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  • 16 Mar 2023 by Jessica Ng

    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


    Jessica Ng
    Director, Policy & Government Affairs


  • TIAO was thrilled to attend the Feast On the Farm Industry Day in Niagara Benchlands. Dr. Jessica Ng, Director of Policy and Government Affairs, and Caitlyn Drexler, Senior Policy Analyst, presented findings from the 2022 State of the Ontario Tourism Industry Report, highlighting red tape facing local operators, the need for a tourism workforce strategy, and opportunities to grow agritourism in Niagara Benchlands. TIAO thanks the Town of Lincoln, Niagara Benchlands, the Culinary Tourism Alliance, Fieldstone at Bench, and Bench Brewing Company for a wonderful (and delicious) event!

  • TIAO attended the Southern Ontario Conference, hosted by Ontario’s Southwest (OSW) and Hamilton Halton Brant Regional Tourism Association (HHBRTA), in Hamilton. This was an excellent two and half days of insightful and energizing content from great keynote speakers and innovative thought leaders and operators. TIAO's State of the Ontario Tourism Industry Report was highlighted on stage as a key document in building a framework for growth and TIAO was delighted with the overwhelming positive response to the report by stakeholders. 

    TIAO’s President and CEO, Christopher Bloore, was fortunate enough to be asked to host the award ceremony and help to shine a spotlight on some of the innovation and ingenuity on display throughout Southern Ontario's tourism industry. Congratulations to Executive Director’s Joanne Wolnik (Southwest Ontario Tourism Corporation) and Maria Fortunato (Hamilton Halton Brant Regional Tourism Association) for bringing us together for such an impactful agenda and for your leadership over the past twelve months (and much longer) in Ontario's tourism industry.