The Manitoba government is taking steps to help the lodge and outfitter sector recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, Agriculture and Resource Development Minister Blaine Pedersen announced today.
“The COVID pandemic and the closure of the Canada–United States border to tourist travel has had a significant effect on the outdoor tourism sector this spring,” said Pedersen. “By taking common-sense steps to ease requirements for our lodge and outfitting operators, and by starting on the road to enhanced and more efficient licensing services for hunting guides, we are working together to position our lodges and outfitters for recovery.”
Hunting guides play a critical role in the delivery of outfitted guiding experiences. The Guide License Program provides those seeking an outfitter a degree of assurance the hired guide has a specific set of knowledge and skills. The transfer of the Guide License Program to the Manitoba Lodges and Outfitters Association will expedite licence issuance to hunting guides while reducing government red tape.
Once transitioned, the Manitoba Lodges and Outfitters Association will review and assess licence applications, administer examinations for guides and issue hunting guide licences on behalf of the minister of agriculture and resource development. Further information on the transfer will be available at a later date, and hunting guides should continue to apply for renewed and new licences through the existing process.
Pine Falls resident and current executive director of the Manitoba Lodges and Outfitters Association, Brian Kotak, said he was pleased with the latest development. “The Manitoba Lodges and Outfitters Association is thrilled to take on the administration of the hunting guide license program,” he said. “In continued collaboration with Manitoba Agriculture and Resource Development, we look forward to enhancing the license program to deliver quality training for our existing and new guides, creating more professional guides who offer world-class service and hunting experiences in Manitoba.”
Manitoba is also waiving big-game utilization requirements for 2020, ensuring that future allocations will not be affected by the loss of the spring season due to the pandemic, and provide additional black bear hunting opportunities to outfitters in areas with chronic black bear-related agricultural damage.
For more information on the Manitoba Lodges and Outfitters Association, visit https://mloa.com/.