Canadian Outdoor Recreation Roundtable Urges Prime Minister To Support Outdoor Industry
The Canadian Outdoor Recreation Roundtable (CORR), of which SCI Canada is a member, sent a letter to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau requesting the government work with the outdoor industry on policy ideas affecting outdoor recreationalists.
CORR is Canada’s leading coalition of outdoor recreation trade associations, with a membership of 12 national trade associations serving tens of thousands of businesses.
The letter to Prime Minister Trudeau explains that, “CORR members represent thousands of businesses that produce vehicles, equipment, gear, apparel and services for the millions of Canadians who enjoy our national parks, waterways, byways, trails and outdoor spaces. The collective outdoor recreation industry is conservatively estimated to produce $24.6 billion in economic activity for Canada each year, generating an estimated 472,713 direct jobs, $7.1 billion in taxes and $52.1 billion in total revenues.
As with many sectors of the community across the globe, the Canadian outdoor industry has suffered a huge economic impact due to the COVID-19 pandemic. CORR explained that most of the outdoor recreation industry is comprised of small businesses who are now in danger of failing due to the efforts to mitigate the virus:
“Outdoor recreation businesses are often lifelines for their communities, providing jobs and economic stability. However, they rely on trips and travel bringing a steady stream of visitors to our public lands and waters. Other factors that our industry relies on – accessibility to recreation assets, adequate recreation infrastructure, and the certainty of manufacturing and trade – have also been interrupted by COVID-19.”
CORR offered several policy ideas for consideration and discussion:
–Keep outdoor areas open and accessible if it can be done safely and within guidelines.
Outdoor recreation businesses and the communities they support rely on access to public lands and waters to survive. As long as these areas can be kept open and in compliance with guidelines, federal agencies and provincial governments should avoid unnecessary closures.
We would draw your attention to the recent joint action by the governors of New York, Connecticut, and New Jersey to reopen marinas and boatyards for personal use while maintaining strict social distancing and sanitization protocols.
-Deem outdoor recreation businesses as “essential.”
Outdoor recreation businesses provide essential services to their communities and the country as a whole. These businesses are often the economic drivers of their communities and provide opportunities for Canadians to enjoy healthy activities that connect them with their natural heritage and cultural resources.
In addition to the broad benefits, outdoor businesses provide more specific essential services. For example, many private campgrounds provide gas used for home heating; RVs are relied upon for temporary living quarters and mobile clinics, portable office and lab trailers, temporary quarantine units and bathroom and shower trailers. At a time when doctors are telling people to get outside for Vitamin D, stress relief, exercise and mental health, we need to ensure our businesses are there to support Canada’s health and quality of life.
-Support Trade Associations.
The nonprofit trade associations that support and advocate for these businesses and the outdoor recreation economy at large are also facing significant headwinds. The cancellation of conferences, trade shows and other events crucial to the financial health of these organizations severely decreases their ability to support the buying and selling of product and to advocate for their members. These gatherings depend on in-person attendance at convention centers, hotels and other facilities, which is impossible given social distancing guidelines.
We urge you to provide financial assistance for associations, nonprofits and other tax-exempt organizations whose survival is placed in jeopardy by COVID-19.
The mental and physical health benefits of outdoor recreation are well known. Studies have shown that healthy, active outdoor recreation helps combat obesity, depression, diabetes and more. As people grapple with the effects of social distancing, outdoor recreation can be an essential outlet. Hiking, biking, paddling, boating, fishing, camping, SCUBA diving, ATVing, horseback riding, and more can all be engaged in while adhering to guidelines for social distancing and preventing the spread of COVID-19.
Please go to the Hunters Advocacy Action Center today to support CORR. The HAAC provides you with the opportunity to tell Prime Minister Trudeau to help support the outdoor industry and its workers which have been especially hard hit by the economic fallout from COVID-19.