Barbara Barrett: New support measures are of “meaningful benefit” to the duty free sector

CANADA. The Frontier Duty Free Association (FDFA) has welcomed the federal government’s long-awaited Fall Economic Statement issued Monday. The essence of the document, announced by Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland, was centred around support for Canada’s hardest-hit businesses.

FDFA Executive Director Barbara Barrett said: “We are pleased to share that there were a number of targeted support measures announced that will be of meaningful benefit to the duty free industry.”

These include:

  • The creation of the Highly Affected Sectors Credit Availability Program – a new programme for the hardest-hit businesses.
  • Increasing the maximum wage subsidy rate to 75 per cent for the period beginning 20 December, 2020 and extending this rate until 13 March, 2021.
  • Providing a top-up of up to C$500 million to Regional Development Agencies and the Community Futures Network of Canada. The government will earmark a minimum of 25 per cent of all the Regional Relief and Recovery Fund’s resources to support local tourism businesses, representing C$500 million in programme support through June 2021.
  • C$181.5 million in 2021-22 to the Department of Canadian Heritage and the Canada Council for the Arts to expand their funding programmes to support the planning and presentation of COVID-19-safe events and the arts — including both live and digital — and to provide work opportunities in these sectors.
  • Working with industry to prevent the closure of unique and irreplaceable flagship events and festivals across Canada, and to ensure the survival of key, globally-recognised assets in this sector.
  • Extending the current subsidy rates of the Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy for an additional three periods until 13 March, 2021.

The FDFA issued a statement from the Coalition of Hardest Hit Businesses, which said: “We are delighted to see that the Government has heard our concerns and is providing targeted support measures for the hardest hit sectors, as outlined in the Fall Economic Statement.

“Businesses in the tourism, travel, hospitality, arts, festivals and events sectors are unique and remain in crisis as we continue to face necessary public health restrictions.”