Like many of you, my mailbox has started to fill with election literature; local candidates have started to knock on doors and this week the NDP, following on from the Liberal Party, released their election platform. The Ontario Provincial election is almost officially upon us and today the Progressive Conservative government released its final budget of this parliament, one that will be delivered if they are successfully re-elected in June. A breakdown of some of the key budget announcements and details from the NDP platform can be found later in the newsletter.
Next week, TIAO will be launching our own non-partisan election microsite OntarioNeedsTourism.ca, encouraging members of the industry and the public to engage local candidates in your riding on the important issues affecting the tourism industry. Our aim is simple; we want every re-elected or newly elected MPP to understand the challenges the industry faces in its recovery and gather support for TIAO’s recommendations to foster growth and opportunities - specifically, how we can support the return of tourism by working to remove all remaining barriers to travel, support the growth of tourism businesses by working to address regulatory burdens, remove red tape, and cut taxes, ensure the recovery and sustainability of tourism by working to address the industry-wide labour crisis and help rebuild tourism as a key economic driver by working to address the financial challenges of tourism businesses and supporting long-term industry investment.
OntarioNeedsTourism.ca will be officially launched next week and will include our election toolkit and key messages and images that you can share alongside the hashtag #OntarioNeedsTourism. In an election that will be fought on many important issues, by working together to engage candidates, we can ensure that the tourism industry remains front and centre of any discussions about the future of our economy.
Moving away from the election for the moment, TIAO was delighted to see the Federal Government announce its intention to restart federal economic immigration programs and extend international students’ expiring work permits while they are waiting for their permanent residence applications to be processed. Whilst we’re still awaiting some details, this is an important step by the Federal Government to recognize the labour crisis that many sectors are currently enduring and can be an important piece of the puzzle in meeting an expected summer of increased consumer demand and our long-term labour challenges.
Earlier this week a tourism delegation led by TIAO’S Director of Policy and Government Affairs, Dr. Jessica Ng, held a roundtable event with key members of staff from the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing, Ministry of Finance and Ministry of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries on the Municipal Accommodation Tax (MAT). In a wide-ranging discussion about MAT, several key areas were discussed including challenges on collecting MAT and future funding arrangements. There has never been a more important time for us to be discussing the long-term economic future of the tourism industry, of which MAT will be a key component. For more information on the roundtable and future MAT discussions please contact Jess directly by emailing here.
Finally, please note that the next Building Inclusive Tourism Webinar is on May 11, entitled ‘Job Vacancies? Consider the Disability Talent Pool’. You can register for this complimentary webinar by clicking here.
President & CEO