In light of the #BoycottUSA movement started by Canadians in response to Trump's 'illegal' tariffs, several U.S. states that rely heavily on Canadian tourism are worried about the possible effect of such boycott on their economies.
Florida, in particular, is working on increasing its appeal to Canadian travellers with a new bill that would give them more flexibility when vacationing in the state. U.S. senators Marco Rubio and Bill Nelson are co-sponsoring a bill that would allow Canadians to vacation in Florida for eight months a year, instead of six.
“It’s no secret that Canadians love to visit Florida in the winter,” said Nelson. “The millions of Canadian snowbirds who visit our state each year play an important role in our state’s tourism-driven economy. Allowing them to stay even longer is a win for them and for the local economies they visit.”
It may seem like a farce, but this is a real bill. They're even calling it the 'Canadian Snowbirds Act.' If passed as law, Canadians who are over 50 and either own or rent a residence in the U.S. will be allowed to remain in the country for 240 days a year, instead of 183. The bill, however, also explicitly states that Canadians vacationing under the proposed law will not be able to work for American employers or seek public assistance.
It makes sense that Florida is trying to entice this particular demographic because they contribute upwards of $4 billion to the state's economy annually, according to the Canadian embassy.
Current immigration laws consider Canadians who vacation in the U.S. for more than six months as U.S. residents for tax purposes. They are required to pay U.S. federal income taxes on all income they earn that year, no matter which country that income was earned in.
"I don’t see the upside for Canadians looking to volunteer in droves to linger here during the mean season, says Frank Cerabino, a writer for Palm Beach Post. "They still won’t be allowed to work or collect public assistance."
"That explains why we’re only looking for Canadians who are over 50. I’ll admit, you’ve got to watch out for those younger Canadians, if there is such a thing. (I’ve lived here for four decades and I’ve yet to see a Canadian under the age of 50.)"
The Canadian Snowbird Association supports the bill, and is hoping it will help benefit Canadian snowbirds who make the trip to the Sunshine State every winter.