PRESS RELEASE: MPs across party lines call for support for Duty Free businesses on Canada-U.S. border

July 7, 2021

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: MPs across party lines call for support for Duty Free businesses on Canada-U.S. border

SARNIA, ON—Members of Parliament across party lines, including MPs Marilyn Gladu and Brian Masse, both representatives of border ridings, are calling on the government to support Duty Free businesses on the Canada-U.S. border, after more than 16 months of continued border closures.

Specifically, the MPs are echoing the calls of the Frontier Duty Free Association (FDFA) to grant export designation to Duty Free businesses, allocate funding from the Tourism Sector relief funds to Duty Free businesses, and accelerate the measures in place to allow for the safe reopening of the Canada-U.S. border.

Duty Free stores are small and independently-owned, with strict and appropriate regulations that left them unable to pivot to an online or domestic sale model during the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, the industry suffered under the Canada-U.S. border closures, with the stores falling through the cracks of some of the governments’ business support programs.

MPs are calling for the government’s support and implementation of the three specific requests put forward by the FDFA:

1) Relief Fund

Land border duty-free stores have taken on significant debt to survive almost a year and a half with no sales and no end in sight. Out of the $500 million Tourism Relief Fund, the Association is asking for a $200,000/store grant program for each store, or a $6.6 million program based on size and need.

2) Export Designation

Despite being for export only, land border duty-free products are subject to domestic policy, putting Canadian stores at a competitive disadvantage with U.S. duty-free retailers, resulting in significant revenue loss.  It is critical to the recovery and competitiveness of this vibrant Canadian industry that it be treated as EXPORT ONLY and given an Export Designation.

3) Open the land border in line with climbing vaccination rates and declining COVID-19 cases on both sides of the border.

By implementing these requests, the Canadian government can help save a suffering industry and encourage the facilitation of trade and commerce across the Canada-U.S. border once more.