The Association Of Canadian Travel Agencies (ACTA) is calling on travel agents and agencies to take part in a grassroots campaign to ask governments for relief and assistance during the COVID-19 pandemic
Last weekend, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced there would be a special emergency session of parliament on March 24th, 2020 to vote on a number of emergency measures to bring relief to businesses and Canadians.
“NOW is the time for a grassroots campaign by the industry to reach out to the government and draw attention to the plight of the travel agency community,” wrote Wendy Paradis, president at ACTA, in a release.
Paradis wrote: “We are asking all ACTA members and their teams to URGENTLY write to your Federal MP, to the COVID-19 Parliament Committee members, the Prime Minister and your Provincial MPP/MLA to raise additional awareness that travel agents have been hard hit by the moratorium on travel and asking for assistance for travel agencies and travel agents.”
Travel agents can find the ACTA suggested letter template on the homepage of ACTA’s website, which they can send to members of parliament, the Prime Minister and their Provincial MPP/MLA.
The letter points out that there are in excess of 24,000 travel agents and 14,000 large and small travel agency businesses in Canada.
More than 90 per cent of agencies are considered small businesses and 75 per cent of travel agents are women. Travel agencies generate over $30 billion in sales and $3 billion in revenue annually.
“We are stressing to the government that relief for the travel industry must include travel agencies and travel agents,” said Paradis in a release.
What ACTA is asking for
The letter asks for relief and financial assistance for businesses including low interest loans and grants, delayed payments for rent and leases, tax relief, reducing provincial regulatory burdens and suspension of charge backs on travel purchases.
For travel agent employees and independent contractors, ACTA is asking the government to introduce Emergency Employment Insurance (EI) that waives waiting periods and increases the amount of the benefit from 55 per cent to 75 per cent; introduce Emergency support for the self-employed (independent contractors who make up 35 per cent of the industry) who are not eligible for EI; and provide emergency financial supports that allow for immediate job share-- versus unemployment.
ACTA will also be launching a telephone campaign and asking agents and agency owners to call their MP. A script will be available shortly on the ACTA website.
“We know agents are stressed and busy but we are asking everyone to please take time to send these letters urgently. ACTA will need to continue to lobby for Travel Agencies over the coming days and months,” said Paradis.
For details, visit acta.ca and look for “LETTER WRITING CAMPAIGN” on the home page to access step by step instructions including website links to finding and contacting your Federal and Provincial Government representatives in your riding.
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