New Year Message From OMCA/MCC President

Dear OMCA and MCC Partners, During what is already been a very busy January for our association, I want to take a moment to share my gratitude for your support in 2023 and my optimism for 2024. Our team has just returned from a leading U.S. group travel marketplace and the excitement and renewed enthusiasm for both Motor Coach Canada and the Ontario Motor Coach Association was evident. There was a tangible buzz about OMCA’s Marketplace and the association’s value to our members. It was so good to hear from our members and sponsors and to feel and know that “We are Back”! Thanks to the rebound experienced by the group travel industry, our members and the association are well on track to have a very strong 2024. And we couldn’t do it without all of you! Thank you. We saw incredible growth in our association’s membership in 2023, with many reporting a record-breaking year. I’m already seeing this momentum continue into 2024, as so many of us are gearing up for a busy year ahead. By now you would have received your membership renewals. Please be sure to renew your membership early to take advantage of a full year of benefits. For those new or returning to the association, please take a moment to connect with our team to see how to best benefit from being an active and connected member. The future of the group travel economy is exciting, and we’re just getting started. It takes a collaborative effort – from the association, our members and to our boots-on-the-ground OMCA team. These are successes we should all be celebrating. I hope to see you soon on a members-only Town Hall or webinar or in person at the Ontario Transportation Expo (April 14-17), our Golf Tournament (August 20) or Marketplace in Windsor (November 4-6). We are looking forward to supporting our members and welcoming those that are new. Thank you, Vince Accardi President OMCA / MCC

NOTICE: Updates to the iMHZEV Program

Transport Canada recently made some changes and updates to the iMHZEV Program.  These adjustments are centred around Vehicle Eligibility Criteria (determining whether vehicles in class 2B and 3 fit new criteria to be classified as a commercial vehicles or medium-sized passenger vehicles), New Incentive Rates and MSRP Cap (for class 2B and 3), and finally an Updated Vehicle Eligibility Application Form (for manufacturers).

Please review the information in the documents below and if you have any questions, please reach out to Ray Cherrey, ray@motorcoachcanada.com

MCC continues to work with Transport Canada and will post updates as we receive them.

MCC PLEASED WITH THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT’S TRANSIT COMMITTEE: INTER CITY BUS REPORT – JUNE UPDATE FROM MCC PRESIDENT

The association was pleased to see the Federal Government’s Transit Committee – Inter City Bus Report released this week:  https://www.ourcommons.ca/content/Committee/441/TRAN/Reports/RP12444313/441_TRAN_Rpt13_PDF/441_TRAN_Rpt13-e.pdf

The association presented to this committee in November of 2022 and has continued our lobbying activities asking for support for private bus operators. The recommendations show a strong acknowledgement of the need to collaborate with private operators and to include private operators in federal transit funding programs. The association is now working to set up meetings with the Transport committee members and Ministers to discuss the recommendations and next steps.

The recommendations related to this study are listed below:

  1. Intermodal Connections
    That the Government of Canada collaborate with all stakeholders, including provincial and territorial governments, Indigenous communities, municipalities, as well as public and private operators, to encourage the coordination of intercity bus routes with passenger rail and air travel.
  2. Creating a National Clearing House/Communications Platform
    That the Government of Canada work with the provinces and territories and with private and public bus operators to facilitate the creation of a non-profit, national clearing house/communications platform to allow for seamless travel between provinces for passengers.
  3. Better Intermodal Connections Between VIA Rail and Other Modes of Transport
    That VIA Rail establish a system to provide real-time reporting of arrivals and departures to other modes of transportation (ex. taxis, ride-sharing operators, etc.) to facilitate timely and convenient intermodal connections.
  4. Assessing and Addressing Knowledge Gaps (Habits of Intercity Transit Users)
    That the Government of Canada collaborate with all stakeholders, including provincial and territorial governments, Indigenous communities, municipalities, as well as public and private operators, to assess and address the current knowledge gaps with regards to the habits and needs of intercity transit users in Canada. 
  5. Expanding the RTSF to Cover Private Bus Carriers and Intercity Routes
    That the Government of Canada expand the Rural Transit Solutions Fund to incentivize the development of intercommunity rural routes and allow private bus carriers providing services on such routes to access the Fund.
  6. Harmonization of Licensing Requirements
    That the Government of Canada recognize that the private sector plays an important role in providing intercity bus service and take steps to harmonize licensing requirements between provinces, while respecting provincial and territorial jurisdiction.
  7. Government’s Responsibility for Reconciliation
    That the Government of Canada recognise its role in delivering safe, reliable and affordable inter-regional transit to Indigenous communities, as part of its responsibility towards Indigenous reconciliation.

As our industry heads into a busy charter and tourism summer season, I wanted to extend my personal thank you to all association members that have renewed for 2023 and continue to support our industry. For those that have yet to renew your membership. Please take a moment today to show your support and connect with our team to process your membership.

Have a great summer season.

Vince Accardi
Motor Coach Canada President

May Update from MCC President

Published May 3rd, 2023

Thank you to all our new members and to those that have continued to support our association as our sector recovers. As our industry is on the cusp of our busy season, the association team wishes you a prosperous 2023. Destination Canada recently reported that overnight visitation grew by 185% year over year, reaching 820,000 visitors a month to Canada. Group travel is included in this impressive gain, let’s all continue to work together to bring our sector back.

The association hosted two successful lobby days in April, with two full days of meetings with MMP and MP at the provincial and federal government levels. Thank you to those board members that participated and delivered our key advocacy priorities to elected officials and in supporting our members.

On May 1st, the United States announced that beginning May 12, 2023, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will no longer require non-U.S. travellers entering the United States via land ports of entry and ferry terminals to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and provide related proof of vaccination upon request. MCC has been consistently advocating for this restriction to be lifted on our regular calls with Transport Canada and we are glad to see that our efforts are paying off. This is a win for our members as this restriction has been hindering the volume of North American cross-border travel for over three years.

The association, with our Ontario Bus Consortium partners, wrapped up a hugely successful Ontario Transportation Expo (OTE) This annual conference and tradeshow is Canada’s largest bus show. This year we had over 500 conference delegates and a sold-out tradeshow floor. Please mark your calendars for April 14-16, 2024, and remember to register early.

Our 51st annual Golf tournament opened for registration on March 1st. This year’s event is happening on August 22nd at Legends on the Niagara Golf Complex in Niagara Falls, Ontario. This is a great opportunity for members to connect and enjoy a day out on the greens. It also provides a casual way to host your clients and show your appreciation. If you are considering sponsorship please visit our website and please reach out to our team.

December might seem far away, but Marketplace 2023 planning is well underway. Registration is open and this year we have some new and exciting sponsorship opportunities.  If you know you are coming, please take a moment to register today! If you are considering joining us for this premier B2B Marketplace please connect with our team for more details. Seller members that register before June 30th have a chance to win a free 2024 registration!

February 2023 Update from MCC President

2023 has started off strong with many members reporting strong levels of demand and interest. From an outlook perspective, data shows that our industry continues a strong recovery driven by strong pent-up demand. Even with inflation concerns, consumer confidence remains relatively high as shown by the UNWTO Confidence Index. Data continues to showing that we are expecting a full recovery to post Covid levels by 2025. Now that our borders are open, data is indicating that US travel to Canada and vis versa will show a full recovery in this year with domestic travel continuing to drive sector recovery. The 2023 group tour and motor coach markets will be leading some of this recovery and the association is here to support our members with this unique opportunity.

All members will be receiving a membership renewal within the coming weeks. Your membership support fuels our association’s Federal advocacy efforts and is vital to our successes. 2023 is a growth year for the association, we ask that all members assist us by connecting with your industry colleagues and encouraging them to join Motor Coach Canada.

Please plan to join us this year at one of our flagship events. Registration is now open for Canada’s largest bus show; the Ontario Transportation Expo and Conference https://ote.ca/ Members are welcome to join OMCA’s golf tournament or our  Marketplace 2023. Information on both events can be found here https://www.omca.com/events/ Please mark your calendars and join us.

As always, I’m personally available to all our members. Please feel free to connect with me directly should you have any questions about the association and our plans for 2023 growth.

Take Care

Vince Accardi, President

vince@motorcoachcanada.com

Celebrating Motor Coach Representation on the Tourism Industry Association of Canada’s (TIAC) Board of Directors

This week, following the Tourism Industry Association of Canada’s (TIAC) AGM, Motor Coach Canada member John Wilson of Wilson’s Transportation Ltd. is among TIAC’s newest board members. We congratulate John on this position and thank him for continuing to take a lead on advocating the importance of the motor coach industry to Canada’s economy. John is currently the Vice-Chair of the MCC Board of Directors, as well.

Motor Coach Canada (MCC) President, Vince Accardi, says “Congratulations John. TIAC is an amazing organization. This appointment is a great opportunity for the motor coach and group travel industry to have an industry champion on this national tourism board”.

We look forward to continuing to work with our members to build a resilient and prosperous Canadian motor coach network!

December Update – MCC VP Retiring

Recently, Mardi Schueler, OMCA and MCC Vice President, announced her retirement from the association effective December 31, 2022. Mardi officially started at OMCA in January 2012 but was involved as a member for decades prior. Her legacy with the association will not be forgotten and we, the team and the industry, owe Mardi a debt of gratitude for her contributions to our association and our sector. Please join me in Congratulating Mardi on her well-deserved retirement.


As we wind down 2022, the association continues to gain traction with governments and industry stakeholders alike. The association presented on panels at both the TIAO and TIAC conferences and successfully hosted our first in-person Marketplace since 2019. Ministers from Transportation and Tourism showed support for our members by greeting delegates with personal and industry focussed messages. The association was invited to present to the Federal Government’s Standing Committee on Transport, Infrastructure and Communities as they study the effects of the pandemic on Canada’s Inter-City Bus sector. This presentation allowed the association to discuss the economic importance of the Motor Coach industry to Canada and profile the support needed to recover from the past two years.

Planning is well underway for 2023 and as an industry, we have much to look forward to. For the association, 2023 we will be focused on rebuilding our membership and growing back stronger. If you are not a member, please reach out today to discuss membership.  I’d like to personally thank all our members for your support. Because of you, our association can continue to influence governments and get results for the group tour and motor coach sector.

October Update from the MCC President

Posted October 6th, 2022

The association was pleased that the Government of lifted its pandemic border restrictions completely on October 1st, including the mandatory use of ArriveCAN. This removed major barriers in recovery for our members. The association has been calling on Ottawa to drop the mandatory use of ArriveCan and ease border measures. Now, all travellers, regardless of citizenship, will no longer have to:

  • submit quarantine and vaccination information through the ArriveCAN app or website;
  • provide proof of vaccination;
  • undergo pre- or on-arrival testing;
  • carry out COVID-19-related quarantine or isolation;
  • monitor and report if they develop signs or symptoms of COVID-19 upon arriving in Canada.

Transport Canada is also removing existing travel requirements. As of October 1, 2022, travellers will no longer be required to:

  • undergo health checks for travel on air and rail; or
  • wear masks on planes and trains

The association submitted our recommendations to the Federal government for its 2023 pre-budget consultations. We will continue to call on the government for continued support for our members as we recover from the financial burden caused by the pandemic. Thank you to all of our members for supporting the association and the work we do on your behalf. Please note that our membership is by calendar year and we will be reaching out to members in January with 2023 membership renewals. We look forward to continuing to provide value for your membership and to growing the association membership, our advocacy efforts and our events in 2023 and beyond.

Thank you,
Vince Accardi, President

Federal Tourism Growth Strategy Submissions

In May, The Honourable Randy Boissonneault, Federal Minister of Tourism and Associate Minister of Finance through Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED) launched a public consultation for a new Federal Tourism Growth Strategy.

MCC submitted our recommendations early and the association has had the opportunity to meet with Minister Boissonneault, the ISED team and our advocacy partners directly to outline the support our sector needs through recovery. We are pleased that some of our recommendations were included or strongly allied with those from the Tourism Industry Associations of Canada (TIAC), Tourism Industry Association of Ontario (TIAO) and the Hardest Hit Business Coalition (HHC).  All submissions can be found below. The association will continue to work directly with ISED and the Minister’s team as they work to finalize the new Federal Tourism Growth Strategy.

Thank you for your membership – it is your contributions to the association that supports our advocacy.

If your organization submitted comments to this consultation, please share them with MCC President directly.

Submissions:

MCC/OMCA:
https://www.motorcoachcanada.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/06/MCC-Tourism-Growth-Strategy-Submission-June-27th.pdf

TIAC:
https://tiac-aitc.ca/_Library/Tourism_Growth_Strategy/TIAC_Submission_Re_TGS_Consultations.pdf

TIAO:
https://silkstart.s3.amazonaws.com/d5a01d62-405c-4176-9655-f9e71e4051a1.pdf

Hardest Hit Coalition:
https://www.hardesthit.ca/_files/ugd/e60474_d9e2c6387c644892980495ddc654bd55.pdf

August Update from the MCC President

August 5th, 2022

Tourism and charter bookings are showing signs of life as the economy opens and consumers are gaining the confidence needed to secure trips. Although international travel continues gain momentum, the association continues to work with governments to help facilitate the movement of tourists across borders by removing barriers caused by ArriveCan requirements, random testing, and remaining restrictions in place for non vaccinated.

Around 80 per cent of tourism spending in both the US and in Canada in a normal year comes from domestic demand. With some destinations having close to 40 per cent of pre-pandemic tourism spending coming from international tourists.

Data is now showing that travellers are sticking closer to home. As a result, the potential group market within driving distances is almost 1 million people larger than usual. Pre-covid, spending on tourism was almost twice as much on long-haul fly-in international trips. Thus, re-directing some of that spending to group friendly destinations closer to home greatly supports North American recovery. Demand for summer and fall is looking strong. Early data is already pointing to green shoots emerging with spending on hotels, restaurants, as confidence in vaccination effectiveness accelerate and worldwide restrictions continue to be eliminated.

Should the group travel segment continue to benefit from the renewed interest in traveling closer to home while we continue to benefit from rebounding inbound international visitations and spend, our industry should expect to see a strong 2023 and beyond.

Vince Accardi, President