Group seeks federal money to help Calgary Stampede, Edmonton Northlands
Crowds flock to the midway at the Calgary Stampede in Calgary, Sunday, July 7, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
CALGARY -- The COVID-19 pandemic has had a huge impact on multiple different businesses across Canada, but few have suffered as much as the country's fairs and agricultural exhibitions.
That’s why one group is lobbying the federal government for millions in relief money that will help hundreds of events that had the one chance to generate their revenue taken away by the pandemic.
The Canadian Association of Fairs and Exhibitions (CAFE) is asking the federal government for $49 million to support 733 fairs, exhibitions and agricultural societies until May 2021 as well as $25 million to help Canada's top 10 largest exhibitions.
- The Calgary Stampede
- Edmonton Northlands
- Pacific National Exhibition (Vancouver)
- Canadian National Exhibition (Toronto)
- Queen's County Exhibition (Caledonia, N.S.)
- Saskatoon Exhibition
- Western Fair (London, Ont.)
- Red River Exhibition (Winnipeg)
- Exposition Agricole de St-Hyacinthe
- Royal Winter Fair (Toronto)
CAFE says the industry has been ineligible for a majority of the funding made available by the government to date, so that's why this relief is sorely needed.
"The bulk of us have one shot to generate the majority of our revenue every year for the next 365 days and we've lost that," said CAFE president Amanda Frigon in a release. "The tourism industry is the hardest hit, and events within the tourism industry have the biggest hurdle to recover revenue once they've lost their main events."
The federal request will include a boost for almost 300 agricultural societies in Alberta, many of which are centuries old and administered by non-profit organizations.
"Not only will the organizations who run these events be unable to recover, but the same can be said for hundreds of Canadian service providers including entertainers, vendors and concessionaires who are otherwise ineligible for many of the federal measures already announced in relation to the impact of COVID-19," the group said in a release.
If approved, CAFE has proposed a focused program to distribute the funds and help cover eligible costs such as insurance, utilities and building maintenance.