The Government of Saskatchewan announced the renewal of the Saskatchewan Tourism Sector Support Program (STSSP).
“Tourism is vital to our economy in Saskatchewan, and the renewal of the Tourism Sector Support Program will provide much-needed further assistance for this important sector,” Trade and Export Development Minister Jeremy Harrison said. “While hope is on the near horizon with the vaccine roll-out now well underway, this support will assist tourism-dependent businesses that still face uncertainty about the 2021 tourism year as we continue to work through the challenges of the global COVID-19 pandemic.”
When originally launched, the program provided $14.5 million in financial assistance to 761 eligible businesses between August 2020 and October 2020. The STSSP provides financial assistance to eligible tourism businesses in the accommodations, attraction and tours, events, and major event facility sectors.
“This level of support is unprecedented across Canada, so we applaud this announcement as these programs will be incredibly helpful to tourism and hospitality operators as they struggle through the pandemic,” Hospitality Saskatchewan President and CEO Jim Bence said. “We are very appreciative of the Government of Saskatchewan’s steadfast commitment to the tourism and hospitality industry, and their willingness to work with us and continue to establish a path forward in these uncertain times.”
The Government of Saskatchewan also announced an extension of the Saskatchewan Small Business Emergency Payment (SSBEP), which was established to provide financial assistance to eligible small businesses in Saskatchewan that have been ordered to temporarily close or substantially curtail operations due to a public health order. Financial assistance in this extension includes a payment for both February and March 2021 of up to $5,000 per month that can be used for any purpose.
“We know getting back to normal is still months away for most businesses across the province, so we are pleased the Government of Saskatchewan is providing additional help by renewing the Saskatchewan Tourism Sector Support Program (STSSP) as well as extending the Small Business Emergency Payment (SSBEP) for both February and March 2021,” CFIB Vice-President, Western Canada and Agri-business Marilyn Braun-Pollon said. “These funds will provide some needed cash flow to help more businesses get through the current restrictions.”
The STSSP is targeted to businesses who have experienced a loss of sales revenue of at least 30 per cent in 2020 when compared to 2019. The program will begin accepting applications on March 8 and the deadline to apply is April 30. It is expected the extension will provide approximately $15 million in support.
Prior to 2020, tourism generated more than $2 billion in revenue annually, employing individuals in communities right across the province.
More information on the SSBEP is available at https://www.saskatchewan.ca/covid19-businesses.
Businesses that are non-compliant with public health orders will not be eligible to receive support under these programs.