Supporting ALBERTA’S TOURISM AND HOSPITALITY INDUSTRY


AHLA Response to Recommendations in the October 14, 2014 Report to the Attorney General
Public Inquiry into the Death of Raymond Joseph Belanger 

Ensuring the safety and security of guests is a critical aspect of the hotel business.  The facts of this case are tragic and point to the importance of having a fire safety plan.  With regard to the recommendations contained in Judge Williams’ report:

1. No portable space heaters should be permitted for use in hotels or motels in Alberta. 

Whether the cause of the fire was heater malfunction or combustibles being placed too close to the heater, it appears that this fire could have occurred anywhere a portable space heater is being used.

The AHLA believes this recommendation would be difficult to monitor and enforce.  Portable space heaters should not be used as a substitute for adequate heating.  Regardless of the age or condition of a property it can be difficult to maintain a room temperature that satisfies every guest.  Furthermore, hotel management may not be aware that a space heater is in use if a guest brings their own portable space heater.

Only CSA Approved space heaters should be approved for use in Alberta.  Portable space heaters should always be used according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

2. Annual fire inspections for hotels and motels in Alberta 

The AHLA encourages all members to work with their local fire department to ensure they comply with Alberta’s Fire Code and local regulations.

As the safety and security of guests is a critical aspect of any residential business or institution, the AHLA would support annual fire inspections for hotels and motels in all municipalities in Alberta.  The AHLA believes that all medium and high density residences, including hotels, motels, condominiums, apartment buildings and care facilities, should be inspected regularly. 

The AHLA offers its members a property & liability insurance program with a strong risk management program that includes regular inspection of participating hotels and motels.


President & CEO Message 
AHLA Presentation to the Federal Conservative Alberta Caucus

On September 5th, I was invited to provide an industry presentation to the Alberta Regional Caucus of MPs for the Conservative Party of Canada. I used this opportunity to outline the serious implications to the major reforms to the TFW program and our industry’s proposed solutions.

My presentation included heart wrenching anecdotes from our members and information from our 2013 Labour Market Survey to support the critical need for a permanent foreign worker solution for our industry. I warned the Alberta Caucus that the TFW program reforms, implemented to reduce program abuse, may result in unintended consequences. It’s not hard to imagine a growing underground economy fueled by desperate employers who can’t find staff and desperate foreign workers without valid work permits who want to stay in Canada.

Solutions

The AHLA is asking the federal government to extend work permits for TFWs and to increase the number of certificates allocated to the AINP for a period of 2 years. This would provide an opportunity for many more TFWs to become permanent residents and remain working at hotels in Alberta. The results of our labour market research demonstrate the success of the AINP for our industry. I reminded the Alberta Caucus that the AINP is the only program currently available for the immigration of low-skilled workers in Alberta.

We are seeking support for a Hotel and Lodging Worker Program, a Hotel Association of Canada initiative that we started well before the TFW program moratorium was imposed on the foodservice industry this past June. I provided the Alberta Caucus with a draft framework for this program and outlined how it would help our industry transition to a Canadian workforce over time.

We would like to explore the possibility of Alberta developing its own immigration program, similar to the Québec model. We certainly support greater provincial control of any foreign worker program to better address the regional labour market disparities that exist in Canada. We understand this is a stated goal of Alberta’s new Premier-elect, Jim Prentice, and we look forward to working with his government to advance this opportunity.

The Alberta Caucus acknowledged our industry’s concerns and expressed interest to learn more about our proposed Hotel and Lodging Worker Program.  We will continue to work hard on all fronts to find a permanent foreign worker solution.

We look forward to serving you!          


2014 Hall of Fame Awards of Excellence – Deadline for Submissions Approaching!

The AHLA is a member-driven organization that represents the interests of more than 850 hotels, motels and campgrounds across the province. Since 1922, our association has provided a common voice to important issues that affect Alberta’s tourism and hospitality industry. Our philosophy of creating value through partnership has resulted in tremendous benefits for our industry.

We are driven by our mission to support our members and strengthen Alberta’s tourism and hospitality industry. Knowing what we stand for is important. It inspires us to create outstanding value and deliver exemplary service to our members.

Call of Entries Now Open

2014 Hall of Fame Awards of Excellence

 

 

August 14, 2014 – Ottawa, ON – The Hotel Association of Canada (HAC) is now accepting entries for the 2014 Hall of Fame Awards of Excellence. The Hall of Fame Awards program continues the Association’s tradition of acknowledging the strong standards and values of those involved in and with the lodging industry. 

 

The awards program proudly recognizes those individuals, companies or properties that have demonstrated significant accomplishments, exemplary leadership and tireless commitment to our industry in the following divisions:    

The Humanitarian Award
Given for individuals/programs that demonstrate to residents that the individual property is responsive to the local community.

The Human Resources Award
Given for programs/individuals that develop a climate conducive to new and/or repeat business, create goodwill among guests, provide special services, reverse negative public relations situations or effectively solve guest complaints.

The Green Key Environment Award
Recognizes lodging properties that have developed a culture towards integrating environmental management practices that improve everyday operations and the bottom line, while maintaining quality service and meeting guest expectations.

The Green Key Meetings Award

Recognizes facilities of all sizes (hotels, motels, resorts, convention centers, golf courses etc.) for their commitment to improving the environmental performance of their meetings and/or events operations as well as the well-being of their staff and guests.

Nominations are also open for the Stephen Phillips Passion for Hospitality Bursary. This bursary is dedicated to the memory of Stephen Phillips, former Vice-Chairman & CEO of AFM Hospitality Corporation Inc., who passed away from cancer in early 2007. The bursary will be awarded to the hospitality student who best represents the qualities that Stephen Phillips brought to the industry.

Access the Hall of Fame Awards nomination forms and view a list of past winners at http://hotelassociation.ca/site/news/Awards.asp

  Deadline for submissions is October 23, 2014.

Awards will be presented on February 2-3, 2015 at the HAC Annual Conference in Toronto, Ontario


Changes to the TFW Program Announced 

Employment Minister Jason Kenney and Immigration Minister Chris Alexander announced an overhaul of the Temporary Foreign Worker (TFW) Program. The revised program is based on three pillars:

  • Limiting access,

  • Increased labour market information and

  • Stronger enforcement and penalties.

Overhauling the Temporary Foreign Worker Program contains complete details about the changes announced today, which include:

  • The TFWP will now be administered based on wage, not National Occupation Classification.  According to the government, wage is a more objective and accurate reflection of skill level and labour need in a given area.  TFWs being paid under the median wage will be considered low wage.  In Alberta, the median wage is $24.23.

  • Employers in areas with unemployment exceeding 6% will not be able to apply for TFWs in the accommodation, food services and retail sectors.  Alberta’s unemployment rate is 4.6%.

  • Phasing in a cap on the number of TFWs a business can employ. 

    • Effective immediately, employers that currently employ more than 30% low wage TFWs will be limited at 30% or frozen at their current level.

    • This will be reduced to 20% starting July 1, 2015.

    • This will be further reduced to 10% starting July 1, 2016

TFWs currently working at work sites over the cap will be allowed to continue working at those sites until their existing work permits expire.

  • Labour Market Opinions will be replaced with Labour Market Impact Assessments (LMIA).  Employers will be required to:

    • Indicate the number of Canadians that applied for their available job,

    • Indicate the number of Canadians the employer interviewed,

    • Explain why those Canadians were not hired and

    • Attest that they are aware of the rule that Canadians cannot be laid off or have their hours reduced at a worksite that employs TFWs.

  • Effective immediately, the duration of work permits set out in LMIAs will be limited to a maximum of one year for all low wage positions instead of the two year duration that existed previously.  Employers will have to reapply every year for an LMIA.  The fee to apply increases from $275 to $1,100.

“These changes will only increase the structural labour gap our members already face,” said Dave Kaiser, the AHLA’s President & CEO.  “They do nothing to address regional disparities, and do not reflect labour market realities in Alberta.  These changes create an unnecessary burden and significant cost to our members.  This overhaul will result in reduced service, limited hours of operation and even closures for some businesses in Alberta’s hospitality industry.” 

The AHLA will continue working with all levels of government to develop a Hotel and Lodging Worker Program that works for our industry.

If Alberta Hotel & Lodging Association currently employs Temporary Foreign Workers that you would like to retain, we encourage you to nominate them to become Permanent Residents through the Alberta Immigrant Nominee Program.


AHLA Members Influence Changes to AGLC Due Diligence Requirements

After significant feedback from the AHLA and our members, AGLC has reviewed its due diligence requirements for Gaming Entertainment Centres (GECs) and reduced the extensive disclosure requirements previously implemented.  If your property has a GEC, you should already have been informed about these changes.

To learn more about the changes, view GEC Due Diligence Changes Letter or call AGLC’s Russell Hildebrand at (780) 577-6924.