Visitor GST rebate cut opposed

The Northwestern Ontario Tourism Association and the Kenora District Camp Owners Association on Thursday joined the Hotel Association of Canada in its call for the withdrawal of the decision to cut the GST visitor rebate program.
U.S. tourists visiting Sunset Country generate $396.9 million of economic activity annually.
“In Sunset Country alone, the proposed cut would, in fact, jeopardize up to $75.6 million in federal tax revenue,” said KDCA president Harald Lohn.
“The government may believe that only three percent of all visitors to Canada take advantage of the rebate, but all U.S. visitors to my camp and most of the tourist accommodations in Northwestern Ontario use a rebate system,” noted NWOTA vice-president Jerry Fisher.
“I do not believe that the government of Canada has the ability to track GST rebates that are issued by tourist camps and tour businesses.
“They do not provide a space on their tax paperwork to indicate rebated amounts, so how do they know?” he wondered.
Northwestern Ontario municipal leaders, living through waves of job cuts as a result of the forestry industry crisis, also are questioning the value of the cut.
“We need assistance from the federal government to create programs that welcome and encourage international tourists. This proposal will do the opposite.” said Dryden Mayor Anne Krassilowsky.
“This could be a real blow to the tourism industry in the northwest. We are dependent on our U.S. customers,” echoed Atikokan Mayor Dennis Brown.