OTTAWA — The key concerns of Canada's hotel industry were heard loud and clear on Parliament Hill on October 5, 2017, according Susie Grynol, president of the Hotel Association of Canada. On what was called #HotelHillDay, over 30 industry leaders from across Canada came to Ottawa for meetings with more than 60 federal decision makers. This significant advocacy event came on the heels of the media launch of HAC’s national short term rental study late last month.
“This event brought leaders from the industry to Parliament Hill, engaging them on the front lines of advocacy,” said Grynol. “Nobody is better positioned to discuss the real and local impacts of these issues with Members of Parliament than the group we had participating. The result was deeply influential and high impact.
“We hand-picked participants to ensure full representation of the industry. This included independent hotels and GMs right through to the big brands and management companies. We also had owners and representatives from our provincial and city associations.”
“Hotel Hill Day was an excellent opportunity for members of the Hotel Association of Canada to interact with Members of Parliament and Senators on Parliament Hill while raising the profile of Canada’s hotel sector,” said HAC chair Vito Curalli.
“Together, we made significant progress on the issues which matter the most to our industry, such as labour supply shortages and the short-term rental industry. #HotelHillDay laid the groundwork for the association to continue advancing advocacy efforts among key policy makers from a position of strength.”
“The Parliament Hill Day (or “the advocacy activities”) on October 5th was a great initiative to complement the association’s continued efforts to drive awareness to the issues that matter most for the hospitality industry,” said Jonathan Lund, IHG regional vice-president, Canada.
“Although we are a recognizable brand, IHG’s 177 hotels across Canada are not immune to the impact of short-term rentals, as well as the labour shortages affecting our industry. Our owners and operators are appreciative of the Association’s efforts to raise the profile and build awareness of these issues with our elected Members of Parliament.”
Key highlights of the day included a rare discussion and photo opportunity with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, a kick-off breakfast with Blake Richards, Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Tourism for the Official Opposition, and a luncheon keynote address from the Honourable Bardish Chagger, Leader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister of Small Business and Tourism.
“The fact that the Prime Minister took the time out of his day to meet with us, amidst all the international and critical issues he has to manage daily, speaks volumes to the strong relationships we have been able to build in a short time,” said Grynol. “His response was encouraging. The issue is on his radar and he told me that it is being examined by Finance.”
Delegates met with a number of high-level Members of Parliament throughout the course of the day, including the Hon. Geoff Regan, Speaker of the House of Commons; Rodger Cuzner, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour; Alaina Lockhart, Parliamentary Secretary for Small Business and Tourism; and John Nater, Official Opposition Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Interprovincial Trade and the Sharing Economy. Meetings were also held with chief policy advisors to the Minister of Finance and the Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development.
Of special note, during Question Period,Terry Beech, MP for Burnaby North-Seymour (BC) rose to welcome HAC delegates in the House of Commons and acknowledged the hotel industry as an integral part of Canada’s economy.
Social media engagement included a Twitter hashtag #HotelHillDay, which was viewed by more than 150,000 Twitter users and reached 58,000 Twitter accounts. In addition, a prominent transit shelter advertisement has been placed just outside Parliament Hill, which showcases the need for fair rules for the short-term rental industry.
Grynol celebrates one year with HAC
Grynol celebrated her one year anniversary with the association at the Travelodge Canada Conference in Calgary Oct.17. At the conference, she described #HotelHillDay as “the day David launched the boulder at Goliath.”
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