A Note From NOTO Staff
We understand that these unprecedented times are extremely stressful and have caused a lot of anxiety and uncertainty for tourism operators across the province.
Many operators share the same concerns surrounding the Federal supports announced so far. The Canadian Federation of Independent Business and the Tourism Industry Association of Canada as well as the Canadian Federation of Outfitters Association have been advocating for more flexible eligibility criteria for small and seasonal businesses at the Federal Level. We continue to share the concerns of operators with these Federal organizations and to the Provincial Government as well to see if they are willing to step up to the plate for our industry. We expect to hear the latest developments surrounding the federal programs and new eligibility criteria by the end of next week. We will keep you updated as we receive additional information.
This week, we’ve heard that the Ontario government is deferring $15 million in property taxes for people and businesses in parts of Northern Ontario located outside of municipal boundaries. More details on this can be found in this newsletter. We hope that this might provide some relief at least for the interim for our industry. We continue to press the Government to waive land use permit, bear management area fees and other provincially issued fees to give operators some financial relief. The entire lists of our asks to Government so far can be seen here: NOTO’s Recommendation: A Resource-Based Tourism Emergency Fund. We have no new updates today to provide regarding our requests for support but we will keep you posted as we move forward.
We have heard reports that many of you are starting to receive cancellation inquiries, especially from guests coming from the USA. We know that for most, the money from deposits is what allows you to get prepared for the season, upgrade your facilities, bait hunting sites, and so forth. We encourage everyone to push for the postponement of the trip rather than the full out cancellation. We have some additional suggestions in this email.
We know many of you are frustrated with your insurance providers regarding their denial that COVID-19 qualifies as business interruption. In addition, we have heard that some insurance companies have increased their rates by as much as 25% for this year. This is very disheartening for all businesses at the moment. Earlier this week, the Canadian Federation of Independent Businesses stated during their April 6th webinar that they are advocating for clarity and some financial relief for businesses from insurance companies. The Tourism Industry Association of Canada is also advocating on this point. The Insurance Bureau of Canada has also put together a FAQ sheet surrounding questions on business insurance.
For those who are concerned about making premium payments during this time, we recommend that you review your policies carefully and talk to your provider about your concerns and to see what kind of arrangements you can make for the time being. We will continue to share your concerns with other tourism partners to raise these issues to Government in unison.
We continue to take calls from individual tourism operators to help them navigate through this difficult time and we welcome any thoughts about what other resource materials or information we can bring to you in our updates. Don’t be shy to reach out to us.
The NOTO Team