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Tourism Issues Forum

22 Feb 2018
8:30am - 4:00pm EST
Event Details

Welcome & Opening Remarks

Beth Potter (President & CEO, Tourism Industry Association of Ontario) & Lorrie McKee (Chair of the Board, Tourism Industry Association of Ontario)

9:15-9:30am Remarks from the Honourable Daiene Vernile
Ministry of Tourism Culture & Sport

Municipal Accommodation Tax

In the 2017 Ontario Budget, the Government of Ontario gave the authority to charge a hotel tax to all municipalities in the province. In this session, ADM Richard McKinnell will review the regulations that govern how municipalities can implement this new tax. Our panel will then discuss the different approaches that municipalities are taking, lessons learned so far, and how this can benefit the tourism industry.

Richard McKinnell (Assistant Deputy Minister, Ministry of Tourism, Culture & Sport)

John Winston (General Manager, Tourism London)

Steve Ball (President, Ottawa Gatineau Hotel Association)

Katherine Hobbs (Tourism Manager, Brockville Tourism/Chamber of Commerce)

10:30-10:45am BREAK

Understanding Bill 148: Beyond the Minimum Wage Increase

Lots of the focus on Bill 148 has been on the increases to Ontario’s minimum wage, but a lot more changed in the Employment Standard Act as a result of this bill. Learn what those changes are and how they will impact your business.

Benjamin Guth (Founder & CEO, Mobilize Jobs)

12:00-1:15pm LUNCH

Red Tape Challenge

For years, the tourism industry has been talking about the regulatory burden on businesses. In 2016, TIAO was able to get the tourism industry added to the Red Tape Challenge. Now is the opportunity to share insights into regulations that are out of date, out of sync, cumbersome, or duplicative. This session will be conducted as a Red Tape Challenge consultation session – so come prepared to talk about regulations that cause you grief.

Chris Huey (Director (Acting), Regulatory Modernization Branch, Open for Business, Ministry of Economic Development & Growth)

Regulatory Areas Covered:

  • Employment and labour
  • Health and safety
  • Environment
  • Insurance
  • Corporate and commercial law
  • Land use and planning
  • Taxation and financial reporting
  • Food marketing
  • Travel and hospitality
2:45-3:00pm BREAK

Election 2018

It’s a big year! With a Provincial Election in June and Municipal Elections in October, it’s a great time to talk tourism with candidates and politicians. This session will cover the messages important to our industry. We will also talk with some experienced people on the best ways to get the tourism message in front of the candidates and what to do post-election.

Beth Potter (President & CEO, Tourism Industry Association of Ontario)

Doug Switzer (President & CEO, Ontario Motor Coach Association)

Craig Hughson (Political Strategist, Aurora Strategy Group)

Minto Schneider (President & CEO, Waterloo Regional Tourism Marketing Corporation)


Accommodation Info

Event attendees who plan to stay overnight are welcome to take advantage of a special rate offered by the Novotel of $145 per night. Interested parties may contact reservations directly at 905-896-1000 and reference the name of the event: Tourism Issues Forum.



Steve Ball 

President, Ottawa Gatineau Hotel Association

Prior to joining the OGHA in 2014, Steve spent 25 years in the consumer publishing business, including the role of vice-president of media at the Canadian Medical Association. He currently sits on several boards of directors, including co-chairing the Ottawa 2017 Bureau, a not-for-profit focused on celebrations for Canada's 150th anniversary.

Benjamin Guth

Founder & CEO, Mobilize Jobs

Previous to founding Mobilize Jobs—an innovative staffing program backed by 30 years of recruiting experience—Benjamin ran the largest ethical and compliant international recruitment firm in Canada. Working closely with a wide breadth of Canadian businesses as well as key industry associations, Benjamin spends his days helping organizations develop their labour strategies and sourcing top tier talent.

Chris Huey

Director (Acting), Regulatory Modernization Branch, Open for Business, Ministry of Economic Development & Growth

Chris's team is responsible for leading the government’s efforts at reducing regulatory burden for business, including running the Red Tape Challenge, preparing annual burden reduction legislation, and producing the Annual Burden Reduction Report.

Craig Hughson 

Political Strategist, Aurora Strategy Group

He spent over a dozen years at Queen’s Park before beginning his career in consulting, working for MPPs, cabinet ministers, and other government officials—including positions as chief of staff and senior policy advisor for natural resources, Indigenous affairs, health, and government and consumer services portfolios. In his current role, Craig assists clients in developing and executing public affairs, and government relations strategies and tactics.

Katherine Hobbs

Tourism Manager, Brockville Tourism/Chamber of Commerce


Katherine has worked for large, medium and small public and private organizations in Canada and Africa. Her areas of expertise include communications,  public relations, business development, marketing and policy development. Katherine was an elected Ottawa city councillor from 2010 to 2014, and received an Urban Design Award while in office. Katherine also served as co-chair for Ottawa’s 150th anniversary committee, working on plans to stimulate tourism in 2017.   

Beth Potter

President & CEO, Tourism Industry Association of Ontario (TIAO)

Beth Potter has led the Tourism Industry Association of Ontario (TIAO)—the umbrella trade association for Ontario’s tourism industry—as President and CEO since January 2011. A distinguished member of the tourism community with over 25 years of experience in the not-for-profit sector, Beth also currently serves on the boards of directors for the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, and the Ontario Chamber of Commerce. She is also an advisory council member for the Ted Rogers School of Hospitality & Tourism Management at Ryerson University.

Minto Schneider

President & CEO, Waterloo Regional Tourism Marketing Corporation

Doug Switzer

President & CEO, Ontario Motor Coach Association

Doug has been with the Ontario Motor Coach Association and Motor Coach Canada since July 2011. OMCA and MCC are among the largest travel and tourism-related associations in Canada, and act as the voice of private sector bus operators, inter-city bus lines, charter and coach tour companies, as well as tourism suppliers in Ontario and across Canada. Prior to joining the OMCA and MCC, Doug spent 11 years with the Ontario Trucking Association. Before that, he spent more than 16 years working in government at both the federal and provincial levels.

The Honourable Daiene Vernile

Minister, Ministry of Tourism Culture and Sport

Daiene was elected to the Ontario legislature in 2014 as the MPP for Kitchener Centre. Prior to being appointed Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport in January 2018, Daiene has served as the Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Research and Innovation, the Minister of Transportation, and the Minister of Research, Innovation and Science. Previously, Daiene covered economic, health, transit and social issues in Kitchener as an anchor and producer on CTV’s ProvinceWide for nearly 30 years.

John Winston

General Manager, Tourism London

John oversees a membership-based DMO, which features three business units that include sport tourism, culture, and entertainment and leisure travel. London has the highest concentration of hotel rooms in its respective region, and hosts nearly 2.1 million overnight and 4 million day visitors annually. In 2015, John was the recipient of the Canadian Sport Tourism Alliance's Sport Tourism Champion of the Year Award, for his leadership in facilitating the attraction of over 20 national and international sporting events to London since 2002, which have generated more than $120M in economic activity.

Thank You to Our Sponsors

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22 Feb 2018
8:30am - 4:00pm EST

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