FedDev Ontario supports tourism and recovery efforts across Southern Ontario

News release

The Government of Canada is investing $30 million to support destination marketing organizations across the region

May 31, 2020 – Waterloo, Ontario

Helping businesses weather the pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a profound economic impact on businesses and organizations across the country. The tourism sector in particular has suffered, as travel and tourism-related activities have ceased. From the outset, the Government of Canada has introduced measures to support sectors affected by the pandemic, including the Regional Relief and Recovery Fund (RRRF), launched on May 13.

The national $962-million fund, being delivered through Canada’s regional development agencies, aims to support businesses and tourism SMEs across Canada that have been unable to access existing federal relief measures. In southern Ontario, FedDev Ontario is delivering $213 million to support the region’s SMEs.

Dedicated support for tourism

The Tourism Industry Association of Ontario supports Ontario’s vibrant and diverse tourism industry and advocates for the importance of the industry to economic development and job creation.

That is why today, the Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages, announced that the Tourism Industry Association of Ontario (TIAO) will receive $30 million in FedDev Ontario RRRF funding to provide financial relief to destination marketing organizations (DMOs) across southern Ontario that have experienced significant revenue shortfalls.

DMOs are critical to the fabric of local tourism sectors in communities across the region. The funding delivered by TIAO will support southern Ontario’s 66 DMOs to drive visitors back into local communities as the economy reopens. This, in turn will help generate new revenue for tourism dependent SMEs and help local economic recovery in communities across the region. Applications can be submitted online starting June 5. For more information on how to apply, visit www.tiaontario.ca.

Canada’s tourism sector showcases its culture, diversity, natural beauty and unique experiences to the world. It generates significant economic benefits across the country and supports one in 10 jobs. The funds being delivered in partnership through FedDev Ontario and TIAO will help to support the economic recovery of this critical sector in the months to come. 


"Our tourism sector and the 1.8 million people it employs across Canada have been hit hard by COVID-19, and we’re here for them. During National Tourism Week, our message to the sector and those whose livelihoods depend on it is clear: we’re working with you to mitigate the impact of COVID-19. We’re working with you as our economy reopens so we can come back strong.”
— The Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages and Minister responsible for Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario

"From local wineries to natural attractions, we want to support the businesses operating in this sector so they can keep showcasing our region’s attractions. FedDev Ontario’s partnership with the Tourism Industry Association of Ontario will do just this, delivering targeted funds to the organizations best equipped to market southern Ontario’s tourist attractions and keep them resilient."
— Kate Young, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages (FedDev Ontario)

“The tourism sector is vital to the economic fabric of southern Ontario and has suffered tremendously by the COVID-19 pandemic. We are pleased to deliver this fund in partnership with FedDev Ontario, to support destination marketing organizations during these difficult times and to continue to promote tourism in communities across southern Ontario.”
— Beth Potter, President and CEO, Tourism Industry Association of Ontario (TIAO)

Quick facts

  • The Tourism Industry Association of Ontario represents 200,000 businesses and 400,000 employees and takes on pressing policy issues that impact the Ontario tourism industry.

  • Destination marketing organization members typically include hotels, restaurants, transportation organizations, tourism operators, retailers and other tourism dependent businesses in a local community.

  • The amount of funding available to individual DMOs will be determined by TIAO, based on each DMO’s annual operating budget. TIAO will be releasing additional details on the project in the coming days.

  • In Ontario, tourism accounts for $39.4 billion of GDP and directly and indirectly supports more than 820,000 jobs.

  • Minister Joly also announced that over the next 18 months, Destination Canada, Canada’s national marketing organization, will partner with provinces and territories to deliver locally led marketing programs encouraging Canadian’s to discover local tourist sites. Destination Canada will invest $30 million with provincial marketing organizations (PMOs), which will be matched by provinces and territories bringing the total investment to $60 million.

Associated links


Alexander Cohen
Press Secretary, Office of the Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages

Media Relations
Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario

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