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Advocacy in Action - July 20

Advocacy in Action - July 20
20 Jul 2023 by Chris Bloore

Last week's advocacy update focused on the findings of a Nanos research report commissioned by TIAC and provincial tourism associations including TIAO into the impact of debt on tourism businesses. The report, which TIAO members graciously took part in demonstrated the severe and widespread problems that debt is posing to our industry. So much so that 45% of tourism businesses are at risk of closure due to debt levels.

TIAO has used this data to write to all of Ontario’s 121 Federal Members of Parliament to urge them to alleviate the debt crisis that continues to hamper the full recovery of the tourism industry. You can read the letter we’ve sent to every MP, here, and we would urge all TIAO members, with strong links to their local MP, to urge him or her to raise this critical issue with Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland.  TIAO also continues to work with national business and sector associations to bring together national coalitions of support behind our call for action, and we are determined to win further concessions to support our members.

TIAO has joined a new coalition of organizations calling for Ontario to undertake a new property tax reassessment and return to a regular assessment cycle in line with other provincial governments. The coalition includes the Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO), BOMA Toronto, Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB), Canadian Property Tax Association (CPTA), NAIOP Greater Toronto, Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC), Ontario Restaurant Hotel & Motel Association (ORHMA), Toronto Financial District BIA and REALPAC have written to Premier Ford calling on him to take action and provide certainty for businesses and investors. You can read that letter by clicking here.

On Friday July 21st, TIAO will join TIAC in a meeting with ISED officials to discuss recent funding announcements from the federal budget. Many TIAO members have enquired with us about how monies distributed to regional development agencies and Destination Canada will be used, and we’re hopeful that this meeting will supply some guidance on this. We have also collected as much feedback as possible from members on the delivery of earlier federal programs, so that we can learn lessons to help federal officials ensure future programs are as efficient and as effective as possible.

In an update to last week's report on the negative impacts caused by the weekly closure of the Burlington Skyway Bridge for maintenance: We’re pleased that that the provincial government moved to cancel last weeks scheduled repairs and discussions are still underway with MTO to find an alternate solution that enables essential repairs to be undertaken but also doesn’t detrimentally affect tourism businesses.

Preparations for TIAO’s tourism delegation to the Assocation of Municipalities of Ontario Conference (AMO) are well underway and we’ve already secured several meetings with Ministers, economic development officers and locally elected officials who are attending the conference in London. If you’re planning to attend AMO, please do come and visit the TIAO booth on the trade floor to learn more about our key advocacy goals and our work with municipalities.

We're excited to announce TIAO's newest team member, Alexander Miceli! As the Manager of Policy and Government Affairs, Alexander holds valuable government and stakeholder relations skills, along with his extensive background in knowledge management and advanced research methods. Previously, he was the Stakeholder Relations Advisor at the Associate Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions and got his start in politics as a researcher in the Ontario Legislative Assembly. With both a Master of Information and an Honours B.A. in Political Science from the University of Toronto, Alexander brings a strong passion for political advocacy and research to his role.

Finally, thank you to those members that have already signed up for Tourism Day at Queen’s Park. Exclusive to TIAO Members, Tourism Day at Queen’s Park, happening on Tuesday, September 26th (8-5PM), is TIAO’s annual lobby day event at the provincial legislature. One of the association’s most highly rated events and membership benefits, TD@QP allows tourism industry leaders and stakeholders valuable face time with MPPs, Ministers and other government officials and staff.  Read more and register below.

As ever, this is only a snapshot of the work that the TIAO team is currently undertaking, and we appreciate your feedback and input on ongoing and new challenges or issues of concern. If you would like to speak to a member of the TIAO team or know more about some of the issues we’ve referred to in this newsletter, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us.

Chris Bloore
President & CEO, TIAO