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May 12, 2021

Minister of Small Business, Export Promotion & Int’l Trade Responds to HASCAP Inquiry

Advocacy

Minister of Small Business and Export Promotion

Dear Mr. Judas, Ms. Baptiste, and Ms. Jarrett:


I am pleased to respond to your correspondence of March 26, 2021, which was co‑addressed to
the Honourable Chrystia Freeland and the Honourable Mélanie Joly and forwarded to me by
Minister Freeland, concerning support for tourism and hospitality businesses and the Highly
Affected Sectors Credit Availability Program (HASCAP).


The Government of Canada recognizes the significant impact the COVID‑19 pandemic continues
to have on the economy, affecting businesses of all sizes across every sector and region,
especially those operating in the tourism and hospitality sectors. Small and medium‑sized
enterprises (SMEs), which are the backbone of the economy, are particularly vulnerable to
economic impacts from the pandemic.


As the situation continues to evolve, our government continues to take the necessary measures to
help Canadians facing hardship as a result of the pandemic. This includes adjusting programs
regularly based on the feedback we receive. Thank you for raising your concerns regarding
HASCAP. Through this program, the government is helping hard‑hit businesses that require
additional capital, based on having already benefited from other programs such as the Canada
Emergency Wage Subsidy, the Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy, and the Canada Emergency
Business Account, which are either fully supported or partially forgivable, to help businesses
bridge to the other side of the COVID‑19 pandemic.


Understanding that many SMEs are concerned with taking on more debt, HASCAP loans have
flexible repayment terms of up to 10 years and principal payments that may be delayed by up to
12 months. Additionally, the HASCAP interest rate at 4% is a favourable rate for hard‑hit
businesses, and no personal guarantee is taken under the program.


The Government of Canada remains committed to supporting tourism operators. To assist the
sector’s recovery, Budget 2021 proposes to make available a package of supports, totalling $1
billion over three years, starting in 2021–2022. This includes establishing a $500‑million tourism
relief fund to support investments by local tourism businesses in adapting their products and
services. The package also includes $200 million to help support Canada’s major festivals and
events. Additional information on these measures will be available once program details are
finalized.


Thank you for writing, and please accept my best wishes.


Sincerely,


The Honourable Mary Ng, P.C., M.P.
c.c.: The Honourable Mélanie Joly, P.C., M.P.

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