Indigenous Tourism ontario and COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to create major issues for our Indigenous tourism sector. ITO is monitoring the changes daily as public policies continue to evolve and we are sharing this information with our members as quickly and as often as we can. Sign up for our newsletter here.

Although we are in challenging times, Indigenous tourism has made enormous strides in the last 3 years. Demand for Indigenous tourism experiences is higher than it’s ever been. ITO is working strategically to maintain our industry’s pre-pandemic momentum.

As such, we are dedicating ourselves to work on the following activities:

   1. Support for businesses during the “PROTECT” phase.

   2. Support for businesses during the “RESTART” phase.

3. Support for business during the “RECOVER” phase.

As the time is now to begin planning for 2021, we are also working on a Post Pandemic ITO Strategic and COVID-19 Recovery Plan to help the collective Indigenous tourism industry.

Webinar #1: Protect, Restart, Recover – A Framework for Ontario Indigenous Tourism Businesses

On Thursday, May 14th, 2020, we hosted a webinar to further explain this 3 phase approach and what supports are currently available to Indigenous tourism businesses through ITO. This webinar highlights the COVID-19 impacts on the Ontario Indigenous tourism industry, an explanation of our 3 phase approach and our Business Support Broker services.

To supplement this webinar and provide shareable information, we have produced the following documents:

The Path Forward: A Framework for Ontario Indigenous Tourism Recovery 

COVID-19 Ontario Indigenous Tourism Sector Impact Analysis

Webinar #1: Protect, Restart, Recover

Funding and Loan Programs for Indigenous Businesses

On April 18, 2020 the federal government announced $306 million for small and medium sized Indigenous businesses. Funds will be available through Aboriginal Financial Institutions (AFIs) and administered by the National Aboriginal Capital Corporations Association and Métis capital corporations in partnership with Indigenous Services Canada. We strongly encourage Indigenous business owners to review the ‘FAQ about this loan’ document below and the ‘8 Ontario Aboriginal Financial Institutions (AFIs)’.

FAQ about this loan

8 Ontario Aboriginal Financial Institutions (AFIs)

Get Support Now!

ITO has put together a team of experienced Business Support Brokers to help you navigate and access available supports and resources. Their services are available to all our members. If you are not yet a member, please register here.

Please contact one of the Business Support Brokers for your region. If you are unsure of your region, you can find out which RTO you belong to here.

BSB Contact List

Region Business Support
Broker Name
Email Address
1, 2, 3, 4 Neil Debassige
5 Kirstine Baccar
6, 7, 8 Steven Fox-Radulovich
9, 10, 11, 12 Trina Mather-Simard
13a Neil Debassige

Patty Ann Owl

Nishin Meawasige

Sophie Pheasant

13b Kirstine Baccar

Nishin Measawige

13c Kirstine Baccar

Sophie Pheasant