A planned increase for Tourism-Oriented Directional Signs has been delayed.
These are the blue and white signs seen on highways as drivers approach various towns and tourism areas. They alert people to attractions, accommodations, and retail outlets.
The Ontario Liberals had organized a price increase from $300 to $750 per sign back in April.
The Progressive Conservatives won the general election in June and have now announced the proposed increase will be delayed.
MPP for Parry Sound-Muskoka, Norm Miller, says the government wants to help Ontario tourism in any way it can, and freezing the sign cost increase was one way to do that.
“I owned and ran a lodge for 30 years, I know how important these signs are to local tourism operators,” said Miller. “I know businesses accept there is a cost to maintaining these signs but the steep increase that was planned was too much at one time.”
In April the Ontario Liberals had signed a new contract with Canadian TODS Limited that would have seen a more than 100 per cent increase for 2019.
“Our Government for the People has heard clearly from tourism operators across the province about their concerns regarding the fee increases associated with the TODS program. The Liberal government deliberately froze prices for 10 years, ignoring the cost of inflation, and completely failed to communicate with TODS customers,” said Michael Tibollo, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport. “We are taking real action to ensure businesses and customers have time to adjust to the increased prices, and we look forward to continuing to work with Canadian TODS Limited over the coming year to look for ways we can help mitigate this price increase.”
The idea is that rather than enduring the price hike immediately businesses will be able to budget for the increase in the coming years.
“Particularly for some of the smaller tourism operators, the planned increase was presenting a significant challenge,” said Miller. “Tourism drives a large part of our economy in Parry Sound-Muskoka so I am pleased to see this government listening to this important sector.”