Tourism Issues Forum

22 Feb 2018
8:30am - 4:00pm EST
Event Details

Welcome & Opening Remarks

Beth Potter (President & CEO, Tourism Industry Association of Ontario) & Lorrie McKee (Chair of the Board, Tourism Industry Association of Ontario)

9:15-9:30am Remarks from the Honourable Daiene Vernile
Ministry of Tourism Culture & Sport

Municipal Accommodation Tax

In the 2017 Ontario Budget, the Government of Ontario gave the authority to charge a hotel tax to all municipalities in the province. In this session, ADM Richard McKinnell will review the regulations that govern how municipalities can implement this new tax. Our panel will then discuss the different approaches that municipalities are taking, lessons learned so far, and how this can benefit the tourism industry.

Richard McKinnell (Assistant Deputy Minister, Ministry of Tourism, Culture & Sport)

John Winston (General Manager, Tourism London)

Steve Ball (President, Ottawa Gatineau Hotel Association)

Katherine Hobbs (Tourism Manager, Brockville Tourism/Chamber of Commerce)

10:30-10:45am BREAK

Understanding Bill 148: Beyond the Minimum Wage Increase

Lots of the focus on Bill 148 has been on the increases to Ontario’s minimum wage, but a lot more changed in the Employment Standard Act as a result of this bill. Learn what those changes are and how they will impact your business.

Benjamin Guth (Founder & CEO, Mobilize Jobs)

12:00-1:15pm LUNCH

Red Tape Challenge

For years, the tourism industry has been talking about the regulatory burden on businesses. In 2016, TIAO was able to get the tourism industry added to the Red Tape Challenge. Now is the opportunity to share insights into regulations that are out of date, out of sync, cumbersome, or duplicative. This session will be conducted as a Red Tape Challenge consultation session – so come prepared to talk about regulations that cause you grief.

Chris Huey (Director (Acting), Regulatory Modernization Branch, Open for Business, Ministry of Economic Development & Growth)

2:45-3:00pm BREAK

Election 2018

It’s a big year! With a Provincial Election in June and Municipal Elections in October, it’s a great time to talk tourism with candidates and politicians. This session will cover the messages important to our industry. We will also talk with some experienced people on the best ways to get the tourism message in front of the candidates and what to do post-election.

Beth Potter (President & CEO, Tourism Industry Association of Ontario)

Doug Switzer (President & CEO, Ontario Motor Coach Association)

Craig Hughson (Political Strategist, Aurora Strategy Group)

Lise Jolicoeur (Director, Strategy Corp)


Accommodation Info

Event attendees who plan to stay overnight are welcome to take advantage of a special rate offered by the Novotel of $145 per night. Interested parties may contact reservations directly at 905-896-1000 and reference the name of the event: Tourism Issues Forum.



Steve Ball 

President, Ottawa Gatineau Hotel Association

Steve has been President of the OGHA since 2014. Previously, he spent 25 years in the consumer publishing business, before leaving in 2006 to become the Vice-President of Media at the Canadian Medical Association. Steve sits on several boards of directors' including co-chairing the Ottawa 2017 Bureau, a not-for-profit focused on Ottawa celebrations for Canada's 150th anniversary.

Benjamin Guth

Founder & CEO, Mobilize Jobs

Benjamin is the founder and president of Mobilize Jobs, and he is responsible for driving all aspects of the program’s strategy, operations, sales and marketing. Mobilize is an innovative staffing program backed by over 29 years of experience as a trusted international recruitment agency. The program has been a great success in Canada – having deployed 600+ Mobilizers in positions across the country over the past three years – and is ng every season. Previously, Benjamin ran the largest ethical and compliant international recruitment firm in Canada. Working closely with a wide breadth of Canadian businesses as well as key industry associations, Benjamin spends his days helping organizations develop their labour strategies and sourcing top tier talent throughout Canada.

Chris Huey

Director (Acting), Regulatory Modernization Branch, Open for Business, Ministry of Economic Development & Growth

Chris Huey is the Director of the Regulatory Modernization Branch with the Ministry of Economic Development and Growth, Government of Ontario.  His team is responsible for leading the government’s efforts at reducing regulatory burden for business, including running the Red Tape Challenge, preparing annual Burden Reduction legislation and producing the Annual Burden Reduction Report highlighting the government’s various burden reduction activities.  Before joining the Ministry of Economic Development and Growth last year, Chris was the secretary to the Legislation and Regulations Committee of Cabinet for over 5 years, where he coordinated the approvals of all the government’s legislation and regulations during that time.  Prior to that he held various Ontario Public Service roles in the Cabinet Office and Ministry of Labour.

Craig Hughson 

Political Strategist, Aurora Strategy Group

Craig Hughson is a trusted and experienced professional with a comprehensive understanding of government and politics, and an extensive network of contacts at both the provincial and federal levels, Mr. Hughson is able to provide strategic government relations insight and advice to a diverse range of clients. Mr. Hughson assists clients in developing and executing their public affairs and government relations strategies and tactics when dealing with government. Before starting a career in consulting, Mr. Hughson spent over a dozen years at Queen’s Park, where he has viewed government and politics from all sides. He has worked for an opposition MPP, government ministers, as well as the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly. Mr. Hughson’s time in government had him serve as the chief of staff and senior policy advisor to several Cabinet Ministers in the Government of Ontario, including Natural Resources, Aboriginal Affairs, Health Promotion, Government Services and Consumer Services. Along the way, he has developed broad expertise in issues and crisis management, media relations and policy development and analysis.  Mr. Hughson has been a candidate and has managed several successful election campaigns across Ontario.

Katherine Hobbs

Tourism Manager, Brockville Tourism/Chamber of Commerce


Katherine Hobbs After making Brockville her home in 2017, Katherine took on the role of Manager of Tourism in December. She has worked in large, medium & small organizations for both private and public entities in Canada and Africa.  Her areas of expertise include communications,  public relations, mic and business development, marketing and policy development. She was an elected Ottawa City Councilor from 2010 to 2014. While in office Katherine received an Urban Design Award for creating Ottawa’s first public square built on a city road, and  was the co-chair for Ottawa’s 150th anniversary committee working on plans to stimulate tourism in 2017.   

Lise Jolicoeur

Director, Strategy Corp

Richard McKinnell

Assistant Deputy Minister, Ministry of Tourism, Culture & Sport

In his current role, Richard is responsible for tourism policy and research, Ontario’s regional tourism organizations, the Celebrate Ontario program, other tourism grant programs and the tourism investment strategy, and oversight of the Ministry’s two historical parks. Richard has over 25 years of experience with the Ontario Public Service. He has been involved in leading a number of transformation and change management projects and has held senior positions in communications, human resources and policy development.

Beth Potter

President & CEO, Tourism Industry Association of Ontario (TIAO)

Beth Potter took over the reins as President & CEO of the Tourism Industry Association of Ontario (TIAO) in January 2011. Beth leads the advocacy efforts for the tourism industry – promoting the importance of tourism as an economic driver and job creator for Ontario – by working with business owners, tourism organizations and governments.  Collectively, TIAO represents the 186,000 businesses and 389,000 employees that are dedicated to promoting and operating the Province’s tourism infrastructure.   With more than 25 years of experience in the not-for-profit and tourism sectors, Beth has worked with a variety of boards, committees and volunteers across the tourism industry and from all walks of life. She also currently serves on the boards for the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, and the Ontario Chamber of Commerce, and is a member of the Advisory Council for the Ted Rogers School of Hospitality & Tourism Management at Ryerson University.

Doug Switzer

President & CEO, Ontario Motor Coach Association

Doug has been with the Ontario Motor Coach Association and Motor Coach Canada since July 2011. OMCA and MCC are among the largest travel and tourism-related associations in Canada. They are the voice of private sector bus operators, inter-city bus lines, charter and coach tour companies as well as tourism suppliers in Ontario and at the national level. Prior to joining OMCA and MCC Doug spent eleven years with the Ontario Trucking Association before that he had over 16 years’ experience working in government at both the federal and provincial levels.

The Honourable Daiene Vernile

Minister, Ministry of Tourism Culture and Sport

Daiene Vernile was elected to the Ontario legislature in 2014 as the MPP for Kitchener Centre.
Vernile previously served as the Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Research and Innovation. After serving as Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Transportation, as well as to the Minister of Research, Innovation and Science, she was appointed as the Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport on January 17, 2018.
For nearly 30 years, Vernile covered economic, health, transit and social issues in Kitchener as an anchor and producer on CTV’s ProvinceWide. Vernile has been an active volunteer and community supporter for many years. She is an advocate for women’s issues, and has volunteered for 10 years at the St. John’s Kitchen.
Vernile is among 100 Alumni of Achievement from Wilfrid Laurier University honoured for inspiring lives of leadership and purpose. She and her husband, John, have three children.

John Winston

General Manager, Tourism London

John is a past member of TIAO’s Board of Directors. In 2015, he was the recipient of the Canadian Sport Tourism Alliance Sport Tourism Champion of the Year Award, for his leadership in facilitating the attraction of over 20 national and international sporting events to London since 2002, which generated more than $120M in economic activity. John oversees a membership-based DMO, which features three business units that include sport tourism, culture, and entertainment and leisure travel, as well as meetings and conventions. London has the highest concentration of hotel rooms in the region, and hosts nearly 2.1 million overnight and 4 million day visitors annually.

Thank You to Our Sponsors

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Non-Member - 420015.2 22 Feb 2018 $100.00
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22 Feb 2018
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22 Feb 2018
8:30am - 4:00pm EST

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