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Business Council urges Ottawa to give distressed industries direct aid

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In the letter to Trudeau, which was also sent to Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland, Hyder urged the government to act on its Sept. 19 Throne Speech pledge to bring direct support to Canada’s airlines, hotels, restaurants and tourism operators that have been devastated by the pandemic and the business lockdowns and travel restrictions aimed at containing its spread.

“Canada is the only member of the Group of Seven leading industrialized countries that has not provided major financial aid for the air transport sector,” he wrote, noting that the government should be following the lead of others around the world that have acted to protect industries that are central to the economic competitiveness.

In the letter, Hyder was critical of the “piecemeal” response to the virus among various levels of government, saying this is keeping Canadians from returning to anything resembling normal life.

“We are now well into the second wave and there is still far too little co-ordination,” he wrote, adding that the respiratory virus is likely to remain a factor well into next year and possibly beyond that.

“(Canadians) and their governments can continue to react day-by-day and in piecemeal fashion to the evolving threat, or we can step back, regroup and resolve to do better.”

Hyder urged Ottawa to launch an immediate independent review of Canada’s response to the pandemic, focusing on bringing successes and failures to the forefront and identifying what can be learned from the experiences of other countries.

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