Ontario Budget Highlights

Wednesday Mar 31, 2021

Author: NOTO

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Ontario Budget Highlights - Great News For Our Sector!

In this week's budget announcement, there was some good news for the Resource-Based Tourism Industry! The Government has listened to some of our requests and have made announcements that will help our sector. In the budget, the following was announced:

The New Ontario Tourism and Hospitality Small Business Support Grant:

This grant will provide one‑time payments of $10,000 to $20,000 to eligible small businesses. Eligible businesses will include:

  • Hotels
  • Motels
  • Travel Agencies
  • Amusement and Water Parks
  • Hunting and Fishing Camps
  • Recreational and Vacation Camps (e.g., children’s overnight summer camps)

Businesses must demonstrate they have experienced a minimum 20 per cent revenue decline and have less than 100 employees to qualify. More details will be made available soon. Please note: Any small businesses that received the Ontario Small Business Support Grant will not be eligible for this new grant.

Another Year of Relief from Certain Rents and Fees for Resource‑Based Tourism Businesses:

Eligible Commercial Outpost Camps and hunting and fishing outfitters would receive another year of relief from certain rents and fees. This relief will help with the recovery of the sector by supporting businesses that employ residents and contribute to local communities.

Ontario’s Tourism Recovery Program:

The Ontario Tourism Recovery Program is a new $100 million initiative for 2021–22 to help tourism operators, anchor businesses and attractions recover from the impacts of COVID‑19. This initiative will provide support by assisting with costs related to restructuring, safe reopening, recalibrated marketing activities and partnership development.

Additional Funding for NOHFC:

An additional $50 million over the next two years will be allocated to the NOHFC to support investments in infrastructure, culture, economic development and training. These new programs will help increase economic development and promote job creation in all regions of the North.

Ontario Travel Tax Credit:

The Government will provide Ontario residents with support of up to 20 per cent for eligible Ontario tourism expenses to encourage them to discover the province in 2021. The government has set aside $150 million and intends to introduce legislation for a tax credit to encourage residents to explore Ontario when public health experts advise that it is safe to travel.

Doubling the Ontario Small Business Support Grant:

Small businesses who have been determined as eligible recipients of the Ontario Small Business Support Grant will automatically be entitled to a second payment in an amount equal to the first payment they received. They will not need to apply again to receive this additional funding.


Other notable announcements made include:

Additional supports for Regional Tourism Organizations: Ontario is committing $15 million for the Regional Tourism Organizations (RTOs) in 2021–22. The initiative will help stabilize and support the tourism sector’s efforts to attract domestic and international visitors when it is safe to do so. 

Investing in Broadband:The 2021 Budget commits a historic new investment of $2.8 billion in broadband infrastructure to ensure that every region in the province has access to reliable broadband services by 2025. 

Supporting Passenger Rail in the North: Ontario is committed to reviewing initiatives to meet transportation needs in the North to optimize bus services and to develop options for passenger rail services across Northern Ontario. In keeping with the draft Transportation Plan for Northern Ontario, the government is accelerating work to examine safety and infrastructure needs for potential future passenger rail service between Toronto, North Bay, Timmins and Cochrane. Ontario is investing $5 million to support planning and design work. An initial business case is being finalized and is expected to be released in spring 2021.

Providing Employment and Training Supports: Ontario is investing an additional $614.3 million during 2020–21 and 2021–22 to provide targeted employment and training supports. This includes up to:

  • $157.2 million to provide workers in the hardest hit sectors during the pandemic — including the hospitality and tourism sectors — with career counselling and urgent training to find new careers and good jobs. This support will be provided by Employment Ontario’s range of client services and community development programs.

  • $85.0 million to support the Skills Development Fund to help training and employment organizations assist workers during the province’s economic recovery. The funded projects will give laid-off workers immediate access to training supports or new jobs, improve the quality of training, support traditionally underrepresented groups, increase apprentice registrations and completion, better serve local communities and support the talent needs of small businesses.
  • $117.3 million to assist women, racialized individuals, Indigenous peoples, youth and people with disabilities who are facing the highest rates of unemployment during the pandemic. This funding will help remove barriers and offer training opportunities so they can get the in-demand skills they need for good jobs and get connected with employers looking to grow their businesses.
  • $60.8 million to upgrade and expand high-speed internet and other digital infrastructure so community organizations, training providers and colleges can provide employment and training services remotely to workers in every corner of the province, including rural, remote and Northern regions.
  • $194 million to further support Ontario workers with additional employment and training programs and services that are responsive to the province’s economic recovery.

As always, we will provide as much information about each of these programs as soon as more details become available.

Thank you for taking the time to participate in our surveys, webinars, for providing feedback to NOTO and for sharing your stories with us. Your participation is what guides and supports NOTO's advocacy efforts. As these announcements show, we are stronger together! We would also like to thank Minister Bethlenfalvy, Minister Yakabuski and Minister MacLeod for their support of our sector.

Please know that our work is not done, and that NOTO will continue to advocate and ensure you have the support you need as we continue to face the uncertainty of the 2021 season.

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