October 25th, 2021 – With the government’s dissolution of the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy and Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy programs, fitness facilities across Canada will struggle to survive and more will be forced to close their doors.
“The fitness industry will collapse without a federal subsidy similar to what is being offered to the tourism and hospitality sectors,” says Sara Hodson, President of Fitness Industry Council of Canada (FIC). “Most small businesses in our industry have only a few weeks of operating capital remaining – not months, weeks. We need urgent action from the federal government.”
“More than 42 percent of fitness facilities have closed since the pandemic began,” says Hodson. “Our members have done everything to comply with public health orders since the pandemic began, including closing our facilities when asked, enforcing vaccine mandates, reducing capacities and increasing ventilation and sanitation,” says Hodson. “We have increased our costs, while our revenues have significantly dropped – because we know the health and well-being of Canadians is paramount. Many fitness facilities have only been able to stay open because of government support. The elimination of federal subsidies will mean financial ruin and bankruptcy. We will then see more businesses shut their doors.”
FIC is requesting the federal government put the fitness industry on an even playing field with the tourism and hospitality industry, and properly support the industry. Hodson met with Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland earlier this year to discuss ways to help the fitness industry rebound from the pandemic. On behalf of FIC, Hodson requested economic stimulus and proposed a tax deduction for gym memberships. Research done by FIC shows that inactive Canadians would join a gym if there were a financial incentive in place.
Exercise is essential for physical and mental health. More than 150 minutes of weekly exercise can reduce chronic health conditions, such as diabetes, heart disease and hypertension and is an effective treatment for anxiety, stress, and depression. Making exercise options accessible via fitness facilities is crucial to the overall health of Canadians.
“We ask that the government consider the recovery of the fitness industry as necessary as the tourism and hospitality industries, not simply for the sake of our businesses, but for the health and wellbeing of Canadians,” Hodson added, “Canadians need the fitness industry more than ever before.”
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