a reception bell and a reception sign on a wood table

The Municipality of Wawa is currently investigating the implementation of a Municipal Accommodation Tax. The program would generate funds to support local tourism activities and projects, including destination marketing, business promotion, and employment.


On December 1st, 2017 the Province of Ontario’s Transient Accommodation regulation (435/17) came into force. This regulation provides municipalities with the necessary authority and provisions to implement a Municipal Accommodation Tax.

Click here for the official regulation from the Province of Ontario: O. Reg. 435/17: TRANSIENT ACCOMMODATION TAX

The Municipal Community Services and Tourism Department has been guiding and supporting the growth of our tourism sector by implementing the Wawa 5-Year Tourism Strategy and Action Plan. A significant strategy recommendation is the implementation of the Municipal Accommodation Tax. The revenue generated by the tax will directly support the implementation of the strategy and provide the Department with the ability to pursue more actions in promoting Wawa as a destination for residents and tourists.


What is a Municipal Accommodation Tax

A Municipal Accommodation Tax (MAT) is a fee paid on transient accommodation purchases. The funds generated by this tax program are used to support the local tourism industry. Many communities across the province, including many Northern Ontario communities, have already implemented a MAT successfully.

Who pays the MAT?

As the MAT is a fee on transient accommodation purchases, it is only paid by transient accommodation customers. This is anyone purchasing a stay of less than 30 days at an accommodation business within the Municipality of Wawa. Just as HST is a requirement of all Ontario businesses to collect and remit on behalf of the Provincial and Federal governments, a MAT is a similar tax paid for by the customer and collected by the businesses on behalf of the Municipality.

Transient accommodation businesses include:

  • Hotels/Motels
  • Lodges
  • Inns
  • Resorts
  • Bed and Breakfasts
  • Yurts/Glamping Tents
  • Cottages & Cabins
  • AirBNB / VRBO and other online provisions
  • Other establishments providing transient lodging in all or part of a dwelling

What are the benefits of a MAT?

There are many benefits to implementing a Municipal Accommodation Tax, the most significant of which is bolstering our local tourism industry, without increasing taxation on residents of Wawa.

The revenue generated by the MAT has significant potential as a key source of revenue to be used for tourism. MAT funding can be used to support year-round, four season tourism. The MAT eases the burden of supporting the community’s tourism development from the local taxpayer, adding visitor spending collected through the MAT to help offset tourism costs.

Are there any exceptions?

The MAT does not apply to the following lodging situations:

  • For a period of more than 30 consecutive days by the same person
  • Provided by a university or college
  • Provided by hospitals, long term care facilities, retirement homes and hospices
  • Provided by shelters, treatment centres and lodging of reformation of offenders
  • Provided at tent and trailer sites
  • Supplied by employers to their employees in premises operated by the employer
  • Purchased by the:
    • Province of Ontario
    • School Boards

How much is the MAT?

The Municipality of Wawa is proposing implementing a MAT of 4%, applied to all purchases of transient accommodations. A 4% Municipal Accommodation Tax in Wawa is expected to generate roughly $400,000 annually.

The MAT would only be applied to the lodging portion of the purchase. Other fees and purchases, such as meals, room incidentals, valet services or parking are not included in this tax, provided they are itemized separately on the invoice.

What will the money be spent on?

Funds generated by a MAT must be used to support tourism activities, initiatives, and employment. In general, the funds would support staffing opportunities, tourism marketing, and tourism projects.

Per the official regulation from the Province of Ontario, funds generated by a MAT must be split between the Municipality and an eligible tourism entity. The 50% that goes to an outside organization will be placed in a dedicated reserve to set up a Wawa Destination Marketing Organization. The mandate and composition of this organization will be subject to further community consultation during the MAT adoption process. While this organization will have the specific mandate to further tourism in our community, the details of its work plan, board members, and other specifics are subject to feedback from the community and the businesses it will serve.

Some examples of potential avenues for spending:

  • Tourism staff
  • Tourist Information Centre operation and maintenance
  • Downtown beautification projects and initiatives
  • Tourism marketing and publications
  • Improving the Goose Nest Market
  • Waterfront improvements
  • Trail improvement
  • Leveraging grant funding
  • Creating and managing spaces for events, festivals, and collaboration

How will businesses be impacted?

Local accommodations businesses will feel the most direct impact of a MAT implementation. It is important to understand that the MAT is not a tax paid by these, or any, local businesses – rather it is a paid by tourists and other visitors who stay at the hotels directly. Just as HST is a requirement of all Ontario businesses to collect and remit on behalf of the Provincial and Federal governments, a MAT is a similar tax paid for by the customer and collected by the businesses on behalf of the Municipality.

The MAT will affect all accommodation businesses equally – traditional motels as well as short term accommodations such as Airbnb’s will all be required to collect and remit the MAT. There will be no issue with competition between businesses or communities – all local businesses will apply the MAT at the same rate, and our surrounding communities such as Chapleau and Marathon have also implemented a MAT at the standard 4% rate.

The main impact on these businesses will be in administrative time, as the addition of a remittance such as HST adds complexity. However, the Municipality of Wawa plans to work with local businesses to come up with the most convenient remittance schedule, ensuring that this additional burden is far offset by the benefits to the community, and each tourism business, that the MAT funding will provide.

How is this different from other taxes?

The MAT taps into a major source of funding that is not currently being capitalized on in Wawa. While many other Municipal tax programs are directed at local residents and businesses, a Municipal Accommodation Tax will almost entirely be paid by visitors.

How will the tax be collected and administered?

Part of the investigation process will be to determine the best way for businesses to collect and remit the tax. The Municipality of Wawa will be consulting with businesses in order to determine the details of the program, such as the remittance schedule and method. The current proposed approach will be a quarterly remittance, in line with other Municipal collections. 

Who determines how the money is spent?

Municipal Council oversees the collection and spending of the MAT. Revenue from the MAT must be split evenly between the Municipality of Wawa and a destination marketing organization. Both organizations will work collaboratively to oversee effective use of the funds. For the Municipal portion of the revenue allocation, spending will be subject to the annual budget approval process. 

How will we determine our return on investment?

The Municipality of Wawa will provide regular communications through scheduled e-newsletters, highlighting how funds from the MAT have been spent. The Municipality will also provide project updates on social media and the municipal website.

There will be business consultation sessions before and after implementation of the MAT. These sessions will provide opportunities for the Municipality to update businesses on MAT-funded projects and for the businesses to provide feedback to the Municipality.  

Additional information

More details can be found on the Tourism Industry Association of Ontario website:


If you have further questions, please contact Alex Patterson at apatterson@wawa.cc or call 705-856-2244 Ext. 242.