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President's Message
A Message from the President 

On behalf of the Ontario Restaurant Hotel & Motel Association (ORHMA) I would like to thank you for your continued support in 2016 and wish you good health and the very best business success as we are moving into 2017.

 Over the past year, Ontario’s hospitality industry finally realized solid revenue performance growth thanks, in part, to the favourable Canadian currency influencing both American and domestic travel as well as positive economic trade. All Ontario regions have shown dramatic increases and this is exciting news.  

 The industry continues to feel pressures from government decisions that affect your margin performance. In 2016, ORHMA tackled key government policies, stemming from various Ministries and has shown success including: 

  • The Ontario Retirement Pension Plan (ORPP) is now defunct being replaced by an enhanced Canadian Pension Plan (CPP) bringing a reduction in potential payroll increases to Ontario’s business. ORHMA was invited by Minister to sit on the ORPP working group to provide hospitality advocacy.

  • ORHMA opposed the Protecting Employees’ Tip Act but worked with government in ensuring the industry was protected under the Act by maintaining tip sharing pools with sharing amount determined by employer, owner and manager eligibility when they are part of the service delivery, able to keep the credit card processing fee and saving millions of dollars to those operating banquet facilities. ORHMA was the preferred stakeholder to influence policy.

  • Within the Healthy Menu Choices Act known as Menu Labelling, ORHMA advocated to keep the threshold to 20 or more restaurants, won an exemption to sodium requirements (calories only), an exemption for seasonal products and an exemption to not include hotel select breakfast service bars included in the guest room price. ORHMA provided leadership and worked closely with all brands impacted. 

  • ORHMA, within the Employer Council group, has been working in freezing WSIB Premium Rates for the previous five years in light of a massive WSIB unfunded liability. Rate reductions have now been announced for the coming years with 2017 seeing Foodservice and Catering rates dropping by 8.1% and Hotel rates by 13.2%. ORHMA is a key member of the WSIB working group.

  • ORHMA is engaged with the Small Business Coalition to address Credit Card Processing Fees. A government audit review is now in the works and ORHMA signed up to a successful legal action suit against VISA and MasterCard, providing over $23 billion to be rewarded back to merchants (including ORHMA members).

  • In 2016, ORHMA called for a single “one-window” approach to streamline the administrative and inspection process of opening a restaurant and has gained approval with a startup project in the City of Toronto prior to being implemented across other Ontario municipalities. ORHMA is the driver of less red tape. 

  • In working along with the Greater Toronto Hotel Association (GTHA) we were successful in influencing the City of Toronto to call for a regulatory framework on the sharing economy business such as Airbnb expected to be implemented in spring of 2017. ORHMA works in collaboration to make a difference.
 
Furthermore, realizing the need for the hospitality industry to build upon its professionalism and social responsibility, ORHMA has been developing an employee awareness training program for Sexual Harassment Intervention with implementation expected in mid 2017.    
 

ORHMA will be coming to a town near you with an awareness campaign in 2017 to help members understand and be in compliance with the AODA.

As we start the New Year the ORHMA’s advocacy is underway:

  • A call upon  Ontario municipalities to regulate the sharing economy
  • Advocating the Provincial government not to issue additional tax powers to municipalities such as hotel room taxes and toll fees
  • Awareness to government to even the playing field with On Line Travel Agencies (OTA’s) on paying appropriate taxes  
  • Drive an enrollment campaign for the “Check In Canada” hotel directory for industry to reduce OTA commissions
  • Support industry’s views on the expected release of the Employment Standard Act (ESA) and Labour Relations Act (LRA)
  • Drive cost relief to industry from the havoc of imposed Hydro Rates and the Global Adjustment

The year ahead is full of challenges with much work expected from ORHMA. We look forward to continuing this work in the months ahead. I hope that we can count on your support. Together we can make a true difference.

 

Tony Elenis 
President & CEO 
Ontario Restaurant Hotel & Motel Association