TOURISM RELIEF FUND – INDIGENOUS TOURISM ONTARIO (ITO’S TRF)

Indigenous Tourism Ontario (ITO) is proud to work with select Regional Tourism Organizations (RTOs) across Ontario to deliver the Tourism Relief Fund in support of the Indigenous tourism industry. ITO’s TRF support for Southern Ontario is made possible by the Government of Canada through the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario). ITO’s TRF support for Northern Ontario is made possible by the Government of Canada through the Federal Economic Development Agency for Northern Ontario (FedNor Ontario). If your organization is 51% or more Indigenous-owned and controlled, please review the information on this webpage and then apply below.* ITO’s TRF is customized to the needs of Indigenous communities and organizations. As part of this collaborative effort, ITO and select RTOs will work together to support the growth of Indigenous tourism in Ontario.

*Applications for Southern Ontario businesses closed on May 15th 2022

Applications for Northern Ontario businesses are open from April 12th – May 29th.

We encourage applicants to connect with an Indigenous Business Advisor (IBA) to assist with project development, budgeting, and the application process.

Indigenous Tourism Ontario (ITO) is the province’s first and only dedicated Indigenous tourism organization that focuses on uniting communities, Indigenous organizations and industry leaders to support the growth of Indigenous tourism in Ontario.

Through product development and marketing of authentic Indigenous experiences, ITO establishes a platform for Indigenous cultural expression and preservation through tourism.

Regional tourism organizations (RTOs) are independent, not-for-profit organizations led by the tourism sector. They play an important role in fostering competitive and viable tourism regions across Ontario.
RTOs provide regional leadership and support a coordinated and collaborative approach that maximizes resources, encourages strategic planning and investment, and results in stronger marketing with better reach.

Click here to determine which RTO you belong to.

Indigenous Business Advisors (IBAs) assist ITO members (Indigenous tourism businesses) throughout the province to improve sustainability and resiliency and encourage success within their operations. This innovative training, coaching and mentoring model ensures that Indigenous tourism businesses have the support required to survive the COVID-19 storm, thrive post-pandemic, and ultimately increase market-readiness.

IBAs offer free advisory services for Indigenous businesses to assist with idea generation, project development, budgeting, and applications.

Contact an Indigenous Business Advisor about your TRF project
Sign up for your ITO Membership!

The TRF supports tourism businesses and organizations to adapt their operations to meet public health requirements while investing in products and services to facilitate their future growth. This fund will help position Ontario to be a destination of choice as domestic and international travel rebounds by:

  • Empowering tourism businesses to create new or enhance existing tourism experiences and products to attract more local and domestic visitors
  • Helping the sector reposition itself to welcome international visitors by providing the best tourism experiences we have to offer the world

Please note that organizations can only apply to one of the currently available Tourism Relief Fund programs (administered by FedDev, FedNor, ITO or RTOs).

ITO’s Tourism Relief Fund provides Indigenous tourism operators with access to funding with additional support and guidance from ITO. Working with ITO provides an opportunity for applicants to align their projects with ITO’s strategic direction. ITO’s Four Pillars are Product Development, Marketing, Training, and Cultural Authenticity. We encourage you to work with an IBA to submit the project that aligns with ITO’s strategic direction.

Applicants will receive:

  • Free advisory services from ITO’s Indigenous Business Advisors.
  • Access to resources and partnerships in Ontario’s Indigenous tourism industry.
  • An opportunity to develop their projects to align with ITO’s strategic vision, current, and prospective projects.

ITO’s application was designed specifically for Indigenous tourism operators. It provides space for applicants to highlight how their project aligns with ITO’s current projects and ITO’s strategic vision.

Indigenous applicants (51% or more Indigenous-owned and controlled) are advised to apply through ITO’s adapted application designed for Indigenous organizations.

ITO is offering free advisory services for Indigenous businesses to assist with idea generation, project development, budgeting and applications. The free advisory services are provided by our Indigenous Business Advisors (IBAs).

Applications will be considered by a review panel that includes expertise in Indigenous tourism. Southern Ontario applications that pass ITO’s review process will be shared with their respective RTO, and together we will determine who will administer the funds and project reporting. All Indigenous organizations will have access to ITO support, regardless of who is administering the funds.

Northern Ontario applicants that pass ITO’s review process will be funded directly by ITO.

If your local RTO is funding your project, ITO will introduce you to their TRF coordinator and continue to support you throughout the process.

If ITO is funding your project, ITO’s coordinator will contact you to guide you through the next steps, which include collecting additional documents and drafting agreements.

  • Your business or organization is 51% or more Indigenous-owned and controlled
  • Must be part of the tourism ecosystem and will include tourism entities that cater mainly to visitors. A tourism business is defined as one that would continue to exist only at a significantly reduced level of activity as a direct result of an absence of tourism.
  • Must be located in Ontario

Project eligibility is being evaluated based on FedDev and FedNors tourism priorities. Please review your region’s priorities and ensure your project is in alignment.

Southern Ontario
Northern Ontario

1 – One-year financial projections. 

2 – Any document certifying business name and business address.

Examples:

    • Void cheque
    • Invoice
    • Bill
    • Proof of location

3 – Copy of Government ID (Drivers License, Health Card, Birth Certificate)

4 – Copy of Certificate of Indian Status – Registry # or Métis Registry # or your Self Identifying form.

Download a Self Identifying Form

Applications for Southern Ontario businesses closed on May 15th 2022.

Applications for Northern Ontario businesses are open from April 12th to May 29th, 2022.

TRF Projects must be completed and all funds spent by December 31st 2022.

For-profit organizations can request up to 50% of the total project costs.

Not-for-profit organizations (First Nations as represented by their Chief and Council, Tribal Councils, Indigenous Representative Organizations, Métis and Inuit organizations and Settlements, tourism associations and destination marketing organizations) can request 100%.

Please familiarize yourself with the eligible expenses by region:

Southern Ontario Expenses
Northern Ontario Expenses

PDF Version of Application
1 Year Financial Projectionstemplate

List of Eligible Expenses for Southern Ontario

LIST OF ELIGIBLE EXPENSES FOR NORTHERN ONTARIO

Self Identification Form

Please follow the checklist below and then proceed to complete an application. 

  1. I have reviewed this webpage thoroughly. Including the application I have confirmed that I am eligible.
  2. I have connected with an Indigenous Business Advisor (recommended).
  3. I have thoroughly developed my TRF project and considered its alignment to ITO’s strategyand the TRF strategic tourism goals. 
  4. I have prepared my 1 year financial projections.
  5. I have gathered my supporting documents.

Application Options

Complete the Application

If you would prefer to complete your application in Microsoft Word or would like to request a French application or other accommodations, please contact us.

Email Us
Contact an Indigenous Business Advisor
QUESTIONS ABOUT ITO’S TRF?

French translation Services were provided by Société Économique De L’Ontario, Les sociétés Vice Versa, and The New Business.