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Regina Exhibition Association Ltd. needs to repay $8M following CRA audit

The Regina Exhibition Association Ltd. (REAL) will need to repay the government $8 million and Economic Development Regina (EDR) owes $918,000 following a Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) audit.

According to an internal memo document to the City of Regina, the audit was based on the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) funding in which the federal government provided assistance to businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“REAL and EDR applied for and received this subsidy,” the document stated. “REAL and EDR will be requesting the CRA to waive the interest that has been assessed on the amounts to be repaid. Both organizations are currently considering options on how they will fund the repayment of the wage and rent subsidy.”

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REAL’s amount owing consists of the $6.5 million principle plus roughly $1.5 million in accrued interest, while EDR is required to reimburse its $755,000 loan plus approximately $163,000 in interest.

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The document states that administration is working with both agencies to bring a report to Council in the second quarter of 2024 with options to fund the repayments. In the document, it states that REAL used the subsidy funds to support the ongoing operation of REAL through the pandemic which included supporting the Saskatchewan Health Authority ‘s drive-thru testing and vaccination centres as well as the hospital site.

“The funds helped REAL provide sport and rec opportunities to the community and safe entertainment options such as parking lot events,” the document stated. “REAL also took the opportunity to perform maintenance, deep cleans and upgrades to some of its buildings at a time when they were not fully utilized.”

In an email statement, the City of Regina confirmed the internal document is legitimate and was shared with council in advance of the upcoming audit and finance report scheduled to be shared on April 9.

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