Ontario is providing a new round of funding and support to tourism and hospitality-based businesses across the province.

Ontario says they will be introducing the Ontario Tourism and Hospitality Small Business Support Grant soon, which will provide one-time $10,000 to $20,000 payments to eligible businesses in the tourism and hospitality sector.

“There’s no question that we are very sensitive to their challenges,” said Kenora-Rainy River MPP Greg Rickford, during a scrum with regional media members last week.

Overall, it’s expected to provide $100 million in one-time payments to businesses like hotels, motels, hunting and fishing camps, recreational and vacation camps, travel agencies and amusement and water parks.

Prior to the pandemic, Ontario’s tourism sector generated more than $36 billion in economic activity and supported approximately 400,000 jobs. As a direct result of the pandemic, the tourism sector has lost more than $18 billion in revenue alone and more than 200,000 jobs.

“The budget is providing further support for them as we navigate through the third wave and moving forward. We’re making our best efforts to support them with more focused tourist and resort operator programs. But at the end of the day, the only thing that will be helpful for them is to be able to put customers back in their business safely.”

Rickford, who also serves as the Minister of Indigenous Affairs, Energy and Northern Development and Mines, also praised Ontario’s ongoing support programs for businesses across the region, which include the Small Business Support Grant, Main Street Relief Grant and the Northern Ontario Recovery Program.

“We doubled down on the business support program. It’s been working really well. People are getting portions of their taxes, energy bills, resources to pay for PPE through that program,” adds Rickford, who notes there’s been “hundreds, hundreds and hundreds” of successful applications in the area.

Applications for the Small Business Support Grant ended earlier this month, but the program provides $10,000 to $20,000 in funding for all businesses that have seen decreased revenues throughout the pandemic. Ontario announced its second round of support for the program in late March.