Government of Canada Regional Relief and Recovery Fund Saving Tourism Jobs in the Prairies
Over $8.4 million in funding to support one of the sectors hardest hit by COVID-19 health and safety restrictions
May 27, 2021 – Edmonton, Alberta – Western Economic Diversification Canada
Tourism has been among the sectors hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic due to the unique challenges presented by shutdowns and travel restrictions. Across Western Canada, tourism generates $13.6 billion in economic activity and supports 230,600 jobs, employing a higher proportion of women, youth, and Indigenous people than most other industries. From the outset, the Government of Canada has taken action to help tourism businesses and others survive the pandemic and position them for success when safety restrictions are lifted and the economy recovers.
One measure of support is the Regional Relief and Recovery Fund (RRRF), delivered in the West by Western Economic Diversification Canada (WD). RRRF supports eligible tourism businesses and other small- and medium-sized enterprises and organizations that have not been able to access other federal relief measures. RRRF also aids organizations that support a broad range of tourism sector activities, such as industry associations and groups like destination marketing organizations.
Support for the tourism business ecosystem in the Prairies
Today, Terry Duguid, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages (Western Economic Diversification Canada) and to the Minister of Environment and Climate Change (Canada Water Agency), on behalf of the Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages and Minister responsible for Western Economic Diversification Canada, announced over $8.4 million for 20 tourism business support organizations across the Prairies. Federal support has allowed these organizations to continue to help clients cope with 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 those businesses are in rural communities that are ill-equipped to absorb the loss of tourism business.
On February 5, WD announced an additional $250 million in RRRF funding for Western Canada. WD is still accepting applications from small businesses until June 30, 2021, to offset COVID-related losses during the first 12 months of the pandemic. In smaller and rural communities, Community Futures organizations have already approved more than 4,000 applications across the West and are ready to accept more, especially from tourism-focused businesses and organizations.
These investments complement measures in Canada’s Economic Response Plan, such as CEBA, CEWS, and HASCAP to which tourism businesses and organizations have access to face the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
"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
“Tourism is a valued and key sector in the Prairies. These businesses have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and required assistance to continue to weather this storm. Funding support such as RRRF will enable tourism businesses to sustain their operations, keep Westerners employed, and safely welcome visitors back to the Prairies when possible.”
- Terry Duguid, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages (Western Economic Diversification Canada) and to the Minister of Environment and Climate Change (Canada Water Agency)
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 nearly $600 million to support over 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.
- Backgrounder: Funding for Prairie destination marketing organizations and tourism business support services
- More support for tourism and other small businesses experiencing COVID-19-related losses across Western Canada
- Western Economic Diversification Canada working with tourism businesses to bolster the industry’s recovery efforts in western Canada
Press Secretary, Office of the Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages
Western Economic Diversification Canada
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