FedDev Ontario supports Niagara region’s tourism sector

News release

$900K for Nigara, Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario

Minister Joly announces $900,000 to strengthen tourism in Niagara-on-the-Lake and maintain jobs

August 25, 2020 – Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario

Niagara-on-the-Lake’s tourism industry is fundamental to the vitality of the Niagara region and a major contributor to the economy. Every year, millions of travellers visit the area to enjoy its natural beauty, world-class wineries, culture, theatre and historical charm. This influx of visitors translates to income and employment for many local residents. The COVID-19 pandemic has had a severe economic impact on businesses and organizations across Canada, particularly those that rely on travel and tourism. As the economy reopens, the Government of Canada continues to support the recovery and growth of this vital industry.

Government of Canada invests in new fund for Niagara-on-the-Lake tourism operators

Today, the Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages and Minister responsible for FedDev Ontario, announced a non-repayable FedDev Ontario investment of $500,000 to support the tourism industry in Niagara-on-the-Lake.

With this investment, the Town of Niagara-on-the-Lake will establish a fund that will provide contributions of up to $20,000 to small- and medium-sized businesses in the tourism sector. Tourism-oriented SMEs will receive support to offset the costs of reopening and adapting. The project is expected to support 50 businesses and maintain about 100 jobs.

The Minister also announced the intention to provide a contribution of up to $400,000 to the Shaw Festival to support outdoor theatre performances and support visitor activity in Niagara-on-the-Lake.

Minister Joly also participated in a roundtable where she met with representatives from the local tourism industry to discuss challenges and opportunities for growth and support.

In the face of the pandemic, the tourism sector has shown its resilience by adapting to current realities and seeking opportunities for recovery and growth. The Government of Canada is working to support these businesses and communities by helping to maintain jobs and prepare the tourism sector for a strong comeback.


"Our tourism industry and the 1.8 million Canadians it employs have been hit hard by COVID-19, and we’re here for them. This funding from FedDev Ontario will help Niagara-on-the-Lake and the Shaw Festival continue welcoming visitors, adapt to the new reality and keep supporting the region’s visitor economy. Our message to the Niagara’s tourism sector and those whose livelihoods depend on it is clear: we’ve been here for you with immediate measures, we’re here for you now as our economy reopens and we’ll get through this, together. We’re working with you to support good, local jobs and help Niagara tourism 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 theatres to world-class wineries, we are supporting the businesses in the Niagara-on-the-Lake tourism sector so they can keep showcasing all they have to offer. The investment in Niagara-on-the-Lake and the Shaw will deliver support directly to local tourism, help the sector adapt and stay resilient."
- Vance Badawey, Member of Parliament for Niagara Centre

"The COVID-19 pandemic has been challenging across all sectors of the economy. Niagara-on-the-Lake's tourism sector is an important part of our local economy here in Niagara and it's essential that the Government of Canada supports our local businesses as they adapt, keep employees and visitors safe, and prepare for a strong recovery."
- Chris Bittle, Member of Parliament for St. Catharines

"We are thrilled with this opportunity to help our business community adjust to changes caused by this pandemic. Supporting the recovery of Niagara-on-the-Lake businesses is a priority for the Town and we are grateful for this partnership and the vital assistance it will provide."
- Sheldon Randall, Interim Chief Administrative Officer, Niagara-on-the-Lake

"On behalf of the Town of Niagara-on-the-Lake, I would like to thank FedDev Ontario for this contribution. This funding will help to reduce the impacts of COVID-19, and in some cases serve as a life preserver for many local businesses, especially heading into the shoulder season. Thanks to this opportunity, and continued support from the Province, working together, we are confident that Niagara-on-the-Lake will recover stronger than ever."
- Betty Disero, Lord Mayor, Niagara-on-the-Lake

"On behalf of the Shaw Festival, our artists, craftspeople, technicians, volunteers, board and admin workers, we are thrilled to be able to partner with FedDev Ontario to be able to support the Town of Niagara-on-the-Lake, the Region of Niagara and Tourism NOTL in encouraging a resurgence of safe, outdoor gatherings through a series of musical performance opportunities and a few other surprises. The Shaw will use these funds to provide free and low-cost outdoor performance activities and purchase equipment to ensure the safest possible experience for everyone.”
- Tim Jennings, Executive Director, Shaw Festival

Quick facts

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

  • Niagara-on-the-Lake attracts more than 3 million visitors per year.

  • The Shaw Festival is a major tourist attraction in Niagara-on-the-Lake, drawing more than 250,000 festival-goers and generating over $220 million in economic activity each year.

  • About 25% of Niagara-on-the-Lake’s population are employed in the tourism sector.

  • FedDev Ontario has invested over $59 million in 179 tourism projects since 2015.

  • Recipients of Niagara-on-the-Lake’s fund must provide a minimum 20 percent contribution toward total project costs. For more information, visit Niagara-on-the-Lake.

  • FedDev Ontario has invested over $50 million in 50 projects in the Niagara region since 2015.

  • On August 20, 2019, Minister Joly announced over $1.2 million through FedDev Ontario’s Canadian Experiences Fund for six projects to enhance the Niagara region’s Indigenous, year-round, rural and culinary tourism opportunities.

  • On May 31, 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.

Associated links


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

Media Relations
FedDev Ontario

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