- The Pacific National Exhibition (PNE) is a beloved Van East icon which has been an integral part of the community for 110 years, hiring 2500+ students each year and providing employment to over 4200 union members on site;
- The economic benefits of the PNE extend beyond the fairgrounds, with many small businesses and their employees in the surrounding area dependent on the customers that PNE attracts to the area;
- The PNE is home to countless important cultural celebrations like Hobiyee;
- With the cancellation of large-scale festivals and gathers due to the COVID-19, the PNE has already laid-off 125 full-time unionized workers and another 1,600 part-time workers, and is at risk of permanent closure;
- The current operation of small scale events and Playland in limited capacity is inadequate in changing the PNE’s financial position;
- Accessing the Canadians Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) programs would allow the PNE to have year-round, non-seasonal staff to plan for a return in 2021;
- The PNE is not eligible for CEWS because it is owned by the City of Vancouver but is financially independent from the municipality;
- The PNE is not eligible for CEWS as a charity because of the cancellation of its charitable status in 2014 after operating 40 years as a charity, while other Fairs across the country have not had their charitable status annulled;
- The purpose of the CEWS program is precisely to prevent the closure of important businesses, cultural institutions and job creators like the PNE;
- Other important entities such as Translink are also facing massive revenue loss and are not eligible for CEWS.
We, the undersigned citizens and residents of Canada, call upon the Government of Canada to:
- Expand the eligibility of the CEWS programme or an equivalent program to include municipalities, local governments and their entities such as the PNE and Translink.