We’re here to support the 1.8 million people working in Canada’s tourism sector, from the frontline to the C-suite, new entrepreneur to longstanding business, and single property to national chain.

Tourism has been hit hard and fast by the necessary global efforts to keep everyone safe and healthy in this unprecedented situation.

Governments of all levels are implementing programs to help businesses stay afloat and individuals cope with lost income. But which program is right for you? And how do you access it? Below, we explore the top questions we’re hearing from across the country.

Have a question you don’t see answered here? Let us know! Submit it via our Contact Us page or send it directly to info@tourismhr.ca.

For information on health and safety, please view our COVID-19 Resource Hub and click on the link for the appropriate health authority.

FAQs for Businesses and Employers

The federal government has announced Canadian Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA), which will lower rent for April, May and June by 75% for businesses that:

  • Pay less than $50,000 per month in rent
  • Have experienced at least a 70% drop in revenues

Because the program will provide loans to property owners, tenants are not required to apply directly. Property owners will find more details on eligibility and the application process available here. Note that applications are requested to be staggered, based on where the applicant is located, to prevent overwhelming the system.

The federal government has also established a Business Credit Availability Program (BCAP) to provide $65 billion of additional support through the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) and Export Development Canada (EDC). This includes three initiatives:

  1. The Canada Emergency Business Account to provide interest-free loans of up to $40,000 to small businesses and not-for-profits, to help cover their operating costs (through eligible financial institutions in cooperation with EDC)
  2. A new loan guarantee for small and medium enterprises for new operating credit and cash flow term loans (through eligible financial institutions in cooperation with EDC)
  3. A new co-lending program for small and medium enterprises that can provide term loans for operational cash flow requirements (through eligible financial institutions in cooperation with BDC)

These programs are now active, and interested businesses should work with their current financial institutions. Details on these initiatives can be found here.

Businesses that aren’t eligible for CECRA or BCAP may still be able to access funding through the Regional Relief and Recovery Fund (RRRF). This initiative is implemented by the six regional development agencies –more details on how to apply through your local RDA can be found here.

In addition, organizations with annual revenues above $300 million may qualify for credit through the Large Employer Emergency Financing Facility (LEEFF). To qualify for LEEFF, businesses must be seeking financing of about $60 million or more, have significant operations or workforce in Canada, and not be involved in active insolvency proceedings. Applications are now open, with details on how to apply available here.

The federal government has also announced options to defer the payment of income tax and the remittance of sales taxes.

Some banks are offering deferrals on mortgage payments. Speak to your bank to see if you qualify.

Many regions are providing relief for such costs as hydro, tourism levies, municipal taxes, etc. Connect with your provincial/territorial and municipal governments to find out what’s being offered in your region.

Businesses, non-profits, and charities that suffer at least a 30% revenue loss (or 15% in March 2020) due to the pandemic, as compared to the same month in 2019, will qualify for the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS). An organization’s size is not a factor, and recently founded organizations can use average revenue over January and February 2020 as a benchmark instead. Charities and nonprofits can choose to exclude government funding when calculating their revenue loss.

Workers will get a 75% subsidy on the first $58,700 of their wage, or up to $847/week, retroactive to March 15, 2020. Employers will need to re-apply for each month that they experience 30% less revenue. The program will run until August 29, with further broadening of eligibility criteria expected in June.

Applications are now open, with most businesses able to apply through the CRA’s My Business Account. Details on how to apply are available here, and the government has published a CEWS application guide and a list of FAQs.

Small employers that do not meet the 30% threshold will still be able to apply to the 10% wage subsidy for small businesses. The maximum subsidy for that program is $1,375 per employee and $25,000 per employer; more details can be found here.

The federal government is extending the maximum duration of the Work-Sharing program from 38 weeks to 76 weeks. The Work-Sharing program is offered to workers who agree to reduce their normal working hours because of developments beyond the control of their employers. Learn more here.

To find out about the legal framework within which you can prepare for, manage, and address developments caused by the spread of this virus, click here.

The Canadian Payroll Association has compiled an excellent online resource with lots of information. View it here.

We are offering free online training modules through our Emerit Tourism Training learning management system. View the list of courses available here.

Restaurants Canada has an excellent list of answers and resources. Access it here.

The Hotel Association of Canada (HAC) has an excellent list of answers and resources. Access it here.

The Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada (ITAC) has launched a COVID-19 Development Stimulus Fund. The deadline to apply is April 30, 2020. Learn more here.

The Tourism Industry Association of Canada (TIAC) has an excellent list of answers and resources. Access it here.

You may also benefit from assistance from your Regional Development Agency. Find out more here.

All aspects of the government’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan can be found here. In addition, Jennifer Robson, Associate Professor of Political Management at Carleton University, has complied a full list of resources (including websites and phone numbers) and shared in on Google Docs. Access the document here.

FAQs for Individuals and Employees

The Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) is a taxable benefit that provides up to $2,000 a month for up to sixteen weeks to workers who aren’t receiving pay due to COVID-19. This includes:

  • Workers who must stop working due to COVID-19 and do not have access to paid leave or other income support-–this includes workers who have exhausted their Employment Insurance regular benefits
  • Workers who are sick, quarantined, or taking care of someone who is sick with COVID-19
  • Working parents who must stay home without pay to care for children that are sick or at home because of school and daycare closures
  • Workers who still have their employment but are not being paid because there is currently not sufficient work and their employer has asked them not to come to work
  • Wage earners, including business owners, and self-employed individuals, including contract workers, who would not otherwise be eligible for Employment Insurance

The CERB application process is now open. To prevent overwhelming the system, the government is requesting individuals apply based on their month of birth.

Applicants are expected to receive their first payment by direct deposit or cheque within ten days of the application.

In order to be eligible, an applicant must be a resident of Canada who is 15 years of age or older and who, for 2019 or in the 12-month period preceding the day on which they make an application, had a total income of at least $5,000 from:

  • employment;
  • self-employment;
  • certain Employment Insurance (EI) benefits (maternity and parental benefits); and
  • allowances, money, or other benefits paid to the person under a provincial plan because of pregnancy or in respect of the care by the person of one or more of their new-born children or one or more children placed with them for the purpose of adoption.

Additionally, a worker must receive less than $1,000 in income in the 4-week period for which they apply for benefits. This means less than $1,000 in income from:

  • employment or self-employment;
  • Employment Insurance (EI);
  • any allowances/money/benefits in respect of pregnancy or parental leave, including adoption;
  • non-eligible dividends; or
  • any other income prescribed by regulation, no regulations have been passed to date.

A full list of questions and answers on the CERB can be found here.

You may be eligible for the Work-Sharing program. If you answer yes to the following three questions, find out how to apply here.

  1. Are you a year-round, permanent, full-time or part-time employee needed to carry out the day-to-day functions of the business (“core staff”)?
  2. Are you eligible to receive EI benefits?
  3. Do you agree to reduce their normal working hours by the same percentage and to share the available work?

You are likely eligible for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB). Learn more and apply here.

According to the announcement of the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB), all Canadians who have ceased working due to COVID-19, whether they are EI-eligible or not, should be able to receive the CERB to ensure they have timely access to the income support they need. Learn more and apply here.

If you are eligible for Employment Insurance (EI) benefits, and you became eligible for EI regular or sickness benefits on March 15, 2020 or later, your claim will be automatically processed through the Canada Emergency Response Benefit. There will be a single portal to assist you with the application process. From this portal, you will then be guided through your responses to a few simple questions to complete the application best suited to you (i.e., eligibility for Employment Insurance benefits or not).

Check with your employer on whether you are covered by a sick leave policy. If not, you are likely eligible for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB). Learn more and apply here.
Check with your employer on whether you are covered by a family leave policy. If not, you are likely eligible for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB). Learn more and apply here.
Check with your employer on whether you are covered by a family leave policy. If not, you are likely eligible for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB). Learn more and apply here. The federal government is also increasing the Canada Child Benefit; parents will receive this payment in May. (If you do not already receive this benefit, you can apply here.)

Canadians who are already receiving EI benefits (regular and sickness) will continue to receive their benefits. You should not apply to the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB). If your EI benefits end before October 3, 2020, and you are unable to return to work due to COVID-19, you could apply for the CERB once your EI benefits cease.

The federal government has implemented the Canada Emergency Student Benefit (CESB) for students not eligible to receive CERB. This benefit will provide $1,250 every four weeks from May until August (or $2,000 for those caring for a dependent or living with a disability), provided your income from other sources is less than $1,000 and you are looking for work. Applications are processed through CRA’s My Account, with details and eligibility criteria available here.

In addition, government grants are available for students who volunteer over the summer, ranging from $1,000 to $5,000. Further details on this are expected in late May.

The Canada Summer Jobs program will also be expanded to try to help young people get work in sectors not shut down by the pandemic. The changes include a boost to the wage subsidy for employers (up to 100 per cent), an extension of the end date for employment to Feb. 28, 2021, and the inclusion of part-time jobs.

It may also be necessary for you to consider seasonal occupation in a different sector for the duration of the current crisis; examples include farming and fisheries, which are usually reliant on migrant labour. Given current travel restrictions, those sectors are likely to require more workers that are already in Canada and could be an opportunity to substitute for tourism jobs in the short term.

To provide additional support to students, regardless of your ability to secure income over the summer, the government will double student grants for eligible students — up to $6,000 for full-time students and up to $3,600 for part-time students.

Lastly, it is worthwhile to check if your school is among those who are offering financial assistance to students.

View the federal announcement on supports for students here.

Other benefits programs, such as maternity and parental, are still in place. Find out more and apply here.

Workers who voluntarily quit their job are not eligible for Employment Insurance (EI) or the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB).

We are offering free online training modules through our Emerit Tourism Training learning management system. View the list of courses available here.

Under the Code, employees have 3 basic rights:

  • the right to know
  • the right to participate, and
  • the right to refuse dangerous work

Learn the full details here.

All aspects of the government’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan can be found here. In addition, Jennifer Robson, Associate Professor of Political Management at Carleton University, has complied a full list of resources (including websites and phone numbers) and shared in on Google Docs. Access the document here.

Mental Health FAQs

The sudden, unprecedented disruptions of this pandemic have many of us feeling anxious, worried, and even scared. We encourage everyone to seek help as needed. Below is a list of national resources that can be of assistance in helping to manage the stress or seek further help:

  • Crisis Services Canada: 1-833-456-4566 or text 45645; 1-866-277-3553 (from Quebec)
  • Kids Help Phone: 1-800-668-6868
  • First Nations and Inuit Hope for Wellness Help Line: 1-855-242-3310
  • Native Youth Crisis Hotline: 1-877-209-1266