(OTTAWA) September 14, 2021 –
Yesterday Canada’s Accredited Zoos and Aquariums (CAZA) called on all candidates running for office to continue to support programs that have helped the hardest hit and going forward ask the next government to champion tourism and travel within Canada.
Dear (Candidate’s Name):
I hope this letter finds you, your team, and others around you healthy. We are living in unprecedented times, every aspect of our lives has been touched.
This letter is to introduce you to Canada’s Accredited Zoos and Aquariums (CAZA), the work of our members and the status of the industry more broadly.
Canada’s 28 accredited zoos and aquariums normally welcome 12 million visitors per annum, these past 18 months have been very different. We have benefitted directly from federal pandemic-related programs; the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy is used by 100% of eligible CAZA members. The summer of 2021 affected members differently depending on what part of Canada they are in, largely due to COVID-19 measures.
In provinces where provincial COVID-19 measures eased significantly accredited zoos and aquariums saw an increase in visitors, where provinces eased measures later in the summer accredited facilities had a more difficult year. Nonetheless, as accredited facilities, we place animal care and welfare above all else. We can proudly say that animal care has not suffered during the pandemic and will not going forward.
In addition, members’ work to educate the public connecting them with the natural environment, we help to repopulate endangered species and teach the public how animal welfare can contribute to a healthy society.
As the summer tourist season winds down, the sting of the pandemic will continue to limit operations and place capacity limits going forward. Our industry will continue to need assistance to bridge the gap between now and the Spring of 2022. The Fall is traditionally a slower time of year, that said with what many are calling the fourth wave the risk of sliding backward is a serious concern.
As part of a coalition of industries hardest hit by the pandemic, we think it is paramount that governments are seen to lead our efforts out of this situation. Continued financial support supplemented by messaging that travel is safe where vaccination levels permit it are needed from those shaping public policy.
In the short term, direct financial assistance will bridge affected industries in the travel and tourism sector over the longer term we need government leadership to help drive up demand.
When the election draws to a close and should you be fortunate enough to be elected to the House of Commons, we look forward to working with you on the necessary measures that will get travel and tourism businesses back on track.
We wish you the best of luck and good health.
Canada’s Accredited Zoos and Aquariums
☏ (613) 867-6911
cc: Respective CAZA Zoo or Aquarium by Riding