- Since March 2020, ACTA has been actively advocating on behalf of travel agencies, travel agents, host organizations and independent travel agents.
- We lobbied the federal and provincial governments as well as regulators and suppliers for critical financial support needed to survive the crisis of COVID-19.
- ACTA has a government relations firm that assists with our lobbying efforts, arranging key meetings, shaping communications and advising on strategy.
- ACTA met with Members of Parliament within the federal government, the opposition, and senior policy directors and advisors – those that are directly involved in drafting legislation.
- ACTA encouraged member and industry support for several of its government outreach initiatives that included grass roots letter writing campaigns, virtual meetings and telephone calls.
- ACTA hired a communications consultant to ensure weekly communications to members and the industry about ACTA’s advocacy work, keeping the industry informed of the issues, programs and how they could get involved.
- ACTA leveraged our relationships and aligned with like-minded organizations including working on key issues with the Canadian Travel and Tourism Roundtable (with their focus on promoting a responsible reboot of the travel and tourism industries) and the Hardest Hit Coalition (with the focus on securing critical financial aid to the greater travel, tourism and hospitality industries).
- During 2020, ACTA’s voice contributed to changes to financial aid programs including:
- Multiple extensions to programs
- A wage subsidy program that went from 10% initially to 75%,
- A rent program that initially was only eligible to landlords to one that tenants could access at 65% or more for businesses mandated closed.
- An “employment insurance type” benefit that was accessible to self-employed workers such as Independent Travel Agents.
- A loan program that was increased-- including a forgivable portion,
- Accessibility to sector specific loans within the travel and tourism industries that have not been easy to obtain.
- The waiver of regulator fees and changes to regulations that saw a reduction to financial burdens in some provinces.
2021: Much more work to do
The start of 2021 began with some disappointing news from the federal government – pre-boarding testing.
- This decision, announced on New Year’s Eve, was not made in consultation with the industry and was made in haste.
- The extremely tight deadline to ensure that airlines have processes in place and for travel agents to ensure their clients already in transit are able to meet the new requirements was unrealistic.
- This new requirement is yet another blow to travel agents who are seeing existing and future bookings get cancelled.
- ACTA is urging the government to work with the industry on a sustainable solution with the goal to reduce the 14-day quarantine in a safe and measured way, such as one of the various airport pilot projects already underway for testing on arrival in Canada.
ACTA’s 2021 immediate priorities:
Although the extension of financial aid programs through to September 2021 is welcome news to ACTA, there is a serious concern with the decline in the aid programs scheduled to be in July.
We will focus on:
- Maintain the Canada Recovery Benefit at the current $500/wk to, at minimum, the end of 2021 or 90 days after travel restrictions lifted,
- Extend the critical CEWS, CERS and EI programs at maximum support to end of year, or 90 days after travel restrictions are lifted.
- Extend the CRHP to the end of 2021, or 90 days after travel restrictions are lifted.
- Extend the RRRF application deadline and other liquidity programs (CEBA, HASCAP etc) to the end of 2021, or 90 days after travel restrictions lifted, and expand the accessibility to sole proprietors for programs where this criteria is not in effect.
- Commission recall – ACTA solicited feedback from Travel Agency and Travel Agent Members and have reached out to the Ministries of Finance and Transport advising that there are some gaps in recall commission protection procedures and that an additional fund may be required.
We will also focus on lobbying that is critical to protect the infrastructure of the Canadian Travel Industry, including supporting host organizations:
- ACTA is working directly with senior government directors and policy advisors on these critical issues and will get travel agencies, travel agents and independent travel agents involved again in 2021 to support our campaigns.
- Our messaging and our actions are critical now, and in the weeks and months ahead… and members and the industry will be called on to assist in our campaigns.
- ACTA appreciates all the work being done by travel agents, independent travel agents and travel agency owners (individuals and groups) across the country to keep the needs of our industry front and centre.
- ACTA cannot do any of this work without members. We urge EVERYONE to please consider joining ACTA to support our efforts on behalf of everyone.
ACTA Membership Benefits to Independent Travel Agents
ACTA launched the Independent Travel Agent category of membership two years ago. The regular rate for membership in this category is $195.
Benefits of membership include:
- Input and a voice in ACTA advocacy and lobbying with governments and regulators, advocating the needs of independent travel agents.
- Promotional strength through consumer awareness tools
- ACTA Digital Membership Card with significant business benefits
- Reduced rates for conferences and continuing education
- Access to members only training and webinars
- Research and information on relevant laws, business practices, regulations and consumer trends
- Networking opportunities at national and regional events and conferences
- Bi-weekly industry newsletter
- Use of ACTA logo signifying professionalism and adherence to ACTA’s Code of Ethics & Standards