Industry Level Trailer Plate Solution
At the request of TIAO member Boating Ontario, TIAO alerted key political and bureaucratic policy advisors to the issue of
dealers having to buy a new trailer plate for each boat, snowmobile, or ATV that they moved. On behalf of its members, TIAO coordinated and participated in several meetings with the Ministry of Transportation, and attended a stakeholder consultation at the MTO office alongside industry stakeholders, and representatives from the Roadside Enforcement Division of the Ontario Provincial Police. This discussion went over the proposed service plate solution and worked out the details regarding weight restrictions, towing capacities, and all other areas that could lead to unintended consequences for the safety of Ontario highways.
After this stakeholder consultation, TIAO met directly with the Minister of Transportation and staff at the 2019 ROMA Conference. As a direct result of TIAO’s meetings with the Ministry of Transportation, an announcement was made in March 2019 at the Spring Cottage Life Show. The Ministry announced their decision to cut red tape for the tourism industry by extending the service plate program to include recreational and off-road vehicles.
This win reflects the full potential of government and industry collaborating to save the tourism industry thousands of dollars a year and is a huge step forward in cutting red-tape so that tourism businesses can continue to create jobs and drive the economy.
Tourism Oriented Directional Signage
Many tourism businesses across the province were adversely affected by the TODS program announcing a significant price increase. Together with
Attractions Ontario and the Ontario Museum Association, TIAO reacted quickly to this issue and met with staff from both the Ministry of Transportation and the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport to explain the impact of the price increase.
At this meeting TIAO requested that TODS pricing be held at the 2018 rate through to 2019, that both ministries agree to reviewing any future price increases, and to implement a reasonable time frame for business owners to anticipate and prepare for cost increases. After the meeting, TIAO reached out to its members to collect copies of official bills and receipts from the TODS company to provide proof that some businesses were subject to a 300% price increase.
Late in December 2018, the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport contacted TIAO directly to share their decision to announce a price freeze to maintain the 2018 TODS pricing through to 2019, and that the Ministry would also review the process and timeline for any future increases.
Repealing Bill 148 – Employment Legislative Changes Applicable to the Tourism Sector
A huge area of concern for the tourism industry was Bill 148, the Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act, that received Royal Assent in 2017. Bill 148 not only raised the minimum wage from $11.60 to $14 per hour, but put into motion a range of changes to the Employment Standards, Labour Relations, and Occupational
Health and Safety Acts.
In its third year of working on the Bill 148 file (in 2018), TIAO sent a survey to TIAO members and used a Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA) and thematic coding to organize and analyze data on how TIAO members/businesses were impacted by the legislative amendments of Bill 148. Some of the key findings from this
analysis included the high cost of administering changes to overtime calculations, the speed at which the wage increase was made, and the impact of the increase of Personal Emergency Leave Days on small and seasonal businesses.
Using data collected from the members survey, and policy research, TIAO met with the Minister of Labour, shared the key findings on the impact of Bill 148 on Ontario businesses, and provided six policy amendments.
In November of 2018, Bill 47 received Royal Assent, repealing much of Bill 148. The Minister of Labour’s Chief of Staff referenced the AMO meeting with TIAO as being highly influential in their repeal of Bill 148 and the design of Bill 47.
Of note - one of TIAO’s direct policy asks to repeal the January 1, 2019 planned minimum wage increase to $15 an hour was implemented. This represented a cost savings of over $7 billion for Ontario businesses.
Being the Voice of Tourism – Waivers in Ontario’s Recreational Sporting Industry
TIAO member Ontario Federation Of Snowmobile Clubs (OFSC), approached TIAO to go through all materials ahead of a Supreme Court of Canada case and intervene on the appeal case on behalf of the greater industry. TIAO’s feedback on the case played a role in the Supreme Court of Canada’s decision to affirm that waivers under the Occupiers’ Liability Act are not defeated by the Consumer Protection Act.
This decision put new force into waiver arguments, not just in Ontario but it will help cases in British Columbia and other provinces. This is just one example of the many ways that TIAO acts as the voice of tourism.
New Tourism Strategy for Ontario
In early conversations with the Ministry of Tourism, Culture, and Sport, under the new Ford government, TIAO requested that Ontario create a new
tourism strategy to maximize the economic impact of Ontario’s $34 billion tourism industry.
On October 23rd, 2018, the Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport announced the development of a new Ontario tourism strategy at the 2018 Ontario Tourism Summit, emphasizing the government’s commitment to tourism as an economic driver.