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ORHMA's Hospitality Headlines 

Minimum Wage Legislation (Bill 148) Hastily Moving Forward At Committee This Week

On Thursday October 26, the members of the Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs (MPPs) have decided to ensure the Provincial Government rapidly move forward with the Public Hearings for the second reading of Bill 148, Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act, 2017. ORHMA has requested to participate and appear at the hearings and provide a deputation however we have not received confirmation as of yet. ORHMA will also submit written comments on behalf of our members. These hearings  have been scheduled Queen’s Park during the following time slots.

The Standing Committee on Finance & Economic Affairs will sit at the follow times:
Monday, October 30, 2017 at 1:30pm-6:00pm
Tuesday, October 31, 2017 at 9:00am-10:15am
Thursday, November 2, 2017 at 9:00am-10:15am and 2:30pm-6:00pm

We encourage members to make a request to appear to provide an oral presentation at these hearings. For those who are unable to make an oral presentation or prefer to submit comments in writing, a written submission to the Clerk of the Committee can be made at the address below by Friday, November 3, 2017 at 5:00pm:

Eric Rennie - Clerk

Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs

Tel: 416-325-3506

Fax: 416-325-3505

comm-financeaffairs@ola.org

99 Wellesley St West

TTY: (416) 325-3538

Federal Fall Economic Statement Released- Small Business Tax Relief

The Federal Government has released the 2017 Fall Economic Statement. ORHMA welcomes the tax relief measures announced within the Fall Economic Statement and advocated with a large coalition to ensure these measures proceeded.

The Government used the 2017 Fall Economic Statement as a platform to:
  • highlight Canada’s strong economic growth, which has driven increased Federal revenue;
  • leverage that revenue to fund new and increased spending initiatives and to reduce the size of the projected annual Federal deficits; and
  • frame the aforementioned developments as proof that the Government’s fiscal policy has been successful, partly as an attempt to turn the page on the recent, controversial proposals for tax reform.

Federal Small Business Tax Rate Reduction:  The Finance Minister also tabled notice of a “Ways and Means Motion” to amend the Income Tax Act with respect to small businesses.  The small business tax rate will be lowered to 10% effective January 1, 2018 and then to 9% effective January 1, 2019.  The small business tax rate reduction was previously announced as part of the Government’s broader changes to small business taxation policy that were first proposed in July 2017.

Meanwhile, the Government is continuing to develop a revised proposal, to be tabled later this Fall, on rules for income sprinkling by owners of private corporations to members of their family.  Similarly, the Government’s revised proposal for the taxation of passive income within a corporation will be included in Budget 2018.  As announced previously, the Government intends to legislate that the benefits of investing passively within a corporation would disappear at an annual threshold of $50,000 in passive income.

The Ontario Government is gearing up to release their Provincial fall economic statement and ORHMA anticipates offset policy measures to assist with the drastic minimum wage increases proposed in Bill 148. ORHMA will continue to provide updates as we receive further details. The Provincial Government has advised they will be releasing their economic statement within the next couple of weeks.


Ontario Auditor General Releases Special Report - The True Costs of Hydro
The Auditor General, Bonnie Lysyk, released a special report on the government’s accounting treatment of the Fair Hydro Plan.  The Auditor General said the Liberal government has not recorded “the true financial impact of its energy rate reduction plan.” Instead, it is hiding the cost of refinancing the Global Adjustment (GA) from its budget and financial statements. She also said Bill 132, the Fair Hydro Act, was designed to allow the government to create “needlessly complex” accounting rules, obfuscate the financial impacts of its borrowing plan, and avoid showing a budget deficit or an increase in net debt. The Auditor also said she is required to “speak out” when the government is not presenting financial information “fairly.” She characterized the government’s move as “bigger than an accounting dispute.” The report states “the improper accounting also inappropriately transfers long-term accountability for significantly higher electricity bills to future governments. Future governments will have to explain to ratepayers why electricity rates charged in 2028 and beyond exceed the actual cost of electricity.”

ORHMA Welcomes the Federal Tax Plan Adjustments – Reinstating the Small Business Tax Rate
Canada’s Prime Minister held a surprise announcement to unveil that the Government of Canada intends to lower the national small business tax rate to 9 per cent, effective January 1, 2019. The Federal Government will no longer be moving forward with measures that limit access to the lifetime capital gains exemption. ORHMA is still waiting to hear further details around passive income rules and treatment of capital gains related to business succession. The Federal Government also announced their intention to simplify the proposal to limit the ability of owners of private corporations to lower their personal income taxes by sprinkling their income to family members who do not contribute to the business.

The Small Business Matters Coalition, which ORHMA is an active member of, has been supportive of the reviews launched by this Government to ensure fairness and transparency in the credit card payments network. We are also members of The Coalition for Small Business Tax Fairness and together we’ve expressed concerns over the first round of proposed reforms to the small business tax system. Extensive advocacy has yielded a tax reduction for small businesses including those in the hospitality industry who are facing a myriad of cost challenges in Ontario. Business owners will have the opportunity to invest in their own businesses. The coalition had submitted a 
letter that made an impact on tax policy in Canada.  

Ontario Raising Minimum Wage to $15 by 2019 – Bill 148 Passes Second Reading
An announcement was made on October 18 that Bill 148, Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act 2017 has passed second reading debate in the Ontario Legislature. All legislation requires three readings and votes for each before passage. Bill 148 was voted on after question period. It passed with Liberal, New Democrat and Jack MacLaren’s (Independent MPP) support. The PCs opposed the passage of the $15 minimum wage bill (Ayes 66; Nays 25). After second reading, the bill was referred to the Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs for further input.  After committee Bill will return to the legislature for third reading. Elected officials will vote after third reading and bill will then proceed to proclaimed into law.

You are now able to reach out to the Clerk of the Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs to request an opportunity to deputize. They have not released committee dates as of yet, however, ORHMA has called to confirm that members can begin to submit names for when the committee does announce dates. A strong showing of a desire to deputize will also demonstrate interest among the general public and potentially motivate the legislature to communicate to government the need for more days for committee. ORHMA has already requested to participate in hearings and to advocate on your behalf. If you would also like to attend and voice your concerns please contact: Eric Rennie, Clerk, 
erennie@ola.org or 416-325-3506. 

New OHRC policy statement explains the duty to accommodate under Ontario’s Human Rights Code 
Ontario Human Rights Commission

The Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) released a new policy statement explaining the purpose and importance of the duty to accommodate under the Ontario Human Rights Code (Code).

 
Employers and unions, housing providers and service providers have a legal duty to accommodate the Code-related needs of people who are adversely affected by a requirement, rule or standard. Accommodation is necessary to address barriers in society that would otherwise prevent people from fully taking part in, and contributing to, the community.  


WSIB Issues Final Chronic Mental Stress Policy: What Employers Need to Know

Recent amendments to the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act, 1997 (WSIA) will expand the scope of benefit entitlement for mental stress to include chronic mental stress. The Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) has just issued the final version of its operational policy in support of this new entitlement. This expanded entitlement will have significant consequences for employers. Read more.

The WSIB’s work-related chronic mental stress website has be updated with the following documents:
 ■the new Chronic Mental Stress Policy (CMS)
■the updated Traumatic Mental Stress Policy 
■the consultation summary report 
■CMS Web copy including FAQs 

CMS Policy Highlights:
 ■To be eligible for WSIB benefits, the chronic mental stress must be predominantly caused by a substantial stressor in the workplace. 
■Mental stress caused by employers’ management decisions are not covered by the WSIB.
■If a claim is allowed, we will help with recovery and return to work. 
■WSIB benefits can include psychological assessment, treatment, prescription medications, and wage replacement.
 
ORHMA has been involved throughout the consultation process which helped to inform the development of the approved Chronic Mental Stress policy and updated Traumatic Stress policy.

The Ministry of Labour and the Health and Safety Associations will be  developing resources to help employers prevent work-related psychological injuries and build mentally healthy and safe workplaces.


ORHMA Confronts Premier Wynne  
 On Thursday September 28th, ORHMA visited Queen’s Park to discuss Bill 148 with Premier Kathleen Wynne and the negative impact this will have on Ontario’s hospitality industry. It has been requested that ORHMA provide the Provincial Government with policy ideas for potential offsets to the minimum wage increases that are being proposed in Bill 148.  Premier Wynne disagreed with ORHMA in regards to managers, supervisors and senior staff needing an increase in pay, following minimum wage increases. ORHMA explained that a supervisor making $15.00 today will see a new employee being hired for the same wage January 1, 2018 and will be reluctant to accept extra responsibility at the same pay.  Unfortunately, Wynne does not see an issue in this scenario and is under the impression, prior to this meeting, that all restaurants had mandatory tip pooling to assist with those working the back of the house. ORHMA continues to provide feedback and input into offsets, which are to be announced in November by the Minister of  Finance. Premier Wynne made it very clear that any offsets the Provincial Government will bring forward may not be sufficient to cover the cost of minimum wage increases. ORHMA remains in constant dialogue with the provincial government on offset policies to mitigate impact to our industry. ORHMA’s proposed offsets can be read here.  Bill 148 has reached it’s second reading debate allocation. We are monitoring and gearing up for committee. For more information, click here. 

2018 WSIB Premium Rates

The WSIB is funded solely by premium revenue. When setting premium rates for 2018, WSIB had to incorporate costs for legislation related to Chronic Mental Stress (CMS). They considered the number of traumatic mental stress and Post Traumatic Stress Disorders (PTSD) claims across each industry class over the past 10 years.  Overall can industries can expect a 3.3 per cent reduction to the average premium rate in 2018

Some groups would see substantial premium rate increases. In order to ensure stability at the rate group level WSIB:

  • only require increases that relate to CMS legislation
  • cap increases at 5 per cent
  • allow decreases up to 7.6 per cent

There are 27 rate groups affected by the cap on premium rate increases.

2018 Hospitality Premium Rates >> 

ORHMA Takes Action on Airbnb: Study Completed on Impact of Airbnb to Hotel Industry 

 
Commercial operators are growing exponentially and outpacing actual home sharing activity. This is the result of a new study that has been launched by the Hotel Association of Canada (HAC) in partnership with the Ontario Restaurant Hotel & Motel Association (ORHMA) and other Provincial & City associations, including the Greater Toronto Hotel Association (GTHA) and the Ottawa Gatineau Hotel Association (OGHA). The most comprehensive of its kind, this study, entitled An Overview of Airbnb and the Hotel Sector in Canada: A Focus on Hosts with Multiple Units, focuses on 11 key markets across Canada and examined the impact of the short-term rental market on Canada’s hotel sector, with a key focus on Airbnb as the most widely used digital home-sharing platform in Canada. 

On Wednesday September 27, Tony Elenis, President & CEO of ORHMA, along with Susie Grynol, President & CEO of HAC represented the hotel industry on Parliament Hill as they held a press conference on this study and took action for fairness in the accommodations sector. 

READ ORHMA's PRESS RELEASE 
WATCH PRESS CONFERENCE  ARCHIVE 


Extending Minimum Wage Implementation Will Slash Job Loss Risk by 74%: Economic Analysis 
The Bill 148 proposed changes will mean real difficulties for Ontario’s Hospitality Industry

The Keep Ontario Working Coalition (KOW), which ORHMA is an active participant, released two major reports. The first is CANCEA’s final economic impact analysis on Bill 148, which was peer-reviewed by Professor Morley Gunderson of the University of Toronto. This report indicates that if the Provincial Government were to do nothing other than implement the minimum wage increase over five years instead of in the next 15 months, jobs at risk would decrease by 74 per cent in the first two years. 

In addition to CANCEA’s final economic impact analysis, the Coalition also released The Flip Side of Fair: Adding Up Bill 148’s Unintended Consequences, a report that gives a voice to local business owners from across Ontario on how Bill 148 will impact them. The report showcases testimonials, which all share a similar sentiment - that the minimum wage increase and labour reforms will have serious consequences for their business, and jeopardize their business’ ability to survive. 

The Coalition for Small Business Tax Fairness Confirms Federal Tax Proposals Will Affect Middle Class Business Owners
The Coalition for Small Business Tax Fairness, a unified voice of over 70 like minded business organizations like ORHMA representing hundreds of thousands of business owners across the country, has written a new letter to Finance Minister Bill Morneau with professional analysis confirming that Ottawa’s tax proposals will affect middle class business owners, resulting in higher tax rates than other Canadians with similar income levels. The government has claimed that these proposals would not affect business owners with incomes under $150,000. Tax practitioners disagree. 

One of the new rules introduced by the government would restrict small business owners from sharing income with family members. Tax practitioners say that this can affect business owners with incomes as modest as $50,000. Also, as two-thirds of Canadian incorporated businesses are majority owned by men, the restrictions on sharing income with a spouse are likely to remove a disproportionately higher number of women from benefiting from their family’s business. 

The federal government is also proposing changes that would discourage small business owners from holding certain types of investments in the incorporated company. According to tax practitioners, business owners retain business earnings in the corporation to safeguard against economic downturns, secure bank financing and invest in other start-up companies.

Canadian Tax practitioners have confirmed that the proposed tax changes would result in higher combined corporate and personal taxes for business owners across the board and in many cases, small business owners would incur tax rates far greater than what an employee with a similar level of income would pay.  

Click here to read letter to the federal Finance Minister.


Credit Card Processing Fees & ORHMA Advocacy 

ORHMA remains a strong advocate with the Small Business Matters Coalition. We have been engaged with the Small Business Coalition to address federal matters to credit card fees for the past three years now.  We continue to  move forward, the Small Business Matters Coalition has been advocating on a number of issues facing our sector, with our initial campaign focused on credit card fees, and their direct impact to the vitality of Canada’s small business community. Merchant fees (swipe fees) charged to Canada’s small businesses when they process customer transactions paid by credit cards are amongst the highest in the world—ranging from 1.5% to 4% of a purchase. Particularly for small business, these costs constrain their ability to invest in their businesses, their ability to hire new employees and result in increased consumer prices, even for those consumers paying by cash or debit. Canadian consumers who pay by cash subsidize the cost of credit card usage which leads to increased consumer prices.  Change is required. Our Small Business Matters Coalition continues to demand change, Canada’s Commissioner of Competition stated that without changes to the rules, retailers would continue to pay excessive fees. SBM coalition members urge the Government of Canada to reduce credit card swipe fees and to bring fairness and transparency to the Canadian payments industry. The Federal Government is reviewing interchange fees as a result of our advocacy efforts. See link to our Small Business Matters Coalition website: www.sbmcoalition.com


WSIB Rate Framework will Impact Premium Rate Setting

WSIB is implementing the new premium rate setting model, which includes significant internal system modifications that are necessary for a 2020 implementation. Ensuring that every employer is engaged, aware and prepared for the coming changes is of equal importance. It is essential to ensure businesses throughout the province have a clear understanding of how the rate framework will affect them.

WSIB is launching an extensive engagement campaign for the rate framework. The campaign will start with a letter to every business in Ontario that is registered with the WSIB

  • In advance of the mailing, a new rate framework website, www.rateframeworkreform.com, has been launched to ensure employers have access to up-to-date information at all times. The website will feature:
    • A short video on rate framework, FAQs and other information resources
    • Access to a tool that allows businesses to confirm their classification under the new model
    • Information on the policy consultation currently taking place on the draft policies to support the implementation of the rate framework

ORHMA has been a key participant to ensure that the new premium rate setting model is reflective of our feedback and experience. Please see input from GTHA and ORHMA here. ORHMA will ensure further education for employers will continue to be provided. 

Ontario Food & Organic Waste
Earlier this year the government of Ontario invited ORHMA to participate in the stakeholder working group that will be providing advice on the development of food and organic waste framework. The government is committed to developing a food and organic waste framework that will consist of an action plan and a policy statement. This framework will be integral in supporting the implementation of the Climate Change Action Plan. The Ministry of Environment and Climate Change is working with the stakeholder working group in developing the framework. This group includes the representatives from municipalities, industry, commercial and institutional sector, NGOs, and academia. Within this context the government is driving new policies in waste diversion and the blue boxes program and has an objective to reach Zero Food Waste. There are severe implications to businesses and ORHMA will continue to be at the table.

Traumatic or Chronic Mental Stress- WSIB Policy

We have written in the past of the upcoming legislation coming into law on Jan 1, 2018. The WSIB has just gone through a consultation process in their development of writing a policy for this legislation which aims in determining if a worker is entitled to benefits for traumatic or chronic mental stress arising out and in the course of the worker’s employment. This is a very active process and much has been happening to be able to have the policy completed. See ORHMA’s response here. ORHMA is bringing this topic to our members ahead of its conclusion for readiness in the workplace.

There are significant differences between Traumatic Mental Stress and Chronic Mental Stress for employers to understand and ensure proper management practices are in place. Submission can be read here. While Traumatic Mental Stress (currently under the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act -WSIA) involves work related events that are generally accepted as traumatic in nature such as impact from robberies and horrific experiences, Chronic Mental Stress involves work related events that are not traumatic in nature and includes such experiences as bullying, harassment, humiliation, demeaning conduct and intimidation by a supervisor. Chronic Mental Stress can result from one or a series of events and while the policy is being worked on we urge employers to ensure practices in place are followed and followed through and due diligence is a top of mind.  

Reminder: Ontario Minimum Wage Increases on October 1, 2017
Ontario is increasing its minimum wage rate on October 1, 2017. The province is continuing to boost income for workers across the province by increasing the general minimum wage for the fourth consecutive year, which will bring the general minimum wage up to $11.60 this fall.  

List of Amendments Adopted by the Standing Committee on Finance & Economic Affairs

The Liberal majority Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs came up with a list of amendments that will be conveyed to the Ontario Legislature on Sept 11th. Employer concerns have not been answered and a call by the PC opposition members for an Impact Study has not been approved by the committee. Denying this request denies a fair policy and transparency with Bill 148 and hiding the conclusions not wanted to be seen. This is totally unacceptable. Overall there will be additional “red tape” for employers from a government that continues to praise achievements in deregulation. The only positive amendment worth noting for hospitality operators is that the scheduling amendment will include weather related exemptions. In this week’s committee meetings the NDP proposed further changes in eliminating the differential minimum wage for servers and increasing the paid sick days from two to five days. Both requests were not adopted. Click here to review the various amendments approved by the committee in this week’s meetings. 

Standing Committee Meets to Discuss Minimum Wage & Bill 148 Amendments 
During the week of August 21, the Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs met to review the Employment Standards Act (ESA) & Labour Relations Act (LRA) amendments included in Bill 148 –The Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act. While business is anxiously anticipating relief from the constrains of the minimum wage increase and other Bill 148 proposals, the committee has made no major changes to the Liberal proposed legislation in the first round of reviewing the amendments . Here we have a difficult structure presented that challenges the current political process. We are dealing with a liberal majority government and in turn a liberal controlled committee. Bill 148 will move into second reading in September where the amendments will once again be in review. Offsets are expected for small businesses and it seems that the reduction will centre on taxes perhaps as reported eliminating the small business tax on the first $450K of income. ORHMA has analyzed the impact of various offsets and is very concerned that these are not enough to mitigate the mammoth payroll increases expected from the minimum wages hikes. See examples here. ORHMA has upcoming meetings with Minister of Small Business Jeff Leal and Premier Wynne where we will stress the freezing of the liquor server and student rates among our proposals. 

Independent Economic Impact Analysis on Bill 148 & Minimum Wage Increases Released

17,300 Jobs At Risk in Ontario’s Hospitality Industry

ORHMA continues to hear daily from our members on the negative impact that Bill 148, Fair Workplaces Better Jobs Act, 2017 will have on their hospitality business. We are working hard to educate the provincial government on such impacts. The Premier and her Cabinet have denied our ongoing request for an economic impact study – ORHMA together with like minded business associations known as the Keep Ontario Working Coalition (KOW) commissioned and released the first and only independent economic impact analysis of Bill 148, the Fair Workplaces Better Jobs Act, conducted by the Canadian Centre for Economic Analysis (CANCEA). The study revealed that if the legislation is implemented as currently drafted by the Wynne government, there will be significant, sudden and sizable uncertainty for Ontario jobs, economy and all communities.  Read more.  

Public Health Inspections Approach to Risk

There have been many inquiries from ORHMA’s members on the criteria Ontario’s public health units are following when conducting food premises inspections. The information provided in the “Risk Categorization of Food Premises Q & A” is issued by the Public Health Division of the Ministry of Health & Long-Term Care and guides the local health units to the risk categorization model initiated in 2015. The “Risk Categorization” Toronto Public Health sample form is utilized by the various health inspectors in assessing the risk of the food premise. For your information a typical “Food Inspection Report” sample is provided.  

Federal Proposed Tax Changes on Small and Medium Enterprises (SME’s)

The Hotel Association of Canada (HAC) is looking to understand the impacts of the newly proposed tax changes on small hotel operators. As an ORHMA member, your hotel property is granted membership with the Hotel Association of Canada.

The proposed rules could have a significant impact on many Canadian hotel businesses: potentially raising taxes, increasing the administrative burden on SMEs and heightening the impact on family-run businesses.  A consultation is currently underway with a focus on how “tax-planning strategies involving corporations are being used to gain unfair tax advantages.” The document contains proposed policies to close these “loopholes.” Read more >>

ORHMA Asked to Submit Cost Offsets- Meeting with Premier Wynne

ORHMA has influenced Government to review a set of hospitality related expense recommendations to offset the potential minimum wage increase and has an upcoming meeting with Premier Wynne. In the presentation to the Standing Committee of Finance & Economic Affairs on July 21st,  ORHMA spoke of the potential damage of the upcoming minimum wage to Ontario’s hospitality business, the short time frame of implementation and compared Ontario’s pre-tax profit margin against a healthier Alberta and USA performance. Furthermore, ORHMA called for a freeze of the liquor server minimum wage as it will escalate the staff inequity concerns experienced in food and beverage operations. The presentation can be seen here.  ORHMA thanks its members who took the time from a busy season to send in performance data for our analysis. They continue to do so. We are still in the midst of concluding a menu of expense offsets where we are finding concerns that many recommendations will not greatly impact the mammoth labour cost increases driven by the potential $14 and $15 minimum wages. We need to ensure Premier Wynne and her Government deliver substantial and meaningful offsets. As always we welcome your input to info@orhma.com

New and Longer Employment Insurance Benefits are Coming
Hicks Morley
Much anticipated legislative reforms to the Employment Insurance (EI) regime in Canada will extend parental and maternity EI benefits and expand access to critically ill children benefits. On June 22, 2017, Bill C-44 received Royal Assent. However, the EI Act amendments will come into force on a day to be fixed by order of the Governor in Council, which will not be earlier than July 10, 2017. Based on previous statements made by the Department of Finance, it is expected that the changes will come into force before the end of 2017. To read more, click here.

Tarriff Rate Changes With SOCAN

The Copyright Board of Canada has recently certified new tariff rates for certain SOCAN tariffs. Some of these new rates are based on inflationary adjustments, which were approved for the first time in many years. As  a result, you may realize an overall license fee increase of approximately 7%. SOCAN’s tariffs take into consideration the value 

  that music adds to a business. To review the new rates certified by the Copyright Board of Canada, please see the list of affected tariffs.

2017 Best Bar None Awards sets new record of applicants competing for top honours for responsible service of alcohol 
On Tuesday June 27 and Thursday June 29, accredited establishments in Ottawa’s Byward Market and Toronto’s downtown core were recognized at the 2017 Best Bar None Awards Ceremony for their safe and responsible service of alcohol.  The establishments were selected by a judging panel comprising Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD Canada), the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO), and Best Bar None (BBN) Ontario, an industry-led international accreditation and awards program that rewards excellence amongst responsible liquor sales licensees. Read press releases for Best Bar None Ottawa and Best Bar None Toronto to view winners. 

Toronto Accommodations Sharing Economy Report
The Toronto Accommodations Sharing Economy report was released on June 12, 2017. ORHMA & GTHA (Greater Toronto Hotel Association) were successful in accomplishing positive outcomes. The report, stemming out of Municipal Licensing and Standards, outlines the following key highlights.Read more>>

Design For Sidewalk Cafes, Marketing Displays, Patio Fees & Consultations 
When the City of Toronto report went to Licensing and Standards Committee in April of this year MLS staff were directed to undertake additional consultations. Two meetings are scheduled for June.  This notice has been sent out by mail to all permit holders. The information that will be presented at these meetings will be the same as what was in the April 2017 city staff report. The City is reviewing permit fees, as well as the design for sidewalk cafés and marketing displays. This includes looking at the space required for walking and movement for persons with disabilities, and how this will impact existing café and marketing permit holders. Information presented at these consultations will build upon the recent "Framework for Harmonization" report that was considered by Committee.  Public input invited on guidelines, rules and fees for sidewalk cafés and displays in Toronto.  Read more >>

Government suspends anti-spam changes after receiving blowback from businesses and NGOs
New provisions of Canada’s anti-spam legislation (CASL) that were set to come into effect on July 1st have been suspended due to complaints from businesses and non-governmental organizations. The provisions would allow lawsuits to be filed against individuals and organizations for violations of the legislation, a change that concerned businesses and non-profits due to the fact that over a three-year transition period that began in 2014, those organizations were permitted to rely on a recipient’s implied consent to receive electronic messages, while ostensibly giving them time to obtain express consent. Read more

Government's proposed amendment to WSIA re Chronic Mental Stress
In response to the Government of Ontario’s proposed amendments to the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act, 1997 (WSIA) to include coverage for work-related chronic mental stress, the WSIB has developed a proposed service delivery model and is seeking feedback on the supporting draft policy. To assist stakeholders to understand the WSIB’s proposed approach to implementing this proposed legislative change,a background document  has been developed.  

Ontario Releases Food & Organic Waste Discussion Paper
The Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change is developing a Food and Organic Waste framework to reduce the volume of food and organic wastes ending up in the disposal stream. The province’s Climate Change Action Plan and the Strategy for a Waste-Free Ontario: Building the Circular Economy commits the ministry to develop an action plan.  Read more >> 

City of Toronto Sharing Economy Report- Release Date
The anticipated report that will offer recommendations for a regulatory framework on the accommodations sharing economy will be released on June 12th and will be presented for discussion to the Executive Committee at the June 19th meeting. ORHMA and GTHA have been advocating on behalf of the hotel industry calling for a fair playing field. It is expected that the Toronto report will set the stage for other Ontario municipalities to move forward with similar regulatory rules. ORHMA has also been in communication with the City of London as a participant in upcoming consultations. 

Fighting the Beverage Alcohol Excise Tax Increases
ORHMA has joined an industry-wide coalition calling for a Repeal to the hidden escalating tax proposed in the 2017 federal budget. Alcoholic Beverages are made up of several layers of tariffs, levies and taxes as an easy grab for governments. Read more.  

Complete Your AODA Report on Compliance
This year all sectors – private, non-profit and public – must submit accessibility compliance reports by December 31, 2017.Learn more about requirements and who has to report at ontario.ca/accessibility.

Understanding WSIB’s Premium Rate Table
We previously reported that the Restaurant and Catering employers will see an 8.1% reduction (2016 rate of 1.72 will drop to 1.58 in 2017 ) while the Accommodation employers  rate will drop by 13.2% (2016 rate of 3.10 will drop to 2.69 in 2017 ). The following WSIB explanations offer a good understanding of how Premium Rates are calculated. Ontario’s hospitality sectors’ historic and projection rates follow. For additional information that includes all sector classifications click here. For more on WSIB, click here.