Ontario Budget Highlights: Great News for our Sector!

Thursday Mar 25, 2021

Author: NOTO

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Ontario Budget Highlights: Great News for our Sector! 

We begin the day with some great 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 Ontario's budget, the following was announced:

The New Ontario Tourism and Hospitality Small Business Support Grant:

The government is introducing the new Ontario Tourism and Hospitality Small Business Support Grant, which will provide an estimated $100 million in one‑time payments of $10,000 to $20,000 to eligible small businesses. Eligible businesses 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. Applying online will be easy. Further details can be obtained at Ontario.ca/COVIDsupport.

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, providing approximately $1.3 million in financial assistance. 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:

Ontario is introducing the Ontario Tourism Recovery Program, 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 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.

Additional Funding for NOHFC:

Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation (NOHFC) is changing to better serve the Northern economy. In September 2020, the government launched the short-term Northern Ontario Recovery Program (NORP). In February 2021, the government announced an improved NOHFC program with a focus on culture, talent, business development and community infrastructure. Alongside these programs, 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:

In the 2020 Budget, the government announced that it would explore ways to 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 announcements made include additional supports for Regional Tourism Organizations, more investments in highways, rail and broadband, creating opportunities for job training, and more. We will provide more details on these items in our weekly COVID-19 update.

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

We would like to take this opportunity to thank each and every one of 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 today's 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. They have all been fierce supporters of our sector within Government.

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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