Kenora MP Eric Melillo says he’s in full-support of a local resident’s petition for the region’s tourism industry.

Melillo says northwestern Ontario’s tourism sector has been hit hard by the COVID-19 shutdown and the ongoing border closure, as the region is heavily-reliant on visitors from the United States.

The petition calls on the government to provide “direct financial relief to tourism operators”, which Melillo has been advocating for since the beginning of the typical tourism season in the area. The petition was created by Temple Bay Lodge owner Jeff Moreau.

“Many small businesses in the Kenora riding, from tourist camps and outfitters, to restaurants, retail stores, and small airlines, rely on tourists from Canada and around the world,” Melillo explained. “The loss of that sector would be devastating to our economy and our communities."

While Ottawa has offered wage subsidies and loans to outfitters, owners don't see this as helpful, since there isn't enough revenue to support loan payments or the hiring of staff. About 40 per cent of resort owners aren't expected to open this year, as the business from within Canada won't be enough to cover expenses.

“The Liberal government has forgotten about Northern Ontario in their pandemic response. If we want the government to listen, everyday Canadians need to speak up – which is why I’m urging everyone who cares about our region to sign this petition.”

MP Melillo previously signed and shared an earlier tourism petition created by local operators. This new petition is different, in that it’s an official Parliamentary e-petition that can be presented in the House of Commons.

The petition can be found here.

For more information:
MP lobbies for outfitters, internet users
Government has failed to help outfitters, MP