Government of Canada investment supports recovery of Niagara Region tourism sector

News release

$2 million for Niagara’s tourism-dependent businesses, maintaining 325 jobs

July 29, 2021 – Port Colborne, Ontario

Niagara Region’s tourism industry is known across Canada and the world. Traditionally, millions of annual visitors take in the Falls, sample vintages from world-class wineries and discover the region’s many historical and cultural attractions. Tourism is essential to the vitality of the region and is a lifeline for  many local businesses. The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on tourism operators, but with Government of Canada support, businesses are preparing to build forward and prepare for a more stable economic future.

Today, Vance Badawey, Member of Parliament for Niagara Centre announced a non-repayable FedDev Ontario investment of $2 million for the Regional Municipality of Niagara to support the recovery of the Niagara Region tourism industry. The announcement was made on behalf of the Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages and Minister responsible for FedDev Ontario.

With this funding, the Regional Municipality of Niagara will provide tourism-dependent businesses with up to $20,000 in non-repayable contributions to support costs associated with adapting and reopening, such as space renovations and retrofits, purchase of equipment, fixtures and personal protective equipment, as well as support for technology and digitization. The funding is being delivered in partnership with the following municipalities that form part of Niagara’s Economic Rapid Response Team: Fort Erie; Grimsby; Lincoln; Niagara Falls; Pelham; Port Colborne; St. Catharines; Thorold; Wainfleet; Welland and West Lincoln. The project is expected to support more than 150 businesses and maintain about 325 jobs.

Funding is supporting local businesses like White Meadows Farms in St, Catharines. The family-owned farm which has for generations produced maple syrup and other offerings, was able to adapt its sugar bush into an outdoor dining experience.

Another example is the Thorold Community Theatre, which used the funds to acquire equipment that allowed them to expand their offerings to include radio drama.

The tourism sector continues to demonstrate its resilience by adapting to challenges 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.


“In the Niagara Region, tourism is a way of life. So many individuals work in this sector that need a helping hand right now. Our Government is here for you. With today’s investment, we are providing targeted support to the local businesses that depend on tourism, and helping this sector stay resilient while preparing for a strong future.”
- Vance Badawey, Member of Parliament for Niagara Centre

“Canada’s tourism industry is a valuable part of our economy, and also how we export our identity to the world. In the Niagara Region, tourism is an important part of life and we know this has been disrupted by the global health crisis. This funding from FedDev Ontario will help businesses and communities in the Niagara Region cover costs associated with improving safety and adapting to changing protocols. To those in the tourism sector: we are here for you and will continue to support you as Canada’s tourism works toward future recovery and revitalization.”
- The Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages and Minister responsible for the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario

"This federal government investment is allowing our tourism establishments to cover costs of retrofitting their physical spaces and adapting technology so they can stay in business, keep employees and visitors safe, and prepare for future success." 
- Chris Bittle, Member of Parliament for St. Catharines

“Our tourism operators are critical contributors to Niagara’s economy, and while they have been hit especially hard by this pandemic, they have also shown remarkable resiliency and innovation. On behalf of Regional Council, I would like to thank FedDev Ontario for this direct financial support, which will go a long way in helping the many small, medium and large tourism operators across Niagara continue to weather this storm and keep Niagara on the path to economic prosperity.”
- Jim Bradley, Niagara Regional Chair

“The Tourism Adaptation funding through FedDev Ontario was instrumental in the development of our Sugar Bush Campout Lunch. Without this funding we would have never been able to revamp part of our Sugar Bush into a unique outdoor dining experience. We had nothing but great feedback from our guests and are excited to continue offering our Sugar Bush Campout Lunches for years to come.”
- Amanda Bering, White Meadows Farms

“Live theatre has been decimated by the pandemic, but the grant we received from FedDev Ontario has kept Thorold Community Theatre alive and focused on the future. That grant enabled the group to purchase equipment that is beyond our usual scope and expand our creative horizons to include radio drama. At a time when entertainment and diversions are more important than ever, Thorold Community Theatre is grateful for the opportunity to continue bringing joy and laughter to our audience -- even if it’s only in their imagination.”
- Diana Burse, Thorold Community Theatre

Quick facts

  • Prior to COVID-19, businesses in Niagara Region would serve more than 12 million tourists each year. There are 2,800 tourism establishments within the region.

  • This project is part of a series of investments across southern Ontario totaling $14.8 million to support the region’s tourism sector in adapting to the impacts of COVID-19, including a non-repayable investment of $500,000 to support the tourism industry in Niagara-on-the-Lake, and an additional $400,000 non-repayable investment for Shaw Festival to support outdoor theatre performances and visitor activity in Niagara-on-the-Lake.

  • Since November 1, 2015, FedDev Ontario has invested over $165 million in nearly 500 tourism-related projects. This includes over $93 million for 322 Regional Relief and Recovery Fund projects.

  • Through the recently announced Canada Community Revitalization Fund, Major Festivals and Events Support Initiative, Jobs and Growth Fund, Aerospace Regional recovery Initiative and Tourism Relief Fund, Canada’s regional development agencies are continuing to deliver targeted support for economic recovery in the region. Application intake for these programs is now open in southern Ontario through FedDev Ontario.

Associated links


Catherine Mounier-Desrochers
Press Secretary, Office of the Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages

Media Relations
FedDev Ontario
Toll Free: 1-866-593-5505

Stay connected

Subscribe to our Southern Ontario Spotlight monthly newsletter and follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn for more information on how we are growing businesses, cultivating partnerships and building strong communities in southern Ontario.

Page details

Date modified: