The Coalition of Hardest Hit Businesses, of which Tourism Kelowna is a partner organization, recently released an update on its advocacy efforts on behalf of the tourism and hospitality industry. 

Through its recent pre-budget campaign, which began in February of this year, the Coalition sought to accomplish three things:

  1. Re-open the border
  2. Extend the Tourism & Hospitality Recovery Program
  3. Address the labour shortage

With support from industry members across the country, the Coalition's advocacy campaign resulted in some significant wins in recent weeks. Here is what the Coalition outlined in its recent communications:

Keeping the border open
  • As of April 1, COVID-19 testing was dropped at the border for fully vaccinated travellers.
  • Budget 2022 also removed all funding associated with border closures and quarantine program spending, which is a strong signal that they intend to keep the border open. There was also specific reference to the government’s intent to minimize the impacts of disruptions and unpredictable market conditions in our sector.

The Coalition now has the predictability it was asking for and a clear path toward recovery. 

  • An announcement was made on April 4 naming tourism as a priority sector for the Temporary Foreign Worker Program.
  • Investments to deal with backlogs and processing times for Temporary Foreign Workers.
  • A commitment from the government to revisit the Immigration Act to ensure the skills most needed by industries like tourism are valued during the Permanent Residency application process.

This is a direct response to the Coalition's asks and will help with labour issues in the short term.

Tourism as a Growth Sector
  • A new Federal Tourism Growth Strategy, led by the Minister of Tourism, will be launched to rebuild the sector. Stakeholders will have the opportunity to shape this strategy and any future investments that will be needed to support our path to recovery.

This direction in the Budget gives the Minister of Tourism the authority to do some meaningful work alongside industry stakeholders to examine and define what supports will be needed next. They purposely kept it broad so we can design it together. This is also a very positive development and further underscores the collaborative working relationship the Coalition shares with the Minister, and their intent to continue supporting its suite of sectors.

Tourism & Hospitality Recovery Program

In the weeks leading up to the Budget, the government signalled its intent to end the THRP in May. This decision was based on the surge in bookings and tourism demand that came back when border restrictions were lifted, which was confirmed in Budget 2022. 

Although the Coalition was unable to fully realize all of its goals, the efforts and tenacity of the Tourism Industry Association of Canada and the Hotel Association of Canada, who co-chair the Coalition, must be applauded. The Coalition will now look at the next steps and determine the best course of action to support the industry going forward. 

For more information on the Coalition of Hardest Hit Businesses, visit