Covid-19 Funding Resources


The Government of Ontario has recently shared additional COVID-19 resources for businesses.

Click here for an extensive Q&A document which covers a number of topics.

Click here for a full list of supports for businesses on Ontario’s COVID-19 Help for Business site. This site is continually updated and will include:

  • The launch of a new app to make it easier and more convenient for businesses and organizations to read and verify proof of vaccination (i.e., that a digital vaccine receipt is valid);
  • Providing communication supports to businesses to inform the public of the new requirement.

Businesses and organization may also submit questions and feedback to the Ministry of Health by clicking here.

Tourism Relief Fund 

The Government of Canada has just launched the Tourism Relief Fund, to be delivered through FedDev Ontario. The Tourism Relief Fund 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 has a $500 million budget (ending March 31, 2023) and will focus on product development and destination development. The fund will empower businesses to create or enhance tourism experiences and products to attract visitors and to help the sector provide the best Canadian tourism experiences. 

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. 

The fund will offer a minimum of $50 million to support Indigenous tourism initiatives and $15 million will be dedicated to national initiatives that support the advancement of national tourism priorities. Eligible applicants include tourism entities that cater mainly to visitors, such including businesses, not-for-profit organizations, and band councils or other Indigenous organizations and cooperatives.  

To be considered eligible for this fund, applicants must meet at least one of the following criteria: 

  • Be a key supplier or operator in the visitor experience; 
  • Be part of a defined tourism cluster or a tourism dependent community, including supporting downtown cores; or 
  • Provide an anchor product or service in a tourism destination. 

For more information on eligibility and how to apply, please consult the Tourism Relief Fund – Application guide - FedDev Ontario  

Reopening Fund

The Reopening Fund will provide $200 million over two years through existing programs to support Canada’s festivals, cultural events, outdoor theatre performances, heritage celebrations, local museums, amateur sport events, and more. It will support organizations and projects that deliver in-person experiences and events that draw visitors to our communities, and will complement tourism-related initiatives to be delivered by federal Regional Development Agencies. It will be delivered by Canadian Heritage, the Canada Council for the Arts and Telefilm Canada. Click here to learn how to apply. 


Major Festivals and Events Support Initiative

The Major Festivals and Events Support Initiative has a budget of $200 million over two years and is delivered by Canada Economic Development for Quebec Regions, the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario and Western Economic Diversification Canada. It specifically supports major, recurring festivals and events with annual revenues exceeding $10 million. ​

The initiative will help events with their liquidity needs to ensure continued operations or adapt their activities to new, pandemic-related realities and requirements. It will also assist in enhancing product and experience offering so that events are better positioned as the economy reopens.

Click here to Apply


Recovery Fund for Arts, Culture, Heritage, and Sport Sectors

The Recovery Fund for Arts, Culture, Heritage and Sport Sectors will provide $300 million over two years. It will be administered by existing Canadian Heritage programs as well as programs delivered by the Canada Council for the Arts and Telefilm Canada. It includes two streams :

1. Reinforcing Recovery Foundations – to provide additional relief to arts, culture and sport organizations that are still struggling with operational viability due to the pandemic.

2. Investing in the Recovery – to provide organizations and Canadians working in these sectors who are ready to lead recovery in the arts, culture and heritage sectors with the financial means to help build organizational resilience and pursue business innovation and transformation. This will also contribute to advancing equity, diversity and inclusion in these sectors as well as greening activities.

Click Here for More Details on How to Apply.  

Ontario 2021 Budget Announcement - March 24, 2021

The government showed support for the Tourism Industry that was hit hard by the COVID-19 Pandemic that caused stay-at-home orders and economic closures to help stop the spread. A package was presented that included an additional $400 million program that is aimed at tourism and hospitality businesses - in addition to the $225 million that was already announced. With this funding:

Tax Credits — Re-stating an announcement first made in the 2020 budget, the government is pledging to introduce legislation for a $150-million tax credit on money spent by Ontario residents on or at Ontario attractions — when it is safe to do so.

Supporting RTOs — The province’s Regional Tourism Organizations will get an additional $15 million through 2022 to help stabilize and support the tourism sector’s efforts to attract domestic and international visitors.

Ontario Arts Council — Funding to the Council will increase by $10 million in 2021-22.

Ontario Tourism and Hospitality Small Business Support Grant ($100m) 

A new program, separate from the Ontario Small Business Support Grant, designed to support tourism and hospitality small businesses.  Businesses must demonstrate they have experienced a minimum 20 per cent revenue decline and have less than 100 employees to qualify.  There is expectation for the government to release further details in the coming days on when the application process will take place but are reassured that the revenue calculation formula will reflect the seasonal nature of tourism, unlike the Ontario Small Business Support Grant.  Please note if you were eligible for the Ontario Small Business Support grant, you can’t also apply for this grant too. 

Tourism Recovery Program ($100m)  

The newly announced Tourism Recovery Program is a new government initiative. Details on the program remain to be revealed, however the budget document states it will “provide support for historically successful businesses that have helped to drive employment and visitation in their regions by assisting with costs related to restructuring, safe reopening, recalibrated marketing activities and partnership development.” 

TIAO has reached out to the Ministry of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries for more details and will invite civil servants to provide more details on the program on one of TIAO’s stakeholder calls as soon as possible.  

Ontario Small Business Support Grant Doubled (Total program cost $3.4 billion) 

For those tourism businesses that were eligible for the Ontario Small Business Support Grant, the budget revealed that you’re in line for an automatic second payment without even needing to reapply. The government announced it was more than doubling the original financial envelope of the initial program to $3.4 billion. Remember, if you have not applied for the first payment, you have only till March 31st to make your claim.  

Digital Main Street ($10m) 

The government announced that it was adding $10 million to the digital main street program to help more small businesses achieve a digital transformation and serve customers effectively online. The program will continue to provide digital transformation grants, an online learning platform, training programs, and Digital Service Squads offering technical support to small business owners. 

Support for Resource-Based Tourism Businesses ($1.3m) 

The government has announced further targeted support for resource‐based tourism businesses that have been impacted by the COVID‐19 pandemic.  Those eligible commercial outpost camps and hunting and fishing outfitters would receive another year of relief from certain rents and fees, providing approximately $1.3 million in financial assistance. 

Ontario’s Provincial Parks (Unknown total cost at this point) 

The Ontario government is to make access to provincial parks and conservation areas free of charge from Monday to Thursday, from May 1st to September 2nd. We’ve been informed that for businesses that have purchased summer or year-round permits, you will receive an extension to your permit of a year free of charge.  

In addition, “Ontario will also invest an estimated $3.9 million over three years to enhance the provincial park experience by using technology to better connect the people of Ontario with a one‐stop shop to help them find recreational opportunities that fit their location and interests. The province and local businesses will collaborate to develop ideas to bolster Ontario’s tourism economy and create new ways to enjoy provincial parks.” More details when we receive them.  

Businesses: Get help with COVID-19 costs

Find out if your business is eligible for grants to help with the cost of personal protective equipment, property taxes, energy bills and extra support if you have to close or significantly restrict services because of provincial public health measures.

Click here:  and see if you apply. 

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