Brantford City Council has voted in favour of moving towards the implementation of a Municipal Accommodation Tax (MAT) during their regular Council meeting on Tuesday, September 26, 2023.
The City is looking to follow in the footsteps of other municipalities by putting a four per cent tax on out of town visitors when staying at hotels, Airbnb rentals and bed and breakfasts for events such as the 55+ Summer Games. The MAT will likely be implemented early 2024.
Kara Davey, Manager of Tourism, Culture and Sport, said that the tax will generate around $824,000 a year in revenue.
As required by Ontario Provincial Regulation, the resolution asks for the City to conduct a public consultation campaign, as well as for City staff to prepare a business case study that would support the development of a Municipal Services Corporation (MSC).
The MSC would operate independently with its own set of board members and would collect at least 50 per cent of the tax to be used towards supporting tourism promotion and development services.
When asked how the tax will be collected, Davey said that it will go through the Ontario Restaurant Hotel and Motel Association (ORHMA)
“They will actually set it up directly through the hotels, they provide training to staff, they set up a new tax code in their account, they also go through the booking agent such as Booking.com or Expedia and set up the tax code in those situations as well,” she said. “And then it’s on the hotel to remit (send) monthly to ORHMA, who will then collect and remit to the city, and then the city distributes it to the Municipal Services Corporation.”
While the majority of council supported the resolution, others were against the idea.
Councillor Brian Van Tilborg noted that he would rather have people come and get to enjoy themselves without an extra cost.
“I won’t be supporting this. We’ve got gas taxes, carbon taxes and battery taxes and tax on tax on tax, and people are looking for a break,” he said. “This goes against every fiber of my bones to put in another tax. …I would just like to have people come and enjoy our city without having to pay an extra tax in this municipality.”
However, Councillor Greg Martin said that this tax is similar to development charges that developers pay to cover the cost of infrastructure such as roads and water services, and that this accommodation tax will simply allow for the tourism sector to enhance tourism within the community.
“This will drive additional tourism and will hopefully drive additional revenue for the hotels,” he said. “It will give us the funds to enhance some of the events and activities that happen in our city that draw tourists in from other areas. I see this as a win for the community and win for everyone involved.”
When it came time to vote, council voted 8-3 favour of the Municipal Accommodation Tax, with councillors Mandy Samwell, Richard Carpenter and Brian Van Tilborg voting against it.