A CHANGE IN GOVERNMENT
This is part two of our summary of topics and issues affecting our members. In the first installment we outlined what the MLOA has been able to accomplish with the help of our other stakeholders including the Manitoba Wildlife Federation. Together, we embarked on initiatives that have had a lasting impact on the province’s environment and the livelihood of our members, aligning perfectly with our association’s vision of a vibrant resource-based tourism industry in Manitoba that provides world-class experiences to our clients, supports local employment, contributes to the provincial economy, and preserves the sustainability of the natural resources that our industry relies upon.
As we move forward with the new NDP government we hope that all the good work we have done is not in jeopardy!
The following are the most pressing topics on our agenda:
Transfer of the Guide Licensing Program to MLOA: We believe that this overdue transfer would free up valuable time for the province’s conservation officers, allowing us to develop a more robust program, including an online component and a secure database for department access.
Modernization of the Resource Tourism Act: Adapting this act to address changes in the tourism and accommodation industry is vital to ensuring that licensed resource tourism operators can compete fairly with their counterparts.
Sustainable Funding Model: A sustainable funding model, as previously mentioned, distinguishes the MLOA from our peer organizations nationwide as we do not directly receive government funding. Our association operates with the smallest budget in the region, and a substantial portion of our time and effort is allocated to fundraising rather than fulfilling our core mission and member obligations. In response to this challenge, we have initiated discussions with the department regarding viable funding models. We are open to exploring various approaches in this regard.
Some of the models currently under consideration include:
Annual Operating Grant: This model, as implemented in British Columbia ($100,000), Saskatchewan ($180,000) and Alberta ($550,000+) could provide essential financial support.
Mandatory Industry Membership: Similar to the system in Alberta, where they have over 500 members, this approach could enhance sustainability through industry-wide participation.
These are just a couple examples of the options we are exploring to secure a sustainable funding model that would empower us to better serve our mission and fulfill our responsibilities to our members.
Health and Sustainability of Lake Winnipeg: We seek your support in completing the second round of quota buy-backs, implementing eco-certification for the fishery, and managing nutrient loads affecting the ecosystem. These are essential steps to ensure the long-term health of Lake Winnipeg.
Aspira e-Licensing System: The challenges outfitters face with the current Aspira e-licensing system need to be addressed before the upcoming renewal to streamline processes and reduce administrative burdens.
Licensing Advisory Committee (LAC): The MLOA has long been advocating for seats on the LAC, to ensure the industry has a voice on the committee. With Travel Manitoba vacating their seats on the committee, we would like the opportunity to have representatives of the MLOA fill the seats in their absence.
“30×30” initiative and Treaty Land Entitlements Obligations : The federal government has committed to achieving the “30 by 30” initiative, aiming to preserve 30% of Canadian land and water by 2030. Simultaneously, there are significant outstanding treaty land obligations to our First Nations communities. These commitments and potential land use changes could have substantial implications, particularly on the livelihoods of outfitters who rely on the affected lands and water, representing some of our province’s premier and historic tourism destinations.
SUSTAINABILITY IS THE CORNERSTONE OF WHAT WE DO!
This has become one of the most critical issues our members face. To ensure the sustainability of natural resources and the well-being of all stakeholders, it is imperative that comprehensive consultation
takes place with those affected by any alterations in land use designations.
Such consultations should encompass Indigenous communities, local residents and businesses, environmental organizations, and other relevant parties. We understand the importance of balancing conservation goals with economic interests and recognizing the rights and obligations of Indigenous communities. A transparent and inclusive consultation process will be instrumental in achieving these objectives.
Mat Hobson, President
Manitoba Lodges and Outfitters