Gladu supports financial relief for Duty Free stores

Blue Water Bridge Duty Free. April 2020. Submitted photo.

The continued closure of the Canada-U.S. border has had a devastating impact on Duty Free stores, including at the Blue Water Bridge.

Sarnia-Lambton MP Marilyn Gladu estimates they’ve lost 95 per cent of their business during the pandemic, and believes they will likely be the longest to recover.

She’s part of a group of MPs calling on the federal government to provide some help.

“The government has put together a Tourism Relief Fund, and we’re looking for $200,000 per store to help them get back on track,” said Gladu.

Gladu also supports granting export designation to Duty Free shops.

She said 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. retailers, resulting in significant revenue loss.

“Duty Free is a hugely important business to Canada in terms of the existing revenue, billions of dollars of revenue. There’s also the potential to put a VAT (value-added tax) on that would provide revenue for the government and would be consistent with what other countries do.”

Gladu also reiterated her call to fully reopen the border as vaccination rates rise, and COVID cases decline.