“The wage subsidy program was meant to create a stop-gap … to provide some sort of security. To hear private ski clubs that are only available to the richest among us take advantage of these programs is frankly grotesque. This money should be paid back.”– Niki Ashton, Federal NDP Analyst for Tax Fairness and Inequality
When it comes to pandemic relief fund greed, this is probably near the top of the list. The CBC reports that the Georgian Peaks Club, a private ski resort in Ontario, got $1.37 million Canadian dollars in taxpayer-funded Covid relief from the Candian Government. The club, which has an initiation fee of $43,000(along with additional annual fees), saw a surge in members this season along with a stunning new base lodge. But many in Canada are questioning why the ski club, which had a budget surplus of $1.54 million when their fiscal year ended in May of 2021 thanks to the bailout, needed the money.
The reason why the ski resort filed for the relief funds is unclear, as they declined multiple chances for an interview with the CBC. Some believe it supported their two hundred and seventy employees, who were out of a job once the pandemic hit in March of 2020. It could also be argued though that the money was used to help fund the building of their new $12.833 base lodge. Because of their budget surplus, the resort will be targeting $2.5 million in upgrades in the next decade, including a chairlift refurbishment and upgrades to their snowmaking control center for the 2022 offseason.
Board Member Nick Hamilton said the following about the matter: “We always abide by the rules of any government programs for which we qualify and use any funds received for their designated purposes.” But with it being a wealthy ski club, it seems like there were many more deserving Canadian businesses that could’ve used the money.” Due to the ease of getting these funds for Non-Profits, the government of Canada is now under pressure to crackdown on Non-Profits like Georgian Peaks which took advantage of the system during the early days of the pandemic.