MCC News

Roadmap for resuming cruise vital to Canadian economy

Uncertainty over cruise industry in Canada leaves thousands of jobs at risk

June 22, 2021, Vancouver, BC – Tourism, business, labour, and cruise industry leaders have come together to call on the Government of Canada to take immediate action to signal the safe restart of Canada’s multi-billion-dollar cruise ship industry.  

With more than 17,000 jobs in British Columbia alone at risk, a coalition of industry partners is asking Ottawa to send a clear signal that Canada is open for safe cruise service and tourism by announcing a scalable restart of the cruise industry and rescinding the order on the suspension of cruise in Canada by the end of the year.

“This is about clarity, certainty, and confidence for the cruise industry, tourism operators, and the thousands of British Columbians who depend on this vital industry,” said Walt Judas, CEO of Tourism Industry Association of BC. “The cruise and tourism industry has been battered by the pandemic and now it is being challenged with further uncertainty. Providing a clear and immediate roadmap for the safe resumption of Canadian cruise in 2022 is essential to the many businesses and jobs the cruise industry supports.”

Direct communication of a roadmap to resumption is critical because the cruise industry and their passengers are currently making plans for 2022. Industry and tourism partners have been advocating for months on the importance of developing and sharing plans for the safe resumption of cruise in Canadian waters to instill confidence in Canada’s cruise services. While the health and safety of the public, passengers, and crew remain the top priority, complex decisions for what needs to happen to safely restart cruise service must be made immediately.

“We need to have the full reopening plan for the borders released as soon as possible,” said Ian Robertson, CEO of the Greater Victoria Harbour Authority. “We know we have missed the 2021 summer cruise season because of the pandemic, but BC can rebound for 2022 if Transport Canada indicates that they will fully rescind the suspension of cruise ships later this fall.”

The Government of Canada announcement on the relaxation of the quarantine requirement for fully-vaccinated Canadians returning home is a small first step toward a full reopening of the border in the months ahead. However, it is important that the reopening plan addresses plans for the marine borders. Further uncertainty around the cruise industry and the thousands of workers who depend on it will be created by not including the marine borders in the reopening plans.

The cruise industry generates $4.3 billion in total output, with $2.7 billion contributed to the BC economy alone, and supports 30,000 jobs across Canada, including food and beverage suppliers, hotels, retailers, taxis, visitor destinations, port workers, and maintenance contractors.

The call for Government of Canada action comes as U.S. lawmakers are considering a permanent change which would allow Alaska-bound cruise ships to bypass BC destinations such as Vancouver, Victoria, Nanaimo, and Prince Rupert.

“If the U.S. efforts succeed, that represents an approximately quarter-million lost hours for the longshore workforce across the province,” said Rob Ashton, President of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union of Canada, “The cruise industry creates sustained and well-paying jobs for our members, which in turn helps to stimulate the BC and Canadian economies. A strong and clear plan from government is needed to assure our workforce that their jobs not only matter but are invaluable to this country’s economic recovery.” 

This request is made on behalf of the following organizations which are collectively asking Transport Canada to immediately and clearly indicate that they will rescind the ban on cruise ships in Canadian waters before the end of 2021, assuming all health and safety measures are taken:

  • BC Hotel Association – Ingrid Jarrett, CEO 
  • Business Council of BC – Greg D’Avignon, CEO
  • BC Marine Terminal Operators Association – Stephanie Jones, CEO
  • British Columbia Maritime Employers Association – Mike Leonard, CEO
  • Destination Greater Victoria – Paul Nursey, CEO
  • Greater Vancouver Board of Trade – Bridgitte Anderson, CEO
  • Greater Victoria Harbour Authority – Ian Robertson, CEO
  • Great Victoria Chamber of Commerce – Bruce Williams – CEO
  • Victoria Cruise Industry Alliance – Anna Poustie, Chair
  • International Longshore & Warehouse Union Canada – Rob Ashton, President 
  • Motor Coach Canada – Vince Accardi, President 
  • Tourism Industry Association of Canada – Beth Potter, President & CEO
  • Tourism Industry Association of British Columbia – Walt Judas, CEO

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Media contacts:

For Greater Victoria Harbour Authority
Brian Cant, Manager, Communications: 250-888-8729 or bcant@gvha.ca

For Tourism Industry Association of BC
Laura Plant, Manager of Communication and Membership: 778-788-3499 or lplant@tiabc.ca

For International Longshore and Warehouse Union – Canada
Rob Ashton, President: 604-862-8141

Read the original news release at https://gvha.ca/about-gvha/newsroom/roadmap-for-resuming-cruise-vital-to-canadian-economy/

Motor Coach Canada and American Bus Association Send a Letter to National Leaders on Reopening the CAN-US Border

As part of Motor Coach Canada’s advocacy work on border reopening, MCC president, Vince Accardi, co-authored a letter with Peter J. Pantuso, the President & CEO of the American Bus Association, calling on both governments to open the border to all modes of transportation including motor coach travel. This letter was sent to both the Canadian and US governments on June 9th and we are hopeful that the added pressure from the US administration will help move Canada along. Click below to read the letter.

MCC President’s Update – June 18

MCC continues to work in collaboration with advocacy partners like TIAC and TIAO to push for extended government relief programs and liquidity programs that work for our members and for a concrete date and plan to reopen the border. MCC will also continue to push the findings from the Federal Governments’ own Expert Panel and are asking for a comprehensive plan to reopen the border. This plan must have details on the various types of travelers (vaccinated and non) plus those that are traveling with children who might be ineligible for vaccinations.

We know that a detailed strategy will be vital for many of you and that you need time to plan. The health and safety of Canadians continues to be of the utmost importance, as was mentioned with the announcement of the border closure extension, and is a shared commitment with our industry and our members. The continuing increase in vaccination rates is helping, consumers are feeling more confident, and we are hearing that our members are starting to get more inquiries for the late summer and fall bookings.

If you haven’t already done so, visit www.openuscanborder.ca site, act and encourage your peers to do the same. Please remember to follow our social media channels and help us spread the word on what our industry needs from government.

Thank you,
Vince Accardi

MCC President’s Update – June 11th

As we emerge from the third wave of Covid-19, restrictions are lifting, vaccination rates are climbing and case counts are finally dropping. Policy makers are turning their attention to economic recovery. MCC continues to advocate for our members survival. We know that recovery looks much different for you than the overall economy and your recovery continues to be hampered with border closures and government support programs that are winding down to quickly.

This week, MCC, Hammond Transportation INC and Muskoka Travel Services met with MP’s Scott Aitchison, Bruce Stanton, and Doug Shipley to discuss the need for extending business supports and opening Canada’s borders. I also met with MP John Brassard along side with Angel Tours and Entertainment and hosted a one-on-one with MP Ken McDonald to advocate for continued support.

This week, TIAC launched a new campaign www.openuscanborder.ca  to call on the federal government to plan for reopening the Canada-U.S. border, which has now been closed for nearly 15 months. OMCA and MCC are supporting members of this campaign which focuses on getting Canadian decision-makers to acknowledge the urgent need and to commit to a date to open the border before the summer tourism season is lost. In supporting this advocacy push, I co-authored a letter with Peter J. Pantuso, the President & CEO of the American Bus Association, calling on both governments to open the border to all modes of transportation including motor coach travel. This letter has been sent to both the Canadian and US governments.

Last week, MCC participated in a Fastertogether.ca coalition meeting. This is a voluntary effort of a wide variety of people and organizations like MCC all working together to promote Covid-19 vaccine acceptance and help speed a recovery from this pandemic. The coalition meeting was joined by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau who discussed Canada’s vaccination strategy and the governments plans for reopening.

Please take a moment to visit both the Fastertogether.ca and the openuscanborder.ca websites. Both have social shareables that can be easily used to support both campaigns. Also, please remember to follow MCC’s social channels. We need all our voices aligned!

Thank you for being a member, your support is vital to our work.

Vince Accardi

President’s Update – June 4th

On behalf of the MCC team and our members, we express our deep dismay following the discovery of the remains of 215 children at the former Kamloops Indian Residential School. Our thoughts are with their loved ones, the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation and Indigenous communities across Canada.

This week, MCC participated in the launch of the Faster Together campaign – a national volunteer-based initiative designed to encourage up-take of COVID-19 vaccinations. The latest research by Abacus Data shows that 21% of Canadians are hesitant about getting a COVID-19 vaccine. The aim of this campaign is to reach hesitant Canadians and encourage vaccinations to protect themselves, our communities, and help us get back together faster.

Thank you to all members that participated in our Member Social last week as well as our webinar with Inna Koldorf, Partner at Miller Thomson, on COVID Protocols in the Workplace. It was great to see so many members participate. If you missed our COVID Protocols in the Workplace webinar the recording is available at https://www.motorcoachcanada.com/meetings-events/

President’s Update – May 28th

Tourism Week was very different again this year, MCC participated by helping raise the awareness of our sectors on going challenges with governments and Canadian’s alike. Tourism Week is a seven-day coast to coast event which helps recognize Canada’s tourism economy, and the impact it has on every community across the country.

We continue to call on members to write their MP’s calling for an extension of the wage and rent subsidies and for a coordinated approach to opening borders. MCC has created a template which you can find here. So far, between OMCA and MCC we have had over 80 letters sent, raising the awareness of our sector and helping us open the doors with these MPs. This campaign aligns our voices, so Thank You to all of you who have sent MP a letter. Each and every one helps.

This week, I had the opportunity to meet with the Director of Policy to Canada’s Minister of Transport. This meeting gave the association the opportunity to discuss policy issues we are facing and provide solutions for the Minister’s office to review. We discussed the need for sector specific support and will continue the dialog as we turn to rebuilding our sector. As we continue to increase our advocacy efforts and actions to help keep our industry top of mind for government officials. We continue to meet with provincial and federal officials to detail the challenges we are facing and to highlight the gap in government relief programs.  Please continue to share your stories with your regional MP and MPP. These grassroots connections are so vital to our work. MCC will continue to align our collective voices, however, we can’t do this without you. We need your engagement and support.

Thank you,
Vince Accardi

Get Involved to get the support you need!

On May 18th, Motor Coach Canada wrote the following letter to Honourable Chrystia Freeland, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance encouraging the further extension of the CEWS and CERS programs for the hardest hit industries. Since 2021’s peak tourism season will continue to be hindered by public health restrictions, this hardest hit sector will rely on the assistance of the government supports to get them through to a more fruitful 2022 season.

Send Your Letter Today!

MCC members have received a draft template to send to their local MPs in support of this ask. If you have not received yours, please contact info@motorcoachcanada.com to get it.

Send your letter by May 28th and use our below social media posts to get more attention on this ask.

Social Media Messaging for Members

Click here to access the social media images FOR the posts below.

We are asking the Federal government to coordinate and announce a clear border reopening plan. Businesses are dependent on the ability of Canadians and visitors to move freely. We need a clear plan! @YOUR LOCAL MP @cafreeland @melaniejoly @BillBlair @OntMotorCoach @MotorCoachCan

It is vital that the financial supports available through Canada’s Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) be extended until revenues can replace subsidies. @YOUR LOCAL MP @cafreeland @melaniejoly @OntMotorCoach @MotorCoachCan

The planned subsidy reduction and program wind down of Canada’s Emergency Wage Subsidy is simply too steep and too fast! @YOUR LOCAL MP @cafreeland @melaniejoly @OntMotorCoach @MotorCoachCan

The federal government has been present from the early stages of the crisis, offering relief to Canadian businesses. The planned Wage subsidy reduction is too fast and too soon for our recovery @YOUR LOCAL MP @cafreeland @melaniejoly @OntMotorCoach @MotorCoachCan

Click here to access the social media images for the posts above.

Response to Grey Hound Canada – Shut Down

2021-05-13

“Today’s announcement that Greyhound Canada is ending operations is a major blow to Canada’s ability to connect people and communities. It highlights the need for specific government support for private motor coach providers affected by the COVID-19 pandemic” stated Vince Accardi, President of Motor Coach Canada and the Ontario Motor Coach Association

Countries around the world are safeguarding their ability to connect residence and communities by providing specific economic relief for transportation service providers. Last week the U.S. Department of Treasury release the details of their Coronavirus Economic Relief for Transportation Services (CERTS) Grant Program. The $2 billion program will provide grants to eligible motorcoach companies and other transportation service providers that have experienced annual revenue losses of 25 percent or more as result of COVID-19.

“Our members link smaller communities and big cities; they offer an affordable and convenient mode of travel for everyone from essential workers to students. They depend on ridership for revenues and often find themselves competing with government subsidized services. It will be vital to Canadians to ensure that they have transportation options” continued Accardi

Motor Coach Canada and the Ontario Motor Coach Association will continue to work with the federal and provincial government to secure support for private motor coach operators.

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Motor Coach Canada (MCC) is a national association representing motor coach and tour operators in Canada. MCC is the national association representing the interests of private motor coach operators and bus operators supplying scheduled, charter, transit, and tour services.

Ontario Motor Coach Association (OMCA) represents motor coach operators and tour operators providing scheduled service, chartered bus service and organized tours throughout Ontario, and across provincial and international borders.

Inquiries: info@omca.com

Business Pulse Survey – Due May 14th

MCC has released a new survey to get a pulse on the motor coach industry and better serve and support our members. Survey responses will be aggregated, and all individual and company information will remain confidential.

The aggregated results of this survey will help the association provide compelling fact-based statements when lobbying for the needs of the industry. We appreciate your time and effort as we ask you to share as much information as possible about your company and operations.

This survey will ask details about your activity, income and expenses pre-pandemic and today. To save time, please have this information ready when beginning the survey. You will receive a confirmation after submitting the survey which will include a copy of your answers. If you have any information to add/change after you’ve submitted your answers, please send them to info@motorcoachcanada.com.

This survey is to be completed by motor coach operators and the deadline to submit your response is Friday, May 14th.

Week Three – A Message from the MCC President

Thank you for your membership and support of MCC.  

This week, I was pleased to confirm MCC’s participation on the Tourism Industry Association of Canada’s Tourism Recovery Committee. This strategic advisory committee is informed by a dedicated group of industry leaders representing all sectors of the tourism economy and chaired by TIAC’s Board Chair. Members include representatives from; destinations, attractions, festivals and events, conventions, hotels, tour operators, airports, airlines and now motor coach and group travel.

Recently, Dr. Tam released a report that noted when 75% of adult Canadians have received their first vaccine, and 20% have received both shots, restrictions can be eased without the fear of overwhelming our healthcare system. This week, the Federal government confirmed that Canada will align policy on ‘vaccine passports’ with international allies. While both announcements give reason for us to be cautiously optimistic, we know that many communities are still dealing with increasing case counts and limited access to vaccines. These factors do increase the uncertainty over travel resuming for the summer season. However, we can all play a part in reaching the 75% marker, so please roll up your sleeves and encourage your friends, coworkers and families to do the same.

MCC’s dedicated team continues to advocate on behalf of our members. We are here to support your businesses and to support the restart of the travel economy. Over the next few weeks, we will be releasing a few surveys to get a pulse on what is working and where we will need to focus to support our members. Please take the time to fill these surveys in, the data is vital in our advocacy efforts.

For quick daily updates, please remember to connect with us on Twitter. If you are not a member and wish to learn more about the benefits of joining MCC, please contact us.

Take care and stay well.
Vince Accardi