Working for You: Top 5 Things to Know About Your National Association This Month

Auditor General Report: Taxation of E-Commerce

The Auditor General of Canada released the 2019 Spring Reports last week, including a report on Taxation of E-Commerce. According to the report, the Canadian sales tax system did not keep pace with the rapidly evolving digital marketplace, with estimated losses of $169 million in sales tax revenues on foreign digital products and services.

HAC has known for a long time that the system is broken and is encouraged to see this recognized in the Auditor General’s report. On May 10, just a few days following the report, Alana Baker, Director of Government Relations and Xavier Gret, Président directeur général de l’Association hôtellerie Québec were on Parliament Hill to thank the interim Auditor General of Canada for his commitment to a balanced and fair tax system and to urge the Federal Government to adopt the report’s recommendations to modernize Canada’s tax laws without delay, to ensure appropriate taxes are collected from foreign-owned digital platforms like Airbnb.

Press release >
Watch Press Conference >
Read the Taxation of E-Commerce report >

HAC Renews Call to Government on Tax Deadline Day

On April 24, the Hotel Association of Canada (HAC) renewed its call to the Federal Government to modernize Canada’s tax laws. While foreign-owned digital platforms like Airbnb continue to grow their presence in Canada and earn millions of dollars in revenue, the government has not taken the necessary steps to collect appropriate taxes from these companies.

Our ask remains the same. We took action to remind the Federal Government that its legislation must be amended to ensure that digital platforms like Airbnb have the same taxation obligations as the rest of us. In order to achieve a level playing field, Canada’s tax laws must be modernized without delay.

HAC issued a press release which garnered significant media attention, earning a 6-minute spot on BNN Bloomberg and interview segments in Calgary, reaching more than 600,000 Canadians. A social media blitz was enacted to earn public and political support, reaching nearly 60,000 Canadians.

On May 7, Alana Baker, HAC’s Director of Government Relations, was joined by HAC Chair, Jonathan Lund, on Parliament Hill for a day of meetings with federal decision makers advocating for #FairRules and labour solutions on behalf of Canadian hotels.
Meetings were held with the Prime Minister’s Office, the Office of the Leader of the Opposition, the Revenue Minister’s Office and a number of Members of Parliament, including Joel Lightbound, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance and industry champion Blake Richards, Shadow Minister for Tourism for the Official Opposition.Important discussions took place on labour shortages in the sector during meetings with Rodger Cuzner, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Labour and John Barlow, Shadow Minister of Labour. The Hotel sector offers meaningful employment opportunities and the support of key political decision makers is imperative as we work to address these challenges.
Members of Parliament also shared our concerns around the urgent need for fair taxation rules, and support the need to hold digital accommodations platforms accountable.
This successful day of meetings was an important component of HAC’s election strategy, as we consult with political parties to ensure our issues are heard on all sides of government as they prepare to roll out their Party Platforms in the coming months, and achieve real results for hoteliers across the country.

More than 30 associations representing 24 different nations from around the world, shared their knowledge on the situation of the short-term rental industry at the second convening of ReformBNB in Barcelona, Spain on April 30, 2019. Attending on behalf of HAC was James Chase, President of the British Columbia Hotel Association and a member of HAC Board of Directors, who brought Canadian representation.

A report, prepared for the second ReformBnB conference, summarizes the state of the law in over 26 cities and states across the world with intention to give a global overview of existing conditions. Also included in the report are best practices, many of which mirror regulatory recommendations put forward by HAC. A good sign that HAC is leading Canada in the right direction.

Read the ReformBNB report here>

Federal Election Strategy 2019

As political parties work to develop their election platforms in advance of the 2019 federal election campaign, HAC’s Election Platform Ask has been distributed to all major platform committees. In late April, Jim Bence, HAC Board of Director and President & CEO of the Saskatchewan Hotel and Restaurant Association, met with the Hon. Ralph Goodale, Member of Parliament for Regina—Wascana and Co-Chair of the 2019 National Platform Committee. This face-to-face meeting allowed for an opportunity to encourage Goodale to consider and endorse HAC’s Election Platform recommendations at the federal level. Bence impressed upon federal, provincial, and municipal efforts related to short-term rentals. Importantly, Goodale expressed concrete understanding and support of our position.  As discussions and consultations with leaders from across Canada continue, HAC will underpin this meeting with strong advocacy efforts to ensure the issues of our industry are heard.

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