PROVINCIAL NEWS: April 4-17, 2018

ORHMA: Ontario Budget based on

Ontario Budget has no relief for the hospitality industry 

Tony Elenis, president and CEO, ORHMA.

Tony Elenis, president and CEO, ORHMA.

2018 Budget titled “A Plan for Care and Opportunity” was tabled Wednesday March 28, 2018 by provincial Finance Minister Charles Sousa. The following is commentary from the Ontario Restaurant Hotel and Motel Association, headed by Tony Elenis.

Ontario will run a $6.7 billion deficit this year and plans to stay in the red until 2024-25. The deficit will remain mostly unchanged in the medium term ($6.6 billion in 2019-20 and $6.5 billion in 2020-21) before shrinking at a faster rate between 2021 and 2024-25, when a small surplus is projected. The deficit, which accounts for 0.8 per cent of annual GDP, is attributed to $20.3 billion in new spending initiatives over the next three years. 

Finance Minister Charles Sousa disputed accusations that this budget is “buying people’s votes with their own money.” According to Sousa, his budgets are always long-term in scope and that these investments will benefit Ontarians now, as well as future generations.

The Ontario 2018 Budget will serve as the foundation of the Liberal government’s re-election effort and is designed to refocus their political agenda squarely on investments in universal public services, says the ORHMA. 

Contingent on re-election, the budget commits to significantly expanding government assistance to new parents, seniors and low-income families over the coming years. Investing in “care” will remain a core focus of the government’s pre-election and re-election message. 

ORHMA is disappointed that the provincial government did not provide offset relief to the hospitality industry given that many establishments have been impacted and are complying with the increased costs associated with the new labour reforms.

In the tough conditions experienced by the business community, especially small businesses, ORHMA encourages the provincial government to pay closer attention to the hosptiality industry. 

Layering labour reforms and wage increases on top of the growing government policies that impact the hospitality sector including rising hydro costs, CPP enhancements, cap and trade, rising municipal property taxes and the long list of economic challenges faced by the hospitality industry, we ask the government again to consider the impact this has to businesses. 

When the payroll of a business increases, so too do other costs, such as the EHT, WSIB, Employment Insurance, leaving businesses strapped and feeling undermined by such ill thought policy decisions.

SHHA: We need to level the playing field for liquor pricing in Saskatchewan!

Jim Bence, president and CEO, SHHA.

Jim Bence, president and CEO, SHHA.

In 2016 the Sask. Party announced major changes to liquor legislation which was supposed to level the playing field for the sale of alcohol in the province.

However, the rules are weighted so heavily on the side of big business, that small and medium size businesses are succumbing to the pressure and closing their doors, says Jim Bence, president and CEO of the Saskatchewan Hotel & Hospitality Association. “Approximately 32 bars/taverns & restaurants have closed in the first six weeks of 2018,” he added in an article in the SHHA newsletter.
The article called on SHHA member to click on the link and send their MLA this message now. Have your employees and family members send one as well. The system will automatically send this letter to your MLA.

“This is a message the Sask. Party government needs to hear loud and clear,” Bence said.

AHLA: Short term rentals and the City of Edmonton

Dave Kaiser, president and CEO, AHLA.

Dave Kaiser, president and CEO, AHLA.

Last month, Edmonton city council considered whether to look at regulating short term rentals in the city. The Alberta Hotel and Lodging Association presented a case for their implementation, and to show that whole houses are being purchased and built for the sole purpose of running a business on Airbnb, according to an article in the Alberta Insider. 

With regulations about to take effect in Vancouver and Toronto and increased nuisance complaints coming from residents, short term rentals have become a hot button issue for the City of Edmonton.

 The AHLA believe the City of Edmonton should develop a regulatory framework for Short Term Rentals to ensure that:

1. Edmontonians are able to peacefully and safely enjoy their homes and neighbourhoods, and

2. A level playing field exists for all players in the short term rental business.

They also believe that anyone operating two or more entire home units on a year round basis is running a Short Term Rental business that:

– Pays residential, not commercial property tax.

– Is not registered with the City, and does not secure a business licence.

– Has no obligation to assure the health & safety of their guests and neighbours by complying with the Fire Code, Health Code, and Innkeepers Act. This includes adequate pest control, disinfection, sanitation, and fire prevention & suppression systems.

– Results in lost tax revenues for all orders of government.

Visit to view their full position on short term rentals and the recommendations they have for the province and municipalities.