In November of 2012, the Tourism Association of NB (TIANB) was invited to make a presentation to the Government of NB (GNB) on issues regarding signage and how those issues impact the membership of TIANB. GNB has brought to the table the departments within government to listen to the feedback from the province's largest and most inclusive industry group. The first pages of this report are a summary of information TIANB received from its membership after sending out a request to over 700 very diverse members who make up TIANB. Following this summary we have attached those comments (unattributed) for GNB to review at their leisure.
Called upon to provide the opinion of the tourism industry by the provincial government, TIANB surveyed its board members and provided feedback that essentially is composed of possibilities and anticipations. This is simply because the information provided, or lack thereof, would make it impossible for any lobbying organization to form a clear and concise position on such matter.
We would very much like to see the details of the proposed changes, as we all know; the Devil is in the details. We are concerned, along with other industry groups, that this change in the EI program may lead to negative consequences for our rural communities, our seasonal operations, our year round operations and TIANB's constant drive to make sure staff are getting high quality training.
TIANB is concerned by the lack of consultation about these changes and the impacts they may bring if not carefully and thoughtfully handled. We can certainly respect the difficulty of updating regulations and rules for a country as big and widespread as Canada, however, the realities of one province over another certainly differs and this should be the foundation of any government initiatives and it only through a wide ranging series of consultations will we avoid making detrimental impacts on hard working Canadians, coast to coast to coast.
The Tourism Industry Association of New Brunswick acts as the provincial tourism and hospitality organization of the province, existing to fulfill the needs of its 700 members, in cooperation with both private and public sector partners. As a representative and industry driven organization, the Association provides leadership and direction, aiming towards making tourism and hospitality the leading and most viably sustainable industry in New Brunswick. We actively work with government and industry to achieve prosperity for people in New Brunswick. We encourage our Provincial leaders to continue to push for pragmatic change when it may be needed and we encourage our Federal leaders with the courage to listen and work with all stakeholders to create a better system, not one that is going to create new and detrimental problems for our industry and our province.
In partnership with accommodation providers from around the province, TIANB led the lobby effort with the provincial government for the implementation of enabling legislation for the collection of a Tourism Marketing Fee (TMF).
To view the most recent TMF update, see below:
TIANB continues to lobby on behalf of the membership about the negative impact of the minimum wage policy adopted by the province under the previous government. Bruce McCormack, of Downtown Fredericton Inc., recently raised the issue with a quote in the October 5, 2010 edition of the Daily Gleaner. "One thing that is hurting small business confidence in Fredericton is the rising minimum wage rate, said McCormack. "It's really having an impact on the service industry, restaurant and bars particularly" he said. "Those increases make up a big part of their budget." McCormack said Downtown Fredericton and the Tourism Association of NB raised the issue of a lower wage with the former Graham government for new employees while they are being trained and employees who receive a lot of tips. "There should be some sort of differential." he said. This is the kind of partnership that TIANB actively works on to make sure your voice is heard. The more people we can have at the table means the stronger our voice will be. Building partnerships is a key strategy for TIANB as we continue to be your voice for tourism in NB.
In November of 2009, the government of New Brunswick announced the cumulative increase to the NB Minimum Wage to the $10.00 per hour level in 2011. As this was a surprise to a lot of our members and to TIANB as well, a letter was sent to the Minister of Post-secondary Education Training and Labour, the honourable Donald Arseneault, to share our concerns with this considerable increase as well as recommending tip and training differentials to mitigate the impact for our tourism operators. In pursuing our representation efforts, a meeting of business owners' organizations (Canadian Federation of Independent Business, Canadian Restaurant and Foodservice Association, the Conseil Économique du NB, National Golf Club Owners Association, Downtown Fredericton, Chamber of Commerce, Canadian Council of Grocery Distributors) was initiated by TIANB to organize a coalition and to elaborate strategies to represent this issue to the NB Government.
The Liquor Control Act has been in place since 1961 in the province of New Brunswick, and governs aspects of liquor control, sales and licensing in the province. Over the years, a number of amendments have been made to the act, but there has not been a full review in several years. Stakeholders have clearly stated that they feel it is outdated, and doesn't reflect today's standards and trends.
The Department of Public Safety, responsible for the Act has agreed to open conversation with stakeholders, through a consultative approach, and hear comments and views that would address some of the deficiencies and modernize the Act
The importance of quality and a "quality experience" are synonymous when speaking of a vacation and travel experience. Discussions among industry operators and government representatives from across the Atlantic region continue to identify the need for a way to "measure" the quality of an experience or the satisfaction of a visitor at an accommodation, restaurant or attraction. Based on this premise, TIANB offered its services to take over the administration of this Pan-Atlantic program that will provide tourism operators with to-the-minute information and statistics. In addition, so as to ease the transition and to ensure that the accommodation operators (roofed and campgrounds) in New Brunswick get a taste of this invaluable tool, the Department of Tourism & Parks have partnered with TIANB to cover the participation fee for the first year for all accommodations in the province. As the accommodation is the first phase of the program development, the plan is to extend its reach into other sectors of our industry. A presentation of the program was made at the TIANB 2010 AGM.
On December 3, 2009 a meeting was held with the past Minister of Business NB, the Honourable Victor Boudreau, and his Deputy Minister Bill Levesque to discuss priorities for the New Brunswick tourism industry. The following 5 priorities were shared with the Minister by TIANB:
TIANB is lobbying with its national representative organization the Tourism Industry Association of Canada to take a proactive role in representing its membership on the Credit/Debit Card gouging merchant fees.
In addition, TIANB has decided to take a more active role in the "Don't Stick it to us" coalition work. Lead by the Retail Council of Canada, the position of the coalition is to work with the federal Government officials to develop a voluntary code of conduct. In a recent conference call, we found out that CFIB had taken a different position on the issue than that of the coalition.
With the planned move of the NB Community College (and CCNB) out of government process in 2010 to a Crown Corporation, TIANB continues to engage in talks with the Department of Post-secondary Education, Training and Labour in order to minimize the potential impact to our industry. Consultations have taken place and more are planned for early December to investigate avenues for Community Colleges to play a more proactive role in providing graduates in the fields needed for our industry.