Message from the President & CEO > Message from the President & CEO – April 4, 2023

Message from the President & CEO – April 4, 2023

posted on April 4, 2023

Allow me to share with you some of the latest developments in the federal budget for 2023, which includes news for the Canadian tourism industry.  

The government has confirmed that it will present a new Federal Tourism Growth Strategy to chart a course for growth, investment, and stability in Canada’s tourism sector, although we do not have a clear indication of when this will occur. 

One of the most significant investments in the budget is the $108 million over three years, starting in 2023-24, to the Regional Development Agencies. This funding will support communities, small businesses, and non-profit organizations in developing local projects and events, which will help to attract visitors and boost tourism in their areas. 

Another promising development is the allocation of $50 million over the next three years, to Destination Canada to attract major international conventions, conferences, and events to Canada. This will bring economic benefits to the tourism industry and the country as a whole as we build back the business events sector. 

As we work towards rebuilding the industry, it is essential to focus on supporting travel to Canada. Visitors to Canada generate billions of dollars in revenue for the Canadian economy and support Canadian businesses. Budget 2023 proposes to expand eligibility for the Electronic Travel Authorization Program to low-risk, trusted travellers from additional visa-required countries. This service, currently only available in Brazil, will help make Canada a more attractive destination for trusted travellers while allowing the government to focus resources on screening higher-risk travellers. The cost of this measure is $50.8 million over four years in forgone revenue, and details on eligible countries will be announced soon. 

To ensure the safety and security of all travellers, the budget proposes to provide $1.8 billion over five years, starting in 2023-24, to the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority (CATSA) to maintain and increase its level of service, improve screening wait times, and strengthen security measures at airports. The budget also proposes to amend the Canada Transportation Act to require the sharing and reporting of data by airports and air carriers to reduce delays and improve coordination between airports, airlines, and CATSA. Additionally, $5.2 million over five years, starting in 2023-24, will be provided to Transport Canada to collect and analyze air sector performance data. 

The government is also taking steps to strengthen the Canadian Transportation Agency and ensure airlines are more accountable for delays and cancellations. Budget 2023 proposes to amend the Canada Transportation Act to align Canada’s air passenger rights regime with those of leading international approaches and ensure that Canadians are fairly compensated for travel delays that are within airlines’ control.  

Finally, VIA Rail trains play a crucial role in connecting communities across Canada, particularly in rural, remote, and Indigenous communities where other transportation options may be limited or unavailable. Budget 2023 proposes to provide $210.0 million over five years, starting in 2023-24, with $117.4 million in remaining amortization, to VIA Rail to conduct maintenance on its trains on routes outside the Québec City–Windsor Corridor and to maintain levels of service across its network. Additionally, $29.9 million over two years, starting in 2023-24, will be provided to Transport Canada for the Ferry Services Contribution Program to support the continued safe and reliable operation of ferry services in Eastern Canada. 


Beth Potter 
President & CEO 
Tourism Industry Association of Canada