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ADVOCACY & COMPLIANCE TOOLS

Access, knowledge and results are the foundation of ORHMA's government relations activities.  ORHMA represents the industry's interests at all levels of government.  Through our specialized in-house government relations experts, our provincial Board of Directors and our local Regional Boards, the Association provides pertinent and timely advice on industry-specific issues to politicians across the province.

We continue to remain diligent in assisting our members and Ontario's hospitality industry with enquiries while remaining on the frontlines advocating for our sector. 

Current Advocacy 

ORHMA’s Government Relations represents hospitality interests and works with Ontario and Municipal governments across the province on issues such as taxation, business regulation, beverage alcohol, labour issues, public health, tourism and municipal by-laws.. We advocate all levels of government for policies that favour the overall outlook of Ontario’s hospitality.

 

The list below offers you a glimpse of our recommendations to the Provincial government. We encourage you to forward inquiries and comments to info@orhma.com.

Summary of Recommendations:

FINANCIAL

  • ​Permit OLG Products in Hospitality

    • Policy approval for:

      • Offering Keno and Retail Sports betting in licensed establishments

      • Self-attestation on age verification for Keno purchases and transactions (may require regulatory amendment)

      • Amendments to the AGCO Lottery Standards to allow sales of Retail Sports on self-serve terminals

      • Policy and regulatory approvals could be achieved through the 2024 Provincial Budget process.

  • Remove the Requirement of Food when Ordering Beverage Alcohol through Take Out and Delivery

    • Remove the food requirement that exists when selling beverage alcohol, through take-out and delivery to support efficiencies in a restaurant operation. There is no rationale for the requirement of ordering food with beverage alcohol for take-out and delivery services when other service channels such as the LCBO and TBS are allowed. If these are the reasons, then once again, we are holding restaurants hostage.

  • Beverage Alcohol Pricing

    • ORHMA calls for a new 10% price reduction on LCBO beverage alcohol products to support troubling Ontario’s licensees.

 

  • Beer Tax Pricing

    • Repeal Section 5 of Ontario Regulation 257/10 under the Liquor Taxation Act, 1996. Eliminate further indexation of basic beer taxes.

 

  • Fairness with Licensee Beer Pricing

    • Oligopoly Continues

      • The government announcement seems to establish the LCBO as the wholesaler and waiting for further concrete details as thus far Ontario’s licensees can only purchase beer products from BRI (except for six-pack beer products).

      • Licensees should have the choice to purchase their beer including direct from the LCBO.

      • Price Paid is Higher than the Consumer Price -Other than a change that occurred in 2006 where limited volume licensees can buy beer at retail price through a rebated method the rest pay the inflated "licensee price" a price higher than the consumer price. Furthermore, BRI refuses to allow licensees to receive the same discounts offered to retail customers under limited-time promotions. Licensees should purchase their beer at less than retail as other beverage alcohol products sold directly from the LCBO. Licensees should also be able to take advantage of any special promotional pricing offered to consumers.

      • Limited Payment Processing- Refusal to permit licensees to make purchases using their credit cards as they are limited to using a proprietary TBS Credit card that comes with a fee. Licensees should be able to use their credit cards to purchase beer products.

 

  • Property Tax

    • Change the 4-year assessment cycle to 1 to 2 years to ensure assessed values stay current and reflect the economic fluctuations.

 

  • Business Education Tax

    • The Province of Ontario is in a position to support investment and be more competitive through a reduction in the Business Education Tax.

 

  • Municipal Accommodation Tax (MAT) - Credit Card Processing Fees

    • A hotel that participates in the MAT should be able to retain the credit card processing fee charged on the MAT amount by the credit card companies.

 

  • Employer Health Tax (EHT)

    • Increase the EHT threshold to a minimum $2 million to support small business sustainment and growth. 

 

  • ORHMA fighting Restaurant Inflation

    • ​​While many in hospitality have recovered in this post-pandemic era, many more are struggling. Namely, the slim-margin restaurant sector is hurting. ORHMA along with other business organizations from across Canada lobbied for an extension to the CEBA loan extension, but we were not successful. Inflation is significantly devasting financial business health and is even impacting operational services. ORHMA continues to engage with the Provincial government for support. View the response from the Minister of Finance, Peter Bethlenfalvy, to our recommendations. We continue to press & expand on these support tools by way of the upcoming 2024 Provincial Budget.

TOURISM GROWTH

  • Large Convention Center

    • Work with the other levels of government and financial investors to expand convention centers in destinations such as the City of Toronto to compete with larger centers located south of the border. 

  • Increase the Business Expenses for Restaurant Meals

    • We are urging the Ontario government to work with the federal government to allow businesses to expense restaurant meals at 100% of the current 50% of on-premise dining. 

  • Municipal Accommodation Tax (MAT) – Amendments

    • Make amendments described in the Tourism section of this report that will be able to boost tourism economics overall.

WORKFORCE

  • Temporary Foreign Workers Program (TFWP) and International Students

        We urge the Ontario Government to advocate the Federal government for:

 

  • Temporary Foreign Workers Program (TFWP)

    • Making the recent amendments of the TFWP permanent including exempting the unemployment rate.

    • Eliminate the LMIA

    • Modify the TFWP into a seasonal program similar to the agricultural sector to suit hospitality demand needs. The sector has a routine demand business cycle and needs a worker program that will work along with it.  

    • Offer multi-entry visas and multi-year work permits (combined under a single department)
       

  • International Students 

    • Make the international student hours worked permanent to 40 hours per week. This has had a positive impact rule for businesses including students' income.  

    • Provide work permits for international language students

 

  • Permanent Residency

    • Create a dedicated pathway to Permanent Residency through Express Entry designed for TEERs 4 and 5 occupations with an ability to prioritize hard-hit sectors like tourism and hospitality.

HOUSING AND SHORT-TERM RENTALS

  • Housing and Short-Term Rentals

    • The Province of Ontario follow the Provinces of Quebec and British Columbia and initiates a Provincial regulation and registration model​.

A Few of ORHMA's WINS

  • Favourable Immigration Policies

    • ORHMA has been a keen advocator in favour of hospitality-friendly immigration policies.

    • These recent years we have seen favourable amendments applied to the Temporary Foreign Workers Program (TFW) and to the International Student work policies.

    • In 2021, ORHMA supported an industry delegation from Living Waters Resorts when successfully challenged the unemployment rate threshold to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Citizenship & Immigration which in turn recommended the permanent removal of the unfair rate that prevented eligibility to the TFW program.

    • ORHMA has worked and supports the Hotel Association of Canada’s hard immigration work including participating in “knocking on doors” at Parliament Hill and speaking to politicians.

    • “Cooks” are now realigned as skilled positions enabling qualified foreign workers and International students to have an efficient work path in Ontario through the Immigrant Nominee Program (OINP) and the federal express streams. ORHMA has been active on this and applauds its success.

  • Short-Term Rental Accommodations 

    • ORHMA has been active in advocating for short-term rental frameworks in many Ontario cities including the City of Toronto. ORHMA has participated in several consultations across the province including Norfolk County, Brantford, Windsor, Lambton Shorts, Brampton, Lakeshore, St. Catharine's, Oshawa, Hamilton, and Vaughan.

 

  • Beverage Alcohol Pricing 

    • ORHMA persistently urged the government to consider a price reduction for beverage alcohol products purchased through the LCBO as a lifeline during the pandemic. As a result, licensees saw a savings of 20% (includes HST) in comparison to retail prices effective January 1, 2022. This is a game changer and major WIN for ORHMA and the hospitality industry.

 

  • Beverage Alcohol with Take-Out & Delivery

    • Following the closure of indoor dining, ORHMA immediately urged the government to permit the sale of beverage alcohol with take-out and delivery orders to support businesses and an initiative that has been made permanent. ​

 

  • Patio Extension

    • ORHMA has been a key participant in the temporary expansion of outdoor patios and continued discussions to successfully make the expansion permanent.

  • WSIB Rate Reduction

    • The average premium rate for Ontario hospitality businesses has been the lowest in more than 20 years. Hospitality averaged $1.02 in 2022 and dropped to $1.00 in 2023. Furthermore, legislation introduced mandates WSIB surplus funds to flow back to businesses. ORHMA has been a founding member of the business coalition that is engaged with WSIB’s leadership in bringing business support such as this.  

  • ​Global Adjustment – Reduction in Energy Costs

    • A portion of renewable energy costs are now funded by the province reducing the pressures brought by the ill-conceived Global Adjustment (GA). GA has been a priority issue for ORHMA.

 

  • Property Tax 

    • ORHMA has been actively pushing for property tax reductions, which is a hot advocacy item on our agenda. ORHMA actively participated in reducing the Business Education Tax (BET) a component of Property Tax. This tax reduction reduced all high BET rates to a rate of 0.88 percent. This represents a reduction of an average of 30 percent for the many businesses that were subject to the highest BET rate in the province.

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