Dear fairs, exhibitions, agricultural societies and service providers, We hope you are staying healthy and safe as we navigate these unique times. CAFE has seen some great stories of how our industry is adapting and supporting their community. Whether it be setting up temporary hospital facilities, delivering food hampers or donating dog food, our industry is doing great things. Service providers are offering delivery of their fair foods or live streaming entertainment and it has inspiring to see these new ideas (follow and share these stories on social media with #fairsharecanada). That being said, we know this is a difficult time for our industry. We don’t know how long restrictions on mass gatherings will continue, which may have a significant economic impact for each one of us. It will also affect community vitality, civic engagement and community development, particularly in rural economies. That’s why CAFE is urgently asking that the government ensure that our industry isn’t an ‘unintended consequence’ or overlooked as part of the government’s economic response to COVID-19. We are asking the federal government to allocate a specific envelope of funding to CAFE to disseminate to fairs, exhibitions, agricultural societies and service providers. How can you help? Right now, there are a few important things you can do to help.
If you don’t know who your Member of Parliament is, you can find out who here: https://www.ourcommons.ca/Members/en
Copy firstname.lastname@example.org so we can track the messages and responses
Highlight in your letter that you are a constituent of theirs
If you do not receive a response to your letter in three (3) business days, call their office to follow up.
If you have a personal relationship with your Member of Parliament, do not hesitate to have a conversation with them using this letter and our key messaging (below) as the foundation of your conversation.
To maximize impact, share the letter on social media and tag your local Member of Parliament after you have emailed it to them. Tag Canadian Association of Fairs and Exhibitions as well.
Encourage your staff, volunteers, visitors and stakeholders to send a letter to their local Member of Parliament as well. The more letters received, the larger the impact.
Subscribe to the CAFE newsletter, follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to find out what next steps we are taking and how you can continue to help. We will have more actionable items in the coming days and weeks.
Finally, it’s important that we have a strong, unified voice. Please see our key messages below so that you can share the same message with your Member of Parliament.
Above all, please do not hesitate to reach out if you need any help at all, have any questions or feedback. CAFE is here to help and have several tools and resources at our disposal.
Our industry is in a unique position. Every day this pandemic continues, and mass gatherings are cancelled is another day that cuts into our short season (runs from May to October). There will be no chance of recovery as more and more events get cancelled.
This represents an annual economic impact of $1 billion (CAFE Economic Impact Study, 2008), specifically hurting small rural communities and their economies as well as seasonal Canadian businesses across the nation.
We are also seriously concerned about the decreasing consumer confidence in the safety of mass gathering such as ours and so look to the government for support in rebuilding this confidence.
If these activities cannot run, it will mean that several of these century-old non-profit organizations that are already facing significant challenges, will be forced to close their doors. This will hurt rural economies, agricultural education and the ability to build public trust in agriculture. It will negatively impact civic engagement, community development and community engagement in Canada. It will also hurt hundreds of vendors, entertainers and related service providers.
Furthermore, our service providers (service members) who have multiple contracts and/or have sporadic seasonal schedules are not eligible for many of the benefits already announced. Nor are their previous month’s wages representative of the wages that have been or will be lost over the coming months.
As well, our non-profit organizations are not eligible for many of the relief measures announced.
The harsh reality is the impact of COVID-19 puts the viability of these organizations at risk and therefore rural communities are at risk.
Therefore, CAFE is urging the federal government to provide a specific envelope of stabilization funding for the fair and exhibition industry, including support for agricultural societies, seasonal entertainers, vendors and suppliers. CAFE looks forward to discussing the details in relation to this request.
ADVOCACY TO DATE
CAFE has had conversations with Canadian Heritage and the Department of Rural Economic Development. We continue to reach out to other important departments including (but not limited to): Agriculture and Agri-Food, Small Businesses, and Finance. We are using the survey results and key messaging in partnership with our government relations form to engage the federal government. An infographic with these results is available here. At the same time, we are working with certain industry organizations to reach out to specific Members of Parliament who are willing to champion our cause and interests in the federal government. We are also excited to announce that we have recently been invited to participate in a working group to put together a proposed federal stimulus program for the tourism industry.
Online Resources You may already know we hosted a webinar to have a roundtable discussion on the current situation and how our industry and CAFE is responding. The recording, upcoming webinars, and other important links are now available here: www.canadianfairs.ca/covid-19
Online Forum CAFE has launched an Online Forum where you can go and interact with your peers, share ideas and transfer knowledge. We encourage you to use it as much as possible in order to continue the brainstorming and information sharing. You can access this at www.canadianfairs.ca/forum-1
Please continue to review your emails and do not hesitate to contact the CAFE office if you have any questions, comments or information that may be of use.