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Advocacy in Action - March 28th

Advocacy in Action - March 28th
29 Mar 2024 by Jessica Ng

This week, the provincial government released its 2024 Budget, entitled Building a Better Ontario. In case you missed it, the highlights include an additional $100 million investment in the Skills Development Fund, new infrastructure investments, and a proposal to eliminate the 6.1% tax at on-site winery retail. For more top-level highlights, see our summary here, and be sure to look out for TIAO’s deep dive analysis next week.  


Yesterday, in response to the federal government’s cap on international students, the Ministry of Colleges and Universities announced that hospitality will be one of the priority program areas for Ontario’s allocation of international study permit applications. This was a key TIAO ask, which we raised with Colleges and Universities Minister Jill Dunlop immediately after the international student cap was announced in January. We thank Minister Dunlop for her support of Ontario’s tourism and hospitality sectors, and we look forward to working toward further measures to support our postsecondary partners. 


In other news, on the heels of last week’s announcement on changes to the Temporary Foreign Worker Program, TIAO continues to seek member feedback to gauge the impact of these changes on tourism and hospitality sectors that rely on temporary foreign workers to meet employment demand. Preliminary results of our survey show concern around the change in Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) validity from 12 months to 6 months, and concern with capacity to fulfill the new requirement for businesses to explore every option before applying for an LMIA (including recruiting asylum seekers with valid work permits in Canada). If you haven’t already, you can complete our short survey here. The survey closes tomorrow, Friday March 29.  


Finally, Premier Doug Ford announced changes today to his team of parliamentary assistants. We offer our best wishes to outgoing Tourism, Culture and Sport PAs Laura Smith and Dave Smith for their new roles in the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services and the Associate Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions, respectively. And we offer a very warm welcome to incoming Tourism, Culture and Sport PA Sam Oosterhoff! TIAO has met PA Oosterhoff on many occasions in his former roles at the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Red Tape Reduction. A strong supporter of tourism, we look forward to working with him alongside Minister Lumsden.  


Thank you for your continued support. And as always, if you have any questions or comments, feel free to send me an email at

Dr. Jessica Ng, PhD   

Director, Policy & Government Affairs

Tourism Industry Association of Ontario