Government of Canada announces $68.5 million in relief support for southern Ontario tourism sector

Government of Canada announces $68.5 million in relief support for southern Ontario tourism sector

 Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario

News Release

Investment will help over 1,300 tourism entities, including Indigenous tourism, recover, while creating and maintaining up to 4,200 jobs

April 6, 2022 – Ottawa, Ontario

Tourism is essential to the vitality of local businesses and communities across southern Ontario, bringing millions of visitors to the region each year. Indigenous tourism offers unique opportunities for Indigenous cultural expression and preservation to be shared with visitors from around the world. The Government of Canada is continuing to support the tourism sector as Canada recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic and ensuring local tourism businesses have the tools they need to position themselves for a strong and resilient economic future.

Today, the Honourable Helena Jaczek, Minister responsible for the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario) announced a total investment of $68.5 million through the Tourism Relief Fund for Indigenous Tourism Ontario and 11 Regional Tourism Organizations (RTOs) across southern Ontario. This investment will help tourism businesses and communities safely welcome back visitors, recover from the impacts of the pandemic and prepare for future growth.

With an investment of $3.5 million, Indigenous Tourism Ontario will provide non-repayable contributions of up to $100,000 to Indigenous businesses, not-for-profit organizations, Band Councils, and Indigenous communities to invest in new or enhanced tourism experiences, upgrade tourism assets, and attract domestic and international tourists. ITO will also deliver the Renew Indigenous Tourism program to support Indigenous organizations, businesses, and entrepreneurs as they work to recover from the pandemic. This investment will support up to 40 Indigenous projects to create and maintain up to 100 jobs.

As part of this investment, 11 RTOs across southern Ontario will also receive a combined investment of $65 million to distribute funding through non-repayable contributions of up to $100,000 to southern Ontario tourism-oriented businesses and organizations to innovate and invest in new and enhanced tourism experiences to attract visitors from within Canada and around the world. This investment will support up to 1,300 tourism entities and create or maintain up to 4,100 jobs. Please see the backgrounder for additional project details.

In total, this overall investment will support 1,340 tourism entities and create and maintain 4,200 jobs.

More information on how to apply for support will be available on the ITO and eligible RTO’s websites shortly.


  • Tourism Relief Fund
  • Backgrounder
  • Application guide
  • FedDev TRF Application Form
  • Tourism Partnership of Niagara (RTO 2) (Niagara Region) – Tourism Relief Fund - $8.5 million
  • Niagara-On-The-Lake

    St. Catharines

    Niagara Falls

    Fort Erie

    Port Colborne


    Applicants must fall under one of the following parameters to be eligible for funding:

    1.A key supplier/operator in the visitor experience - one that provides the infrastructure and services necessary to support a tourism economy, connects tourism products to potential markets, leads planning for sustainable destination development and supports capacity building/skill development in the sector.

    2.Part of a defined tourism cluster or tourism-dependent community

    A tourism cluster is a geographic concentration of businesses and organizations involved in tourism, linked by common and complementary products and services that are tailored to the visitor economy and supported by a network of services and associated institutions. A tourism cluster can include, but is not limited to, a community or region that is dependent on tourism for economic activity or is transitioning towards a more tourism-focused local economy.

    3.An anchor product or service in a destination

    An anchor product or service in a destination is defined as a key asset that serves as a motivator of travel to the region. It is the activity or product that provides the catalyst for the visitor to visit the destination. Anchor products may be operated by for-profit or not-for-profit organizations.

    Note: Ineligible applicants:

    Businesses that are in the following industries are normally not eligible under this initiative:

  • restaurants
  • retail sector
  • hotel chains
  • 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
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