The last two months have been exceptionally busy for the (small but mighty) FDFA team and I am extremely proud of all that was accomplished. 

As you know, we started November with our annual convention in Toronto. I would like to congratulate Tania Lee and Allison Gardner and the whole Convention Committee for delivering what can only be described as a smash hit of a convention. The tireless work and dedication executed with a passion for the success of the association, resulted in a successful, new platform on which we can build even greater success. The post-convention survey results show enormous satisfaction with the new platform and the convention overall. Of course, we always look to improve and will take all comments from the survey into consideration. Congratulations again, Team!

Since the convention, we have not let our foot off the gas pedal. The Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Tourism, Official Languages and La Francophonie, has begun cross-country roundtable discussions with local tourism and travel industry businesses making the timing right to open up discussions to bring back the option of the Visitor Rebate Program to Canada. FDFA has met with the Retail Council of Canada (RCC), Tourism Industry Association of Canada (TIAC), and Hotel Association of Canada (HAC) in the spirit of collaboration and addressing the issue with a united voice.

We are also working closely with the Coalition Against Contraband Tobacco and are solidifying a plan to tour your stores while talking to local officials about this issue. Stay tuned for more information on that as well as forthcoming information regarding the new FDFA Parliamentary Partnership Program.

As 2018 comes to a close, I would like to thank each and every one of you for making me feel welcome and allowing me to feel like part of the FDFA family.  We have much work ahead but I am confident that our team knows no bounds. Please take time to enjoy your family and loved ones over the holiday season and I look forward to seeing and working with all of you in the new year.
Thank you to everyone who attended our annual FDFA Convention, and contributed to our success! With over 250 attendees, members and suppliers alike were able to network through cocktail, and lounge events, and private meetings. Store operators were able to learn about new trends, and sample products from suppliers. The new format of the Convention fostered a positive business development environment, and allowed for more productive supplier / store operators business discussions.

Throughout the four-day Convention, our members had a chance to meet with many different industry stakeholders, from suppliers, to Provincial government representatives.
The Gala was a great event, and we would like to extend a huge congratulations to all of our FDFA Award Winners. Your endless dedication and passion to the duty-free industry is what helps drive our sector forward.

The Board would like to take this opportunity to thank all the members who were able to come to the Convention, and contribute to the overall success of not only the annual Convention, but FDFA. Thank you to Tania Lee, and all the members of the Convention Planning Committee.
This past month has been productive for our government relations team. At the Convention in Toronto , members had the opportunity to meet with Ontario’s Minister of Finance Vic Fedeli, Parliamentary Secretary Michael Parsa and MPP Bob Bailey.
In Ottawa, Executive Director Barbara Barrett, met with Minister Morneau at the Economic Club of Canada breakfast following the Fall Economic Statement. They briefly discussed Duty Free Stores and small business taxation issues. Ms. Barrett will be meeting with the Minister’s Director of Policy and the Director of the sales tax division at Finance Canada to discuss the Road TRIP initiative.

Support and partnership with other tourism industry stakeholders is key to our advocacy goals. Ms. Barrett attended the Tourism Industry Association of Canada annual Congress in November . She met with the Minister of Tourism, Mélanie Joly, MP Alaina Lockhart, MP Gord Johns, MP Blake Richards as well as the President and CEO of Destination Canada, David Goldstein. They discussed tourism and duty free related issues. We have reached out to Minister Joly’s office to ensure that FDFA members are included in the consultation process for the new National Strategy on Tourism. 
At the provincial level, our continued engagement with government is paying dividends. The government of Ontario has recently announced that they will be adopting a Quebec-like system to combat the distribution and sale of illegal tobacco. They will double the number of officers in their Contraband Tobacco Enforcement Team, and will provide grants to local police to take on more investigation into illegal tobacco activities.
While this is great news, more is to be done. Our initial talks on the Visitor Rebate Program are generating great interest in Ottawa. We are meeting in the coming weeks with Members of Parliament and government officials to discuss further. We will continue our engagement with government officials and stakeholders to ensure that our members concerns are considered in the decision making process.
FDFA Executive Director attended this year’s Tourism Industry Association of Canada (TIAC) Tourism Congress on November 27-28, where industry leaders, professionals and influencers from the Tourism industry met under one roof. As a gold sponsor, it was a pleasure for the FDFA to support the voices of the Canadian Tourism industry coming together over these two days at the Hilton Lac-Leamy in Gatineau.
It was an exciting program, with various speakers discussing tourism in the global context, national issues shaping the future of tourism, and what tourism, as an industry, can do to continue to succeed in advocacy efforts moving forward.

Ms. Barrett had the chance to speak with many stakeholders about tourism and the duty-free industry, including Senator Nancy Greene Raine and Destination Canada.

Ms. Barrett also spoke with Alaina Lockhart, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Tourism, Official Languages and La Francophonie, to discuss the importance of Tourism as an Economic Driver, and with Gord Johns, NDP Critic for Small Business and Tourism, to discuss the theme of a ‘whole-of-government’ approach to sustain tourism growth, and the importance of the Visitor Rebate Program.

We look forward to continuing these conversations and will keep you updated!

We thank and acknowledge the Tourism Industry Association of Canada for all of their work to continue to encourage the development of Tourism in Canada, and their efforts on behalf of Canadian tourism businesses. 
Labatt Breweries of Canada has been shaped by close to 170 years of brewing excellence and commitment to the communities where it operates. Throughout the company's history, Labatt has never lost sight of the fact that it is in business to exceed the expectations of its customers. From Newfoundland to British Columbia, 3,000 employees come to work every day dedicated to exactly this objective.

We would like to extend a special thank you to Labatt Breweries for their contributions throughout the FDFA annual Convention including an informative Luncheon, and a wonderful station at the Opening cocktail.

We would also like to thank Brodie Yanuzzi and Joey Walsh from HockeyStickMan for generously providing all the props for the Welcome Video.
Tax Free World Association (TFWA) Cares project continues to make a difference for Haitian youth by providing a safe haven for hundreds of street children in Cap-Haïtien, Haiti. Justin Guay of Importations Guay Ltee begun his journey with the organization Streethearts in 2014, when he donated running shoes. Upon volunteering more of his time at the shelter, Guay saw the need for more than just shoes.

Thanks to the generous support of Justin, TFWA and Brown-Forman Beverages Europe Ltd., last year an estimate of 80 children were rescued from the streets of Cap-Haïtien and placed in Streethearts safe houses where they received proper schooling and care. 
Following his presentation at the Operators’ meeting in November, Alex Lawton, Director, Programs Branch, Canada Border Services Agency / Government of Canada (CBSA), confirmed a number of items addressed at the meeting.

The application of excise tax, including special duty, is covered in the Duties and Taxes lesson provided to border services officers during their training at Rigaud. As well, a memorandum was circulated in August to remind border services officers on the application of special duty on cigarettes, tobacco sticks and other manufactured tobacco. 

As it was mentioned that the FDFA had not been approached by the CBSA Assessment and Revenue Management (CARM) Branch for input into this project, the CARM Director, responsible for stakeholder relations has been notified with our interest in engaging and sharing the views of our members. We expect to be engaging with the CARM team in the near future.
Questions or Comments? Get in touch!
Allison Gardner | Manager of Operations | 613-688-9788 | agardner@FDFA.ca
Barbara Barrett | Executive Director | 613-688-9788 | bbarrett@FDFA.ca