Government of Canada Regional Relief and Recovery Fund Saving Tourism Jobs in British Columbia

News release

More than $8 million to support tourism businesses in B.C.

Over $8.3 million in funding to support one of the sectors most impacted by COVID-19 health and safety restrictions

May 27, 2021 – Vancouver, British Columbia – Western Economic Diversification Canada

Tourism in British Columbia has been among the sectors hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic due to the unique challenges presented by shutdowns and travel restrictions. Prior to the pandemic, tourism was a significant contributor to BC’s economy with 161,500 jobs at 19,300 businesses, which generated $20.5 billion in revenue and directly contributed $8.3 billion to provincial GDP in 2018. BC has the greatest number of tourism-dependent communities of any province in Canada. From the outset, the Government of Canada has recognized the importance of tourism to British Columbia and has taken action to help the sector survive the pandemic and position it for success when safety restrictions are lifted and tourism operators are able to once again welcome visitors from home and abroad.

The Regional Relief and Recovery Fund (RRRF), delivered in the West by Western Economic Diversification Canada (WD), is one means to mitigate the financial pressures caused by the pandemic. RRRF provides assistance to eligible small- and medium-sized enterprises such as tourism operators that have not been able to access other federal relief measures. RRRF also aids business organizations, including those supporting a broad range of tourism sector activities, such as industry associations and groups like destination marketing organizations.

Support for the tourism business ecosystem in British Columbia

Today, Terry Beech, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard and to the Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages (B.C.), on behalf of the Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages and Minister responsible for Western Economic Diversification Canada, announced today $8.3 million for five tourism business support organizations in British Columbia. Federal support towards Destination BC, Greater Victoria Visitors & Convention Bureau, Metro Vancouver Convention and Visitors Bureau, Thompson Okanagan Tourism Association, and Tourism Industry Association of British Columbia has allowed these organizations to continue to help clients through the pandemic, comply with health measures, and be ready to welcome back visitors when it is safe to do so.

This funding is part of more than $108.5 million provided to nearly 990 western Canadian tourism businesses and organizations struggling with pandemic-related challenges. Nearly two-thirds of businesses that have received support through RRRF are in rural communities that are less capable of absorbing the loss of local tourism business.

On February 5, WD announced an additional $250 million in RRRF funding in the West. Applications are still being accepted from small businesses until June 30, 2021, to offset losses during the first 12 months of the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, Community Futures organizations have already approved more than 4,000 applications in smaller communities across Western Canada, and are ready to accept more, especially from tourism-focused businesses.

These investments are complementary to the measures within Canada’s Economic Response Plan, such as CEBA, CEWS, and HASCAP to which the tourism sector have access to address the burdens caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Quotes

"Tourism businesses are important economic drivers and that is why our Government is providing businesses vital support to get through the COVID-19 crisis and prepare for when it is safe again to travel. Our Government is committed to the economic recovery of this important industry, and our message to tourism business owners and workers is clear: we will be there to support you for as long as it takes, with whatever it takes, and we will get through this together.”
The Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages and Minister responsible for Western Economic Diversification Canada

"By providing essential supports like the Regional Relief and Recovery Fund, we are confirming how critical the tourism sector is to the economy in British Columbia and Canada. Tourism businesses have borne the weight of COVID-19 related health and safety restrictions, but through assistance distributed by Regional Development Agencies like Western Economic Diversification Canada, thousands of jobs will be saved and tourism businesses will be positioned to participate in, and be a driver of, Canada’s economic recovery.”
Terry Beech, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard and to the Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages (B.C.)

Quick facts

  • The Regional Relief and Recovery Fund (RRRF) is a $2 billion backstop to mitigate financial pressure experienced by businesses due to the COVID-19 pandemic and help them to continue their operations and keep paying their employees. 

  • Nationwide, 25 per cent of RRRF funding is being earmarked for the tourism sector.

  • In the West, over $800 million in RRRF support is flowing through Western Economic Diversification Canada.

  • So far, RRRF has protected over 38,700 jobs in Western Canada by providing over $600 million to support nearly 8,900 businesses and organizations, of which over 45 per cent are located in rural areas and nearly 30 per cent are owned by women. 

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Contacts

Catherine Mounier-Desrochers
Press Secretary, Office of the Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages
catherine.mounier-desrochers@canada.ca

Western Economic Diversification Canada
Media Relations
wd.media-medias.deo@canada.ca

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