Community Tourism Coordinator Pilot Project
ITO is launching a pilot program to support tourism development in Indigenous communities, and to support Indigenous youth pursuing careers in hospitality and tourism with a view to grow the industry’s labour force long term. ITO will support participating communities to hire and train a post-secondary student in a Hospitality & Tourism program (or related field) in a new Tourism Coordinator role. Eligible communities include both those with or without existing tourism departments or programs. To receive more details and express interest, reach out to Leni Brem, ITO Director of Operations at LBrem@indigenoustourismontario.ca by Monday, September 20th, 2021.
Community Building Fund
Applications are now open for the Capital Stream of the Government of Ontario’s Community Building Fund! The fund provides support for non-profits, Indigenous communities and Municipalities in the community sport and recreation sector to help strengthen communities by supporting the repair, renovation or retrofitting of existing sport and recreation facilities to address local community need or public health requirements identified through COVID-19.  
Organizations applying to the fund need to operate or manage sport and recreation facilities in Ontario that serve the public at-large, and must be one of the following: 
  • A charitable organization or public foundation registered as a charity by the Canada Revenue Agency 
  • An organization incorporated as a not-for-profit corporation without share capital in a Canadian jurisdiction 
  • A First Nation / Métis / Inuit or other Indigenous community 
  • A Municipality 
Application deadline is September 29, 2021 at 5:00pm ET. 
Indigenous-Owned Business Grant Program
Hydro One and Canadian Coucil for Aboriginal Business (CCAB) have partnered to launch a new Indigenous-owned business grant program. Indigenous-owned businesses headquartered in Ontario are invited to apply to one of two grant levels.  Applications will close on Monday, September 13, 2021 at 4:00PM EST.
A Three Fires Collaborative Quest
Are you looking for a position in the Ontario Tourism Industry? Or are you a tourism business looking to hire new employees? Applications are open for A Three Fires Collaborative Quest Program – a program designed to support recovery and growth of the province’s Indigenous tourism workforce by building the labour pool and filling critical gaps within the industry. Learn more and apply to participate in the program here.
Tourism Relief Fund
A minimum of $50 million over a two-year period will be invested in Indigenous tourism initiatives through the Govt. of Canada’s Tourism Relief Fund (TRF).  

Funding will be delivered by Regional Development Agencies (RDAs) directly to tourism businesses and organizations to help aid in the creation of new tourism experiences, or enhance existing ones. In Ontario, the RDA administering the funds to Northern Ontario businesses is FedNor and the RDA administering the funds to Southern Ontario businesses is FedDev. Contributions to businesses will be either non-repayable contributions up to $100,000 for up to 50% of eligible costs OR fully repayable contributions up to $500,000 for up to 75% of eligible costs. Not-for-profit organizations and Indigenous organizations (not generating profits) will be eligible for up to $500,000 in non-repayable contributions.

Applications are open. For details on eligibility and how to apply, please consult your RDA’s Application Guide below. ITO is here to help answer any of your Tourism Relief Fund questions. Please do not hesitate to contact us at 


Join ITO’s New Members-Only Facebook Network
Are you an ITO Member looking to connect with the vibrant community of Indigenous businesses, entrepreneurs and tourism operators in Ontario? Head to ITO’s new members-only Facebook page, Indigenous Tourism Ontario Membership Network, created to help ITO members share information, events, celebrations and opportunities among one another. We invite you to join the group and connect and share with passionate businesses, entrepreneurs and tourism operators across Ontario!
Celebration of Nations
Date: Friday, September 10 – Sunday, September 12
Celebration of Nations, the Niagara region’s highly regarded gathering of Indigenous arts, culture and tradition has announced the full schedule for its hybrid edition of in-person programming at the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre as well as virtual offerings. As part of the 5th annual event, virtual and in-person attendees are invited to take part in Drums Across Canada.
Tourism Resiliency Award Nominations Extended
The 2021 Ontario Tourism Resiliency Awards Nominations have been extended until September 7, 2021 at noon! TIAO in partnership with Attractions Ontario, Culinary Tourism Alliance, ITO and OTEC is proud to present the 2021 Ontario Tourism Resiliency Awards; designed to reflect resiliency in each of the following areas: Innovation, Collaboration and Sustainability. Nominations are open to all tourism businesses in Ontario. All nominees will be featured on TIAO’s website as a legacy to the resiliency of our industry. All finalists will be featured in a Globe & Mail full promotional page.


The Transformative Nature of Indigenous Tourism
Tourism can be a means to set the foundation for cultural revitalization within communities. The transformative nature of Indigenous tourism is explored in an insightful interview between Neha Chollangi and Brenda Baptiste of Indigenous Tourism BC. In the interview, the two illustrate how tourism can be a two-way path down which a culture and its visitors seek to form a genuine connection where understanding is at the core. Baptiste explains the transformative nature of Indigenous tourism; “this idea of transformation also includes a shift in relationship between Indigenous and non-Indigenous which speaks to the heart of reconciliation in order to truly understand the Indigenous population of that area”. 

Read the full interview click here.
Ontario’s COVID-19 Vaccine Certificate
Ontario is currently in the fourth wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. To curb the spread of the Delta variant and keep businesses open, starting September 22, the Government of Ontario is introducing an enhanced COVID-19 vaccine certificate system. This means Ontarians will need to be fully vaccinated (2 doses plus 14 days) and provide proof of vaccination along with photo ID to access higher-risk indoor public settings and facilities where face coverings cannot always be worn.  

Below is a brief timeline of the Government’s plans:
  • September 22 – October 21: Proof of Immunization Required. Ontarians will need to present their COVID-19 vaccine receipt (paper copy or PDF copy on mobile device) along with photo ID in order to enter higher-risk indoor settings. 
  • October 22 Onwards: Digital COVID-19 Vaccination Certificate and Verification App. COVID-19 vaccination certificates will be issued to Ontarians by the province and will include a unique QR code containing similar information as the current paper/PDF certificate. To reduce the burden on businesses, the province is also developing an app for businesses to scan the QR code on a holder’s vaccine certificate and to verify the contents of the QR code. This app will be ready by October. 
For more information, read the full news release here. To read Frequently Asked Questions please click here

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

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