Read the latest updates in the April 24, CWSAA Newsletter HERE.

Message from the CEO

March 31, 2020

At most times, the last month has been uncharted and without compass.  However, there are early signs of grappling with the crisis and plotting a path for some immediate relief and while still distant…future recovery.

It was not until I had to grab something from Driving Force One this past weekend that I realised it had been 20 days since last being in the vehicle.  The month of March started fortuitously with a tourism conference.  Then at the early stage of Canada’s COVID crisis, the meetings enabled CWSAA to liaise with peer organisations and government and establish early communication channels, information portals, and materials such as best practises for restaurants during epidemics (thanks Restaurants Canada) that were shared with the ski sector.

Critical to the industry, and it remains the same for all our communities today, was the guidance of health authorities.  Their recommendations were key to ski sector response and guided industry and CWSAA’s crisis communications from the start.

The shut down of the ski industry across the continent and globe was mind boggling.  It was eclipsed by the pain of thousands of layoffs to friends and colleagues.  We are still in the midst of these challenges.  The continued uncertainly and real financial and emotional duress has placed tremendous strain on our teams.  While often unsaid, it also places burden on leadership that must continue to motivate their teams, ensure business survival, and look to the recovery.

CWSAA’s strategy for industry relief and recovery has relied on alignment with relevant partners, shaping recommendations to the various governments, and leveraging new relief efforts.  The primary concern for ski areas and suppliers of industry is the care for people, and the survival of the businesses.

CWSAA has directed many collective recommendations to the federal and multiple provincial governments, as well as made specific ski submissions and maintained ski updates to provincial working groups.  Primary focus has been placed on support tools to maintain employees, ski areas, and the many businesses, especially small and medium size, that support and supply the ski industry.

Recommendations fell into two camps:

  • Immediate: relief measures for people and business survival
  • Short/Mid term:  incentive for investment and economic stimulus

We are a long way from the end of this crisis, but we are starting to see the results of this coordinated effort as government announces relief measures in line with sector priorities.  The revised federal wage subsidy is perhaps the most significant example, with others including WCB premiums, fee deferrals and or rebates.  Measures vary by jurisdiction and a broader list is included in the latest newsletter.

The ski sector has voiced to government the importance of maintaining employees on payroll.  This is being recognised by all levels of government and continues to be a focus of CWSAA advocacy efforts.   The survival of suppliers to industry is equal to that of the ski areas and the necessity of both has been on the forefront of CWSAA advocacy.

The ski industry has always been optimistic as evidenced by the annual excitement for the winter ahead.    As we focus on the immediate relief efforts, the planning for recovery must also be actioned.  As an industry we look creatively and collectively to see the opportunities ahead currently hidden in the mire.  Planning for mountain biking, winter marketing, and sport development are stirring in preparation for the future period when we will again be welcoming guests to our areas.

Through it all, we give special thanks to the thousands of front line health and emergency workers that are protecting us.  As an industry and as individuals, we still have much responsibility to do our part to get through this crisis.  Each of us play a role to follow health authority guidance, flatten the curve, and help and protect our neighbours.

As always, please contact me or the team directly at any time.

Christopher Nicolson
President & CEO CWSAA


CWSAA 2020 Spring Conference Cancelled

March 23, 2020 Update – All conference registration refunds have now been processed.  This includes payments for exhibitor trade show booths, sponsorship, delegate registration and small areas donations.  Refunds will be issued directly to the credit card paid with.  Please check your credit card statement and give two weeks to allow for the refunds.

The Fairmont has also completed all hotel room cancellations, for reservations made within CWSAA’s group booking.

As mandated by health authorities, CWSAA is confirming that the 2020 CWSAA Spring Conference is cancelled.  The Board of Directors met earlier today to confirm the decision.  As noted in previous communication, CWSAA will ensure full refunds will be issued, see more info below.
CWSAA wishes to thank all members and supporters for their understanding.  The Association recognises the many sponsors that demonstrated their commitment to industry.  All will be offered full refunds for their contribution. Thank you to the many committee members and presenters that have put hours of volunteer time into creating content for the benefit of CWSAA members.  CWSAA will be reaching out to all presenters and suppliers directly over the coming week.

Important details:

  • Registration/sponsorship:  All members will automatically be refunded for all delegate registrations, sponsorships, exhibitor fees, small areas donations etc in the manner they paid.  This will take some time to process and will be communicated.
  • Hotels:  Please check your booking confirmation to confirm cancellation policies and procedures, and any other details specific to your booking.
    • Fairmont – all individual hotel reservation booked under the CWSAA group rate will be automatically cancelled by the Fairmont.  The contact on your reservation will receive an email confirmation of this cancellation.  Please be patient, this process will take time.
    • Four Seasons – Delegates booked with the Four Seasons must call to cancel their hotel rooms.  As per the cancellation policy, you are required to cancel 31 days prior to the date of arrival.  Contact the Four Seasons at 1-888-935-2460.
  • Selkirk College Lift Courses Lift Courses (151, 152, 153):  Those who have registered are recommended to complete the online portion.  The hands on portion will be scheduled in multiple locations this Fall.  Questions related to this course registration should be directed to Selkirk College 250-365-1208.

Next Steps:

  • AGM – The CWSAA Board of Directors will identify solutions to hold the Annual General Meeting and advise members.
  • Distribution of content – CWSAA endeavors to foster industry connection.  We will identify alternate ways to distribute content and updates that would have otherwise been distributed at the conference.
  • CWSAA will be following up with everyone registered for the conference in the coming days to confirm registration refund processes and timelines.  We ask for your patience during this time, there is no need to contact the office at this time to request refunds.

CWSAA acknowledges the impact this has on all our members.  The coming weeks and months will be challenging for our people, communities, businesses and country.  CWSAA remains committed to serving the collective needs of our industry and will continue serve its members.

Resources & Links

links reviewed April 27, 2020

COVID-19 Official Health Sources

Federal Economic Response Programs & Announcements

Federal list of support for businesses include: 75% wage subsidy program, Work Sharing program amendments, access to credit, avoiding layoffs, income taxes, flexibility for businesses filing taxes, GST/HST Remittance Deferral, deferral of national park commercial lease payments.

Federal list of individual/worker benefits, includes: Canada Child Benefit, GST credit, Canada Emergency Response Benefit.


Provincial Economic Response Programs & Announcements


Alberta support for businesses currently includes: payment deferrals, such as: corporate income tax, education property tax, WCB premiums deferral and reduction for those eligible, Alberta Tourism Levy, loans and lines of credit and utility payments.

Alberta support for individuals/workers currently includes: the Emergency isolation support payment.

British Columbia 

BC support for businesses currently includes:  tax payment deferrals, such as Employer health tax, Provincial sales tax (including MRDT), Carbon tax, Motor fuel tax, Tobacco tax. As well as WorkSafeBC Premiums deferred, and COR rebates.

BC support for individuals/workers includes: the B.C. Emergency Benefit for Workers, Climate Action Tax Credit.


Manitoba Support for Business & Individuals includes Tax Filing Deadline Extensions.


Saskatchewan support for Business includes: PST and Crown utility deferrals.

Saskatchewan support for Individuals includes the Self-Isolation Support Program.


Yukon support for business includes: Paid Sick leave rebate, Worker’s Compensation payment deferrals, and increase to Tourism marketing coop fund.