GST rebate loss hits outfitters’ clients

The loss of the GST rebate on tour packages sold to non-residents of Canada will affect the clients of many Manitoba lodges and hunting outfitters.

When Canada’s federal government announced its latest budget March 22, it was revealed they would repeal an existing GST rebate that applied to accommodations sold to foreign residents as part of a tour package.

Many lodge operators and outfitters made use of this rebate to ensure their guests saw the cash back. A typical rebate on a Manitoba fishing or hunting trip would have been $50 to $200 per person. While this may not have been a “make or break” item for clients considering Canada as a destination, some lodge owners who accommodate corporate groups said it could be a significant incentive for groups that sometimes include upwards of a dozen people.

We are aware through our national organization, the Canadian Federation of Outfitter Associations, that outfitters in nearly every other area of Canada also made use of this program. This makes sense, since the clients of outfitters are among the highest-yield tourists in Canada, and therefore those for whom the rebate would be larger than the average traveller.

We were disappointed to learn of the federal government’s decision, as were our colleagues across Canada. We are working with TIAC to try to learn more about the change. We will also be pushing to see that if the money saved by the government’s cancellation of the rebate is indeed redirected towards marketing, as the government has stated, that a portion of that money be used specifically to market hunting and fishing product, since those are many of the tourists who will be affected by the change.