Struggling tourism industry in Northern Ontario left without support from the Liberal government: NDP

The past two years have been devastating for many small businesses in the region. The tourism industry has been hit particularly hard and many are unsure if they will make it through the next few months. Local NDP MP Carol Hughes recently wrote to Liberal Ministers urging them to provide support for seasonal tourism businesses who are worried about their futures.

“I have been speaking to business owners in the region, like Bruce O’Hare of Lakeshore Excursions, who have been cut out of federal government support programs because their businesses are seasonal. With another season of uncertainty coming, people are rightly worried about how they will get by,” said Hughes. “It’s extremely concerning that the government did not consider the plight of seasonal tourism businesses when they developed the Tourism and Hospitality Recovery Program (THRP).”

The Liberals have left seasonal tourism businesses out making them ineligible to access the THRP created to get financial support to businesses in the tourism and hospitality sector who incurred substantial pandemic losses. Many of these seasonal businesses like motor coach and cruise tour operators which operate in Northern Ontario and across Canada have seen a significant drop in business.

“The past two years have been incredibly difficult for tourism businesses like ours. In 2020 we saw a 98 per cent year over year drop in our revenue. The entire Canadian cruise industry was mandated to shut down by Transport Canada, forcing us to lay off staff and shutter our operations,” said Bruce O’Hare, President of Lakeshore Excursions. “We don’t qualify for the federal government support program for tourism – and without it I’m not sure how we’re going to be able to restart our operations this coming spring and summer, the period when we do all of our business.”

“At the beginning of the pandemic the Prime Minister promised he’d have Canadians’ backs. Instead, his government has let small businesses that contribute so much to our local and national economies suffer,” said Richard Cannings, NDP critic for tourism and small businesses. “I am urging the Liberal government to support these seasonal businesses, which bring people to our communities and create good jobs, and get them the support they need to stay open during these difficult times.”

New Democrats will continue to fight to get small businesses the support they need to recover from the pandemic.

Ontario NDP