2021 Ontario Budget Highlights
On Wednesday, March 24th the Government of Ontario presented the 2021 budget which commits $200 million to help stabilize the Hospitality and Tourism industry and protect jobs. Ontario is providing an estimated $100 million for a new one-time Ontario Tourism and Hospitality Small Business Support Grant and $100 million for a new one-time recovery program. Here’s what you need to know about these new programs and other updates announced: 

The New Ontario Tourism and Hospitality Small Business Support Grant
Separate from the Ontario Small Business Support Grant, the new Ontario Tourism and Hospitality Small Business Support Grant is designed to support tourism and hospitality small businesses with an estimated $100 million in one time payments of $10,000 to $20,000. Eligible businesses include:
  • Hotels
  • Motels
  • Travel Agencies
  • Amusement and Water Parks
  • Hunting and Fishing Camps
  • Recreational and Vacation Camps (e.g., children’s overnight summer camps)
Businesses must demonstrate they have experienced a minimum 20% revenue decline and have less than 100 employees to qualify. Through the Tourism Industry Association of Ontario’s (TIAO) advocacy efforts, the revenue calculation formula will reflect the seasonal nature of tourism, unlike the Ontario Small Business Support Grant. Any small businesses that received the Ontario Small Business Support Grant will not be eligible for this new grant. Application details will be available soon. Read more here
Ontario’s Tourism Recovery Program
This is a new $100 million initiative for 2021–2022 to help tourism operators, anchor businesses and attractions with costs related to restructuring, safe reopening, recalibrated marketing activities and partnership development. This recovery program will provide support for historically successful businesses that have helped to drive employment and visitation in their regions. Read more here
Relief for Resource Based Tourism Businesses
Eligible Commercial Outpost Camps and hunting and fishing outfitters set to receive another year of relief from certain rents and fees, providing approximately $1.3 million in financial  assistance. Licensing fees have been waived for bear hunting and baitfish harvesters and dealers. Additionally, Land Use Fees for Commercial Outpost Camps, Bear Management Area fees and Baitfish Harvest Area fees have been waived. Read more here.
Doubling the Ontario Small Business Support Grant
Small businesses who have been determined as eligible recipients of the Ontario Small Business Support Grant will automatically be entitled to a second payment in an amount equal to the first payment they received. They will not need to apply again to receive this additional funding.
Additional Funding for NOHFC
In September 2020, the government launched the short-term Northern Ontario Recovery Program (NORP). In February 2021, the government announced an improved Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation (NOHFC) program with a focus on culture, talent, business development and community infrastructure. Alongside these programs, an additional $50 million over the next two years will be allocated to the NOHFC to support investments in infrastructure, culture, economic development and training. These new programs will help increase economic development and promote job creation in all regions of the North. Read more here.
Ontario Travel Tax Credit
In the 2020 Budget, the government announced that it would explore ways to provide Ontario residents with support of up to 20% for eligible Ontario tourism expenses to encourage travel within the province in 2021. The government has set aside $150 million and intends to introduce legislation for a tax credit to encourage residents to explore Ontario when public health experts advise that it is safe to travel.
Receive one-on-one Business Support from ITO
Launched at the beginning of March, ITO’s new Indigenous Business Advisory (IBA) Program aims to deliver one-on-one business support services. Tailored to each business’ identified needs, advisors will work directly with you to provide resources, coaching, mentorship, and support. IBAs will serve as a single point of contact to help Indigenous tourism operators access and navigate financial resources, business planning tools, training and skills programs, marketing opportunities and more. Learn more about the IBA program details including eligibility and supports here.


Upcoming Virtual Networking Event 
Collaborations & Partnerships in Tourism: Virtual networking event presented by ITO, TIAO and ABM 

Tuesday, April 20, 2021
Time: 12:00pm – 4:00pm EDT

We are pleased to partner with Tourism Industry Association of Ontario (TIAO) and Advanced Business Match (ABM) to bring you a series of networking events that aim to foster stronger connections and partnerships within the tourism industry and beyond. 

Join us on Tuesday, April 20th at 12:00pm EST. Conversations will span from domestic market opportunities to short-term re-purposing of tourism assets for other industries. Here’s how it works: ABM ensures each attendee’s projects and goals are a fit for the tailored ABM Indigenous Ontario network. Once registered, ABM delegates connect with potential business matches by reviewing detailed online profiles and selecting appointments with other businesses and organizations participating in the event.

Members of ITO and TIAO as well as Indigenous youth attend events in this series for free! Stay tuned for more event series from ITO, TIAO & ABM coming soon!
TIAC & DC to Provide National Industry Update
Date: Friday, April 9th, 2021
Time: 11:00am – 12:00pm EDT
Presented by: Tourism Industry Association of Canada (TIAC) and Destination Canada (DC)

Join TIAC and DC this Friday, April 9th for an update on industry support efforts and marketing plans. Beth Potter, TIAC President and CEO will provide an overview of advocacy efforts aimed at the survival and recovery of the tourism industry in Canada and a snapshot of the road ahead. Marsha Walden, DC President and CEO will share a strategy update and next steps from Destination Canada. The webinar will end with a question and answer period.


Sweet Water
For Deborah Aaron and Isaac Day, having a maple syrup business is all about carrying on traditions. Drawing on these cultural experiences, and in an effort to continue family traditions, Giizhigat (gee-jaa-gut) Maple Products was born. Giizhigat in Ojibwe translates to “day,” just like Day’s family name prior to English translation. “Everyone associates maple syrup as a Canadian food, but it’s actually a First Nation food,” says Aaron, a member of the Six Nations of the Grand River reserve. It has been harvested for hundreds of years by Indigenous peoples to be used in ceremonies, a respected cleansing medicine and cooking ingredient. The future is bright for the family business as they plan to expand their maple syrup operations, build a sugar shack and start a teaching lodge. The lodge will give Day, an elder, knowledge keeper and healer from the Serpent River First Nation, a place to share his teachings. Read the full article to learn more about how ITO members Aaron and Day transformed a farm to a thriving family business. 
Coming Soon…
ITO has been working with the Ontario Tourism Innovation Lab (OTIL) on something special that will be announced on April 27th. Stay tuned to our social media channels for more details!

      Indigenous Tourism Ontario
      1300 Hwy 540
      4 directions Complex Unit 4
      Aundeck Omni Kaning, Ontario

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