From TIAO Weekly COVID-19 Update
ECONOMIC & FISCAL UPDATE:
TIAO acknowledges the unparalleled challenge facing all levels of government in the face of the COVID-19 epidemic. As Minister Phillips remarked yesterday, the threat posed by COVID-19 in this moment to the health of our people and our economy is unprecedented. It is right that the government have taken steps to protect our first responders, seniors, parents and the most vulnerable.
TIAO welcomes the series of decisions made by the government designed to support businesses including those requested by TIAO:
- To increase the level of exemption of the Employer Health Tax (EHT) to $1 million.
- To allow employers to defer Work Place Safety and Insurance (WSIB) payments for up to six months.
- The suspension or deferral of provincial businesses taxes payments and restrictions on the costs of utilities.
These measures will give businesses a much needed boost in the most difficult of times.
However, we are concerned not to see specific measures to support businesses in retaining employees who have been laid off or had their hours significantly reduced. The tourism industry stands on the edge of a precipice without critical and immediate support.
TIAO's recent comprehensive industry survey (results found later in this email), showed over half (52%) of tourism businesses have already closed, over a third (35%) have already laid off staff and two thirds (67%) of businesses are at risk of closing temporarily within 12 weeks’ time. Our industry has been at the heart of economic growth in our province by creating new jobs and businesses and earning the province $5 billion in tax receipts. The future of more than 200,000 businesses, more than 400,000 jobs and the long-term future of tourism in Ontario are at stake.
We hope that the provincial and federal governments can come together in the coming days to propose a more substantial wage subsidy scheme that will protect jobs, keep businesses afloat and ensure that the tourism industry can help drive the economic recovery at the end of this crisis.
You can read full details of the economic and fiscal update in our government relations section.
INDUSTRY SURVEY 2.0 RESULTS TOP LINES
When a crisis begins to unfold the key is to begin to track the impact immediately in order to be able to develop strategies and recovery methods. Having learned from the impact of SARS, we knew that it would be critical to quickly began tracking the impact on the tourism operators across the province, to inform what the economic recovery packages will need to include.
Data is everywhere, however it is often collected in uneven ways. For that reason, the Tourism Industry Association of Ontario (TIAO) took on the role of collecting data on behalf of the province, with the support and collaboration of the Regional Tourism Organizations (RTOs). This role allows for our data analysis to represent the state of tourism and hospitality in Ontario, in order to have a direct impact on the provincial and federal decision making around industry relief.
Survey 2 focuses on measuring the impact on tourism businesses' revenue, sales, and year over year differences for a comparative analysis. We looked at the impact on tourism workers by tracking layoffs, closures, reduced services, and the need for wage subsidies. This survey collected data on the specific policy instruments and economic tools required by tourism operators in every sector and region of the province.
The analysis in this report focuses on the provincial impact to the Ontario tourism industry, what economic and policy tools are required to address this, and what the overarching narrative of the data is. TIAO has relied on the work of our partners to analyze the regional data from the survey, and thanks Tom Guequin from RTO 6 and Kim Clarke from RTO 7 for their continued work to present the impact on the RTOs across Ontario. We also thank the team at the Ministry of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries (MHSTCI) for their work in coding key sections of the data. Finally, thank you to the respondents who have taken the time to report on a rapidly unfolding crisis.
You can download the top line report
ANNOUNCEMENTS FROM MINISTER LISA MACLEOD TELE- TOWNHALL
Today Minister Lisa MacLeod announced a series of initiatives to industry stakeholders on a tele-townhall conference call. You can read the Minister's statement below.
Statement from Minister MacLeod:
1. I’ve re-purposed the Tourism Development Fund to the Tourism Development and Recovery Fund and increased the fund from $500,000 to $1.5 Million
2. I’m working with industry partners on an online marketplace and town centre for all Ontarians to access concerts, art, digital gallery and museum tours and attraction prepurchases. I’ve made an initial investment of $150,000 to match community contributions to give musicians a platform to do concerts from the safety of their homes.
3. Destination Ontario is actively working on a marketing program that will let the world know that when they are ready to travel and when we are a safe environment to accept them back, we will be ready.
4. Our government will be allowing all licensed restaurants, bars and pubs to sell and deliver unopened alcohol at their establishments.
5. We have provided lists of Hotels to MOH, MOLTC and MCCSS to be used in the event hospitals, LTC's, VAW Centres need capacity due to social distancing. Yesterday’s economic statement earmarked $341 Million if this is required.
6. For our film and tv industry we are revising regulations so we can allow contract and freelance workers to receive Ontario’s three refundable film and TV tax credits while at the same time working to streamline the time it takes to complete them.
7. For our emerging artists, we are retooling our $7 Million Ontario Music Fund to get more money into your hands immediately during this crisis.
8. As we know the Olympics have been postponed and many of our sport hosting events have been cancelled. Each year we invest $10 Million into our athletes through Quest for Gold and Sport Hosting events. Despite these postponements and cancellations this money will still be available.
9. Celebrate, OAC, OCAF or Trillium Grant will flow even if events are forced to cancel. We will invest almost $200 Million in 2020.
10. Local libraries, community museums and our governments agencies and attractions will see their money flow very quickly so when it is safe to do so, they can open their doors again to the public.!
Stop the Spread: Business Information Line Now Open at
The province has launched a toll-free line (1-888-444-3659) to provide support to Ontario businesses who have questions about the province's recent emergency order to close at-risk workplaces following recommendations by Ontario's Chief Medical Officer of Health.