December 2020 Newsletter

December 7, 2020 Newsletter

Message from Christopher Nicolson

Dear CWSAA Members
Re: Industry Update

Across all jurisdictions, our society is at a critical time.  Government and health authorities are all responding to increased case counts with new public health orders.

The ski industry has prepared itself for this moment.  Since spring, industry has engaged collectively to develop operational best practices in cooperation with health authorities and OH&S regulators.  The collaboration across CWSAA, Canada, NSAA and ski areas in New Zealand, Australia, and France has been tremendous.  The pace has been frantic.  The copious amounts of documentation and revision after revision has been daunting.  And through it all, the ski season has begun.

The CWSAA Board and multiple committees deserve great thanks for their oversight, responsiveness, and time commitment.  The Online Industry Sessions have engaged every region of CWSAA and the sharing of knowledge and experience from ski areas and associate members has been nothing short of superb.  It has clearly embodied The Canada West Way.

Regulator and public communication has focused on the preparedness of industry, the proven robust safety protocols, the mental and physical importance of outdoor activity for our communities, and the critical employment and economic contributions. Volumes of industry guidance documents, including the The Ski Well Be Well document, have been put into the hands of officials.

Media activity across the west has intensified significantly.  The national Ski Well Be Well consumer messaging has been impactful. This tool enables ski to present a national scope which evokes confidence and preparedness.  In media messaging and guest communications, the responsibility for guests is embodied by “be the reason, we all have a season.”

The regulatory environment across jurisdictions is fluid and changing daily.  The following provides a brief overview of the current status by province.


The province is currently in a code red.  Ski area maintenance and snowmaking can be done, but operations for public are not allowed.  Ski area General Managers and CWSAA are working collectively with the Province and Manitoba Emergency Coordination Centre on protocols to help Manitobans recreate outside safely with the time is appropriate.


Saskatchewan guidelines allow for ski area operation but with a specific property capacity limit, regardless of ski area infrastructure capacity.  Ski areas and CWSAA are working the Province and the Saskatchewan Business Recovery Team on operational protocols for the larger areas.


Ski areas are operating with strict adherence to guidance developed earlier in the year with the Province.  CWSAA and industry have constant discussion with various levels of government and they are well informed of industry protocols.  Ministry of Jobs, Economy and Innovation facilitated quick response to clarifications requested in the recent health orders.  An evaluation of the current provincial orders is expected by December 15.

British Columbia

On the afternoon of December 7, health authorities will provide updates to the most recent health orders.  Following the new cabinet announcements of November 26, CWSAA is continuing its outreach to senior officials, including meetings with ministers to convey ski sector preparedness and COVID protocols.  New ministers have been announced in files close to the ski sector such as Lands and Tourism. View cabinet announcements >> HERE.


The ski sector has received positive response to operating plans from authorities during proactive outreach.   Of note, MP Larry Bagnell serves a northern economic development file with the federal government and has been helpful advocating the case for continued CEWS support.

Other topics in this newsletter speak to the successful advocacy work with CWSAA, Canadian Ski Council and ski area association peers for the continuance of the federal wage subsidy (CEWS).  Thanks to Paul Pinchbeck, CEO, and the CSC Board for supporting this initiative.

Looking ahead…safety safety safety.  As we have learned through the summer and from our Aussie and Kiwi peers, safety continues as our industry focus.  Well done to our management teams that continue this mission through daily review and adjustment to the dynamic world we operate in.



CEWS extended and increased

The federal government increased the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) to 75% in the November 30 Federal Fall Economic Statement presented by the Hon. Chrystia Freeland, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance.  It recognized and outlined the hardships specific to the tourism sector and proposed supports that directly relate to the sector’s asks, including the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy program.  The governments proposed updates increase the maximum rate of CEWS to 75 per cent for the period beginning December 20, 2020 and extending this rate until March 13, 2021 – a critical time for the ski industry and related businesses.  The government has also committed to offering a subsidy until June 2021, however, the committed rates beyond March 13 were not noted.  In addition, the wage subsidy, will allow employers to access the maximum subsidy rate based on a single month’s revenue decline instead of having to demonstrate three months’ decline.

CWSAA wishes to thank the Canadian Ski Council (CSC) and our peer tourism and ski industry associations throughout the country for their advocacy efforts in providing the longer-term clarity and increased support our sector needs. CWSAA has co-signed a CSC letter of appreciation to the Minister.  There is more work to be done to support the recovery of winter tourism in Canada, and CWSAA will continue to work with our partners at the CSC and tourism associations to press for additional support.

Alberta Health Authority and Minister Roundtable (registration required)

Doug Schweitzer, Minister of Jobs, Economy and Innovation, will be hosting Telephone Town Hall with Restaurants, Food Service, Retail, Casinos, Hospitality (Hotels and Ski Lodges) and Personal Services on Monday, December 7, 2020 from 6:30 pm – 8:00 pm MST.  Will also be joined by Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Chief Medical Officer of Health and Martin Long, MLA, Parliamentary Secretary for Small Business and Tourism.

They will answer your questions about the new restrictions, the spread of COVID-19 and talk about ways that you can operate safely, and help limit the spread, keeping Albertans safe. Will also answer any questions you have about Alberta’s Recovery Plan and how government can continue to provide support during these difficult times.

Pre-register is required for the Telephone Town Hall by December 7 at 3 PM MST.  Click HERE to pre-register.

Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy (CERS)

Recently the rent subsidy program was replaced by a new program, CERS.  Thank you to Heather Dewar of Stony Mountain for flagging that this subsidy is eligible for both leased property as well as owned property.  To be eligible, businesses must experience a drop in revenues calculated by comparing your eligible revenue during the reference period with your eligible revenue from a previous period (baseline revenue).  Baseline revenues can be determined by either comparing to the same month in 2019 or the average of January and February 2020 – however, the option must be the same for all future CERS claims.

Specifically eligible property owners would be eligible to claim expenses such as property taxes, property insurance and mortgage interest.

For more information on the CERS program, visit > HERE

New BC Government infrastructure funding to support COVID-19 response, recovery

The Province of B.C. is accepting applications from local governments, Indigenous communities and not-for-profit organizations for nearly $136 million in infrastructure grants to help communities develop resilience in response to COVID-19.

In partnership with the Government of Canada, the funds are being made available as part of the new COVID-19 Resilience Infrastructure Stream (CVRIS), a new stream under the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program (ICIP).  The COVID-19 Resilience Infrastructure Stream (CVRIS) targets capital infrastructure projects in communities that will increase the safety and resiliency of British Columbian’s, as well as, improve active transportation in communities. See program guide for more details.

Ski Well Be Well Assets

The Canadian Ski Council has put together a number of great assets to support the Ski Well Be Well messaging.  Check out the toolkit on the Member’s only section >> HERE .

The materials include:

  • Customizable print ads
  • Printable posters
  • Digital Ads
  • Social images for Facebook and Instagram

An animated video will be added to the folder shortly for direct download.

CSIA COVID-19 Protocols Video

The CSIA has adopted COVID protocols for instructor training programs, including COVID screening questions and mandatory face coverings.  They have also incorporated Ski Well Be Well into their messaging. These protocols and some great tips are explained in this video >> HERE

Promo Code: CWSAA




Passenger Van Reservations:

Sales & Leasing:

Customized Solutions
Certified Vehicles       
Friendly Staff                       

Places & Faces

David Goldstein joins Travel Alberta as Chief Executive Officer to chart a new path for Alberta’s tourism sector at a critical time for the industry.  Read More

Snowater Heli Skiing just announced that Baldface Lodge has purchased Valhalla Powdercats from them effective December 4, 2020.  Patrick Maloney is excited to hand over the reins to this local community-minded operation.

Congrats to Robyn Baker (Marketing Manager at Manning Park Resort) and partner, Patrick of the arrival of their daughter, Grace.

Check out the button that Kim Jones, CWSAA Risk Chair & WinSport VP, is wearing to reinforce social distancing.

Sun Peaks Resort replaced its Crystal triple chair with a new Doppelmayr quad chair this year.  One of the retired chairs made its way to the Mountain Resort Branch office and is a staging point for donations to the local food bank.  Nice work MRB.

Check out  the enhanced protocols and procedures that the Big White’s Central Reservations team has implemented to provide a safe and clean accommodations during guests stay with them. View video

Upcoming Online Industry Sessions

  • December 9: Crisis Communications Planning and Response for Ski Areas

OIS series partnership with NSAA

Crisis communications and issues management expert Tamara Little, Coast Communication and Public Affairs, will focus on applying crisis communications best practices to ski area responses to the COVID-19 pandemic. Hear from Tamara about why corporate reputation matters; the signs of a strong or poor corporate reputation; warning signs and typical stages of a crisis; communication best practices during a crisis; and how these practices have evolved during the pandemic. You will leave this session with tools to map out potential crisis scenarios and develop your plans.

  • Dec 15:  Associate Members Open Forum

An open forum for CWSAA Associate Members to talk and ask questions to Dorothy Gould, CWSAA Associate Member Director and Christopher Nicolson, President & CEO, CWSAA.

Please note, Online Industry Sessions are FREE for current CWSAA Members. Advance registration is required by noon the day prior.  Registrants will receive login information the afternoon prior to the session.

Find registration and more information HERE.

Advertise in the Newsletter

CWSAA Associate members are invited to submit a monthly digital ad for this newsletter.  Find out more >> HERE.


For many this year will provide some new recruiting challenges.  Don’t forget to post your jobs on some of the industry job boards.

CWSAA Job Board – All CWSAA Member’s can post jobs at no cost.

go2HR Job Board  – BC and Yukon tourism sector jobs.