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  • 17 Feb 2022 by Chris Bloore


    February 17 is an important milestone for us all as we take a step closer to the end of government restrictions in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. I know we’ve all said it before, only to be disappointed, but it does start to feel like we’re inching closer to normality. Of course, if this is the end of restrictions, new challenges await us in combating low consumer confidence, existing barriers to travel, challenges on rehiring and ensuring government support remain in place for some time to come. But I am hopeful that the planned relaxation of most restrictions on March 1 is the start of our comeback story. As an industry we have played our part in fighting COVID-19, made huge sacrifices, and borne the brunt of restrictions on freedom of movement and capacities. Yet when we have been able to open, we’ve operated at the highest level of health and safety protocols, as reflected in the health records on transmission that show our industry has been a leader in restricting transmission. If this is the beginning of the end of restrictions, then our industry, you, deserve the plaudits for your resilience, innovation and dedication to protecting our staff and our patrons.  

    In this update I wanted to share with you some of our advocacy efforts on behalf of the industry from the past seven days. Of course, this is just a snapshot of our work, so please don’t hesitate to contact us with any questions on other topics that aren't covered.  

    Encouraging Ontarians and international visitors to travel again is one of the key challenges we face in 2022. That’s why it was pleasing news to see that the Federal Government announced a series of measures to make it easier to travel, including the removal of the need for fully vaccinated visitors to provide a pre-arrival PCR test amongst other measures. A measure that TIAO has been calling for in collaboration with your national colleagues. However, despite this good news. We need to continue to push to remove all testing requirements to be removed entirely for fully vaccinated visitors in the short-term and then when appropriate, for unvaccinated visitors, to truly make travel a seamless experience again. You can read the announcement and full list of measures further on in this newsletter.  

    This week TIAO has played its role in supporting our national counterparts TIAC as part of TIAC’s Hill Days lobby of Parliament Hill.  I was honoured to be part of the delegation and gave an Ontario perspective to some of the key recommendations that TIAC and our delegation was putting forward to MP’s and Senators. Our delegation had three key areas of discussion, removing barriers to travel and improving the brand of travelling in Canada, supporting the hardest hit sectors with continued and amended economic supports and addressing the labour crisis in the tourism and hospitality industry. In the meetings I attended I spoke directly to the need for the extension of government economic supports from March to September, amendments to existing programs to include seasonal businesses and the need to lower the revenue loss threshold required for support from 40% to 20%.  You can read TIAC’s full set of recommendations here .  

    The response we received was positive and I was impressed at the level of knowledge and understanding of the challenges facing the tourism industry held by the MP’s and Senators we met. The aim of the lobby days is to not only educate politicians but also build cross party support for measures to support the tourism industry. I am confident that we did that and want to thank Beth Potter and the TIAC team for their organization of the lobby days and their tireless work on behalf of us all. 

    TIAO is a non-partisan group, but much like in our attendances at ROMA and AMO Conferences or at our Tourism Day at Queen’s Park Event. We seek to speak to every elected official and put forward the case for investing in and supporting the tourism industry and offering strategies and proposed programs necessary to support tourism businesses moving forward. As we approach the Ontario Provincial Election, current MPP’s, candidates and political parties have started to approach us for our thoughts on what is the best way to support the tourism industry.  In recent days TIAO met with the Ontario Liberal Party (OLP) candidates and current MPP’s to discuss the challenges tourism businesses are facing and what they need to make a full economic recovery. TIAO also met with MPP Mike Mantha, the NDP critic for Tourism and Northern Development, where we advocated for a tourism workforce strategy and how to best support our tourism operators throughout the province. 

    Finally, this month, TIAO met with MP Michelle Ferreri. MP Ferreri, the Federal Conservative Critic for Tourism and MP for the Ontario riding of Peterborough-Kawartha, reached out to TIAO to discuss key challenges facing the province's tourism industry and how to address them at the federal level.  TIAO thanks the Ontario Liberal Party, the Ontario NDP and MPP Mantha, and MP Ferreri for taking the time to meet with us. TIAO will continue to be relentless in our pursuit of strategies which promote the recovery of our industry and the sustainability of Ontario’s tourism industry beyond the pandemic. 

    Thank you to those of you that have attended one or both of our ‘Building Inclusive Tourism Webinar Series’ events in January and February. If you’ve not attended one of our lunchtime sessions and want to know more about the series, then please visit our website here . Our next session in on March 9 and entitled ‘LGBT+ Overview and Case Study’ with guest speakers Loren Christie (Tourism/Hospitality Expert), TJ Jones (Founding Consultant, Full Picture Management) and Allyson Tonelli (Director of Sales, Tourism Kingston). Sign up for this complimentary session by clicking here

    Finally, we know that some members are still having difficulty in getting updates on applications to provincial and federal government programs. We are working hard to chase down answers and updates on individual cases. If you have a concern about an application, please don’t hesitate to contact us at .  

    Thank you for taking the time to read our blog and for your ongoing support of TIAO.  


    Christopher Bloore, President & CEO, Tourism Industry Association of Ontario


  • 04 Feb 2022 by Chris Bloore

    Following on from Jessica’s comprehensive report on our activities at ROMA last week, TIAO continues to progress key files to support the tourism industry. This is only a snapshot of the work we’re currently doing, so if you have a question about TIAO’s work or would like to speak to us regarding a specific issue please don’t hesitate to reach out by emailing us at 

    In good news the provincial government has clarified concerns over Interntional visitors accessing venues in Ontario that require a QR code. International visitors will be required to present their own countries vaccine receipt and international passport to gain access to premises requiring a QR code. If an international visitor is set for an extended visit, they can present their proof of vaccine receipts to their local public health unit for verification and instructions on how to obtain an Ontario QR code version of the vaccine certificate. Guidance for businesses on how to review international visitors' documentation can be viewed here

    Thanks to feedback from TIAO members and stakeholders, TIAO put forward our own comprehensive submission to the Ontario government's pre-budget consultation and to the Standing Committee for Finance and Economic Affairs. Our focus remains clear, to lobby for increased economic support for the tourism industry, to increase eligibility criteria for current programs, to work towards strategies that will address our labour shortage and to reopen our businesses as soon as possible, amongst many other recommendations on extending rate relief, deferring permit costs and simplifying regulations. In past consultations, several of TIAO’s recommendations have been reflected in legislation. You can read TIAO’s full submission by clicking here. If you would like to make your own submission to the government's pre-budget consultation you have until February 11 and can do so by clicking here.   

    We continue to advocate to the Federal government for the necessity of debt relief, specifically those businesses that have taken on CEBA and RRRF loans. We know that the economic legacy of the pandemic will be widespread and severe and thus TIAO continues to push for an increase in the forgivable portions of loans and increase timescales for businesses to pay back loans. Thank you to the hundreds of TIAO members who have already sent their own letters to their MP’s already, but if you would like to join the campaign by sending your own letter, please visit our website to download a template letter.  

    In the coming days we will be meeting with Ontario Liberal Party Leader Steven Del Duca and Conservative Federal Critic for Tourism Michelle Ferreri MP to discuss the challenges facing the tourism industry. TIAO continues to pursue every avenue to get the voice of the tourism industry heard with decision makers as we pursue cross party solutions to support our industry. 

    Finally, there is still time to register for the second webinar in TIAO's Building Inclusive Tourism series on February 16.  The second lunch and learn session entitled ‘Better Business Discovery Process’ moderated by Maxine Gundermann, Market Sales Manager, Eastern Ontario, Celebrity Cruises, Inc, will provide the steps to conduct a discovery within your own operations and businesses to identify current gaps. You will gain insights through hearing about other’s experiences in the marketplace as they share best practice stories and examples of how adjusting your business to be more inclusive lead to better business success. Maxine will be joined by Niyoka McIntosh - Co-founder of Unpack Consulting; Wellness Vacation Specialist and owner of Vacation Your Way, Shalene Dudley, CTA, WPICC, PMP - Lead Travel Concierge at Latitude Concierge Travels, Ltd and Maria Ines - Director of Agent Experience & Loyalty, Independent by Flight Centre.  

    To secure your place, simply click here to register and please do share details of the session with colleagues and stakeholders. 



    Christopher Bloore, President & CEO, Tourism Industry Association of Ontario