We still have work to do, but we are Stronger Together – Recognizing 2021 Advocacy Successes
Without a doubt, this has been an extremely challenging year for our members and the entire tourism industry. While many battles were fought and won on the industry’s behalf there is still much more to be done and we are committed to being your Voice and Championing your needs through recovery, as we regain and rise. The Tourism Industry Association of Canada (TIAC) is working for you and with you every step of the way.
We were pleased to see last week’s passing of Bill C2 and hope that you can rest more easily through the holidays. As we move into 2022, we are monitoring the situation and we will keep you informed on the rollout.
The new Omicron variant has caused a lot of confusion with new restrictions. We will be advocating for a process to be followed across the country when new variants emerge, as opposed to making quick decisions about new requirements. The tourism industry needs to be part of developing this process, and it needs to be one that provides for the predictability. The constant modifications without notice are a considerable issue for the industry, especially when communication about the new requirements is not clear and not uniformly applied across Canada. We know this, and we are working to ensure consistency and clear communication to the industry.
We are also continuing to work with colleagues to formulate our strategy to address the labour challenge. We know that many of our operators are busy looking to hire for the upcoming winter season. This is a problem we need to address and recommend solutions for as soon as possible.
A brief overview of some of our work this year can be found here on our website.
TIAC is responsible for representing tourism interests at the national level, and our advocacy work involves promoting and supporting policies, programs and activities that will benefit the sector's growth and development.
Our mission is to be the voice of Canada’s tourism industry and improve its global competitiveness as an international destination through leadership and advocacy. And our vision is to lead the Canadian tourism industry to be the most competitive in the world.
Of course, since the onset of the pandemic, we have been going full tilt to ensure you have the support you need to survive.
At the onset of the pandemic, TIAC formed a National Recovery Committee, comprised of tourism leaders from across Canada, representing all sectors of the visitor economy. It produced 2 reports with recommendations. It oversaw our first-ever, virtual Hill Week when we scheduled online meetings with over 100 MPs.
TIAC President and CEO Beth Potter Co-Chairs the Coalition of Hardest Hit Businesses with Susie Grynol, the President and CEO of the Hotel Association of Canada. We have seen much success with this group.
This Coalition has over 120 members representing tourism, hotel and event businesses, as well as a host of other tourism or travel-related organizations. The Coalition ultimately represents many hundreds of thousands of workers in the tourism industry.
The Coalition’s primary focus has been ensuring that the wage subsidy is extended in a way that works for our sector.
We knew these programs were slated to sunset at the end of October. So, we continued to push for a tailored solution.
A demonstration of our efforts came when, as the first commitment on the campaign trail, Prime Minister Trudeau announced support for the hardest-hit sectors, including a transition program that was very much aligned with the survival plan the Coalition had been advocating for. TIAC wrote many letters, made many phone calls, set up many meetings with Members of Parliament, Department officials and Senators, and appeared before the Standing Committee on Finance, as well as countless times in the media fighting for this bill.
And last week, on December 16th, we saw the greatest acknowledgement of these efforts. Bill C2: An Act to provide further support in response to COVID-19 was passed by both the House of Commons and the Senate.
It is our hope that passing this new legislation before Parliament rises for the holidays will have a very positive impact on your businesses and employees. We know many operators are now struggling with having to meet their payroll and rent obligations amid crippling revenue losses, exhausted financial reserves, and substantial debt. The financial resources made available through the Tourism and Hospitality Recovery Program and the Hardest-Hit Business Recovery Program will help the industry’s recovery from the devastating impact of the pandemic, especially over the coming winter months until higher tourism levels are expected to return in the spring.
We still have many questions – including accessibility – and will share with industry as soon as we can.
Following the election, we welcomed the re-introduction of a dedicated Minister of Tourism, with the Honourable Randy Boissonnault being appointed as Minister of Tourism and Associate Minister of Finance. Having a federal Minister not only dedicated to our industry but one also having an explicit link to the Department of Finance clearly demonstrates the importance the federal government places on the tourism industry as a key driver underpinning Canada’s economic recovery and future prosperity for all Canadians.
Another important pillar of our advocacy work is the Canadian Travel and Tourism Roundtable. This group has been focused on vaccination and testing requirements making sense for the industry.
About a month ago, the Prime Minister announced a standardized Canadian COVID-19 proof of vaccination. This was a win for the tourism industry as TIAC had been advocating for one pan Canadian proof of vaccination system. We know that since then there is much confusion regarding the omicron variant and the changing travel rules and restrictions. Our biggest priority through this is clarity for the industry and ensuring we continue to advocate for one process. As we start to see provinces and territories reacting with their own measures, we need to ensure we are vocalizing the need to not move backwards into a fragmented system.
Governments are finding ways that will allow people to continue to travel in a way that should mitigate the spread of COVID. They are putting measures in place that protect the safety of our citizens. However, when it comes to testing, we can’t stress enough the need for clarity for travellers so that they can understand exactly what is needed for a smooth travel experience. We are learning to live, work and travel in a world where COVID exists.
It is becoming increasingly clear that Canada needs a playbook that will help guide the most appropriate reaction to the resurgence of variants. It is critical that this playbook also ensure greater predictability and consistency to the thousands of operators that are on the front lines of travel and tourism, which are directly impacted and are being called upon to help manage the constantly changing travel restrictions and testing requirements.
As we enter a new year and look towards the future… How will we know when we’ve achieved our objectives for the industry? And, what is it going to take to get us there?
We will have reached our objectives when total tourism spending in Canada gets back to at least $105 billion a year, and a strong foundation is in place to ensure it grows from there annually at the rate of inflation at a bare minimum.
We will strive to achieve the $105 billion target by the end of 2025, and we see growth from there by the end of 2026.
This will take continued collaboration and dialogue across our suite of sectors.
We will need to place greater emphasis on intelligence gathering. Accurate and timely information will make our strategies most effective.
We will also need to maintain an ongoing dialogue with our government partners at all levels. The continued commitment to our industry from a wide range of departmental and elected officials, including many Cabinet ministers, is critical.
Our industry has seen the power and influence it can wield by working together, setting a clear vision, and focusing our efforts on the path forward. Together we are stronger, and this approach shouldn’t change.
If you have any questions, please reach out to Madison Simmons, Director of Government Affairs, at email@example.com