The prioritized period for accepting applications for the Tourism Relief Fund is now over.

Thank you to all those who applied.

Funding decisions to be communicated beginning mid-June 2022

The Tourism Relief Fund is a program of the Government of Canada that supports businesses by enabling them to invest in expanding and enhancing visitor products and services. Administered by the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario), the program is designed to help businesses and destinations recover from the deep challenges of the pandemic and build toward future, sustained growth. 

In the regional destination encompassing the cities of Toronto, Mississauga and Brampton, the TRF is being delivered by Destination Toronto in its capacity as Regional Tourism Organization 5, in close partnership with Mississauga Tourism, the City of Brampton and the City of Toronto. 

This guide sets out the details of the program for potential applicants. Eligible applicants can apply for a non-repayable contribution between $20,000 and $100,000 for up to 50% of eligible project costs for incorporated for-profit businesses and up to 100% of eligible project costs for not-for-profit organizations and municipalities. Costs may be eligible on a retroactive basis for up to 12 months prior to the receipt of a project application, but no earlier than April 19, 2021. Without exception, all projects must be completed by, and all project expenses incurred no later than December 31, 2022.

All fully completed applications received via our online portal on or before Sunday, May 22, 2022 at 11:59pm ET will be considered for TRF funding.

Please check the eligibility criteria prior to applying. We look forward to receiving your application. 

Program Overview

The RTO5 Tourism Relief Fund, a Government of Canada investment delivered by the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario), has been created to support tourism businesses and organizations to adapt their operations, facilitate growth, and position Southern Ontario to be a destination of choice for both domestic and international visitors. Tourism businesses and organizations within the municipalities of Toronto, Mississauga, and Brampton that want to enhance the experience they offer to visitors in the region have until May 22, 2022 to apply.

Eligible applicants can apply for a non-repayable contribution between $20,000 and $100,000 for up to 50% of eligible project costs for incorporated for-profit businesses and up to 100% of eligible project costs for not-for-profit organizations and municipalities. Costs may be eligible on a retroactive basis for up to 12 months prior to the receipt of a project application, but no earlier than April 19, 2021. All projects must be completed by, and all project expenses incurred no later than December 31, 2022.

The Live Group Informational Webinars are now complete. If you missed the webinars, you can watch a 30 minute recording here and / or review the RTO5 Tourism Relief Fund slide presentation here.

Program Criteria

  • Eligible Applicants

    • Not-for-profit incorporated organizations (including tourism associations and destination management organizations)

    • Incorporated businesses, primarily small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs)

    • Post secondary institutions

    • Indigenous/First Nation/Métis owned businesses and organizations

    Ineligible Applicants

    Businesses that are in the following industries are not eligible for participation in this program:

    • Restaurants and restaurant chains

    • Hotel chains

    • Partnerships

    • Sole proprietors*

    • Retail sector businesses

    *Indigenous sole proprietors are eligible*

    Note 1: Independent businesses operating in the restaurant, hotel and retail sector may be considered for funding if they are an anchor product and the main reason for attracting visitors to the region. This will be assessed on a case-by-case basis.

    Note 2: If you are an eligible applicant whose operations reside outside of the RTO5 region, applications for the Tourism Relief Fund are available in your region. To check which regional office is accepting applications on your behalf, see TourismRelief.ca.

  • The municipalities of Toronto, Mississauga and Brampton  (RTO5) are proud to work in partnership with Indigenous Tourism Ontario (ITO) to deliver the Tourism Relief Fund in support of Indigenous tourism in the province of Ontario. 

    If your business or organization is 51% or more Indigenous-owned and controlled, please visit ITO's Tourism Relief Fund webpage to apply and access additional program support. As the recognized voice for Indigenous tourism in Ontario, ITO's program is customized to the needs of Indigenous communities, organizations and businesses. ITO and RTO5 will work together to support the growth of Indigenous tourism in the region. 

    For questions, contact TRF@indigenoustourismontario.ca

  • The program seeks to enable ultimate recipients to strategically adapt projects and services to adjust to changing public health requirements, while planning for and investing in recovery efforts for future growth. It will also empower tourism entities to seize new market opportunities while helping the visitor economy sector reposition itself for both domestic and international visitors as the country safely reopens. 

    Specific objectives are: 

    • Supporting those costs related to product development and enhancement of the visitor experience to help tourism businesses adapt to the 'new normal', modernize tourism offerings, and encourage the adoption of more environmentally sustainable practices; and

    • Supporting destination development so that it positions our region to take advantage of post-pandemic opportunities through strategic planning for medium to long-term investments, as well as supporting destination development in line with objectives set out in the Federal Tourism Growth Strategy and projected into the RTO5 regional priorities.

     

    Federal Government Priorities for the Tourism Relief Fund:

    As the Tourism Relief Fund in funded by the federal government, priority consideration will be given in the scoring evaluation to those applications with projects that address one or more of the following federal priorities:

    • Support the Indigenous tourism sector

    • Are led by a business/organization of strategic importance to the tourism sector in the region

    • Contribute to the economic development of a region

    • Contribute to job creation in the region

    • Take place in a tourism-dependent community/region, including projects supporting downtown cores

    • Are led or majority-led by persons of underrepresented groups: women, Indigenous peoples, members of Official Language Minority Communities (OLMC), youth, persons with disabilities, newcomers and immigrants, black communities, racialized communities, and LGBTQ2

     

    RTO5 Regional Priorities for the Tourism Relief Fund:

    Priority consideration will be given in the scoring evaluation to those applications with projects that address one or more of the following regional priorities:

    • Support the underrepresented stories and experiences in our communities, including Indigenous and equity-deserving communities;

    • Support the sector’s small businesses;

    • Expand destination appeal and experiences that have the potential to drive growth in visitation in the winter season;

    • Facilitate workforce development and promote the employment for youth and newcomers in the sector;

    • Facilitate the recovery of business travel (both group and transient);

    • Advance accessibility of tourism and hospitality businesses;

    • Augment environmental sustainability;

    • Support businesses and neighbourhoods also adversely affected by long-term infrastructure work and construction;

    • Elevate destination appeal through Placemaking and public art.

  • Qualifying projects could include:

    • Creating, adapting, and enhancing protocols and permanent infrastructure to meet health and safety requirements to accommodate visitors;

    • Modernizing operations, attractions, greening initiatives, and online sales services;

    • Developing capacity for more inclusive tourism experiences  to ensure welcoming, inclusive environments to diverse clientele, ;

    • developing sustainable community tourism plans based on research and market analysis, and designed to rebuild tourism confidence in communities;

    • Supporting seasonal dispersion by equipping tourism SMEs to extend their product offering to increase visitation during the winter and shoulder seasons;

    • Implementation of tourism plans that create or improve local assets, facilities, and planning for key infrastructure;

    • Developing and enhancing tourism services and experiences; and,

    • Implementing strategies to re-activate and animate downtown cores, main streets and business districts through activities, public art, and mixed-use spaces.

  • By way of example only, ineligible project costs include, but are not limited to, the following:

    • Costs of land, building or vehicle purchase;

    • Refinancing;

    • Costs of intangible assets such as goodwill, whether capitalized or expensed;

    • Depreciation or amortization expenses;

    • Interest on invested capital, bonds, debentures, or mortgages;

    • Bond discount;

    • Losses on investments, bad debts and any other debts;

    • Fines or penalties;

    • Costs related to litigation;

    • Non-incremental wages;

    • Fees for administrators, including payments to any member or officer of the Recipient’s Board of Directors;

    • Opportunity costs;

    • Hospitality and entertainment costs;

    • Costs of individual membership in a professional body (e.g. professional designations);

    • Lobbyist fees and

    • Gift cards

    Note: No expenses incurred prior to April 19, 2021 will be accepted.

    • April 22, 2022. RTO5’s Tourism Relief Fund online application, funding criteria guide and Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s) are live and applications are being accepted.

    • Consider registering for 1 of 2 Group Information Webinar Sessions to learn about the RTO5’s Tourism Relief Fund and to ask questions in a group setting:

      • April 27, 2022 at 9:30AM Group Session 1 

      • May 2, 2022 at 12:00PM Group Session 2

    NOTE: The Live Group Informational Webinars are now complete. If you missed the webinars, you can watch a 30 minute recording here and / or review the RTO5 Tourism Relief Fund slide presentation here.

    • From April 27 to May 20, 2022 applicants are encouraged to book a 25-minute call with one of our in-house Business Liaisons to seek answers to any questions related to either the program criteria and/or the application process. If you are interested, we encourage you to book your virtual call at your earliest convenience  by sending a short email to: trfinfo@rto5.com.

      • NOTE: Participating in either the webinar or talking 1:1 with one of our Business Liaisons concerning your application is optional and does not affect the evaluation or decision process.  

    • May 22, 2022 at 11:59PM.  Application portal closes. No further applications to the RTO5 Tourism Relief Fund will be accepted after this time.

    • December 31, 2022.   All projects to be completed by December 31, 2022, and all project expenses incurred no later than this date.   

     

  • The Live Group Informational Webinars are now complete. If you missed the webinars, you can watch a 30 minute recording here and / or review the RTO5 Tourism Relief Fund slide presentation here.

    Applicants are encouraged to book a 25-minute call with one of our in-house Business Liaisons to seek answers to any questions related to either the program criteria and/or the application process. If you are interested, we encourage you to book your virtual call at your earliest convenience by sending a short email to: trfinfo@rto5.com.

    NOTE: Participating in either the webinar or talking 1:1 with one of our Business Liaisons concerning your application is optional and does not affect the evaluation or decision process.  

  • What if I’ve already applied to the Tourism Relief Fund through the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario)?

    You can only make one application per organization to the Tourism Relief Fund.  

    Can a business/organization submit multiple applications?

    No. Only one application per business/organization is allowed to ensure as many applicants as possible are able to take advantage of the RTO5 Tourism Relief Fund throughout the entire duration of the  program, even if you applied last year and were unsuccessful.

    When will I know if our application was successful?

    Applicants can expect to be notified starting mid-June if their application was successful. All applicants - successful and unsuccessful - will receive a communication to inform them of the decision.

    Our main operating company is a limited partnership, but we do have a general partner that is an incorporated company that owns the partnership. Do we submit the application under the general partner incorporation number? 

    While the limited partnership would be connected to the project, the applicant would be the Incorporated company. 

    Can I submit a paper-based application rather than through the online application portal? No.  Only applications submitted electronically will be considered. If you are having difficulty, one of our RTO5 Business Liaison Specialists listed below would be happy to assist you.

     

    NEW FAQ’s added May 5, 2022

    I can’t afford to do this project unless I am successful in my application for funds. What should I do? 

    We recommend that you do not expend any funds prior to your project being accepted and you are able to meet any conditions to be outlined in your Contribution Agreement. Note that all applicants will be advised of their approval or decline status by mid-June with first payments in July advancing 65% of your approved funds.  

    I’ve been wanting to expand my facility for a long time – could I do that through this fund?

    Funding is intended for projects that meet the spirit of the guidelines and applications for the RTO5 Tourism Relief Fund as determined by FedDev Ontario. Please review the applications and guidelines to determine if your project is eligible and contact your  RTO5 Business Liaison Officer at trfinfo@rto5.com with any residual questions.  

    I have multiple projects that I have done (or am interested in doing) – can I submit more than one application? 

    No. Applicants are allowed to submit one application only. We recommend you combine your projects into an umbrella project with multiple components and outline each clearly in your project description.

    Would we be eligible as a registered charity? 

    If the registered charity is an Incorporated Not-For-Profit, you would be eligible.

    As an artist/musician or specific tourism festival/event management company, am I eligible for this fund?

    As an individual artist or musician, no.   Although not specifically listed, in some instances the above may be eligible if individuals or entities are incorporated as a business that meets all other eligibility criteria.

    What is a “key supplier or operator in the visitor experience”? 

    For the purposes of this program, a “key supplier or operator in the visitor experience” is defined as 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. In general terms, it would be generally accepted and easily proven that your organization is a tourism-leading organization that positively impacts the  regional visitor economy by building destination development.

    I am seeking more than $100,000, can I still apply for the FedDev Regional Tourism Relief Fund?

    No. RTO5 Regional Tourism Relief Fund is capped at $100,000 per application. If you are seeking funding over $100,000 in contribution,  you must apply directly on the FedDev Ontario website. We can make introductions for you.  When applying to FedDev Ontario for larger gifts, be aware that funding conditions and timing of approvals are different from the modified RTO5 Tourism Relief Fund. FedDev Ontario’s program information can be found here

    If my project was started last year and is finished, can I still apply for funding? 

    Yes,  IF your project meets the eligibility criteria as outlined in the application guide and your eligible project expenses started on or after April 19, 2021. Eligible expenses dated after April 19th, 2021, can be remitted providing support documentation is included as part of the financial report. More information on disbursements will be provided when your application is approved and terms of funding approval provided.

    What is an N.A.I.C.S. code and where do I find out what my code is? 

    The North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) is the standard used by federal statistical agencies in classifying business establishments for the purpose of collecting, analyzing, and publishing statistical data related to the business economy. Click https://www23.statcan.gc.ca/imdb/p3VD.pl?Function=getVD&TVD=1181553  to determine your N.A.I.C.S. code. 

    I am receiving/have received other COVID-19 related government funding to support my project. Can I still apply to TRF?

    Yes. but as long as the other government funding received for your TRF project is not from FedDev Ontario. You are able to make use of other government funding sources towards the specified activities contained in your funding application . However, any of these sourced  funds cannot overlap with TRF eligible expenses. (i.e. you cannot ‘double dip’). All applications are vetted for source of funds and, unfortunately, any violations in relation to this criteria will result in automatic cancellation of your application and FedDev Ontario may require your business to pay back any awarded and spent TRF funds and take further action as required.

    What are the “applicable government laws, rules, regulations, guidelines and other legally binding measures (Laws)” that the Applicants must be in full compliance with?

    In plain terms, all applicants confirm in their funding request that they operate “above board” in all matters, operate in accordance with municipal by-laws, provincial and federal laws, and that they are respectful of regulations and best practice guidelines in their industry and the visitor economy.  

    I would like to use TRF funding to cover marketing expenses. Is that permitted/eligible? 

    Marketing and promotional expenses beyond 20% of the whole project plan are typically not eligible for any TRF funding to purchase capital equipment and digitization costs are fully eligible. It would be rare to award any marketing dollars as eligible expenses. Any  exceptions would be evaluated on a case-by-case basis. 

    I am not familiar enough with financial statements, can you assist me?

    Yes, as part of your application you are required to submit the following mandatory documentation as an attachment:

    1. Historical financial statements for the last two fiscal years either in the form of an Audit, Review Engagement or Notice to Reader. Note: audited or reviewed statements are preferred. Internally-prepared financial statements may be accepted. At a minimum, this should include a balance sheet, income statement (including a breakdown of costs), and statement of cash flow; and

    2. Incorporation documents, and/or Partnership Agreement, Letters Patent or other relevant documentation.

    If we notice that applications submitted without these documents,you will be contacted to forward these before final assessment. will delay the assessment of your project’s merit.

    Can I add more attachments to my application?                                                                                                              

    Yes, other attachments are permitted as supporting information. They must be relevant to the project and complement answers provided in the Application for Funding. These may include a project plan, detailed budgets, copies of relevant permits/licenses, evidence of support from the community, supplier quotes, and other relevant documents.

    Can you tell me more about financial statements?

    Financial statements are written records that convey the business activities and the financial performance of an organization. Financial statements are often audited by government agencies, accountants, firms, etc. to ensure accuracy and for tax, financing, or investing purposes. Financial statements include balance sheets and income statements.

    It is a mandatory requirement under the TRF that applicants provide internal or external financial statements for the last two full fiscal years. The glossary below can be used to support applicants in providing this information.

    Annex – Glossary of terms: financial statements

     

    CFO/CEO attested

    A cover letter to a financial statement (balance sheet, and income statement) that is prepared by the company and attested to be true by the CFO or CEO of the company or equivalent. CFO/CEO equivalent will include the following: President, Vice President, Director of Finance, Finance Manager, or Controller

    External financial statements

    Externally prepared financial statements such as audited financial statements, review engagement, or notice to reader.

    Financial statement

    1. Balance sheet – A financial document that comprehensively demonstrates a business’s financial position through the evaluation of assets, liabilities, and shareholder equity at a specific point in time.

    2. Income statement – A financial document that demonstrates a business’s profitability through summarizing its revenue and expenses on a quarterly or annual basis.

    A financial statement is not:

    • An income tax return /Notice of Assessment

    • A bank statement or other banking information

    Interim financial statement

    A financial statement prepared by the company in the case that a company has existed for less than one year, or if the company's financial statements are not available for the current operating year. It does not include an attestation.

    Internal financial statements

    Internally-prepared financial statements such as a CEO/CFO or equivalent attested financial statement. At a minimum, these statements include a balance sheet, income statement (including breakdown of costs), and statement of cash flow.

    Notice to Reader

    A compilation of information provided by the company. The information undergoes no tests and the accountant preparing them offers no opinion or assurance. The cover letter by the accountant discloses what type of financial statement is being released (audited, review-engagement, or notice to reader).

    Officer’s Certificate

    An Officer’s Certificate identifies the officer and directors of an organization, and indicates that they have the authority to enter into a funding agreement on behalf of an applicant applying for funding. It also provides a specimen signature for each officer or director identified.

    Review engagement

    An accountant-reviewed financial statement focusing only on whether the statement is “plausible”—that is, likely to be accurate. The accountant preparing these statements does not give an opinion on their quality or accuracy. The cover letter by the accountant discloses what type of financial statement is being released (audited, review-engagement, or notice to reader).

Complete an Application

Applications will be accepted until May 22nd, 2022 at 11:59PM.
Want to know what questions are on the application before applying? Read the Updated Application Guide here.

Ready to apply? Use this application checklist to ensure you've completed everything. 

Important Note: 

  • The fillable online application is a Google Forms document. Only Google Gmail users will be able to start, stop and save the application and then return to the application later without losing any data entered.  

  • Non-Google Gmail users will be unable to save the document at any time prior to submission. Any data entered on the application will not be saved if you close the application prior to submission.  We recommend either:

1. Using your Gmail address (or opting in for creating a Gmail address) for the application submission, OR

2. Print off the PDF version of the Application Worksheet so you can review all questions, write your answer content offline at your own convenience, and then complete our online application via copying and pasting your longer text responses directly on the Google Forms application form when you know that you can complete the application uninterrupted.

Helpful Resources

Helpful Resources

FedDev logo - Tourism Relief Fund