MPs roundtable “tremendous feat” for Canada’s duty free border stores

By Faye Bartle |

Barbara Barrett

Frontier Duty Free Association Executive Director Barbara Barrett.

Frontier Duty Free Association (FDFA) Executive Director Barbara Barrett shares an update on the organisation’s advocacy work to protect and grow the duty free sector in Canada, spurred by a breakthrough gathering of MPs.

“FDFA remains deeply committed to engaging with governmental bodies at all levels and spearheading national advocacy campaigns to safeguard and expand the duty free sector in Canada,” she revealed in this exclusive comment piece penned for TRBusiness.

“In February, the FDFA board convened in Ottawa to set the association’s priorities for 2024, charting a course that includes vital legislative changes aimed at securing our future and creating an environment for our stores to thrive as vibrant contributors to Canadian tourism and the national economy.

“Our primary focus is ensuring that border communities remain a priority, both in the public eye and on the legislative agenda.

“Our overarching priorities include protecting and growing the industry, as well as establishing a governmental directive affirming our export status.

“We are also dedicated to securing support for land border duty free beyond Canadian Business Loan Account (CEBA) forgiveness, pushing for solutions such as a financial package or loan repayment extension.

Frontier Duty Free Association

A snapshot of the cross-party border MP roundtable on 13 February 2024.

“During the FDFA Board’s presence in Ottawa, we wasted no time in pursuing our mission to achieve our set priorities.

“We successfully convened a cross-party roundtable of 15 border Members of Parliament from the Liberal, Conservative, and New Democratic parties to underscore the unique status and robust success of duty free stores across the country.

“It was imperative to highlight the longstanding business model of duty free stores at the border and hear firsthand from MPs with stores in their ridings.

“Convening MPs from across the political spectrum was a tremendous feat, yet we facilitated productive discussions and reached consensus on the goals and the path forward.

Frontier Duty Free Association

Left: Barbara Barrett with US Ambassador to Canada, David Cohen. Right: Barrett with Minister of Tourism, Minister Soraya Martinez Ferrada.

“This breakthrough meeting is expected to have far-reaching positive effects for our industry into the future.

“Collaboration remains critical, and we continue to advocate for increased attention from Destination Canada to promote land border traffic and spotlight Canadian offerings to our American neighbours across the border.

“While we acknowledge the challenging times we have endured, FDFA and its members have much to celebrate and be proud of in 2024, as it marks the association’s 40th anniversary.

“We look forward to commemorating this milestone with our duty free community at our annual convention in Toronto from 18-21 November, 2024.

“We’re excited to welcome the duty free community to this landmark event, uniting us all in moving forward together, celebrating 40 years of strength and resilience.”

A version of this feature first appeared in the TRBusiness March/April 2024 issue. Click here to read the ezine.

READ MORE: Canada’s FDFA calls for Covid loan repayments to be dropped

READ MORE: Registration opens for 2023 ‘Building Tomorrow’ FDFA Convention

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