OTTAWA — The Tourism Industry Association of Ontario (TIAO) and several other hospitality associations have made financial recommendations to the federal government on behalf of the tourism industry.
Other organizations, such as the Canadian Airport Council, Canadian Live Music Association and the Hotel Association of Canada (HAC) have all contributed ideas and recommendations to the federal government as well.
The short term recommendations and areas of concern are as follows:
• Employment Insurance (EI) — use the last 20 weeks of 2019 to assess wages as workers that are kept on during this crisis but may have to access EI later will have significantly fewer hours to base their wages on; increase payments from 55 per cent to 80 per cent; provide workers that have been on seasonal layoffs with an extension to their benefits
• Liquidity — provide access to cash flow for ongoing fixed payments
• Insurance — to date, all government announcements that affect businesses have been suggestions, which is impacting the ability to invoke “force majeure” clauses in cancellation insurance
• Debt payment deferral — freeze mortgage payments (or at least interest payments) to relieve pressure from reduced cash flow
• Taxes — put a pause on payroll taxes, property taxes and HST payments, which are all due in the next few weeks; provide an extension of the income tax deadline; suspend interest on taxes owed from previous years; implement a substantial wage/tax credit for the lowest earners
• Supply — keep borders open for cargo and transportation of goods to keep supply chains open
The mid-term recommendations focus more on preserving the industry as a whole on a macro level, rather than a micro person-by-person level. These suggestions include:
• MAT (municipal accommodation tax) funding collected by cities should all be allocated to tourism rather than 50 per cent (provincial)
• Regional tourism organization (RTO) partner funding should be increased (doubled) to encourage product development (provincial)
• Once health officials indicate life can resume as normal, encourage domestic travel and provide incentives
The TIAO urges the government to act on these suggestions immediately, releasing the statement:
“Immediate action is required. The short-term suggestions need to be implemented immediately. The mid- and long-term suggestions need to be in progress so that, when its time, we are ready to go.”