The AHLA’s 2020 Annual General Meeting was held on Monday, April 27. Because of existing COVID-19 restrictions, the meeting was held online, with 90 AHLA members represented.
Outgoing Board Chair Leanne Shaw started the meeting by acknowledging the support the AHLA has been providing to Alberta hotels during the COVID-19 crisis. She then identified several highlights of 2019:
- A renewed focus on advocacy and member engagement.
- Celebrating our Centennial, which recognized 100 years of Alberta hotels working together with one voice to build a strong and robust hotel industry.
- Preparing for the amalgamation with the Alberta Hospitality Safety Association (AHSA), for a more integrated approach to human resources and health & safety.
President & CEO’s Report
President & CEO Dave Kaiser shared how the AHLA delivered on the priorities identified by the board:
1. Mobilize AHLA membership in a focused and effective advocacy agenda.
- Built relationships with the new provincial government to more effectively address industry issues and concerns.
- Joined the government’s Red Tape Industry Panel for Tourism and Hospitality, which allows us to address regulations and legislation that negatively impact the growth and sustainability of hotels.
- Called for changes to provincial labour legislation, balancing the needs of employees and employers in the areas of holiday and overtime pay, labour relations, and minimum wage.
- Continued to fight for fair rules for STRs in Alberta with regards to regulations and taxes. Working with Edmonton Destination Marketing Hotels and the Calgary Hotel Association, we saw some progress in Edmonton and Calgary with the introduction of business licences for STRs. We will continue to advocate on a municipal level for having STRs limited to owners’ principal residences. Provincially, we succeeded in our calls to government to apply the Tourism Levy to STRs. Federally, we continue to work with the Hotel Association of Canada to ensure GST and corporate tax fairness for STRs.
2. Develop a contemporary, industry-focused human resources strategy focused on safety, operational excellence, and a culture of service.
- Brought together hotel HR professionals and GMs on a new Human Resources Advisory Council to solicit their input on industry HR & safety issues and needs.
- Analyzed the need and relevancy of the Certificate of Recognition (COR) program for our industry. After consulting with many members, including properties that were longtime COR holders, we determined to terminate the delivery of COR to focus more on engaging the entire industry with basic health & safety training.
- 102 properties earned the Employer of Choice designation, recognizing exceptional human resources practices.
- 207 members participated in our wage survey, which helps our members stay competitive when budgeting for staff compensation.
- The Destination Employment (DE) Program is a joint initiative of the Tourism Human Resource Council and the Hotel Association of Canada. As the program’s delivery partner in Alberta, our role is to connect newcomers to Canada with meaningful, long-term employment in Alberta hotels. Twenty-nine newcomers were placed in positions in AHLA member hotels in 2019.
- The AHLA joined forces with Goodwill Industries of Alberta to support employment in hotels for people with disabilities and to divert waste from landfills through the recycling of linens, furniture, and electrical appliances.
3. Advance a contemporary model of governance.
- The AHLA Services Corporation (ASC), a wholly-owned subsidiary of the AHLA, had a positive first year, helping to improve existing revenue-generating programs and identifying new opportunities of benefit to members. These programs help our members manage their operating costs, while the revenues from the programs are reinvested to support advocacy that supports and protects their businesses.
- The board supported a significant investment in the Entrepreneurial Operating System (EOS) management system for the AHLA team, which has strengthened all components of the AHLA’s business model, giving us greater capacity to deliver value to our members.
Kaiser also provided his thoughts on the COVID-19 crisis, which is having a devastating impact on the hotel industry. A greater focus on advocacy is necessary in the current environment, especially as we contemplate what recovery looks like for our industry. Going forward, managing the health & safety of hotel staff and guests will be critical to mitigate the threat of the pandemic, and to rebuild confidence for people to travel. We know that members will look to the AHLA to provide the resources required to support members’ efforts to meet this challenge.
Financial Audit Recommendation
Based on the current economic uncertainty and the expense of a full audit and related staff resources required, the AHLA’s Board of Directors is considering alternatives to a full financial audit for 2020. The AHLA’s past history of clean audit opinions, strong internal systems & controls, and the knowledge & experience of its finance and accounting team will be part of these considerations.
Announcement of the AHLA’s New Board of Directors
The 2020 election saw a very high level of election participation, with 119 members casting ballots.
Welcome to new board members:
- Paul Jones
- Stefan Nasalski
- Aodhan Sheahan
- Garrett Turta
They will be joining the following current and re-elected board members:
- Chris Barr (new Board Chair)
- Brooke Christianson (new Board Vice-Chair)
- Chad Gulevich
- J.D. Girado
- Ken Mealey
Finally, a tremendous thank you to these board members who have dedicated a great deal of time and energy to the AHLA board, and who have now finished their terms.
- Leanne Shaw, former chair
- Amr Awad
- Perry Batke, former chair
- Heather Hamilton
- Sandra Kanegawa
- Mark Perry
AHLA members are always invited to contact President & CEO Dave Kaiser, or any board member, with questions at any time — contact information is available on AHLA.ca.