Waterloo region tourism industry welcomes Ontario's 2022 staycation tax incentive

If you travel within Ontario in 2020, you'll get a break on your taxes. The Ontario government has introduced a staycation tax credit.

If you vacation within Ontario in 2022, you are eligible for a 20% break

People who staycation in Ontario in 2022 will be eligible for a tax credit. The Ontario government announced the credit in its fall economic statement. It works out to a 20 per cent savings for expenses on hotels, motels and bed and breakfast locations. (Katherine Holland/CBC)

A trip within Ontario in 2022 will have a financial benefit attached for anyone who books a room at a hotel or pitches a tent at a campsite.

The Ontario Staycation Tax Credit gives back 20 per cent of accommodation expenses: up to $1,000 to an individual and $2,000 to a family. That could work out to $200 or $400 back in a traveller's pocket.

Minto Schneider, CEO at Explore Waterloo Region, said she's happy to hear the news.

"It's something that we had been asking the provincial government to do for almost a year just to try and encourage people to get out and travel within Ontario," said Schneider

"And we're also running a program where we offer an Explore Waterloo prepaid visa gift card worth $100 for someone that comes to spend two nights."

The government's plan was introduced in last fall's economic statement. It applies to hotels, motels, resorts, lodges, bed and breakfast establishments, cottage rentals and campgrounds. 

Rules of the PIT

People would apply for the refund when they file their 2022 tax returns in 2023. The government outlined in the fall economic update what is eligible under the accommodation expense.

  • For a stay of less than a month at an eligible accommodation such as a hotel, motel, resort, lodge, bed-and-breakfast establishment, cottage or campground in Ontario.
  • For a stay between January 1 and December 31 of 2022.
  • Incurred for leisure (e.g., a non-business purpose).
  • Costs paid by the Ontario tax filer, their spouse or common-law partner, or their eligible child, as set out on a detailed receipt.
  • Costs not already reimbursed to the tax filer, their spouse or common-law partner, or their eligible child, by any person, including by a friend or an employer.
  • Subject to Goods and Services Tax (GST)/Harmonized Sales Tax (HST), as set out on a detailed receipt.

Industry keeps fingers crossed

Waterloo region's tourism industry has been hit hard since the start of the pandemic. 

Schneider says area venues had hosted a hybrid of online and in-person corporate meetings in the fall, but rising cases of COVID-19 had returned those conferences to strictly online. 

Sports tournaments appear to be coming back much faster.

"It's been promising. We're supposed to host a couple of hockey tournaments at the end of January, beginning of February. Fingers crossed that those go ahead," said Schneider.

"Sports seems to be coming back much faster than corporate meetings and conferences. So that's what we're looking ahead to."