A Message From NOTO’s Executive Director

As 2022 winds down it appears the issues are continuing to ramp up, leaving your NOTO staff with many irons in the fire. We are juggling both federal and provincial challenges that could have serious implications for the resource-based tourism sector.

At the federal level, we have been voicing concern and seeking clarity on the amendments to the firearms bill (C-21). There is growing concern amongst the hunting community regarding the definitions within the bill and the unintended consequences that a lack of clarity could present. We join our fellow outfitter organizations, hunting groups, and fish and game associations across Canada to urge the government to ensure this bill does not prevent hunting from continuing in our country and that it does not discourage our American hunters to come to Canada for their hunting experiences. We are pushing for clarity to help reduce the impacts on the tourism sector.

In addition to those activities, we have been listening to our northern air carriers and fly-in operators regarding their concerns with new regulations that have recently been put into place by Transport Canada. The new regulations surrounding duty times for pilots as well as mandatory egress training every three years are making already challenging times much harder for our air carriers to continue to provide services not only to the tourism sector but to the First Nation communities as well. We are working closely with the Northwestern Ontario Air Carriers Association to advocate for a reasonable provision for exemptions that will support a viable air service industry in Northern Ontario.

We are also approaching the provincial government for their assistance in developing a strategy to train and recruit more bush plane pilots with float training. As with all other aspects of the tourism workforce, there was a shortage of pilots prior to the pandemic that has only been exasperated by COVID-19s impacts and now will be even more challenging with the implementation of these new regulations.

At the provincial level we have a wide range of discussions taking place on everything from land use permits and bear management areas to moose allocations, a regulated non-resident deer hunt, gas tax rebates, funding programs, workforce development support and more. We will continue to pursue opportunities for the resource-based tourism sector to recover and grow through these discussions over the coming months.

We will also be actively participating in the 2023 Provincial budget consultations in the new year and encourage each of you to share your thoughts not only with the government through their surveys and consultations but with NOTO as well.

I am very hopeful that I will have the opportunity between January and March 2023 to get out to a few sportshows to talk with our stakeholders. I will have more details in early January. I will of course be encouraging operators to take advantage of our early bird renewal program before March 31st 2023.

I wish you all happy and healthy holidays.

Take good care,