The breaking news yesterday centered around a major reshuffle of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s cabinet. In what many political commentators have interpreted as a prelude to a possible general election within the next twelve months, there were several appointments that affected the tourism industry. Among the many changes was the news that Minister Randy Boissonnault would become the new Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Official Languages and Soraya Martinez Ferrada would become the new Minister of Tourism.
Since his elevation to the cabinet in October of 2021, Minister Boissonnault has been a strong champion of the tourism industry and played a critical role in ensuring that the hardest hit sectors, including tourism, received continued economic support as we slowly emerged from the pandemic.
TIAO thanks Minister Boissonnault for his support of tourism during these most unprecedented and difficult times and we look forward to working with him in his new portfolio to take the steps necessary to create a sustainable workforce for the tourism industry. We are also delighted to welcome Minister Martinez Ferrada to her new role as Minister of Tourism and we look forward to working with her and our national partner TIAC to maximize opportunities for growth for tourism.
Minister Martinez Ferrada was first elected in 2019 to represent the Hochelaga riding in Quebec, she has previously served as Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Housing and Diversity and Inclusion (Housing), Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Transport, and as Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship. Minister Martinez Ferrada also served on the City of Montréal’s Executive Committee as the Associate Advisor for Culture and from 2015 to 2018 as a city councillor. She also served as Chief of Staff and Senior Advisor to the Minister of Canadian Heritage.
Minister Martinez Ferrada joins Cabinet at a critical time for the tourism industry as the severity of the debt crisis continues to provoke deep concern. That is why in our introductory letter to our new minister, after offering our congratulations, reaffirmed our calls for action on the spiraling debt crisis that continues to deeply restrict our ability to recover. At the start of the week 250 business leaders and organizations, including TIAO, sent a letter to Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland asking for immediate action to alleviate concerns. You can read that letter here and coverage of the coalition of businesses including TIAO, TIAC, the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, the Canadian Home Builders’ Association and Restaurants Canada amongst others here.
Finally, we’re pleased to hear that applicants to the Experience Ontario 2023 program for festivals and events have started to receive confirmation from the provincial government on whether their applications have been successful. Of course while pleased that this program is being rolled out, TIAO is committed to returning the timescale for these grants back to their pre-pandemic timeline. It is vital that we give organizers the most time to plan, schedule and deliver successful events. We look forward to working with government officials to make this a reality in 2024.
Thank you for taking the time to read our newsletter and of course please do contact the TIAO team if you have any questions or queries. Don’t forget, tickets are now available for the Ontario Tourism Summit in Mississauga this October, and you can buy your tickets here.
President & CEO, TIAO