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Questions for Parties

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The TIAC Team has sent the following questions to each of the main Canadian political parties about tourism priorities. We will post their responses as we receive them.

 

Question #1

Considering that Canada is outspent by most of its competitors for international marketing budgets, what is your party’s plan to ensure Destination Canada is well positioned to compete in tourism marketing in international markets? Does your party support investments in sustainable, stable and long-term marketing funding for Destination Canada?

LIBERAL The Liberal government launched Canada’s Tourism Vision, a whole of government approach to growing international tourism. Through the New Tourism Vision, we took action to improve Canadian tourism marketing, access, and product—all with the clear goal of increasing the total number of visitors to Canada. In Budget 2017, we provided Destination Canada with permanent funding of $95.5 million per year for tourism-related work, and significant funding was also made available through Canada’s six Regional Development Agencies. With stabilized funding, Destination Canada has been able to engage in long-term partnerships that allow it to maintain momentum in key markets. A key example of this type of partnership is North Star 22, a provincial/territorial and municipal marketing partnership that seeks to better align partner marketing efforts in common markets, improve data collection about traveler spending, and increase arrivals and tourism spending by attracting higher yield travelers to Canada. In the same vein, Budget 2017 provided $13.6 million over five years, and $2.7 million per year thereafter, to Statistics Canada to broaden tourism data collection, in order to ensure that tourism operators and governments make the most of their efforts and investments. In Budget 2019, we provided $5 million to Destination Canada for a tourism marketing campaign that will help Canadians to discover lesser-known areas, hidden national gems and new experiences across the country. Destination Canada is Canada’s signature tourism agency that collaborates with partners to promote Canada as a premier tourism destination.
NDP Canada’s tourism industry creates good jobs and is a major economic driver of every region in the country. As we work to transitions to a low-carbon economy the tourism industry will be become even more important to our economic growth. The Liberals promised to grow opportunities and jobs in tourism but under their watch our ranking as an international destination to among the lowest its been in decades. The tourism industry deserves better than empty Liberal talk, they deserve a government that’s on their side. A New Democrat government will work with tourism operators and agencies to find ways to grow Canada as an international destination and we’ll invest in regional economic development agencies to help create good jobs in areas like tourism and community development.

 

 

Question #2

What is your party’s position on expanding Canada’s export markets? As Canada’s largest service export, generating more than $21 billion in revenues last year alone, how does tourism fit into your plans for export expansion?

LIBERAL

Tourism in Canada is strong and growing. Canada’s tourism sector is an important source of jobs and growth, employing over 750,000 people and contributing about 2 per cent to Canada’s GDP. Recognizing the importance of tourism to Canada’s overall economy, the Liberal government launched, in May 2019, the new Federal Tourism Strategy. The strategy will be the most comprehensive and all encompassing, whole of government approach to tourism that Canada has ever taken. The focus will be to empower communities to grow their economies and create jobs through tourism and to work more closely with industry to find new ways to invest in tourism. The strategy will empower communities by: 

  1. providing $58.5 million in funding through the Canadian Experiences Fund to enhance Canada's tourism products and experiences. The Fund would support Canadian businesses and organizations seeking to create, improve or expand tourism-related infrastructure
  2. changing the way we invest in tourism by developing tourism investment groups where all levels of government will collaborate to invest more efficiently while meeting local priorities and identifying ways to raise private investment; and 
  3. creating the new Tourism Industry Economic Strategy Table to provide a platform for government and industry leaders to collaborate on overcoming sector challenges. 

These three pillars will take a whole-of-government approach to addressing barriers to growth such as lack of investment coordination and labor shortages. This Strategy will complement existing and ongoing investments aimed at driving growth in the tourism sector. Since 2016, Regional Development Agencies have allocated over $196 million to tourism businesses. The Business Development Bank of Canada is another important source of support for Canada’s tourism industry, having provided more than $1.4 billion in financing since 2016. Tourism businesses are also supported by Export Development Canada, which assists Canadian tourism businesses that wish to expand into global markets. This expansion is now possible with the trade opportunities that our government has created. Small business owners now have access to 1.5 billion customers around the world through 14 signed free trade agreements including the CETA, CPTPP and the new NAFTA. It’s also why we launched an export diversification strategy to increase Canada’s overseas exports by 50% by investing in infrastructure to support trade, providing Canadian businesses with the resources to reach overseas markets, and enhancing trade services for Canadian exporters. It is also worth noting that Budget 2017 invested $256 million over five years for Canada to join the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) in order to build our multilateral engagement with countries around the world. Furthermore, Budget 2018 provided $11 million to implement the Canada-China Year of Tourism. Accomplishments under the year include a federal-provincial-territorial tourism trade mission to China in June 2018, which included over two-dozen Canadian tourism businesses and resulted in the signing of seven memoranda of understanding (MOU) and partnership agreements between Canadian and Chinese associations and businesses. Since we took office, our global brand is strong once again, and the world wants more Canada.

NDP Canada makes produces some of the best goods and services in the world. Unfortunately, thanks to decisions made by Liberal and Conservative governments in Ottawa, business owners are struggling to access new markets. The Liberals promised that they were make things easier for small and medium sized business, but the only people they’ve made things easier for are their wealthy corporate friends. Unlike Liberals who only promise empty talk and conservatives who’d only make things worse, a New Democrat government will streamline access to government export services and make it simpler to break into foreign markets. We’ll also provide small- and mediumsized businesses with a single point of contact to help ease regulatory processes and support compliance - freeing up time for entrepreneurs to invest in growing their business. We’ll also review and strengthen Export Canada’s mandate to recruit and retain investment in our export focused industries.

 

 

Question #3

With respect to temporary immigration for the purposes of business, leisure, and study, and considering that Canada ranks 120/141 countries for visa openness, does your party believe that there needs to be more or less scrutiny over the visa application process? How can Canada improve on its performance with regards to visa access?

LIBERAL

Each year, Canada welcomes millions of tourists, temporary foreign workers and international students who inject billions into our economy. Canada benefits from the contribution of visitors and international students who spend money in our communities, bring fresh perspectives to our institutions, and create linkages to friends and family around the world. Under the Liberal government, we welcomed a new record number of international visitors for two years in a row. In 2018, 21.13 million tourists came to the country, up from 20.8 million in 2017. The previous record was 20.1 million established in 2002. 

A visa application can be refused for a number of reasons. Grounds for refusal include security, medical, and financial reasons, as well as misrepresentation, having an inadmissible family member, or the visa officer is not satisfied that the foreign national will leave by the end of the period authorized for their stay. Lifting a visa requirement or reducing verification can result in other challenges, as it removes a level of pre-border screening. A Liberal government is committed to an immigration system that strengthens the Canadian middle class through economic growth, while maintaining border security, and preserving the health, safety and security of Canadians. This is why Budget 2019 provided $78.6 million over two years to ensure that resources are in place to process global demand for Canadian visitor visas, work and study permits. We will continue to ensure that immigration and border officials are well-equipped to facilitate the efficient entry of visitors, while protecting the health and security of Canadians.

NDP Newcomers to Canada are a vital part of our workplaces, our communities, our families, and our governments. New Democrats know that immigration makes our country strong. We’re on the side of newcomers and we’re always going to be in it for them. Unfortunately, there are still some parties and leaders who disagree and who would rather work to divide us instead of uniting us. When they were elected four years ago the Liberals promised to address job shortages and problems with visa applications, but just like every other promise they made it turned out to be empty. Canadians deserve better than empty talk and broken promises. New Democrats will work to ensure that those who want to come to Canada to work, study, or fun, have the opportunities to do so.

 

 

Question #4

How will your party support measures that facilitate the freedom to move people across the border and through airports through investments in technology, human resources, infrastructure or other? Does your party support CATSA reform and expansion to new regional airports to improve screening wait times?

LIBERAL Canadians deserve a safe, efficient, and innovative transportation system. Wait times at Canadian airports are increasing due to a lack of long term significant funding for CATSA. Many attribute these wait times to the Harper Government’s cuts to CATSA’s budget between 2009-2015. Since then, CATSA’s budget has remained stagnant. CATSA needs to be able to meet the challenges of safe but efficient travel. For this reason, Budget 2019 provided $1,175 million over five years for delivering better service for air travelers. There is an additional $864.6 million for transfer payments to the new Designated Screening Authority for the 2020-2021 fiscal year. We introduced legislation that would enable CATSA to transition to an independent, not-for-profit entity and to establish this entity. This would make the agency like NAV Canada, which operates our air navigation service at a world-class standard. The Minister of Transport will retain regulatory oversight of the new screening authority, ensuring that Canadians who fly will do so safer and more efficiently.
NDP New Democrats will always be on the side of workers and we’ll never stop fighting to ensure that they have the on-the-job supports and training they need to thrive. Unfortunately thanks to years of Liberal inaction and conservative cuts many of our workers in the passenger transportation and security sector have been forced to do more with less, and everyone has suffered because of it. Workers and everyday families shouldn’t have to pay for empty liberal promises or conservative cuts and with Jagmeet Singh’s New Deal for People they never have to again. Our plan will invest in the services and supports – including front line staff- that Canadians expect and deserve. A New Democrat government would work with CATSA to find unique solutions that decrease wait times will keeping all Canadians safe.

 

 

Question #5

Considering that Canada ranks 97/141 countries in terms of cost competitiveness, and as tourism is the only export that is not currently zero-rated or exempt from tax, do you believe that temporary international visitors to Canada should continue to pay taxes on products and services purchased during their visit? Would your party contemplate any incentives to improve on Canada’s cost competitiveness?

LIBERAL Foreign Convention and Tour Incentive Program provides GST/HST rebates to non resident for the GST/HST paid on short-term and/or camping accommodation in Canada included in an eligible tour package; and to convention sponsors, organizers and exhibitors for the GST/HST paid on certain properties and/or services used in the course of conventions held in Canada.In certain cases, a rebate may also be available for the Quebec sales tax paid on purchases for a foreign convention. A non-resident visitor to Canada cannot claim a rebate of the goods and services tax/harmonized sales tax (GST/HST) that he or she paid for all purchases made in Canada. According to KPMG’s Competitive Alternatives 2016, Canada has proven to be the second most competitive market in a comparison test of 10 leading industrial countries, and the overall business costs in Canada are the lowest in the G7.
NDP New Democrats believe that governments should work for everyday people, not for wealthy corporations and the rich. For too long thanks to Liberal and Conservative governments alike putting the priorities of lobbyists and big donors first life has gotten more and more expensive for everyday families. Small business owners saw their costs go up while big corporations got bigger and bigger breaks. Unlike Liberals, who promise to fight for the middle class during an election but ignore us when they’re in government, New Democrats would everyone pays their fair share. By asking those that can afford it, the wealthiest 0.1% of Canadians, to pay a little bit more, we can make life more affordable for everyday families in every corner of the country. Our New Deal for people reduces costs for families and businesses making life better for everyone.

 

 

Question #6

As immigration targets continue to be largely dependent on high-skilled immigrants, how can Canada better address labour shortages in industries with significant labour needs for positions that do not qualify? Does your party support ensuring that immigration targets match labour needs?

LIBERAL

Immigration has made Canada the nation it is today, one that’s diverse, prosperous and welcoming to those in need. Canadians take pride in the fact that our country is diverse and open to all, which in turn helps us to attract the best and the brightest. The Liberal government understands the importance of immigration and will continue to work to improve our immigration system. Under our government, the OECD released its report concluding that Canada has the largest and most comprehensive and elaborate skilled labor migration system in the OECD. 

Our government introduced the first multi-year immigration levels plan that sets out the highest levels of permanent residents that Canada will welcome in recent history. Under this framework, we will bring in more talented workers with the particular skills and expertise that our economy needs. The new levels plan commits to responsibly increase permanent resident admissions to 350,000 in 2021, towards 1% of Canada’s population. The majority of the increase from 2019-2021 will be dedicated to selecting highly skilled economic immigrants, notably through Express Entry and the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP), enabling Canada to continue to attract the best and brightest candidates. With most of this increase in the economic programs, the plan will contribute to the country’s economy and address demographic challenges by adding skilled workers to our work force through sustained growth in admissions. Furthermore, our government has launched several immigration pilot programs to respond to the labour market needs, such as the Atlantic Immigration Programto attract and retain newcomers in the region;the Rural and Northern Immigration Pilotto bring skilled newcomers to smaller communities and to support local economic growth; and the Agri-Food Pilot to address labour shortages for specialized skills in the agricultural sector. In addition, we launched the Global Skills Strategy to bring highly-skilled workers, attract entrepreneurs and support job creating businesses in growth industries. Since 2017, over 30,000 critical high-skilled vacancies have been filled to help Canadian businesses expand. We invested, through Budget 2019, $35.2 million to make the Global Talent Stream permanent. We also made permanent the Start-Up Visa program to facilitate innovation, investment and job creation.

NDP Immigration makes Canada stronger. Welcoming new talent and energy from around the world builds our communities and boosts our economy. Canada is one of the most diverse countries in the world and we are richer and stronger for it. Yet, under the Liberal government, too many new Canadians are struggling to get work in their field of expertise, causing stress for their families as they struggle to make ends meet and to fulfill their potential. Instead of helping, too many Conservatives want to make the situation worse with dangerous statements that seek to divide our communities. New Democrats believe there’s a better way and our government will make sure that our immigration policies and levels meet Canada’s labour force needs and recognize people’s experiences, contributions, and ties to Canada. We will work with the provinces to address gaps in settlement services and improve foreign credentials recognition. We’ll also ensure that those who come here temporarily to work have a path to stay here permanently. New Democrats will protect newcomers by taking on unscrupulous immigration consultants, ensuring that the industry is regulated by the government.