In light of the restrictions that have been re-introduced in response to the Omicron variant, new and updated resources have become available to support businesses who are unable to operate regularly. The ITO team is here to assist in assessing eligibility and applying for the resources that are best suited for your Indigenous-owned business. If we have not already been in contact with you, we encourage you to reach out to our team of Indigenous Business Advisors (IBAs) who can provide one-on-one support to help you navigate new and existing resources.
NEW COVID-19 Small Business Relief Grant for Businesses Required to Close
The Ontario government announced a new Ontario COVID-19 Small Business Relief Grant for small businesses that have been subject to closure under the modified Step Two of the Roadmap to Reopen. The program will provide a $10,000 grant to eligible businesses.  Eligible small businesses include: 
  • Restaurants and bars; 
  • Facilities for indoor sports and recreational fitness activities (including fitness centres and gyms); 
  • Performing arts and cinemas; 
  • Museums, galleries, aquariums, zoos, science centres, landmarks, historic sites, botanical gardens and similar attractions; 
  • Meeting or event spaces; 
  • Tour and guide services; 
  • Conference centres and convention centres; 
  • Driving instruction for individuals; and 
  • Before- and after- school programs 
Eligible businesses that qualified for the Ontario Small Business Support Grant and that are subject to closure under modified Step Two of the Roadmap to Reopen will be pre-screened to verify eligibility and will not need to apply to the new program. Newly established and newly eligible small businesses will need to apply once the application portal opens in the coming weeks. Qualifying small businesses can expect the grant payment in February 2022.  For more information, please visit here
Reconnect Ontario 2022 Program is Open for Applications
Attention Festival and Event organizers: the Reconnect Ontario 2022 program is now open for eligible festivals and events taking place between April 1, 2022, and March 31, 2023. Reconnect Ontario supports festivals and events that have a tourism economic impact and motivate visitors to rediscover Ontario, reconnect people with local experiences and increase tourism spending. 
Eligible organizations must:
  • be Ontario-based entities in existence since January 1, 2021 or before, including those that are established by or under legislation; are federally or provincially incorporated; or are band councils as defined under the Indian Act (Canada)
  • not be in default of the terms and conditions of any grant or loan agreement with any ministry or agency of the Government of Ontario
  • take place between April 1, 2022, and March 31, 2023
  • occur in the province of Ontario, if an in-person event, or be produced in Ontario, if a broadcast or virtual event
  • be open to the public at large without membership in a club or group
  • follow all municipal and provincial guidelines, including health and safety guidelines
  • organizations approved for funding must enter into a Transfer Payment Agreement with the province
The deadline to apply for the Reconnect Ontario 2022 program is Wednesday, February 2, 2022, at 5:00pm (EST).
Ontario Business Costs Rebate Program
The Ontario government is introducing the following supports for businesses that are impacted by the recent public health measures in response to the Omicron variant.

Ontario Business Costs Rebate Program
This program will provide eligible businesses that are required to close or reduce capacity with rebate payments of up to 100% of the property tax and energy costs they incur while subject to public health measures. A full list of eligible business types and online applications will be made available on January 18, 2022.

Six-Month Interest- and Penalty-Free Period
The province is also providing businesses with a six-month interest-and penalty-free period to make payments for most provincially administered taxes. The six-month period will begin January 1, 2022 and end July 1, 2022. Businesses will have the option to delay their payments for the following provincially administered taxes: Employer Health Tax; Beer, Wine & Spirits Taxes; Tobacco Tax; Insurance Premium Tax; Fuel Tax; International Fuel Tax Agreement; Gas Tax; Retail Sales Tax on Insurance Contracts & Benefit Plans; Mining Tax; Race Tracks Tax. Additional details on this will be made available this month.
Canada Summer Jobs
The Canada Summer Jobs (CSJ) program provides wage subsidies to employers from not-for-profit organizations, the public sector, and private sector organizations with 50 or fewer full-time employees, to create quality summer work experiences for young people aged 15 to 30 years. Key information:
  • The subsidy is up to 50% of your provincial minimum wage
  • The program is not restricted to students
  • Jobs need to be full-time with a minimum of 30 hours/week and last at least 6 weeks.
  • The subsidy is only for new hires and youth cannot be hired before approval is received
  • Start date runs from April 25, 2022 to September 3, 2022
CSJ applications deadline is January 25, 2022 3:00pm EST. Funding confirmation will be sent to employers starting April 2022.
Spreadsheet Error May Have Affected Your Eligibility for the Tourism and Hospitality Recovery Program (THRP)

The federal government is advising the recent applicants for the Tourism and Hospitality Recovery Program (THRP) may have been affected by an error in the calculation spreadsheet for wage and hiring support, which erroneously showed they were ineligible for the THRP when they may have been eligible.

You may have been affected if:

  • You were applying for period 22 (October 24 to November 20, 2021)  
  • You used a version of the spreadsheet for wage and hiring that was available between Tuesday December 21, 2021 and Friday December 24, 2021 
  • You indicated you are a qualifying tourism and hospitality entity and had both a current-month revenue drop and 12-month average revenue drop over 40%  
  • Step 5 in the spreadsheet showed a zero-dollar amount and gave the message that you were not eligible for the THRP  

What to do if you think you have been affected by this error:

  1. If you did not apply for period 22: Download the latest version of the spreadsheet (available here) and do your calculation again for period 22 to check if you are eligible to apply for the THRP – Wage  
  2. If you already applied for the Hardest-Hit Business Recovery Program – Wage or Canada Recovery Hiring Program for period 22: Contact the Business Enquiries line at 1-800-959-5525 to make your THRP – Wage application  

The THRP is available to businesses and organizations in the tourism and hospitality industry with a 12-month average revenue drop (March 2020 to February 2021) of at least 40% and a claim-period revenue drop of at least 40%.  

REMINDER: From December 19, 2021 to February 12, 2022, businesses with a current-month revenue loss of 25% and who are affected by a capacity-limiting public health restriction of 50% or more are eligible to apply for THRP wage and rent subsidies. Check if you qualify here.  


Make Your Voice Heard

In the coming weeks, TIAO will be meeting with a variety of government ministers, opposition critics, MPPs and MPs to detail the very latest information regarding the state of the tourism industry in Ontario. Two years into the pandemic, saddled with increasing levels of debts, increased fixed costs and non-existent revenues, the tourism industry has had periods of reopening—but never recovery. That’s why TIAO is remaining relentless in their pursuit for continued economic supports and to fix programs that don’t meet the needs of the tourism industry. 

As they head into those meetings, it is vital that they are able to substantiate their recommendations with empirical information that helps fill the gaps of support. ITO encourages you to take a few moments to fill in the survey linked below and help our partners at TIAO make a stronger case when they meet face to face. 
Indigenous Tourism Workshop Series
Interested in attending or having your employees attend a custom workshop designed for the Indigenous tourism industry?

The Indigenous Tourism Series Workshop is the second of three fires part of 
A Three Fires Collaborative Quest. For this component, ITO and Ontario Tourism Education Corporation (OTEC) partnered to customize some of OTEC’s most successful tourism courses to be delivered to frontline Indigenous tourism employees. There are three different trainings to chose from:
  • Service Excellence
  • Leading for Excellence
  • Coaching for Excellence
Each of these trainings can be hosted in-person or virtually and will be facilitated by one of ITO’s Indigenous Business Advisors (IBA). Interested? Email IBA@indigenoustourismontario.ca!
A Three Fires
Employer-to-Employee Matching Event
Are you looking for a job in the Ontario Tourism Industry?
Are you Indigenous?
Are you an Ontario tourism business looking to grow your team?
If you answered yes to one of these questions, we want you to Save the Date

The third edition of A Three Fires Collaborative Quest Employee-to-Employer Matching Event is taking place Monday, February 7th, 2022. If you haven’t already applied for the program, there is still time!

Hosted virtually, our online platform will allow you to schedule virtual interviews with potential employees, and vice-versa, for eligible positions in 2022. Apply now for 
A Three Fires Collaborative Quest – a program designed to build capacity for the tourism workforce in Ontario. For full program details and how to apply, please click here. Questions? Email us at IBA@IndignousTourismOntario.ca.
ITO VR & AR Business Plan

ITO is seeking proposals for either combined or individual business plans for our Virtual Reality (VR) & Augmented Reality (AR) tech projects. ITO, working with two distinct technology partners, is in the process of developing both VR and AR experiences and platforms. These platforms will offer users immersive, culturally authentic experiences that promote greater education toward Indigenous culture and a unique way to engage with and access Indigenous experiences. These projects will allow ITO and its partners the opportunity to promote Indigenous tourism businesses in an exciting and innovative manner. Most significantly, these projects will benefit Indigenous tourism operators with additional revenue streams, greater access to markets, and increased capacity. These projects achieve ITO’s strategic goals of developing brand integrity, building capacity and increasing economic opportunities, and marketing and branding authentic products and services; ultimately providing valuable support for Indigenous communities and entrepreneurs.

Submit your proposal by February 15th, 11:59pm to Director of Operations, Leni Brem, via email at lbrem@indigenoustourismontario.ca.
HHBRTA Regional Tourism Award Recognition Program 
Hamilton Halton Brant Regional Tourism Association (HHBRTA) launches its Regional Tourism Award Recognition Program for a second year to recognize regional tourism business development contributions made in 2021. The Awards will be announced on March 8-9, 2022. 

These awards aim to celebrate the ingenuity and spirit of community and tourism industry operators that developed note-worthy achievements and contributions that they make to the Ontario and Canadian economy.

 Award Categories Include: 
  • Innovative New Experience or Product Development Award
  • Partnership and Collaboration Award
  • Responsible Tourism Award
The Nomination process covers initiatives/activities that occurred from January to December 2021.  Self-Nominations are welcome. If the initiative is applicable, nominations in more than one category for multiple award submissions are welcome.

The application deadline is January 28, 2022. If you have any questions regarding the application process, please email angelica.smith@theheartofontario.com.
Opportunity to Contribute to Mnidoo Mnising/Manitoulin Island Culinary Tourism Strategy
The Municipality of Central Manitoulin, in partnership with Destination Northern Ontario and Indigenous Tourism Ontario, has engaged the Culinary Tourism Alliance in developing a culinary tourism strategy for Mnidoo Mnising/Manitoulin Island. 

As part of the strategy development process, we are gathering insight on Mnidoo Mnising/Manitoulin Island’s current culinary tourism context. We will be hosting a culinary tourism workshop in late January/early February. Additionally, up to six (6) businesses will be selected to receive dedicated support from the Culinary Tourism Alliance to develop a new food & beverage experience over the course of the program, which will run from January to May 2022.

This initiative is being organized by the Mnidoo Mnising/Manitoulin Island Culinary Tourism Steering Committee with equal representation from Indigenous and non-Indigenous members. If you are a Manitoulin Island culinary business and you have not yet been contacted and wish to be considered for the program, we ask that you complete the short anonymous survey linked below by end-of-day January 16th 2022; it should take you 8-10 minutes to complete. You will have the opportunity to share your contact information if you are interested in attending a culinary tourism workshop in late January/early February (Details TBD).


Ontario Temporarily Moves to Modified Step Two of the Roadmap to Reopen
As of last week, Wednesday January 5 at 12:01am, the government has temporarily moved Ontario into a Modified Step Two of the Roadmap to Reopen in response to a steep increase in COVID-19 hospitalizations. The current measures will be implemented for at least 21 days, subject to trends in public health and health system indicators. Read the full government release for details on the restrictions here.

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

This email was sent to *|EMAIL|*
why did I get this?    unsubscribe from this list    update subscription preferences