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Editor’s Note: This is a statement from Camping in Ontario after a judge’s decision to remove the “Small Business” label from private campgrounds. 

While Canadians enjoyed the last long weekend of the summer in early September, Ontario’s incorporated campgrounds are deemed invaluable in the province’s economy and Canada.

In a judge’s decision on Friday (Aug. 30), incorporated campgrounds are too small to qualify as small businesses. Under direction from the Ministry of Finance Canada and the Ministry of National Revenue, the Canadian Revenue Agency (CRA) has targeted small Ontario businesses and won a manipulated tax law ruling.

Since the 2015 federal election, Prime Minister Trudeau’s government has taken aim at the camping industry not only in Ontario, but Quebec and Alberta as well. This is impacting tourism and rural economic prosperity across the country. With the judge’s decision, it is a nail in the coffin for family-owned businesses.

The ruling will inevitably stretch to negatively impact other seasonal small-businesses such as ski hills, golf courses, marinas and tree-top trekking. Because of the description from the judge, park model RVs are now deemed “mobile homes,” which is a misguided and naive description of campgrounds in Ontario. These campgrounds have meticulously followed federal, provincial and municipal laws and by-laws to be a profitable business. This decision could not be more misguided in its understanding of the difference between a mobile home park and a campground.

In 2016, the CRA changed its application of a tax law and determined that based on business structure, some private-sector campgrounds were too small to qualify for the small business tax deduction. Largely because most campgrounds do not employ five plus full-time year-round staff, ignoring the fact that most do not have five year-round employees, as the majority of campgrounds in Ontario close during the winter months to comply with municipal zoning.

For the full statement click here.