Toronto, November 9, 2020 – More than half of small businesses have seen their insurance premiums increase over the past 12 months, with one in six reporting an increase of 25 per cent or more, according to the latest survey results by the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB). CFIB is calling on the insurance industry and provincial governments to ensure small businesses have access to affordable coverage.

“Businesses can’t legally operate without insurance, but many have been priced out or are unable to find an insurer willing to cover them,” said Corinne Pohlmann, Senior Vice-President of National Affairs at CFIB. “It would be in everyone’s interest—business owners and insurance providers—to maintain those relationships and work together rather than shutting out a large sector of the economy from this essential service. We are pleased that the industry has tried to step up to find solutions but the situation remains dire for too many small businesses.”

Businesses in the hospitality (25 per cent), transportation (23 per cent) and agriculture (22 per cent) sectors were more likely to report a premium hike of 25 per cent or more in the past year. Nearly a tenth (9 per cent) of all businesses say they were not able to find an insurer willing to offer coverage for their business needs in the past 12 months, but that number rises to 14 per cent of hospitality businesses and 12 per cent of those in transportation.

The pandemic has exacerbated small businesses’ insurance needs: 40 per cent say COVID-19 has increased their risk of general liability. CFIB has kept governments and the insurance industry informed about the needs of small businesses and will be presenting its latest survey findings today at the Insurance Bureau of Canada’s National Commercial Insurance Task Force.

To move forward, CFIB recommends:

  • To provincial governments: Provide liability immunity during the pandemic to all businesses performing services in accordance with applicable public health guidelines while acting in good faith. 
  • To the insurance industry: Adopt a moratorium on cost increases and policy cancellations during the pandemic.

“The insurance industry is willing to listen to small business owners’ concerns and are trying to provide solutions with some providers proactively offering relief measures to their clients,” added Pohlmann. “I encourage businesses to call their insurance broker and see if there is anything available for them. At the same time, CFIB will continue working to ensure fairness for those still struggling to access coverage.”


Winnipeg, Canada - On October 17th, during the 81st Annual General Meeting held online, Bill Rheaume, representing Canada, was elected as President of the Skål International Executive Board for 2021.

Due to the pandemic, Skål International, the world’s largest Travel and Tourism Association, held its Annual General Meeting online for the first time ever. The AGM was well attended with over 281 delegates representing over 90 countries. Canada was present with delegates representing 17 Skål Clubs in Canada. The online AGM was live streamlined on YouTube and watched by 1,266 viewers at the time of the live stream.

Mr. Rheaume has been a member of Skål International since 1992, serving as President of Skål Canada as well as President of the International Council for two years prior to being elected as a Director at the Skål World Congress in Mombasa, Kenya in 2018.

"I am excited at the prospect of leading the world's largest travel and tourism association with a very capable Executive Board. Our focus will be on increasing Global Partnerships, modernizing our governance model and providing decisive leadership for the association's and tourism's post COVID-19 recovery, we are after all Travel and Tourism Organization dedicated to promoting TRAVEL and TOURISM," said Mr. Rheaume.

President Rheaume's theme for 2021 is: "Passion for Tourism and Professional Pride for Skål".

The Skål International Executive Board consists of one President, two Vice Presidents, and three Directors representing various member countries within Skål International.

Bill Rheaume, is Director, Management Servicesfor Integrated Hospitality Management (IHM), and has been a Travel and Tourism Industry professional for over 20 years, including senior management experience at destination hotels and resorts located in the Canadian Rockies.  Bill was President of the Skål Canadian Rockies Club in 2000 and 2001.

Originally, the 2020 World Congress was scheduled to be held in Opatija Kvarner, Croatia. However, it was canceled due to the COVID-19 Pandemic. The 2021 Skål International World Congress is scheduled to take place in Quebec City between October 12-17, 2021, hosted by the Skål Quebec City Club. 

Past President Skål International, Peter Morrison of New Zealand, honoured Canadian Skål members during the Annual General Assembly. Denis Smith, Skål Canada Executive Director and member of Skål Canada Winnipeg was awarded Skål’s highest recognition, the Order of Skål Merit for his contribution to the Skål global digital transformation project. Jean Francois Cote, Skål Canada’s International Councillor, member of Skål Canada Quebec City Club and Chairman of the Board, Quebec City Tourism was named Skålleague of the Year.

Skål International hosts the annual Sustainable Tourism Awards which were presented at the virtual AGA. Western University of London, Ontario was the recipient of the Sustainable Tourism Award for the Educational, Programmes and Media category.

Chris Alleyne, Associate Vice-President, Housing and Ancillary Services, and Acting Director of Hospitality Services, Western University remarked, “It is a great honour to have been selected a winner of the 2020 Skål International Sustainable Tourism Award, in the ‘Educational, Programmes and Media’ category. Western University’s vision is to provide the ‘best learning experience at a leading Canadian research university’, and we are committed to ensuring sustainability education and promotion is an integral part of our students’ daily lives. We take great pride in being recognized on the world stage, and from among so many others in the Hospitality and Tourism Sector striving to embed sustainable practices into their operations.” 

Jean Pelletier, President of Skål Canada commented, “It was a great day for Canada. We are very proud that our Skål Clubs and members across the country are recognized around the world for their contributions to the travel and tourism industry and the advancement of Skål. We are excited that Bill Rheaume is our new worldwide President for 2021. Bill will provide the leadership and passion that we will all need in this time of tourism recovery. And, we look forward to hosting the world in Quebec City in October 2021 at the Skål International Congress and “Doing business among friends”.


Menomonee Falls, Wis. (November 5, 2020) – Bradley Corp. adds five new beautiful finishes to its popular WashBar® series to complement every designer’s vision for washroom design. These durable and environmentally friendly finishes further enhance Bradley’s growing line of WashBar models renowned for their sleek award-winning design and exclusive clean+rinse+dry handwashing functionality.

The finishes are produced with physical vapor deposition (PVD), an advanced process that creates a molecular bond to the fixture, creating a resilient coating that will not corrode or fade. Beginning in early 2021, the WashBar – a single piece, multifunction chrome-plated fixture – will be available with finish options including Brushed Black Stainless, Brushed Nickel, Brushed Stainless, Brushed Brass and Brushed Bronze, as well as Polished Chrome, which is the original finish for the WashBar series. Whether the washroom design calls for traditional or modern styling – or polished or matte effect – all six finishes improve design flexibility, adding the perfect finishing touch to any washroom.

In addition to the selection of striking new finishes, designers may choose among a growing suite of WashBar models. Each model incorporates LED lighting and icons to guide users through an intuitively touch-free handwashing experience, enhancing convenience, hygiene and the overall user experience:

WashBar – Bradley’s original WashBar model, this all-in-one completely touchless handwashing fixture houses smart soap, water and dryer in one unit. This unique handwashing functionality may be paired with cast-molded Verge® wash basins or prefabricated OmniDecksTM

Next Generation WashBar® – This ultra-modern L-shaped design offers WashBar technology with a new iconic profile. With only one connection point to the sink, this unique design provides more open space for easier cleaning while providing a striking design element.

WashBar® with Undermount BasinsThis flexible model pairs the WashBar with a selection of cast-formed undermount basins made of either Evero® natural quartz  or Terreon® solid surface. A perfect alternative for applications featuring a complex or unique restroom deck design, these basin materials allow designers to create their own customized restroom decks in varying lengths, L-shapes, cut outs or even different countertop materials.

WashBar® DuoWhen only soap and water are needed, the Duo offers the perfect solution when there is already a contract for paper towels or another hand drying preference.

Exclusive features for all WashBar models include an efficient one-gallon soap container that requires fewer refills. Water is dispensed at 0.5 GPM although it is also available with an ultra-high efficiency flow rate of 0.35 GPM when water conservation is a necessity. Using a bowl designed to work with the WashBar keeps water in the bowl to avoid splashing outside the basin onto the floor, walls or user, improving washroom cleanliness and safety.

For more information on the all-in-one WashBar and its new line of finishes, please visit


The Canadian hotel industry is currently reeling from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. A slowdown had been anticipated for 2020 because the industry is cyclical and there had been uninterrupted growth for nearly a decade, but even the most seasoned of hotel-industry veterans could not have predicted the havoc that has befallen us this year.

In the 20 years prior to COVID-19, Canada suffered two major RevPAR declines, both minor in comparison to the devastation we have witnessed in 2020. The first major shock event was SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome), which impacted demand in 2003, mainly in the markets of Toronto and Vancouver. In 2003, national demand dropped by a little less than five per cent, resulting in an overall RevPAR decline of nine per cent. This was followed by a sharp uptick in 2004, and the downturn was already a distant memory by 2005. In each of the next four years, the national RevPAR reached a new high.

The Great Financial Crisis (GCF) delivered a shock of greater magnitude to the industry in 2009. That year, room demand in Canada fell 6.2 per cent, contributing to an 11 per cent decline in the national RevPAR. Hoteliers experienced greater challenges than they had in the aftermath of SARS in 2003. In response to the sharp drop in demand, the national ADR contracted by three per cent in 2009 and showed no growth for the following two years. It took almost five years for the national RevPAR to recover to pre-GFC levels.

Now the industry sits in a position where it can look back almost longingly at such manageable corrections! Through September 2020, room demand in Canada was down almost 50 per cent while the ADR had fallen nearly 30 per cent, resulting in a 64 per cent reduction in RevPAR. To put this in perspective, this RevPAR decline is just shy of six times greater than the loss suffered during the GFC, which took five years for the industry to fully recover from. The magnitude of the COVID-19-related slump makes the prior two downturns seem minor, although they caused significant hardship at the time.

Of course, the carnage of COVID-19 is not limited to Canada - the global hotel industry has been likewise crushed in the juggernaut of the pandemic. Recovery is now taking place, but the pace varies by region according to the timing of the outbreak, the rate of infection, and the source of room demand. China, which is largely a domestic hotel market, was impacted early in 2020 and has recovered at a strong pace, with occupancy levels now getting into the 50 per cent range. This contrasts with Europe, which was affected slightly before North America but is now in a second wave and struggling to reach 30 per cent occupancy levels.

In Canada, the national occupancy declined sharply in the third week of March 2020 and reached a low point of 12 per cent in early April. From there, the occupancy increased incrementally each week, reaching a high of 43 per cent in the third week of August. Leisure travellers bolstered this occupancy performance. However, the reopening of schools in September has caused demand to taper. In October, the national occupancy softened and settled back into the low 30s. Throughout this period, the national average room rate also suffered; the year-over-year decline in ADR was 33 per cent.


In this environment of unprecedented upheaval, it is prudent to look at any forecasts with a high degree of caution. Our models reflect a view of the world that is logical in the context of what we know today, but many of the assumptions are best guesses, and an incorrect guess could have a material impact on the conclusions. In our forecast for 2021, we assume that a vaccination or an effective treatment will not be available until the fall, meaning that there will be limited meeting and group activity until Q4 2021. Another key assumption is that the Canada/US border will remain closed to non-essential travel through Q1 2021, which seems reasonable given that both countries are now dealing with a second wave of infections. These critical assumptions inform our projections of occupancy, average rate, and RevPAR for the national lodging market, which are shown below. 

National Hotel Performance

Insert chart

Regional Performance

Looking across Western Canada, there is not a single hotel market that the pandemic has not battered. With the national occupancy down more than 80 per cent in the first week of April, the least-impacted market in Western Canada was Vancouver Airport, which was accommodating quarantined passengers in high numbers but nonetheless suffered an occupancy decline of nearly 65 per cent.

With the lifting of some travel restrictions in June, the regional drive-to markets favoured by leisure travellers started to fare better, in contrast to the downtown markets that are more reliant on international business, groups, and corporate guests. By August, the Okanagan was in the coveted position of posting year-over-year RevPAR declines of less than 10 per cent while also actually growing average room rate. The relatively strong performance of markets such as Banff and Victoria also reflected an increase in leisure travel, but the absence of profligate international tourists undermined the rate performance in these regions.

Urban markets continue to struggle, and Downtown Vancouver has been the hardest hit of all the markets in Western Canada.  Without cruise ships, conventions, or the U.S. and international FIT market, the RevPAR for Downtown Vancouver is still down more than 80 per cent from last year. The RevPAR for Downtown Calgary is down a similarly difficult 71 per cent, and Edmonton, Saskatoon, Regina, and Winnipeg are registering declines of around 60 per cent.

For Western Canada in 2021, we expect regional markets with infrastructure projects to recover at a faster pace than urban markets. The Trans Mountain Pipeline project will stimulate activity in areas of Northern Alberta and BC, Kamloops, and at the terminus of the line in Burnaby. The massive LNG Canada project is generating demand in Kitimat, and the Site C dam is acting as a stimulus in Northeastern BC. Governments continue to seek ways to restart the economy, and these initiatives could spur activity in other areas of Western Canada.


The COVID-19 pandemic has shattered the Canadian hospitality industry. Lenders and owners have been left scrambling to manage cashflows to survive, and the magnitude of the performance declines has required substantial government intervention to shore up the sector. While there are still many tough months to come as the country enters the typically slower fall and winter months, the worst is behind us, and savvy hoteliers will be planning for a better 2021. Knowing that domestic leisure travellers are the main source of demand for the foreseeable future, hoteliers will require creativity to optimally tap into this segment. True market normalization will not happen until group and corporate travel resumes, which will likely require widespread vaccination that cannot reasonably be expected until late 2021. Nevertheless, we know that pandemics do not last forever. Those that manage to knuckle through the current crisis and make it through to the other end will be in a strong position when the market bounces back after the COVID-19 pandemic cycles out of existence.


(BRANDON, MANITOBA) (September 29th, 2020) – P.R. Hotels Ltd. announces the opening of the new-build 116-room Holiday Inn Express® & Suites Brandon in Brandon, Manitoba. This property marks the eight hotel IHG brand property for P.R. hotels with other hotels located in Kelowna and Saskatoon. The hotel is conveniently located across the street from Keystone Center, close to Brandon University, and other businesses and restaurants. 

InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG), one of the world’s leading hotel companies, is the parent company of the Holiday Inn Express brand.

Suzanne Rowley, General Manager said: “Holiday Inn Express and Suites Brandon – gives both business travellers and tourists a refreshingly smart stay that delivers more where it matters most, with all the essentials available at their fingertips. The hotel’s ideal location provides guests with fast connections to Brandon and is 2.5 hours away from Winnipeg.”

The Holiday Inn Express brand is the smart choice for travelers seeking a hotel that will help them rest and go while staying productive. The more than 2,870 Holiday Inn Express hotels worldwide offer a simple and efficient stay through the uncomplicated, yet personal service travelers expect from the brand.

The Holiday Inn Express & Suites Brandon hotel features the brand’s newest design solution which was created to meet the evolving needs of the brand’s target guest. The design features an appealing combination of fresh, energetic and engaging elements, creating a distinctive style that is evident at every touch point of the Holiday Inn Express brand experience.

Features of the new design include:

  • An open, pod-style front desk area that delivers a familiar and expedited check in and out experience;
  • Flexible seating in the Great Room, including community tables with built in wired and wireless charging where guest can collaborate with colleagues or relax with friends and family;
  • Refreshingly streamlined guestrooms that provide comforts and features that allow guests to be productive during their stay and have a great night's sleep, including a built-in niche which houses the under-counter refrigerator, microwave, coffee maker, and extra supplies in one central location that’s away from the guest bed to reduce noise and enhance quality of sleep, multiple points of power conveniently located throughout the room and functional storage allowing guests to live out of their suitcase or unpack into a variety of storage options.
  • The complimentary Express Start® Breakfast offers a full range of breakfast items including a variety of healthy options, such as Oikos®yogurt, whole wheat English muffins, Kellogg’s® breakfast cereals, Quaker® oatmeal flavors in cups, fruit and a toppings bar for yogurt and cereal. Additionally, the Express Start® Breakfast offers pancakes from the brand's one-touch pancake machine, a rotation of egg and meat selections, biscuits, and Smart Roast® 100% Arabica coffee. With new social distancing procedures guests can receive their breakfast through a grab and go process.

Additional amenities at the Holiday Inn Express & Suites Brandon hotel include an indoorswimming pool, a 24-hour fitness center, a 24-hour business center and Keurig® brewers in every room.There are three meeting spaces in the hotel, two of them can accommodate 25 people and the other 12 people.

The hotel, located at 1148 18th street, and is owned by P.R Hotels Ltd. The Holiday Inn Express brand is part of IHG’s diverse family of brands in nearly 100 countries and territories. The scale and diversity of the IHG family of brands means that its hotels can meet guests’ needs whatever the occasion – whether an overnight getaway, a business trip, a family celebration or a once-in-a-lifetime experience.  Reservations can be made by calling 1-800-HOLIDAY or by going to

The Holiday Inn Express brand participates in IHG® Rewards Club. The industry’s first and largest hotel rewardsprogram is free, and guests can enroll at, by downloading theIHG®Appby calling 1-888-211-9874 or by inquiring at the front desk of any of IHG’s nearly 5,400 hotels worldwide. All IHG hotels use the IHG Green Engage™ system, an innovative online environmental sustainability system that gives its hotels the means to measure and manage their impact on the environment.


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