Ontario is providing up to $100 million in supports for small businesses in the tourism and hospitality sector, and applications are now open for the $10,000 to $20,000 payments and fee deferrals.

Ontario’s new Tourism and Hospitality Small Business Support Grant is expected to provide $10,000 to $20,000 one-time payments to businesses like hotels, motels, hunting and fishing camps, recreational and vacation camps, travel agencies and amusement and water parks.

“Small tourism and travel businesses are a crucial and valued part of any community, especially here in northwestern Ontario,” said Kenora-Rainy River MPP Greg Rickford, in a prepared statement.

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, Ontario’s tourism industry generated over $36 billion in economic activity with over 400,000 jobs across the province. 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 Ontario Tourism and Travel Small Business Support Grant will support tourism businesses across the province recover and rebuild. It will help them as they return to contributing to healthy and vibrant communities,” adds Rickford.

To qualify, eligible businesses must have fewer than 100 employees and prove they’ve experienced a minimum 20 percent revenue decline between 2019 and 2020. As well, you won’t be eligible if you received the Ontario Small Business Support Grant.

Small business owners are able to use the $10,000 to $20,000 in funds in whatever way makes the most sense for their business, and applications will close on June 25, 2021. Applications can be found HERE.

"These tourism operators and businesses employ local people throughout the province and typically attract visitors from around the world. Our government will continue to have their backs during this difficult time,” adds Premier Doug Ford.

Ford notes this new program is in addition to new supports for tourism businesses at provincial parks and conservation reserves announced May 14. These supports include removing 2021 annual land-use fees for commercial outpost camp permit holders, reducing and deferring land use fees for commercial youth camps, and reduced licence fees.

Rickford, who also serves as the Minister of Northern Development and Mines, Indigenous Affairs and Energy, 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.