In October, the federal government outlined the next stage of its pandemic recovery benefit programs, which focused on providing support to businesses in the economic sectors hit hardest by the pandemic. Among the programs introduced was the Tourism and Hospitality Recovery Program (the “Program”), and details of the eligibility requirements for that Program, and the kinds of assistance to be provided, have now been announced.
Few sectors of the economy were more negatively affected by the pandemic than tourism and hospitality, and consequently the support to be provided is substantial, and the list of businesses eligible for that support is lengthy and wide-ranging.
The basic eligibility requirements for the Program are relatively straightforward, in that organizations are required to meet the following two conditions to qualify:
an average monthly revenue reduction of at least 40%, as measured from March 2020 to March 2021; and
a current-month revenue loss of at least 40%.
Qualifying organizations which meet the revenue loss conditions will be eligible for wage and rent subsidies for the period of October 24, 2021 to May 7, 2022. Actual subsidy rates will start at 40 percent for eligible organizations with a 40-per-cent current-month revenue loss, increasing thereafter in proportion to current-month revenue loss up to a maximum rate of 75 percent for those with a current-month revenue decline of 75 percent or higher.
Full subsidy rates (based on percentage revenue loss) will be provided for the period from October 24, 2021 to March 12, 2022. Those subsidy rates will then be reduced by half from March 13 to May 7, 2022.
The list of the types of organizations which can qualify for purposes of the Tourism and Hospitality Program is lengthy and comprehensive.
Set out below is an edited listing of the information found on the Finance Canada website, comprising the types of organizations which will qualify for purposes of the Program (assuming, of course, that the applicable revenue loss criteria are met). As well, in order for organizations in these categories to qualify, at least 50% of their pre-pandemic revenues must have been earned from carrying on one or more of the following activities:
operating or managing a facility providing short-term lodging;
preparing and serving meals, snacks and beverages made to order for immediate consumption on or off the premises;
operating a travel agency or as a tour operator;
organizing, promoting, hosting, supporting, or participating in events that meet the artistic or cultural interests of their patrons, including live performances;
preserving and exhibiting objects, sites and natural wonders of historical, cultural or educational value;
organizing, promoting, or supporting scenic and sightseeing tours;
providing charter bus services;
operating or managing an amusement or theme park;
operating or managing a facility or providing services that enable patrons to participate in recreational activities;
operating or managing serviced or unserviced sites to accommodate campers and their equipment for tents, tent trailers, travel trailers, and recreational vehicles, excluding mobile home sites;
operating or managing an overnight recreational camp, such as a children's camp, a family vacation camp, or an outdoor adventure retreat;
operating or managing a hunting camp or a fishing camp;
operating or managing a duty-free retail store at a land border crossing where the only exit route is to the United States;
operating or managing a facility that is primarily engaged in exhibiting motion pictures;
operating or managing an amusement arcade;
operating a facility allowing passengers to board and leave a cruise ship;
operating or managing an airport;
operating or managing a casino;
promoting a destination or region in Canada for the purpose of attracting tourism;
organizing, planning, promoting, hosting or supporting conventions, trade shows or festivals, weddings, parties, or similar events.
In each of the categories listed above, Finance Canada has provided specific examples of the types of businesses which fit into that particular category. Detailed information on the categories and businesses included in each category can be found on the Finance Canada website at https://www.canada.ca/en/department-finance/news/2021/11/types-of-business-eligible-for-the-tourism-and-hospitality-recovery-program.html.
Generally speaking, the only major exclusions from the list of qualifying organizations for purposes of the Program are:
facilities primarily engaged in retailing food or beverage products, such as a supermarket or a convenience store;
golf, golf instruction and the ownership or operation of a facility that is a golf course, a golf driving range, or a golf clubhouse;
country clubs; and
professional sports clubs, teams, or leagues or facilities used primarily by such organizations.
More information on the Program is available on the Finance Canada website at https://www.canada.ca/en/department-finance/news/2021/10/targeting-covid-19-support-measures.html.