ORHMA and OAA join forces

MISSISSAUGA—Tony Elenis, president and CEO of the Ontario Restaurant Hotel and Motel Association (ORHMA), announced June 3 at the association's annual meeting that the Ontario Accommodation Association (OAA) would cease operations of its 64-year-old non-profit association and conduct activities through the ORHMA starting Aug. 1.

ORHMA board of directors.

ORHMA board of directors.

Elenis spoke of his connection with innkeepers, relaying a story from his past.

“While attending high school In June of 1974, a teenager with hair down to his shoulders applied for his first full-time job in the newly built Holiday Inn Sault Ste Marie. This fellow was lucky enough to get the job as porter (or as its most commonly known today, as bellboy) on a condition that he cut his hair. Tony Elenis went out and got an army-style buzz cut, and next thing you know he went to work wearing the traditional red medieval uniform with lots of glittering buttons in front.

“My first boss was called an innkeeper. I liked that name. A keeper of an inn truly reflects and represents hospitality service.”

Elenis said that members of the Ontario Accommodation Association (OAA) unanimously voted at their recent annual general meeting to join with the ORHMA. John Burnside and Sharon Mahussier of the OAA will serve on the ORHMA board representing a new category of independent innkeepers.

“This is exciting news for Ontario’s hospitality industry, but this is not about ORHMA or OAA. It's about those innkeepers and their business,” Elenis said.

At the OAA AGM, Mahussier, chair of the board, said “that OAA members joining ORHMA will create a stronger, united industry association, that will benefit all of us with more leveraging power to negotiate member benefits, and a stronger voice to lobby government to protect our livelihoods.”

“The ORHMA is in a unique position to thrust on the opportunities and possibilities that lie ahead and develop more synergies,” Elenis said. “The ORHMA has a strong government relations presence and our on going work is helping but much more must be done.”

In closing, Elenis welcomed all the OAA members, and encouraged hospitality owners who are not part of OAA or ORHMA to support Ontario's hospitality industry and their business, to help improve the enormous barriers that exist, using one Ontario voice.

OAA has been guaranteed one seat on the ORHMA Executive and two seats on its Board of Directors. OAA's current Chair, Sharon Mahussier, and Vice-Chair, John Burnside, have volunteered to be candidates for these seats, ensuring continuity of representation for OAA's former members. 

OAA has been guaranteed one seat on the ORHMA Executive and two seats on its Board of Directors. OAA's current Chair, Sharon Mahussier, and Vice-Chair, John Burnside, have volunteered to be candidates for these seats, ensuring continuity of representation for OAA's former members.