Next week, on March 23, the provincial government is set to introduce its 2023 budget. We’re grateful to our partners for supporting the tourism industry’s short-term and long-term goals in their pre-budget submissions and over the past many months. A quick note of thanks to the Ontario Chamber of Commerce for amplifying our advocacy of key tourism asks—you can read their pre-budget submission here.
The following week, on March 28, the federal government will release its 2023 budget. As the federal government is looking to finalize their priorities for the 2023 fiscal year, our advocacy to remove red tape for tourism businesses continues. In support of Beer Canada’s campaign and our partners at the Ontario Restaurant Hotel and Motel Association (ORHMA) and Restaurants Canada, we sent a letter to Finance Minister, Chrystia Freeland, calling on the federal government to freeze the federal excise tax on beer, wine, and spirits. The federal excise tax on beverage alcohol is set to automatically increase by 6.3% on April 1st. This will impact not only Ontario’s breweries, wineries, cideries, and distilleries, but the tourism and hospitality operators who sell beverage alcohol as part of the visitor experience.
The increase to the federal excise tax will come at a time when tourism and hospitality businesses are still slow to recover and dealing with rising operating costs, supply chain issues, and recruitment and retention challenges. For producers and vendors of beverage alcohol, a record increase in the federal excise tax will only exacerbate current challenges by reducing revenue, reducing cash flow, and creating costs that operators will not be able to fully absorb. If passed onto consumers, the rising prices of affected tourism products and experiences may dampen visitor demand, creating yet another blow for hard-hit businesses.
In our letter to Minister Freeland, we echoed the recommendation put forward by Beer Canada to freeze the federal excise tax on beer, wine, and spirits for fiscal years 2023 and 2024 until inflation returns to the Bank of Canada’s 1% to 3% target range. You can read our letter here.
Meanwhile, we will continue to work with our partners on other regulatory and policy measures that support the growth and competitiveness of Ontario-owned brick and mortar craft breweries, wineries, cideries, and distilleries, which attract millions of visitors per year and contribute directly to tourism revenue.
This week, we also sent a letter to the federal government regarding the Canada Summer Jobs program. We’ve heard from stakeholders about the need to better leverage this program to not only support operators during peak commercial periods, but as a means to promote tourism career awareness, build transferable skills, and attract young workers to our industry. To support our future pipeline of talent and help train Ontario’s future workforce, we called for tourism and hospitality sectors to be given a higher quota of Canada Summer Jobs positions, particularly in regions where these jobs are in high demand. You can read our letter here.
Finally, we’re aware of local bylaw issues that have created more red tape for some campground operators, impacting their capacity to renovate and expand while deterring new operators from entering the local campground market. We are working with our colleagues at Camping in Ontario to address this issue and reach a solution that will support the capacity of local campgrounds to continue offering innovative and competitive visitor experiences.
As always, thank you for your continued support. And of course, if you have any questions or comments, please feel free to send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Director, Policy & Government Affairs