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

A boat caught on fire this morning (May 11) in Port Hardy. (Adam Harding/Port Hardy Fire Rescue Facebook photo)
Fishing boat catches fire in Port Hardy, owner’s quick thinking puts out flames

The incident is a good reminder to always have a working fire extinguisher onboard your boat

School District 85 logo
Fort Rupert Elementary School gets funding from MusiCounts

The $1 million investment will support 95 schools

Agree or disagree with North Island Rising? Write a letter to the editor at editor@northislandgazette.com and we will publish it online and in print.
McQuarrie: Budget meeting drama caused by unruly councillor

It was an amazing and unexpected response to what should have been… Continue reading

The medical clinic building in Port McNeill. (Bill McQuarrie photo)
Medical clinic gives update on health care in Port McNeill

The town appears to be ‘closer to a new and sustainable medical model for our town’

New electric buses are coming to school districts. (Submitted photo)
New electric school buses will drive North Island forward

Travel on electric school buses is smoother, quieter, and healthier than traditional diesel buses

A bullet hole is seen in the windshield of an RCMP vehicle approximately 4 km from Vancouver International Airport after a one person was killed during a shooting outside the international departures terminal at the airport, in Richmond, B.C., Sunday, May 9, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Homicide team IDs man in fatal YVR shooting as police grapple with spate of gang violence

Man, 20, charged in separate fatal shooting Burnaby over the weekend

Two-year-old Kashius Weme rides at the Steve Smith Memorial Bike Park in Nanaimo on Tuesday, May 11. The youngster’s precocious bike-riding ability is already attracting cycle sponsors. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
2-year-old bike rider on Vancouver Island already attracting cycle sponsors

Nanaimo’s Kashius Weme has a knack for extreme cycle sports

Keith MacIntyre - BC Libertarian
Penticton’s Keith MacIntyre new leader of the B.C. Libertarian Party

The Penticton businessman was voted in by members of the party on May 8

RCMP are searching for Philip Toner, who is a 'person of interest' in the investigation of a suspicious death in Kootenay National Park last week. Photo courtesy BC RCMP.
Man sought in suspicious Kootenay death found in Lake Country

Philip Toner is a person of interest in the death of Brenda Ware

Vernon North Okanagan RCMP reported to 287 mental health calls between Jan. 1, 2021, and May 1. (Black Press files)
‘It’s not the police’s responsibility to deal with mental health calls’: Vernon RCMP

RCMP remind public to take care of mental health and well-being, while better solutions are sought

Thompson Rivers University campus is in Kamloops, B.C. (KTW file photo)
Thompson Rivers the 1st B.C. university to supply free menstrual products

The university will offer the products this September

Fraser Health is using ‘targeted’ vaccination clinics in high-risk areas of the Lower Mainland. (Fraser Health photo)
B.C.’s COVID-19 decrease continues, 515 new cases Tuesday

426 seriously ill people in hospital, up from 415 Monday

A scene from the Schoolhouse Squat from October 2018, where Alliance Against Displacement members and supporters occupied the Rutherford Elementary School site, advocating for people experiencing homelessness. (News Bulletin file)
‘Schoolhouse Squat’ activists get conditional discharge in Nanaimo school occupation

Ivan Donald Drury, Tingchun (Listen) Chen sentenced in provincial court in Nanaimo

The site of Sunfest, Laketown Ranch, will be open for camping this summer. (Citizen file)
Sunfest country music bash won’t be shining on B.C. in 2021

Annual Vancouver Island Festival cancelled due to COVID-19, along with Laketown Shakedown

Most Read