Recreation, Community and Culture
- The Province of Ontario has granted municipalities the authority to implement a tax on accommodations. This tax could generate an estimated $450,000 to $700,000 annually to start and $750,000 to $1,000,000 annually post-pandemic, to support tourism initiatives and increase economic benefit within the City of Burlington.
- In November 2019 Council considered the implementation of a Municipal Accommodation Tax (MAT) and the following recommendation was approved: Table report CM-23-19 regarding the establishment of a Municipal Accommodation Tax in Burlington and report back to Committee in early 2020 to provide recommendations related to implementation and the associated bylaw.
- A follow up report was planned for Q1 2020. This report was paused due to the start of the pandemic and concerns for the potential impact this additional fee could have on the tourism industry due to the pandemic.
- The initial MAT report (CM-23-19) highlighted the legislation, revenue sharing formulas, collection options, and inclusion of short-term rentals. It outlined options for Council’s consideration; ranging from not approving MAT for Burlington to implementing MAT and using these funds for tourism or municipal purposes. The report recommended further investigating options 2 and 3 as outlined in report CM-23-19.
- Since the discussion in November 2019, 40 municipalities are now collecting or are in the process of collecting MAT. Oakville, Mississauga, Toronto, Vaughan, Waterloo, and Prince Edward County are collecting MAT in our immediate area.
- Hamilton and Niagara Falls are still collecting their existing Destination Marketing Funds; however, they are both in talks with the municipalities for the implementation of MAT. After two long years of an economic downturn due to the global pandemic, the businesses in Burlington are facing a long road to recovery.
- This coupled with the discontinuation of Destination Marketing Funds several years ago has put us at a competitive disadvantage with adjacent communities.
- The implementation of MAT is crucial to bringing awareness to Burlington as a travel destination, developing products for residents and visitors to enjoy, and executing the City of Burlington’s Vision to Focus and Tourism Burlington’s Strategic Plan.
- The City declared itself a sustainable development community back in 1990 and continues its efforts to improve the local environment, from Lake Ontario to the Niagara Escarpment.
- However, despite these efforts, council declared a climate emergency in 2019, recognizing the impact that climate change is having and will continue to have on our community.
- Tourism Burlington, local providers and community groups work together to achieve environmental goals, such as being a leader in waste reduction and diversion with the assistance of BurlingtonGreen at Canada’s largest Ribfest event and promoting Burlington as an active transportation destination known for walking, hiking and cycling.
- Tourism Burlington will continue to encourage its partners to support the City’s efforts to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions and improve resiliency through actions, such as promoting sustainable transportation (i.e., cycling, carpooling, transit, etc.), waste reduction and diversion initiatives and preparing for warmer, wetter, and wilder weather for outdoor events to improve resiliency.
- Burlington has a goal to become a net carbon neutral community by 2050 which will require collective action by all community sectors to achieve.