Proposed accommodation-licensing fee discussed at recent public meeting

In a management report presented to council at its April 8 regular meeting, director of building and planning services Adam Betteridge provided a comprehensive overview of the implementation of a proposed accommodation-licensing fee. He addressed jurisdictional concerns, fee structures and enforcement efforts and said, after assessing municipalities similar to Stratford like Owen Sound and Niagara on the Lake, the planning services department recommends implementing a short-term accommodation licencing fee for Stratford.

The fee proposes those with short-term rental accommodations would pay $402 and an additional $122 for each additional room thereafter. A late payment fee of $68 would be applied to those who do not complete their filling before April 30.

Currently, bed-and-breakfast owners pay $152 for a license and $91 for each additional room.

“What we came up with was a fee for the short-term accommodations’ licenses. That would equate to being approximately double the cost of a bed-and-breakfast license fee,” Betteridge said.

In 2022, the city adopted a new bylaw for short-term accommodations. The City of Stratford is now proposing fee payments by the end of April, which has caused some concern from those who currently own and run bed and breakfasts in the city.

Though the city has received letters in support of the accommodation-licensing fee implementation, Amanda Hatton, owner of Avery House B&B, spoke on behalf of the Innkeepers Collective in Stratford and expressed concerns about the licensing-fee timeline and late payment fee, deeming them unreasonable and inconsistent.

“I believe it is completely unreasonable to drop fees on a business without giving them a reasonable window of time to budget. The collective believes it is only reasonable to offer some sort of payment extension without penalty to those who require time to cover the costs of the fee.”

Hatton said if the city is considering waived fees for short-term accommodations, bed and breakfasts should have their fees waived too.

“In the event you are leaning towards waiving 2024 fees for short-term rental accommodations, I want to point out that it's completely unreasonable to charge B&Bs a licensing fee if you are not charging short-term accommodation locations simply because things have slipped through the cracks.”

Mayor Martin Ritsma completed the public meeting by noting that the city council intends to consider the establishment of the fees for license application at a future regular council meeting.

He suggested that if anyone would like to receive further notice of this matter, email

Amanda Modaragamage, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Stratford Times