Operating your business involves the day-to-day functions as well as the “big picture” issues such as licensing, insurance and taxes. This section will deal with:


Around the world, Canada has a reputation for being a safe and secure destination. Many international tourists chose to vacation in our country because they feel safe from violence, crime, and terrorism. It is something that many Canadians, vacationing in our own homeland, take for granted.

All guests on vacation assume that your operation is safe and secure. Safety and security is something that they buy without even thinking about. You, however, must be concerned with the safety and security of your guests.


Safety involves the protection of people and property from injury and damage. Most accidents are caused by careless guests and employees. To insure that your operation is a safe place for guests, consider the following:

In the Client Services section, under comfort and safety, there are many more examples of making your operation a safer place.


Security refers to the freedom from fear and anxiety. Again, it is up to you to insure that your guest feel secure. Guests and their property should be protected from potential harm and damage. Here are a few ways to make your guests feel secure at your operation:


Guests have a right to privacy and a right to enjoy their vacation without disturbances. If you have “quiet hours”, they should be posted. On occasion you may have to deal with some disturbances. Usually rowdy guests just need a reminder to mind their behaviour for the greater good of all guests. If the situation continues, remain calm but firmly ask the guests to tone it down (you can evict non-guests). If a guest is intoxicated, return them to their room or cabin. If the disturbance continues or gets out of control, you may have to call the police.

If your operation is in a remote location, you should have a plan of action in place to deal with guest disturbances. Employees should be familiar with this plan of action as part of their training.

If you do end up evicting a guest, or guests, it is best that you do it with police assistance. Remember, that the guest is paying for your services and may file a damage suit if you do not have a good reason for evicting them from your operation.


In the case of fire, all guests should leave the burning building. Employees should assist the guests and make them comfortable. Only trained fire fighters should tackle the blaze. If possible use municipal, volunteer, or MNR fire-fighters.

If you own a remote operation you need to have a fire-fighting plan of action. You and your employees should have some basic fire-fighting training and you should have a functioning pump and hose system available to fight a fire. Your insurance company is your best source of a fire safety plan and may request proof that you have sufficient fire-fighting equipment on site.

Injury or Death:

In case of guest injury, you and your employees should provide first aid. It is essential that you and your employees have up-to-date first aid training and CPR. Have emergency numbers available by every phone. See the Client Services section for more information about first aid training and emergencies.

In case of a guest death, the body should remain where found and covered. If the body is found in a room or cabin, the curtains should be drawn and the door should be locked. Notify the police and paramedics. DO NOT talk to other staff or guests about the death until after the authorities have investigated the incident. Make sure that you are able to comfort the guest’s relatives and friends, consider moving them elsewhere. You may want to send the bill to the guests at a later time, perhaps after a thoughtful phone call.


Following death, insurance and taxes are probably the Outfitter’s two most feared words!


You need insurance. Insurance protects you from losses, damage, and suits. Your insurance coverage has to be carefully planned since no two operations will have the same type of insurance. Each operation is unique and has its own particular set of circumstances. Your insurance agent and company must create a policy for your operation and understand insurance as it pertains to the tourism industry.

Insurance coverage is very complicated. Many types of insurance are either mandatory or something that you should seriously consider: Listed are some common types of insurance used by tourism operations:

Insurance Tips:

Making a Claim:

The first time you make a claim is really when you learn all about your insurance policy and coverage. As soon as something happens, contact your insurance company. Write down all of the particulars of the situation and have receipts on file. If property is damaged, lost or stolen you maybe required to produce this evidence. Your insurance company wants your business up and running but they also want to make sure that your guests are protected from any further problems or damage.

Depending on the type of claim, payment may be quick or, if the insurance company needs to investigate the problem, the payment may be slow in coming. If you do expect a large payment, an advanced partial payment may be arranged.


As a business owner you have a number of different types of taxes to contend with. For general information regarding business taxes in Ontario visit

Listed are the basic tax types encountered by tourism operators. The tax information that is presented is brief and general in nature. For more information about taxes and your particular operation talk to your accountant or book keeper.


To operate a business in Ontario there are many different types of licences and permits that you must acquire, depending on the type of operation that you run. Listed are some of the permits that may pertain to your particular operation:

Membership in various associations is usually voluntary. There are some general associations that do represent large sections of the tourism industry:

Affiliation with specific organizations is usually based on the types of activities that you and your operation are involved in. Membership in these organizations can improve your exposure in a niche market. Listed are some activity-specific associations:



Related Content

Messages from NOTO

Speaking for the Industry, from The Outfitter, by Doug Reynolds, Winter 2009

Health and Safety

Cold Water Boot Camp, from The Outfitter, by Ted Rankine, Winter 2008

Important Notice:Propane and Gas-Fired Unvented Servel Refrigerators, Built Between 1933 and 1957, from The Outfitter, Spring 2006

Recreation and Hydroelectric Stations Don’t Mix Says Ontario Utility, from The Outfitter, Spring 2004

Uncertain Economic Times: Can You Afford to Invest in Health and Safety?, from The Outfitter, Sept/Oct 2003

Carbon Monoxide Warning – Death in Just One Breath?, from The Outfitter, by Jeffery Butler, May/June 2003

West Nile Virus, from The Outfitter, by Laurie Marcil, May/June 2003

First Aid Training is Necessary, from The Outfitter, Fall 2001

Does your business require a JHSC?, from The Outfitter, by Jim Antler, July/Aug 2000

Gas BBQ Safety, July/Aug 1998 Fuels Safety First, from The Outfitter, May/June 1998

Protect You and Your Guests From the Following Bacteria, from The Outfitter, May/June 1998

The Silent Killer: Preventing Carbon Monoxide Poisoning, from The Outfitter, by Jim Grayston, May/ June 1996

What You Should Know About The Gasoline Handling Act, from The Outfitter, by John Walters, July/Aug 1995

Childproofing Your Camp, from The Outfitter, by Carol Wisneski, Jan/Feb 1992

Coroner’s Inquest Makes Recommendations Regarding Boater Safety, from The Outfitter, Nov 1991

Are You Prepared For An Emergency?, from The Outfitter, by Bob McKercher, May 1989

Know Your Air Carrier, from The Outfitter, by John Grieve, July 1988

Fire Safety

Is Your Operation Prepared for a Wildfire?, from The Outfitter, Fall 2009

Campfire Safety, from The Outfitter, Spring 2009

Are You Thinking About Fire Safety?, from The Outfitter, by Ryan Betts, Spring 2009

NOTO Involvement Central to Forest Fire Management, from The Outfitter, Winter 2008

Is Your Operation FireSmart?, Doug Reynolds, Fall 2008

Wildfire Management Strengthened By New Agreement, from The Outfitter, Spring 2008

FireSmart Prevention Program, from The Outfitter, Winter 2007

Sprinklers Can Save Your Property, from The Outfitter, by Mitch Miller, Sept/Oct 2003

Protect Your Business Promote Campfire Safety, from The Outfitter, July 1990


Keeping Your Insurer Informed, from The Outfitter, by Laurie Walsh, Fall 2006

Sharing the Risk with Your Insurance Company, from The Outfitter, by Myron Romaniuk, Summer/Fall 2005

Protecting Your Most Important Assets, from The Outfitter, by The Superior Group, Spring 2005

Risk Management, from The Outfitter, by Debbie Sauvé, May/June 2003

Decisions! Decisions! Buying Life Insurance, from The Outfitter, by John Wesley, Jan 1993

Your Silent Business Partner, from The Outfitter, by John Wesley, August 1992

Insurance, from The Outfitter, by Robert Merkel, November 1990

Buy Proper Insurance Coverage, from The Outfitter, Aug 1990

Insurance – Are You Covered?, from The Outfitter, by Phil Bettinson, May 1990


HST Transition Rules, from The Outfitter, Spring 2010

Visitor Rebate Confirmed Under the New HST, from The Outfitter, by Laurie Marcil, Spring 2010

HST Update, from The Outfitter, Winter 2009

NOTO’s Position on the New HST, from The Outfitter, Fall 2009

Harmonized Sales Tax Q & A, from The Outfitter, Spring 2009

Provincial Land Tax Reform, from The Outfitter, Fall 2008

Applying the GST Rebate At Source, from The Outfitter, Spring 2008

Does your package qualify for the GST rebate?, from The Outfitter, Spring 2008

The New GST Rebate Program: Make Certain Your Documentation is Clear, from The Outfitter, by Doug Reynolds, Winter 2007

Good News On the Revised GST Visitor Rebate Program, from The Outfitter, Fall 2007

Property Assessments for Provincial Land Tax, from The Outfitter, Fall 2007

NOTO Meets With MPAC Regarding Taxation, from The Outfitter, by Roger Liddle, Spring 2004

Gasoline Tax Refunds, from The Outfitter, by Doug Reynolds, May/June 2003

Don’t Let Your Children Inherit Your Taxes, from The Outfitter, by Marc Brazeau, May/June 1996

What To Do When The Tax Auditor Arrives, from The Outfitter, May/June 1996

Northern Ontario Heart-A-Tax, from The Outfitter, Jan/Feb 1992

GST Update, from The Outfitter, June 1991




The Outfitters’ Manual. NOTO. Circa 1985.

Lodging Operator’s Manual. BC Motels Campgrounds Resort Association. 1997.

OTEC. Outdoor Guide Training Manual: Franklin Field Services. 2000.


NOTO 386 Algonquin Avenue, North Bay, ON P1B 4W3 • T 705.472.5552 • F 705.472.0621 •
Website designed by Sofa Communications