Ontario won't make staycation tax credit permanent despite calls from industry

Ontario won’t make staycation tax credit permanent despite calls from industry

TORONTO — Ontario’s tourism minister says the province won’t be extending the staycation tax credit for another year, despite the hard-hit industry recommending the move as a way to help it recover from the pandemic.

Neil Lumsden, the minister of tourism, culture and sport, says in a statement that the province temporarily introduced it for the 2022 tax year to spur pandemic recovery for the tourism, hospitality and culture sectors.

That will end this year, but Lumsden says the province is supporting the sector in other ways, including $48.1 million for festivals and events and $19.1 million in support for Regional Tourism Organizations in 2022-23.

A joint report earlier this week from the Ontario Chamber of Commerce and the Tourism Industry Association of Ontario said the sector won’t fully recover until 2025 and suggested dozens of ways the provincial and federal governments could help.

Those recommendations included permanently keeping the staycation tax credit, which allows Ontarians to claim 20 per cent of eligible accommodation expenses, such as hotel or campground stays, in order to encourage local travel.

Green Party Leader Mike Schreiner says the Progressive Conservative government is abandoning the tourism industry.

“To take away incentives that benefit both the tourism industry, and families needing a bit of help to be able to travel our beautiful province during a time of high inflation, truly makes no sense,” he wrote in a statement.