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COVID-19 travel restrictions hurting Canada's economic recovery: Stats Can

Last Updated Oct 23, 2020 at 2:07 pm PST

FILE - A WestJet plane takes off from Vancouver International Airport in Vancouver on Monday, May 13, 2019. Federal transport officials have issued the first fines to air passengers who refused to wear face masks on Canadian flights, in violation of a government order to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Summary

COVID-19 travel restrictions in Canada are holding back the country's economic recovery: Stats Can

The travel restrictions are expected to cost the country between 400,000 and 500,000 jobs this year

Tourism spending in Canada plummeted by nearly two thirds, in the second quarter

TORONTO — COVID-19 travel restrictions in Canada are holding back the country’s economic recovery.

The restrictions intended to help slow the spread of COVID-19 are expected to cost the country between 400,000 and 500,000 jobs in 2020, according to a study released by Statistics Canada.

Data shows the reduction in travel will shave off as much as $37.1 billion — or 1.7 per cent — from total economic output during the year, which essentially puts a price tag on COVID-19 travel restrictions.

Canada shut its borders to non-essential travel back in March, and some provinces also restricted internal trips.

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Tourism spending in Canada plummeted by nearly two thirds, in the second quarter, says the study.

On Thursday, the European Union’s council re-imposed a travel restriction on Canada as it battles a second wave of COVID-19.

Help for airlines?

Meanwhile, it appears the federal government is going to offer financial help to Canada’s major airlines.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau all but confirmed Friday the federal government is close to offering help to Air Canada, WestJet, as well as smaller airlines still reeling from COVID-19.

Trudeau said the government is getting close to delivering on industry-specific funding that at first pledged back in March.

He also pointed out that airlines have already received over a billion dollars in direct aid through programs, such as the government’s wage subsidy, which covers up to 75 per cent of employee pay.

Despite that, WestJet announced last week it was cutting nearly 80 per cent of its flights to the Atlantic provinces.