ottawa’s agreement with airlines.
The only clue he had previously dropped, so to speak, was that travel agents were an “integral part” of the talks.
Minister Alghabra did make time to hear the industry's demands, however, telling ACITA on March 29 that the group's grassroots efforts, which have resulted in vocal support from MPs in the House of Commons, should be applauded.
Meanwhile, Ottawa’s negotiations with Canada’s other airlines continue.
“The precise shape of an agreement will depend on the specific needs of each airline,” said Minister Freeland on Monday.
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