Canadian Snowbird Association
Anytime you travel out of the country, questions arise.
For the tens of thousands of Canadians who cross the border each winter for Florida’s warmer climes, answers often come from the Canadian Snowbird Association.
“We were formed in 1992 as a lobby organization,” said Mike McKenzie, the CSA Research and Communications Officer. “Our big concern is health insurance. We spend time lobbying governments in Canada on health care. We also are concerned about property taxes in Florida.”
The 80,000 CSA members benefit from travel, health and auto insurance to help cover losses not covered by the government or private carriers.
The organization’s strong membership numbers help keep rates low and affordable.
The CSA also is available to answer common questions on passport requirements, length of out of country stay, medical emergencies and items that allowed to be brought into the U.S.
But the biggest concern from Canadian citizens who own second homes in the Sunshine State is the rising cost of property and insurance taxes.
McKenzie said Florida’s future as a Canadian Snowbird haven could rest on how it addresses affordability.
“Florida is still the place to go, but other governments in Texas, Arizona and California are starting to say ‘look at us,’ “ McKenzie said. “The (Canadian) dollar is at par with the American dollar so we see people going to the U.S. earlier, staying longer and spending more money. If the dollar wasn’t at par, you would see an exodus quicker.”
As baby boomers begin entering the market, the CSA is seeing new trends emerge.
“We now see people in their 50s and you didn’t see that 10 years ago,” McKenzie said. “They tend to spend more money. Many are still working and they look for an upscale lifestyle.”
The younger working Snowbirds often telecommute and require only a WiFi connection, laptop, cell phone and a convenient airport.
The CSA sponsors one of the largest Snowbird events in the country. The Snowbird Extravaganza held in Lakeland, Fla., each January draws an estimated 40,000 visitors over two days from around central Florida.
About 60 percent of Expo attendees hail from Canada and the rest come from the U.S. and Europe. Expo booths represent a variety of businesses from health, fitness, travel, senior living and more.
The CSA also hosts tens of thousands of guests at Extravaganzas in Arizona and Texas.
Formed 1992 lobby organization
Big concerns is health insurance
Ontario 75 percent from cover $400 per day medical if get sick
Isn’t a whole lot
Cut to $200 number of years ago
Wanted to get provincial govt to up reimburse rates
Got ball rolling
Concerns property taxes florida
Spend time lobbying governments Canada health care and property taxes
Other compoment 80,000 members get good deals travel and auto nsurance.
auto club home a lot of insurrnace products good rates
Discounts on things
Members passport us Canada border
Keep apprised how long stay
Products and services
Media if there is any hurricane in flroida
Media calls us tel members
A lot in states
Stopped at border
A lot get hassled six months, three months worth
Do have a lot call us media
They are thining about it concerned about tax situation florida
Other govt in texas ariz and calif
Staerting to say look at us further away warm waeather
Hasn’t happened ind roves
Worse can’t afford it any more
Concern for sure
Price real estate is good now
Looking at it, start humming and hawing about taxes
A lot of concerns ith florida
Convenient place two hour flight
A lot do drive over 50 percent drive
Thing interesting a lot of older folks drive
Age of snowbirds getting younger
Tend to fly
All not 75 not
Used ot be go away week or two
Laptop go to florida
See people in mid 50s didn’t see 10 years
Little early to say
Younger folks still working looking upscale
Play golf go out to dinner not on fixed incomes
Spend more money
Quality of stuff doing a little higher….
Al lot of folks ohio ny Michigan
Elite Travel Agency Travel Expo
Feb. 24, 12:30 to 4:30 p.m.
5151 N. 9th Ave.
Free travel expo.