Supporting ALBERTA’S TOURISM AND HOSPITALITY INDUSTRY

Current News & Information

April 8, 2015

The AHLA's 2014 Annual Report Is Now Available!


Want to know how the AHLA has been serving you over the past year? Take a minute to flip through the 2014 Annual Report for a breakdown of the AHLA's activities, targets, accomplishments, and goals moving forward! 


Click here to start reading now!


March 27, 2015

The 2015-16 Board Of Directors Results Are In! 

Perry Wilford, Governance Committee Chair, is pleased to announce that the following candidates have been elected a two-year term in the North Zone:

  • Ken Mealey (83 votes)
  • Shazma Charania (51 votes)
We thank Peter Parmar (50 votes) for participating in the election and for allowing his name to stand. 
 
A total of 121 ballots were cast – thank you to all those who voted.

March 16, 2015

Scam Alert: Take Your Power Back 

The AHLA often hears of aggressive tactics used by salesmen to convince hotels and motels to buy power and gas from them, and not through the AHLA. By being part of our programs with trusted suppliers like ENMAX and Gas Alberta, you get the best available rate on the market that day. Remember, you benefit from strength in numbers when you purchase these commodities through the AHLA—regardless of the size of your property or group. Know how to deal with utility companies & consultants to protect your business!

Did you know most door-to-door and telephone salespeople are paid on commission? This motivates them to push their sales. One tactic salespeople often use to assess your power or gas rate is to review your most recent invoice and divide the total amount of your bill by your consumption. Then they tell you that you're paying way too much and they can cut your costs. This is not an accurate measure of what you pay!

Does that approach seem a little too easy? That's because it is. 

Regardless of who you buy power and gas from, you will pay fees for distribution and transportation.  Make sure you compare the actual cost of the commodity over the entire period of the contract.

How to avoid this approach:

  • Understand your bill: distribution and transmission charges on your invoice are fixed charges that no supplier can reduce;
     
  • Test the competition: get the salesperson to compare rate-to-rate; and
     
  • Take notes: when you sign up for Power and Natural Gas, remember that we are offering you the best available rate on the market that day.

While consultants are highly knowledgeable on the power and natural gas market, they do not necessarily provide their services for free.  Consider this— why would you pay consultants an upfront fee when the AHLA offers an independent, highly-respected consultant for you to use at any time, including an audit process to ensure that you’re getting the best available prices? Keep in mind that commodity retailers are private companies that work for their stakeholders. The AHLA is a non-profit industry association that works for you, our members.

If the consultant is not charging you a fee, then the power and gas company you sign up with is receiving commission off your contract. This begs the question, who are they working for?  Who will you turn to if you have billing issues in the future? 

If the numbers don’t add up, it’s because they don’t make sense. Don’t be fooled by salespeople with an agenda—the numbers don’t lie.

For more information, contact Libby van Rossum at 780.423.9232.


March 16, 2015

Learn How Express Entry Can Help You Get The Workers You Need 

In December, Government of Alberta presented a series of webinars to provide information on the Express Entry system.  This presentation is now available online for you to review.

The video will help you:

  • learn about Express Entry and how it works
  • learn how this system can help your business
  • have a better understanding of Express Entry through various example scenarios

To view this presentation, please click here.


March 6, 2015

Communicating The Impacts Of The TFWP On Our Industry 
Temporary Solution, Permanent Problem

Over the last year, there has been a lot of talk surrounding the Temporary Foreign Workers Program (TFWP). On March 2, Perry Batke was featured in the cover story of Alberta Venture's article, "Temporary Solution, Permanent Problem." In this article, Perry illustrates, from a general manager's perspective, how the TFWP directly affects his properties.

“It’s a challenge,” Batke says. “There have been some companies that have made mistakes [using the TFWP] and you can’t hide from that, but it clouds the vast majority of people involved in this program that are honest and operating at the highest levels of integrity.” 
 
Perry also describes the efforts he has taken to comply with the regulations outlined in the TFWP, including hiring Canadians first. 
 
Click here to read the article in full.
 
Congratulations, Perry, on effectively communicating the severe impacts the TFWP has on employers and employees in Alberta.


February 27, 2015

AINP/TFWP Bridging Agreement 
A letter from Ric McIver, Minister of Jobs, Skills, Training and Labour

The Minister of Jobs, Skills, Training and Labour, Honourable Ric McIver, informed the AHLA of the following:

The Government of Alberta has reached an agreement with the Government of Canada on temporary foreign workers (TFWs) awaiting assessment by the Alberta Immigrant Nominee Program (AINP).

Alberta’s position remains steadfast that Canadians have the first opportunity at available jobs. This agreement allows a portion of TFWs who are already working, contributing to our economy, and have applied for permanent residency, an opportunity to remain in Alberta.

While the agreement does not cover everyone who has applied to the AINP, it helps mitigate the challenges employers and some TFWs face following the federal overhaul of the TFW program.

The Agreement applies to TFWs:

•    who have applied to the AINP before July 1, 2014;

•    whose work permit will expire February to December 2015;

•    who meet AINP eligibility criteria;

•    who are with the same employer declared on the original AINP application;

•    whose employer is in good standing with Employment and Social Development Canada, Alberta Employment Standards and Alberta Occupational Health and Safety; and

•    whose AINP application is not scheduled for a full assessment in 2015.

The Agreement, which took effect February 1, 2015, contains two relief mechanisms for those who meet the requirements stated above:

•    first, the federal government will provide a one-time exemption for low-wage TFWs from being counted towards their employer’s 30 per cent cap; and

•    second, the federal government will provide a one-time, one-year non-renewable, employer-specific bridging work permit that is exempt from a Labour Market Impact Assessment to TFWs in NOC B, C and D, who are subject to the four-year cumulative duration limit.

Eligible applicants will be notified by AINP staff. AINP has already started notifying applicants. Individuals covered by the Agreement will receive a letter in advance of their current work permit expiry date. 

The AHLA continues to work with all levels of government – stay tuned for future developments! 


February 25, 2015

Board Elections: Updated

Thank you to everyone who submitted nominations to elect two individuals to the Board of Directors. The following directors have been acclaimed in the South & Central zones:

South:

  • Chris Barr, General Manager
    Banff Aspen Lodge

     
  • Dwayne Stratton, General Manager
    Holiday Inn Lethbridge

Central:

  • Karen Naylor, General Manager
    Super 8 Edmonton South
    Ramada Sherwood Park

     
  • Tina Tobin, General Manager
    Chateau Nova

Three candidates are vying for the two seats available in the North zone:

North

 

Peter Parmar, Executive Director, Operations
Nova Hotels

Shazma Charania, Owner
Holiday Inn Hinton

Ken Mealey, Western Regional Operations
Manager

Lakeview Hospitality Management

 

Elections take place March 23 – 27, 2015.


February 20, 2015

The AHLA Announces This Year's Employer of Choice Recipients!

Congratulations to the 2015 Employer of Choice recipients! Thank you for participating! 

For the full list of award recipients, please click here!


February 10, 2015

Nominations Underway!

As announced in our recent Innsider E-blast, AHLA members will elect two Board of Directors in each of our three zones: North, Central, South. Nomination forms are now available!

Click here to see who's running for election & keep checking back!

 


February 5, 2015

Beware of Changing Business Licence Fees

You probably don’t think much of it when you receive an invoice for your annual business licence fee. Would you think again if that invoice was for $127,000? That's what happened to AHLA members in Fox Creek, where the town council is trying to increase business licence fees for hotels from $75 per year to a whopping 4% of their total annual room revenue. Although hoteliers are fighting to have their voices heard with the support of the AHLA, the Town of Fox Creek is still trying to push this through.

Under Alberta's Municipal Government Act, cities and towns do not have the authority to levy taxes. Councils and their administrators are seeking ways to fund their infrastructure needs, and are trying to use business licence fees – on hotels – to do that. 

The AHLA believes that:

  • Applying a business licence fee on any one segment of the business community is nothing less than a sales tax, which local governments do not have the right or authority to levy.
  • Hotels and motels should be free to participate in destination marketing programs if they wish to do so. No hotel should be forced to participate in a destination marketing program. 
  • Business licence fees charged should reflect the cost of the service provided for that fee. Business licence fees should not be used by municipal governments as an alternative means of taxing hotels or any other business.
  • While cities and towns may agree to use these monies to fund tourism, when financial pressures arise, there is no guarantee they won't use these funds for other priorities like roads and sewers. 

The AHLA is concerned about the plan to increase business licence fees in the Town of Drumheller to $496 per guest room and $63 per campsite. While the Town has agreed to use these funds to support tourism and has the support of some local hotels, it sets a precedent that other municipalities may try to emulate. We strongly encourage all members to monitor your city or town council’s agendas to ensure they don’t try to do the same in your community.


January 22, 2015

You've Got The Power To Thwart The Scam
Service & Hospitality Industries are Victims of Phone Scam

It was recently brought to our attention that scammers are targeting the service & hospitality industries.

Scam artists are phoning businesses, stating that their electricity account is in arrears and they must make a payment to avoid immediate disconnection (typically the threat is somewhere from 1-4 hours). This includes Epcor, Fortis, and ENMAX customers. The caller leaves a number (1.800.452.0273) which leads to a recording indicating you've reached the “Disconnection Department” and to stay on the line for an agent. The victim is then asked to make payment by credit card, Paypal, or pre-paid Visa/MasterCard debit cards.

ENMAX, Epcor, and Fortis Alberta do not immediately disconnect customers in this way. If there are arrears on a customer account, all three utilities work with customers to make payment arrangements and notify them well in advance of a disconnection taking place.

ENMAX has been in contact with Calgary Police about the issue and have also spoken to Telus in the hopes of having the number shut down (though it turns out they do not host the number and we are therefore trying to contact AT&T as it’s possible this is originating in the U.S.).  

Click here to listen to an actual phone call with scammers: http://globalnews.ca/news/1764419/enmax-warns-of-phone-scam-claiming-power-will-be-disconnected/

If you receive a suspicious phone call:

  • Do not give out any personal or business information, including account numbers or addresses.

  • Report the phone call to the Alberta Utilities Advocate by email  or call them in Alberta at 310- 4-UCA (310-4822).


Archived Articles: 

2014