Despite the ongoing pressures on small businesses in the tourism sector I was disappointed – if not surprised – that the Fall Economic Statement contained no new measures to support small businesses. This is despite consensus among business and association leaders on the need for changes to the CEBA loan repayment schedules for which they have been long advocating. The government didn’t deliver on any meaningful time extensions to ensure businesses can take advantage of the forgivable portions of the loans especially when we’re living through these volatile economic times. With high interest rates and inflation combining with ever increasing costs, a labour crisis, and a disrupted supply chain this would have been the perfect time to give small businesses some more breathing room in repayments without penalties.
In better news the Federal Tourism Minister, the Hon. Soraya Martinez Ferrada, announced the launch of the Tourism Growth Program (TGP). With $108 million in federal funding the TGP will be delivered by Canada’s seven regional development agencies over three years, starting in 2023-24. We’ve already received several inquiries from members about the criteria of the program and we’re pleased that FedDev and FedNor will be hosting webinars shortly to answer all questions TIAO members may have.
Finally, as a reminder if you have not already put forward your ideas on what TIAO should include in our provincial budget consultation then please don’t hesitate to do so. Over the past three years we’ve been successful in winning economic packages and regulatory changes that helped mitigate some of the worst impacts of the pandemic. However, as we edge closer to a recovery these gains have not been secured. We need to ensure that we’re pressing governments at all levels to take the next steps to empower the tourism industry to be competitive and to reach growth targets. If you have any ideas or suggestions, please reach out to Dr. Jessica Ng at email@example.com or Alexander Miceli at firstname.lastname@example.org.
President & CEO
Tourism Industry Association of Ontario