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Advocacy in Action: September 21

Advocacy in Action: September 21
21 Sep 2023 by Chris Bloore

Last week the Federal government announced some changes to the timelines of the repayment of CEBA loans. If you missed the announcement, then see TIAO's write up here and come back to this report in a moment! 

Caught up? Let’s get back into it. 

So, let's set the scene, since March 2020 we’ve had lockdowns, closed borders and severe restrictions on operations.

As we’ve navigated ourselves out of a global health pandemic, the same businesses that have been so severely affected now face a perfect storm of high inflation and interest rates, costly disruptions to the supply chain, rising fuel prices, an acute labour crisis and a cost-of-living crisis that is affecting the consumer sentiment of domestic and international travellers.

With all that to consider, loans from the government through the CEBA program are now set for repayment if you want to secure the forgivable part of your loan.  

We know that many TIAO members are struggling to meet the repayment deadlines to ensure they receive up to $20,000 in loan relief. We know thanks to a study commissioned into the debt being carried by tourism businesses by TIAC, TIAO and our provincial counterparts and because of the conversations we’ve had with our members since last week’s announcement. 

Whilst of course we’re pleased that we’ve helped to secure another extension to the final repayment date of the loans, and we thank the government for this, we’re disappointed that the time frame around the forgivable part of the loan has not been meaningfully extended.  Simply put, the catalogue of economic pressures on businesses has not gone away and in many cases is increasing

TIAO will continue to work alongside our provincial association colleagues and TIAC to continue to reemphasize the real ongoing challenges faced by our members with debt and many other files. One of those opportunities will happen next week as we complete our preparations for ‘Tourism Day at Queen’s Park’. 

Our annual lobby day has been supplemented in recent years by our delegation to ROMA and AMO conferences. However, ‘Tourism Day at Queen’s Park’ is still the most significant opportunity for us to speak directly with MPPs from all parties, in and out of government and those with significant tourism activity within their riding.  We will lead a delegation of over forty members to meet with elected representatives, their staff and civil servants to give them a clear picture of the challenges that our members face daily and how working cross party and with Federal government colleagues we can help alleviate these pressures. 

I would like to thank those members that will join us next week for giving up their time to advocate on behalf of the tourism industry and recognize the many members that registered to join us but are unable to because of capacity limitations. I am hopeful for a productive day of meetings, and we will of course update you with the outcome of the day in next week's newsletter.

Finally, yesterday was a tough day for many Canadians, as images of protests and counter-protests filled streets across Canada.  TIAO is proud to be rainbow registered and is committed to providing a safe, welcoming and inclusive environment for the 2SLGBTQI+ community. We believe the tourism industry is stronger when it is diverse and inclusive, and we stand with the Canada's 2SLGBTQI+ Chamber of Commerce to protect the health, safety and wellbeing of 2SLGBTQI+ community members. Please visit Canada's 2SLGBTQI+ Chamber of Commerce (CGLCC)for educational resources for your business or organization.

As ever, this newsletter can only offer a snapshot of the work of the TIAO team. If you have any questions or would like to raise an issue with a member of the team, please don't hesitate to get in contact.

Chris Bloore
President & CEO, TIAO