Canadian Experiences Fund –
Frequently asked questions

  1. What tourism funding is available through FedDev Ontario?
  2. Who can apply?
  3. How much funding is available for tourism projects?
  4. Is funding repayable?
  5. How do I apply?
  6. When should I apply?
  7. What are the start and end dates for eligible projects?
  8. What types of activities are eligible for funding?
  9. How will projects be assessed?

1. What tourism funding is available through FedDev Ontario?

The Government of Canada has launched the new Canadian Experiences Fund (CEF)—a two-year, $58.5 million national initiative to help Canada's tourism sector innovate and grow. Of this funding, FedDev Ontario has been allocated more than $11 million to support southern Ontario's tourism sector.

This funding is available to support municipalities, not-for-profit organizations and incorporated businesses seeking to create, improve or expand tourism-related infrastructure such as accommodations, local attractions and new tourism products or experiences.

Funding will focus on supporting five priority segments:

  • Tourism in rural and remote communities;
  • Indigenous tourism;
  • Winter and shoulder season tourismFootnote 1;
  • Inclusiveness, specifically for the LGBTQ2+ community; and
  • Farm-to-table tourism, also known as culinary tourism.

2. Who can apply?

Eligible applicants are:

  • Municipalities
  • Not-for-profit organizations operating in the tourism sector
  • Incorporated businesses, including:
    • Businesses and/or corporations
    • Indigenous-owned businesses
    • Co-operatives

Please refer to the CEF program guidelines for additional eligibility requirements.

3. How much funding is available for tourism projects?

The amount of project funding available is dependent on the type of applicant.

  1. Projects led by municipalities and/or not-for-profit organizations:

The Canadian Experiences Fund may support up to 100 percent of eligible and supported costs per project. It is expected that projects will request between $25,000 and $500,000, however the program could support projects from $5,000 through to a maximum of $1 million per project.

Projects that support community beautification in rural and remote communities, for example visual improvement projects (art, garden, mural or other eye-catching element to make the community more attractive to tourists), are subject to a maximum contribution amount of $25,000.

  1. Projects led by incorporated businesses, including co-operatives and Indigenous-owned businesses:

Support up to 100 percent of eligible and supported project costs, from $5,000 to a maximum of $100,000 may be provided.

Please see the Funding section of the Canadian Experiences Fund guidelines for more information.

4. Is funding repayable?

Funding for the Canadian Experiences Fund is non-repayable.

5. How do I apply?

FedDev Ontario is committed to a consistent, fair and transparent project selection process in order to identify, select and approve the allocation of funding to projects that best fit the program's objectives.

Before you apply, please read the CEF program guidelines for detailed information on eligibility criteria and funding parameters.

Interested applicants are required to submit an online application to the Canadian Experiences Fund clearly articulating the project's contribution to the growth and innovation of the tourism sector.

For more information on how to complete the application, please contact FedDev Ontario at 1-866-593-5505.

6. When should I apply?

The initial priority period for applications to the Canadian Experiences Fund ended June 3, 2019. Applications may still be submitted, however applications received by June 3 are being assessed on a priority basis. Projects received after this date will only be considered if funding continues to be available.

7. What are the start and end dates for eligible projects?

FedDev Ontario can consider project costs no earlier than the date an Application for Funding is submitted to FedDev Ontario, and no later than December 31, 2020.

8. What types of activities are eligible for funding?

The Canadian Experiences Fund will support the following types of tourism-related activities:

  • New or improved tourism services and products (e.g., attractions, festivals, tours, etc.)
  • Market readiness training
  • New or improved tourism facilities (e.g., trails, campgrounds, shelters, etc.)

To be eligible, projects must fall into one of five categories, with examples of eligible activities also provided:

Tourism in rural and remote communities: Investments to help attract tourists to rural and remote destinations, such as destination development planning, adventure trails, improving public tourism facilities, and community beautification.

Indigenous tourism: Investments that increase Indigenous tourism revenue, such as market readiness training, festivals celebrating Indigenous heritage, culture and art, and interpretation guides and installations.

Winter and shoulder season tourismFootnote 1: Investments to spread tourism sector demand more evenly across the year, such as festivals, tours and excursions to see local attractions, wildlife and culture, and tourism facility improvements, for example: signage, specialized accommodations, and facility planning and development.

Inclusiveness: Investments to increase the number of participants in LGBTQ2+ tourism events, for example: urban and/or local pride festivals, LGBTQ2+ market readiness, and touristic art events.

Farm-to-table tourism /Culinary tourism: Investments to grow food and beverage spending by tourists, such as developing and marketing regional culinary tourism trails, developing and implementing food festivals and farmers' markets, and developing new culinary products and services using local produce.

9. How will projects be assessed?

A complete Application for Funding will undergo a due diligence review. It will be assessed against a number of factors, including managerial, operational, financial and market risks, benefits and impacts.

In addition, project proposals could be given preference should they meet one or more of the following criteria:

  • Skills Development: projects that contribute to the skills development of Canada's tourism workforce;
  • Job Creation: projects that create sustainable jobs;
  • Economic Sustainability: recipient will be able to demonstrate how festivals, events, conference and tourism product/services and tourism facilities will have a positive and sustained impact on the local economy; and/or
  • Environmental Sustainability: project sponsors will demonstrate how the project will make positive contributions to Canada's environmental performance.

In the situation where the Canadian Experiences Fund is over subscribed, the extent to which these criteria are met or addressed in the application will be used by FedDev Ontario to prioritize, whether and the extent to which, the request for funding is supported or not.

Due to the high volume of expected funding request, applicants with an incomplete application should not expect to be contacted. Incomplete applications will not be assessed and will be considered ineligible for funding.

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