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Changes to Ontario Cabinet
June 13- Premier Kathleen Wynne today announced changes to the portfolios of her Cabinet Ministers. Of note to the GTHA, we welcome our new Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport Eleanor McMahon from the riding of Burlington. The Honourable Eleanor McMahon’s bio can be found here.
 
We would like to thank Minister Michael Coteau, our former Minister of Tourism for his support of our industry as we wish him all the best in his new role as Minister of Children and Youth Services, Minister Responsible for Anti-Racism.

The GTHA is looking forward to working with Minister of Tourism and Culture, Eleanor McMahon. The full new Cabinet is posted here.
Ministry of Labour | Tips and Other Gratuities
Starting June 10, 2016, it will be illegal for employers to keep a portion of employees’ tips and other gratuities, except as permitted by the Employment Standards Act, 2000 (ESA). These rules affect employers and employees covered by the ESA in workplaces where tips and gratuities are received – such as at bars, restaurants, hair and nail salons, catering firms and taxis.

New on the Ministry of Labour website is a dedicated page on Tips and Other Gratuities featuring a new guideline and FAQ:

English: Ontario.ca/tipsandgratuities
French: Ontario.ca/pourboiresetgratifications

Additional information can be found on the GTHA Government Relations page here

Changes to Accessible Customer Service Standard Take Effect July 1, 2016

What you need to know
There are changes to the accessible customer service standard and Integrated Accessibility Standards Regulation that will affect you and your members. Please share this information with your members. A toolkit is below to help you:

More information can be found under our Accessibility page here.

Room to grow
Nestled on a rural patch of land just outside the cities of Kitchener and Waterloo, Ont., is Canada’s 37th-busiest airport by passenger volume, a small operation that grew exponentially in the last decade and could grow dramatically in the next few. 

This is Region of Waterloo International Airport, a former general aviation facility with nearly 154,000 passengers last year and a potential partner in the drive to meet rising demand for air travel in Southern Ontario. Read more here.
Destination Canada releases 2015 Annual Report
Destination Canada’s 2015 Annual Report: Ambitious Together puts the spotlight on a banner year for the Canadian tourism industry with the rise in international arrivals to Canada almost doubling the world average. Proving the value of a collaborative approach to tourism marketing, Destination Canada and our partners experienced far greater recognition in our international markets than individual marketing organizations, transportation companies, hotels and attractions would have attracted independently. Read the 2015 Annual Report here.

Canadian hotel deals indicate another big year
After a record year for Canadian transactions in the hotel industry in 2015, sources said they expect to see similar volume in 2016. Read more here.
Ontario Invests $1.6 Million to Boost Tourism
Ontario is providing more than $1.6 million to 23 arts and culture organizations, helping them market and promote unique events and exhibits this spring and summer. Read more here.
Ontario Tourism Performance Newsletter Q4 2015 now available

The Q4 2015 edition of the Ontario Tourism Performance Newsletter, ONtourism is now available here.

Smart Serve Ontario Announces Scholarships At Hospitality/Tourism & Culinary Arts Colleges
Smart Serve Ontario has announced the establishment of a student scholarship at all colleges in Ontario that offer a diploma program in hospitality/tourism and/or the culinary arts. This announcement was made at the Heads of Hospitality and Tourism Ontario Educators’ Forum Welcome Gala Reception hosted at George Brown College. The student scholarship was established in celebration of Canada’s Sesquicentennial Anniversary of Confederation. These scholarships will be offered in addition to the student scholarships Smart Serve Ontario already annually commits to at various educational institutions across Ontario. Read press release here.
February 2016 Tourism Snapshot
Please be advised that Destination Canada has just released the February 2016 Tourism Snapshot, view it here.
Condos being rented out as private hotels raising safety concerns
The GTHA's President & CEO Terry Mundell spoke to media earlier this week about the on-going concerns of private hotel rooms across the GTA. See the CityNews media clip here. Additional coverage through Hotelier Magazine .

"“There’s no doubt the vast majority are in condominiums, there are a significant amount in the downtown core, some apartment complexes as well,” Terry Mundell, with the GTHA, explains. “Clearly these places should not be allowed to rent for transient accommodation, that’s stays less than 30 days, because that’s a hotel.”
Toronto to Host 2017 Invictus Games
Ontario is committing up to $10 million over two years in support of the Invictus Games, which will be held in Toronto from September 26­ to 30, 2017. Read more here.
Starwood Hotels&Resorts to Debut Element Brand at Toronto Airport as Part of Dual-Branded Hotel Deal
Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. has reached an agreement with Easton’s Group of Hotels to open the second Element Hotel in the Greater Toronto Area and renovate Four Points by Sheraton Toronto Airport.

The eight-story Element Toronto Airport will open in summer 2018 adjacent to the seven-story Four Points Toronto Airport, which will remain open throughout the $5-million renovation. Read more here.
Ontario Supporting 200 Festivals and Events
Ontario is investing $15.3 million to support 200 festivals and events across the province that will draw tourists, stimulate local economies and create jobs. Read more here.
THE GREATER TORONTO HOTEL ASSOCIATION ANNOUNCES THE 2016 SPIRIT AWARDS WINNERS

TORONTO – (April 22, 2016) Five Hundred members of the Greater Toronto Hotel Association (GTHA) gathered on Friday, April 22nd, 2016 to honour exceptional Ambassadors in the region’s hotel industry. The fifth annual Spirit Awards Luncheon presented by the Greater Toronto Hotel Association recognized 212 nominees and 18 award winners for their outstanding contributions in our industry.

 “It is with great pride that the GTHA celebrates the service, professionalism and innovation of these outstanding Ambassadors in the hotel community” said GTHA President & CEO Terry Mundell. “Their contributions to the visitor experience leave a lasting impression on the over 14 million overnight visitors to the Greater Toronto Area. Our congratulations go out to each nominee and award winner for their exceptional service to guests visiting GTHA member hotels”.

For the full list of nominees and award winners, visit here!

Picture from the event will be posted on Facebook later this week!

Current Performance Indicators February 2016

The Ministry’s Current Performance Indicators have been updated with February 2016 data, view it here.

Franck Arnold Named General Manager for the Ritz-Carlton Toronto

The Ritz-Carlton, Toronto announced the appointment of Franck Arnold to the position of General Manager.

With over 25 years experience in both luxury brand and independent and privately owned properties throughout North America, the U.K. and Europe, Franck brings a wealth of industry knowledge to his new role. Read more here.

Hani Roustom Appointed General Manager of The Hazelton Hotel
The Hazelton Hotel, Toronto, the city's leading luxury boutique hotel, announces the appointment of Hani Roustom as General Manager.  A celebrated and passionate hotelier, and graduate of the Cornell School of Hotel Administration, Roustom brings his sharp focus on refined product and service excellence to Toronto's only member of the Leading Hotels of the World, a worldwide alliance of independent luxury hotels. Read more here.
Maureen Adamson appointed Deputy Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport
Effective April 11th, Maureen Adamson has been appointed Deputy Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport. Read more here.
INTERNATIONAL PLAZA HOTEL ANNOUNCES REBRANDING TO THE NEW “DELTA TORONTO AIRPORT HOTEL+CONFERENCE
The International Plaza Hotel, with its 433-rooms and extensive meeting facilities, will soon become Delta Toronto Airport Hotel + Conference Centre, and the newest addition to the Marriott International portfolio. The hotel owners, KSD Enterprises Ltd. and Marriott International have recently signed a licensing agreement and plan to re-brand the property as a Delta Hotel in late 2016. Read press release here.
Current Performance Indicators January 2016
The Ministry’s Current Performance Indicators have been updated with January 2016 data, view it here.
Province Increasing Minimum Wage on October 1
Ontario will raise the general minimum wage from $11.25 to $11.40 on October 1, 2016 - keeping Ontario's wage the highest of any province in Canada. Read more here.
Allison Fraser new General Manager of Hilton Toronto Airport Hotel & Suites
We are pleased to announce the appointment of Allison Fraser to General Manager of the 419-room Hilton Toronto Airport Hotel & Suites.  The hotel, located directly across from Pearson International Airport, is ideal for travelers looking for easy access to some of Toronto’s largest corporations. Read more here.
Ontario Tourism Performance Newsletter Q3 2015
The Q3 2015 edition of the Ontario Tourism Performance Newsletter, ONtourism is available here.
Ontario Breaks Ground on First Eglinton Crosstown LRT Station
Construction has begun on Keelesdale Station, the first of 25 stations to be built for the Eglinton Crosstown Light Rail Transit (LRT). The Eglinton Crosstown LRT is the largest public transit project currently under construction in Canada and represents the single biggest expansion of urban rapid transit in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area in more than half a century. Read more here.
Ontario Taking Further Steps to Protect People from Second-Hand Smoke and Vapour
Ontario is proposing to strengthen its smoking laws to better protect people from second-hand smoke, whether from a tobacco product or medical marijuana. The province is also proposing changes to regulate the use, sale, display and promotion of electronic cigarettes. Read more here.
Six-month grace period on Electronic Travel Authorization welcomed

Some travellers and diplomats are breathing a sigh of relief after the Canadian government announced a six-month grace period on a new mandatory security screen.  As of March 15, 2016, visa-exempt foreign nationals who fly to or transit through Canada are expected to have an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA). Exceptions include U.S. citizens and travellers with a valid Canadian visa. However, from March 15, 2016 until fall 2016, travellers who do not have an eTA can board their flight, as long as they have appropriate travel documents, such as a valid passport. Read more here.

Ontario Moving Forward On Highway 427 Expansion

Ontario is making progress to expand Highway 427, which will create jobs and support economic growth and development.

The province has released a request for proposals to three shortlisted bidders to extend Highway 427 by 6.6 kilometres (km) from Highway 7 to Major Mackenzie Drive. The highway will also be widened for about 4 km south of Albion Road to Highway 7. Construction is expected to begin in 2017 and the road will be open to traffic in 2020. Read more here.

UP Express Introduces Significant Savings for Travellers
UP Express is introducing new fares that will make travel to and from the airport, or even within the city, even better for travellers.

Starting Wednesday, March 9, 2016 the new one-way fare from downtown Toronto to Pearson Airport will be $9 with a Presto card- thats a $10 saving each way. Read more here.
Ontario's Investments Creating Jobs for Today and Tomorrow
Finance Minister Charles Sousa released the 2016 Ontario Budget: Jobs for Today and Tomorrow, which outlines the next phase of the government's plan to create jobs and economic growth. More than 600,000 jobs have been created since the recessionary low in June 2009. Ontario is projected to create more than 300,000 additional jobs by the end of 2019, which would bring total job creation to more than 900,000 net new jobs over a 10-year period. The Ministry of Finance is forecasting growth in Ontario real GDP of 2.5 per cent in 2015 and 2.2 per cent in 2016. Ontario's economic growth is now outpacing national growth, and is expected to continue being among the strongest in Canada over the next two years. Read more here.
Ministry’s Current Performance Indicators for December 2015

The Ministry’s Current Performance Indicators have been updated with December 2015 data, view it here.

Ontario Partners With Airbnb on New Pilot Project

Ontario is recognizing the economic potential of the sharing economy by partnering with Airbnb to launch a new pilot project. The pilot project will raise awareness about homeowners' and consumers' rights and responsibilities when offering or booking online accommodations. Read more here.

Skyline International Development Inc. Announces New Chief Executive Officer
Skyline International Development Inc. (TASE: SKLN) (“Skyline” or the “Company”) is pleased to inform that its Board of Directors have appointed Mr. Blake D. Lyon as the new CEO of the Company effective February 17, 2016, following the end of Mr. Michael Sneyd’s tenure as chief executive. Read more here.
HAC President Tony Pollard to Retire

The Hotel Association of Canada (HAC) announced the retirement of President Anthony P. Pollard effective August 31, 2016. Read more here.

Record Tourism Arrivals and Spending Bolster Toronto Regional Economy
Most international visitors ever, most hotel nights sold as Toronto’s global appeal expands

TORONTO (February 8, 2016) Tourism in Toronto increased for the sixth consecutive year in 2015 as the destination welcomed a record 14.03 million overnight visitors, Tourism Toronto announced today. A further 26 million people travelled to Toronto for day trips, totaling 40.4 million visitors for the year in Canada’s most-visited destination. Visitors to Toronto spent $7.2 billion during their trips, the highest amount of economic activity the sector has ever generated. Click here for press release.
Ontario Adds 19,800 Jobs in January
Ontario's economy continued its positive momentum with the second straight month of job creation, adding 19,800 jobs in January. This brings the total increase in employment since the recessionary low in June 2009 to 608,300. Read more here.
November 2015 Tourism Snapshot
Please be advised that Destination Canada has just released the November 2015 Tourism Snapshot, view it here.
Hall of Fame Awards of Excellence: HAC Conference 2016
The Hotel Association of Canada's Hall of Fame Awards of Excellence Program was developed in 2004 with the purpose of recognizing those of its members (individuals, companies, properties) that have demonstrated significant accomplishments, exemplary leadership and tireless commitment to Canada's lodging industry. For more details, to register and for GTHA promo code, click here.
Ministry’s Current Performance Indicators for November 2015

The Ministry’s Current Performance Indicators have been updated with November 2015 data, view it here.

Westin Harbour Castle Up For Sale
The Westin Harbour Castle is on the market and the iconic hotel, located on the downtown Toronto waterfront, could be the most expensive hotel ever sold in the Canadian market. Read more here.
Hilton Worldwide Changes the Game with a Revolutionary New Midscale Brand
Hilton Worldwide unveiled Tru by Hilton, a brand that is simplified, spirited and grounded in value, filling a massive void in the midscale category in the U.S. and Canada. Built from a belief that being cost conscious and having a great stay don’t have to be mutually exclusive, Tru by Hilton offers an experience unlike anything in its space, consistently delivered in a surprisingly affordable way. Read more here.
Province Completes Design of the Ontario Retirement Pension Plan
Ontario has announced new decisions on the proposed design of the Ontario Retirement Pension Plan (ORPP) -- another step in delivering on its commitment to strengthen retirement income security for the two-thirds of Ontario workers without a secure workplace pension plan. Read more here.