Prime Minister’s Announcement; Economic Impacts of COVID-19

March 18, 2020

A Message from President & CEO, Glenn Mandziuk: 

Our world is changing almost hourly at the moment, and the team here at the Thompson Okanagan Tourism Association (TOTA) is working hard to ensure we provide you with timely information and best understand your concerns so we can bring them forward to Government.

This morning, Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, announced economic measures to address the impact of COVID-1 with up to $27 billion in direct support for Canadian workers and businesses.

These measures include:

  • Temporary Income Support for Workers and Parents for Canadians without paid sick leave who are sick, quarantined or forced to stay home to care for children.
  • Longer-Term Income Support for Workers including an Emergency Support Benefit in support to workers who are not eligible for EI and who are facing unemployment.
  • The Canada Revenue Agency will defer the filing due date for the 2019 tax returns of individuals, will allow all businesses to defer, until after August 31, 2020, the payment of any income tax amounts that become owing on or after today and before September 2020.
  • To help prevent lay-offs, the government is proposing to provide eligible small employers a temporary wage subsidy for a period of three months. The subsidy will be equal to 10% of remuneration paid during that period, up to a maximum subsidy of $1,375 per employee and $25,000 per employer.
  • The Business Credit Availability Program (BCAP) will allow the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) and Export Development Canada (EDC) to provide more than $10 billion of additional support, largely targeted to small and medium-sized businesses.

For full details on the measures announced by the Federal Government today, please refer to Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan.

Once again, I would like to acknowledge the incredible efforts of those on the front lines of this situation, we applaud you.

For our stakeholders, we know how difficult things are right now and while the next few months will be challenging, it is more important than ever that we work together to keep everyone safe, mitigate the economic impact, and collaborate on future planning and recovery.

TOTA will continue to work closely with Destination British Columbia; the other regions in the province; the Ministry of Tourism, Arts, and Culture; and our Community Destination Marketing Organizations in our response to COVID-19 and to support our 4,500 tourism businesses and 90 communities.

Here’s what you need to know:

  • TOTA is serving as the central coordinating body for the Region. A leadership council of community tourism leaders is meeting virtually on at least a weekly basis to share business intelligence, coordinate actions, and develop recovery strategies.
  • TOTA is working directly with the Honourable Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture, to collect business intelligence from operators throughout the region to understand the impact of COVID-19 and what actions are required to ensure the long-term viability of tourism businesses. This information will directly inform future government policy and recovery efforts.
  • We are connecting with the travel trade and media working to postpone and reschedule FAMs and press trips.
  • TOTA’s office is now closed and our team of professionals are working from home. We have optimized our systems to enable remote work and the team is ready to assist you.
  • Going forward, TOTA will try to limit our email communications with our stakeholders regarding COVID-19 to reduce noise, however, we will be reaching out to you individually to ensure we have an ongoing understanding of everything is going on in your business and community. We encourage you all to refer to only official and up-to-date sources of information and to connect with a TOTA team member if you have any questions about the work we’re doing to support businesses, employees and communities throughout the Region.

If you have questions, concerns, or need an ear, please don’t hesitate to reach out to Crisis Management Coordinator, Rob Grifone at (778) 721-5517 or at

These are and will be challenging times, but we are a resilient industry and together, we will get through this.

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