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Hotel Association of Canada calls on political parties to crack down on online short-term rentals

Last Updated Jul 17, 2019 at 10:29 am PDT

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Summary

Hotel Association of Canada is calling on federal parties to commit to treating short-term rentals like hotels, motels

Hotels, motels, resorts across Canada urging parties to make a change and even the playing field

Hotel Association wants to see short-term rentals charged corporate income tax, see customers pay GST, HST for Airbnb

OTTAWA (NEWS 1130) – Ahead of the federal election, hotels, motels, and resorts across Canada are calling on political parties to crack down on short-term online rentals.

According to the Hotel Association of Canada, the laws around online rental companies like Airbnb are out of date.

Members are urging parties to make a change, and even the playing field.

“These platforms continue to reap the benefits without paying their fair share,” the association’s Alana Baker says.

The group would like to see the federal government start treating short-term rentals like every other hotel or motel in Canada, and is calling on federal parties to include in their election platforms a plan to charge these types of companies Canadian corporate income tax, and to apply GST or HST to consumers.

Baker says Canadians are currently losing out on a lot of tax revenue.

“With estimated losses of $169-million in sales tax revenues alone,” she explains, claiming short-term rentals can also have unintended consequences.

Steve Ball with the Ottawa Gatineau Hotel Association likens Airbnb to a virus, and echos the concern that short-term rentals can have negative impacts on the cities and communities they’re in.

“Less available housing for residents to live in, soaring rental prices making housing affordable for families, escalating community nuisances,” he explains.

The group has spoken with federal parties, but has yet to receive any commitments.

Airbnb says hotel industry ‘peddling lies’

Meantime, Airbnb is responding to the latest calls by the Hotel Association, saying “the big corporate hotels are at it again.”

In a statement, the company says hotels are “peddling lies about homesharing” in an effort to “protect their ability to price gouge consumers, and preserve outdated business models.”

“Home sharing and vacation rentals have always been an important part of Canada’s tourism economy,” Alexandra Dagg, who speaks for Airbnb, says. “Today, regular people in communities large and small are making extra money sharing their space — but hotels have made it clear they want to eliminate any competition.”

Dagg suggests Airbnb has been a “responsible partner to governments,” and says the company has worked with provincial and municipal governments to “collect and remit tourism taxes.”