Those highway signs are a cash cow - 'Government for the people' want you to know they have given small business a break.

News 100 redBy Staff

January 5th, 2019



It is a phrase we are going to have to get used to: Ontario’s Government for the People – the new Conservative government plasters it on everything they release.

TODS collective

The major brands spend a small fortune to get there message out there.

One of the more recent things they have done for “the people” is make life more affordable by bringing relief to Ontario’s tourism operators who rely on the province’s Tourism-Oriented Directional Signing Program (TODS) to generate a positive economic impact in their local communities.

“In April 2018, the previous government signed a contract with Canadian TODS Limited towards the end of their administration. The people of Ontario have expressed their concerns about this contract, and the significant fee increases being placed on small business owners across the province.

“Ontario’s Government for the People is listening to the province’s small business owners and tourism operators. We have worked with Canadian TODS Limited – the third party responsible for the delivery and maintenance of the TODS program – to freeze all price increases for 2019.

“Our Government for the People has heard clearly from tourism operators across the province about their concerns regarding the fee increases associated with the TODS program. The previous government deliberately froze prices for 10 years, ignoring the cost of inflation, and completely failed to communicate with TODS customers,” said Michael Tibollo, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport. “We are taking real action to ensure businesses and customers have time to adjust to the increased prices, and we look forward to continuing to work with Canadian TODS Limited over the coming year to look for ways we can help mitigate this price increase.”

The TODS program is designed to provide motorists with signage on provincial highways to direct visitors to tourist attractions, operations and services.

“Our Government for the People was elected on June 7 with a clear mandate to respect the taxpayers of this province and to restore trust and accountability in the province’s finances,” said Jeff Yurek, Minister of Transportation. “We heard loud and clear from small business owners across Ontario, and have fixed a problem that the previous government created. Today we’re providing relief to small business owners, as we do our part in promoting and strengthening tourism in Ontario.”

The prices paid for those directional signs is steep:

TODS specific

The rates for the small operators seem to be reasonable.

$4,800 / Freeway Urban Major Mainline & Ramp
$4,800 / Freeway Rural Major Mainline & Ramp
$1,200 + production fees / Freeway Area Profile
$600 + production fees / King’s Highway Area Profile
$1,500 / Freeway Urban Regular Mainline & Ramp
$750 / Freeway Rural Regular Mainline & Ramp
$600 / King’s Highway Major
$400 / King’s Highway Regular
$360 / High Speed Trailblazer
$120 / Low Speed Trailblazer
$120 / Urban Trailblazer
$90 / Tourist Route

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3 comments to Those highway signs are a cash cow – ‘Government for the people’ want you to know they have given small business a break.

  • Hans

    There is nothing in the article that brings the term “cash cow” to mind.
    Cash Cows are normally products which have high market share in a low growth market. Cash Cows are still generating a significant level of income but are not costing the organization much to maintain. These products can be “milked” to fund “Star” products.

    Whether or not the government (i.e., Ontario taxpayers) should be paying for or subsidizing “directional” advertising signs for businesses is debatable. These signs should be a tax deductible business expense, making them much less costly than the provided list would suggest. The article reads like clumsy political propaganda for Doug Ford, which is disappointing.

  • Lonely Taxpayer

    In the example shown, 4 retailers (assuming Harry & Dick are together), are paying about $24,000 total ($6,000 each) for a 4×4 wooden pole & a blue+white lettered sign stuck on plywood. I assume it’s an annual fee.

    What if the cost of the sign was calculated at the “actual cost of the sign”? Say $600.00

    Then six retailers could work together and share the cost, with each retailer deciding if the benefit would outweigh their cost.

    No annual fee. No gouging of small operators who provide service to tourists & employ locals.

    And the sign could stay up UNTIL it needs replacement.. right after the first snowfall when the government highway snow plow knocks it down.

  • Jan Mowbray

    This government has very VERY selective hearing. This is a government #forsomepeople. They certainly aren’t listening to those who provide services to society’s most vulnerable. NGOs provide services that the government can’t or won’t provide, agencies with budgets already pared to the bone , with workers who could get a bigger paycheque working in the private sector, workers who are already under a lot of stress working with an ever increasing workload.
    This government (#forsomepeople, I just haven’t figured out who) can’t or won’t listen and has told the non-profits to cut budgets by 4%. It doesn’t sound like a lot but on overall budgets, it will be crippling. This government #forsomepeople has also frozen all new funding opportunities.
    Cutting budgets, means cutting services, lay-offs for people who are dedicated to their clients, to trying to make a difference.