QUEEN’S PARK – Niagara Falls NDP MPP Wayne Gates and NDP Tourism critic Jennie Stevens (St. Catharines) are urging the Ford government to extend Ontario's staycation tax credit, which Ford is cancelling despite calls from the industry to extend it.
A joint report by Tourism Industry Association of Ontario and Ontario Chamber of Commerce found that Ontario tourism won’t fully recover from the COVID-19 pandemic until 2025. The report recommends that the staycation tax credit be extended to support businesses until then.
“Extending the staycation tax credit is a common-sense way for the Ford government to help businesses and workers in the tourism sector recover from the hardship of the past few years,” said Gates. “Instead of ending the staycation tax credit, Ford should be evaluating where the credit was most effective and strengthening it to ensure it has the maximum benefit for tourism businesses going forward. In Niagara alone there are 40,000 jobs in the tourism sector – helping these workers out is absolutely essential."
Gates proposed the Travel Ontario Tax Credit in 2020, which would have given families $1000 to visit qualifying businesses across Ontario. The Ford government watered down this proposed bill so that just 20 per cent of eligible expenses would be covered.
"If the government will not extend the staycation tax credit, they need to come up with a provincial strategy quickly,” said Stevens. “Workers and businesses in the tourism sector deserve a government that invests in their recovery - not one that claws back support when they need it most.”