CFL commissioner Randy Ambrosie attends a news conference in Surrey, B.C., on Thursday February 28, 2019.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

CFL commissioner Randy Ambrosie attends a news conference in Surrey, B.C., on Thursday February 28, 2019.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

Source: Ottawa won’t provide CFL with interest-free loan in 2021

It’s unclear, though, what — if any — subsidies the league has received so far in 2021

Once again, the CFL will not get an interest-free loan from the federal government.

The two sides have maintained informal dialogue since last August when the CFL cancelled plans for an abbreviated 2020 season. That decision came after the league was unable to secure a $30-million interest-free loan from Ottawa during the COVID-19 pandemic.

A source familiar with the discussions said there also will not be an interest-free loan this year. The source was granted anonymity because neither the league nor federal government have revealed the nature of their discussions.

The CFL unveiled a full 18-game schedule for all nine teams last November that’s slated to begin June 10. But with the league’s return-to-play protocols still before the various provincial governments and nationwide vaccination programs still in their infancy, a postponement of the ‘21 season appears to be a strong possibility.

When the CFL unveiled its ‘21 schedule, commissioner Randy Ambrosie did leave the door open regarding the league’s future plans.

The source added the CFL-Ottawa talks have been more about educating the league with not only existing federal assistance programs but also those that have been offered since August.

Despite not playing in 2020, the CFL was projected to receive more than $10 million in wage subsidy from Ottawa between March and December 2020. That figure would’ve gone past $15 million had an abbreviated season been played.

It’s unclear, though, what — if any — subsidies the league has received so far in 2021.

Shortly after the CFL cancelled its 2020 season, the CFL Players’ Association told its members that those contracted to league teams would be eligible for wage subsidy from July through December. The union added the benefits could go beyond that if the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) is extended, which it was to June 2021.

Last year, the CFL approached Ottawa on multiple occasions for financial assistance it maintained was essential to stage an abbreviated season. Ambrosie had said the league lost around $20 million in 2019 and a source familiar with the situation told The Canadian Press that not playing last year cost the CFL between $60 and $80 million.

Any government support would be with the caveat that football will be played for years to come. And with that would come financial transparency from the CFL regarding its future.

However, a return to the field isn’t the most crucial element for the CFL’s nine teams. It’s important that play resumes with fans in the stands as the league is gate-driven with all nine franchises relying heavily upon ticket sales to help achieve their bottom line.

So pushing back the start of the season could allow more Canadians to receive COVID-19 vaccinations and thus potentially be able to attend games in larger numbers..

Earlier this week, Ottawa reached an agreement with Air Canada — which has been battered by the global pandemic — with much-needed assistance. The company also had to commit to refunding customers who had their flights cancelled last year,

Ottawa will provide Air Canada with up to $5.9 billion through the Large Employer Emergency Financing Facility, a program aimed at supporting large Canadian employers who have lost revenue due to COVID-19. The government will provide the airline low-interest loans worth up to $5.4 billion and take an equity stake in it by purchasing $500 million in stocks.

Air Canada also agreed to restore flights on nearly all suspended regional routes, cap compensation for company executives at $1 million annually and suspend share buybacks and payment of dividends to shareholders over the course of the loans.

READ MORE: CFL continuing talks with federal government about return to field in ‘21

Dan Ralph, The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

CFLCoronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

In the five years since the Dry Creek flood abatement project was completed, the pathway built behind commercial buildings on Third Avenue has become overgrown with Scotch broom and other weeds. (PHOTO COURTESY RANDY FRASER)
‘New’ Dry Creek path falls into disrepair in Port Alberni

City’s land access contracts lapse as condition of pathway beside creek deteriorates

May is Hospice month and the kickoff for a new fundraiser. Mayor Sharie Minions, centre, declared it with hospice services coordinator Victoria Snow, left, and AV Hospice executive director Teresa Ludvigson. (SONJA DRINKWATER / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)
Alberni Valley Hospice Society invites community to ‘Step Out’ for Ty Watson House

The event is the society’s COVID-19 answer to fundraising

A group walks along Third Avenue in Port Alberni on Wednesday, May 5, marking Red Dress Day. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)
Red Dress Day ceremony in Port Alberni honours the memory of Chantel Moore

Moore’s family, friends ‘frustrated’ by lack of answers in her death

Port Alberni RCMP are investigating a homicide on Third Avenue. (SUSAN QUINN / Alberni Valley News)
Port Alberni RCMP investigating homicide in Third Avenue apartment

Investigators are still trying to determine the identity of the deceased

Annie Watts, centre, and her father Tom present San Group owner Kamal Sanghera with a carving of a Tseshaht First Nation canoe. Annie Watts gave the company a carving as thanks for a donation of red cedar blocks. (SUSAN QUINN/ Alberni Valley News)
Port Alberni’s Annie Watts is carving out a new niche in her creative journey

Tseshaht First Nation artist presents carving to San Group as thanks

Protesters attempt to stop clear-cutting of old-growth trees in Fairy Creek near Port Renfrew. (Will O’Connell photo)
VIDEO: Clash between loggers, activists halts forestry operations over Fairy Creek

Forest license holders asking for independent investigation into incident

The Canadian Coast Guard icebreaker Louis S. St-Laurent sails past a iceberg in Lancaster Sound, Friday, July 11, 2008. The federal government is expected to end nearly two years of mystery today and reveal its plan to build a new, long overdue heavy icebreaker for the Canadian Coast Guard. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Vancouver, Quebec shipyards to each get new heavy icebreaker, cost remains a mystery

Vancouver’s Seaspan Shipyards and Quebec-based Chantier Davie will each build an icebreaker for the coast guard

Findings indicate a culture of racism, misogyny and bullying has gripped the game with 64 per cent of people involved saying players bully others outside of the rink. (Pixabay)
Misogyny, racism and bullying prevalent across Canadian youth hockey, survey finds

56% of youth hockey players and coaches say disrespect to women is a problem in Canada’s sport

People line up outside an immunization clinic to get their Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine in Edmonton, Tuesday, April 20, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Hospital investigating whether Alberta woman who died after AstraZeneca shot was turned away

Woman was taken off life support 12 days after getting vaccine

People line up for COVID-19 vaccination at a drop-in clinic at Cloverdale Recreation Centre on Wednesday, April 27, 2021. Public health officials have focused efforts on the Fraser Health region. (Aaron Hinks/Peace Arch News)
B.C.’s COVID-19 spread continues with 694 new cases Thursday

Two million vaccine doses reached, hospital cases down

Allayah Yoli Thomas had recently turned 12 years old when she died of a suspected drug overdose April 15. (Courtesy of Adriana Londono)
Suspected overdose death of Vancouver Island 12 year old speaks to lack of supports

Allayah Yoli Thomas was found dead by her friend the morning of April 15

More than 6,000 camping reservations in British Columbia were cancelled as a result of a provincial order limiting travel between health regions. (Unsplash)
1 in 4 camping reservations cancelled in B.C. amid COVID-19 travel restrictions

More than 6,500 BC Parks campsite reservations for between April 19 and May 25 have been revoked

B.C. average home price and sales level to 2023, showing steep drop in sales expected next year. (Central 1)
Forecast calls for B.C. home sales to ‘explode,’ then drop off

Average price to rise another 10% in 2021, credit unions say

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Most Read