Tourism Relief Fund – Application guide
Table of contents
- About the Tourism Relief Fund
- Application process
- Completing an application
- Annex – Glossary of terms: financial statements
This guide provides instructions on how to complete FedDev Ontario's Application for Funding for the Tourism Relief Fund (TRF). It is highly recommended that you review this document prior to submitting an application.
If you have additional questions, please contact FedDev Ontario by phone at 1-866-593-5505 or by visiting our Contact us page.
About the TRF
About the Tourism Relief Fund (TRF)
The Tourism Relief Fund (TRF) supports tourism businesses and organizations to adapt their operations to meet public health requirements while investing in products and services to facilitate their future growth. With a national budget of $500 million over two years, including $50 million dedicated to Indigenous tourism initiatives, this Fund will help to position Canada to be a destination of choice when domestic and international travel is once again safe, by:
- empowering tourism operators to create new or enhance existing tourism experiences and products to attract more local and domestic visitors
- helping the sector reposition itself to welcome international visitors by offering the best Canadian tourism experiences we have to offer the world
Who can apply?
Applicants must fall under one of the following parameters to be eligible for funding:
- A key supplier/operator in the visitor experience
A key supplier/operator in the visitor experience is one that provides the infrastructure and services necessary to support a tourism economy, connects tourism products to potential markets, leads planning for sustainable destination development and supports capacity building/skill development in the sector.
- Part of a defined tourism cluster or tourism-dependent community
A tourism cluster is a geographic concentration of businesses and organizations involved in tourism, linked by common and complementary products and services that are tailored to the visitor economy and supported by a network of services and associated institutions. A tourism cluster can include, but is not limited to, a community or region that is dependent on tourism for economic activity or is transitioning towards a more tourism-focused local economy.
- An anchor product or service in a destination
An anchor product or service in a destination is defined as a key asset that serves as a motivator of travel to the region. It is the activity or product that provides the catalyst for the visitor to visit the destination. Anchor products may be operated by for-profit or not-for-profit organizations.
NOTE: Eligible applicants may fit under more than one of these categories and will have the opportunity to select all and explain how in the Application for Funding.
Eligible applicants must be part of the tourism ecosystem and will include tourism entities that cater mainly to visitors. Eligible applicants include:
- incorporated businesses, primarily small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs)
- not-for-profit incorporated organizations (including tourism associations and destination marketing organizations)
- co-operatives (for-profit and not-for-profit)
- municipalities, Municipal Development Corporations, and related entities
- post-secondary institutions
- Indigenous/First Nations/Métis Settlement owned businesses or organizations, an Indigenous organization such as Indigenous-led not-for-profits and organizations which include but are not limited to First Nations as represented by their Chief and Council, Tribal Councils, Indigenous Representative Organizations, Métis and Inuit organizations and Settlements
Businesses that are in the following industries are normally not eligible under this initiative:
- retail sector
- hotel chains
Eligible projects will fall under one of two themes:
- Product development/development and enhancement of tourism experiences to help tourism businesses adapt to the ”new normal”, to modernize tourism offerings and to help the sector adopt more environmentally sustainable practices.
Examples of project activities may include the following:
- creating, adapting, and enhancing protocols and permanent infrastructure to meet health and safety requirements to accommodate visitors and employees to keep businesses operating
- helping operators traditionally reliant on international markets, such as those in downtown cores, to create innovative tourism offerings attractive to local and domestic visitors
- modernizing operations, attractions, greening initiatives, and online sales services
- supporting businesses with the local promotion of tourism products, including digital and virtual reality experiences
- developing capacity for more inclusive tourism experiences (e.g., staff training to ensure welcoming, inclusive environments to diverse clientele, gender-neutral washroom facilities, etc.)
- Destination development: projects that would position communities to take advantage of post-pandemic opportunities through strategic planning for medium- to long-term investments, as well as supporting destination development, in-line with objectives set out in the Federal Tourism Growth Strategy.
Examples of project activities may include the following:
- providing support to local communities to develop sustainable tourism plans based on research and market analysis, and designed to rebuild tourism confidence in communities
- supporting seasonal dispersion by equipping tourism SMEs to extend their product offering to increase visitation during the winter and shoulder seasons
- supporting destinations to implement tourism plans that create or improve local assets, facilities, and planning for key infrastructure
- supporting the development and implementation of tourism economic development recovery plans that consider possible key market reactions when travel can safely resume
- enhancing tourism services and experiences, including market readiness designed to help communities and SMEs develop experiential tourism, that will respond to visitor expectations post COVID-19
- assisting industry partners to support recovery and rebuilding efforts through coordination, and developing new offerings and/or capacity building on behalf of the sector
- implementing strategies to re-activate and animate downtown cores, main streets and business districts through activities, public art, and mixed use spaces
- supporting scale-up and market expansion activities for key enterprises essential to economic vitality and the local business climate
Priority consideration will be given to projects that:
- support the Indigenous tourism sector
- are led by a business/organization of strategic importance to the tourism sector in the region
- contribute to the economic development of a region
- contribute to job creation in the region
- takes place in a tourism-dependent community/region, including projects supporting downtown cores
Contributions to businesses will be either:
- non-repayable contributions under $100,000 (rate of assistance of 50 % of eligible costs) or
- fully repayable contributions up to $500,000 (rate of assistance of 75 % of eligible costs)
A business cannot receive a combination of a non-repayable and a repayable contribution for the same project.
Businesses must indicate their request for either a non-repayable OR a fully repayable contribution when describing the project in the Project Information section of the Application for Funding (question 20) and in the Project Budget section (question 28 - part C).
For not-for-profit organizations and Indigenous entities (not generating profits), contributions will normally be non‑repayable:
- project contribution amounts would not normally exceed $500,000
- the actual contribution amount will be based on the minimum amount required to carry out the project
Recipients would not normally receive funding for more than one project.
Steps to submit an Application for Funding
Tourism Relief Fund – Application for Funding (PDF, 128 KB)
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- Step 1: Refer to the criteria to ensure your project meets program eligibility requirements.
- Step 2: Download the Application for Funding:
- Right-click the Application for Funding and select ‘Save target as’ or ‘Save link as’ to download the Application for Funding to your computer in Portable Document Format (PDF).
- Open the file using a PDF reader. If you do not already have a reader installed on your computer, there are several PDF readers available on the Internet for PC and MAC users. Applicants are required to use Adobe Reader 10 or higher.
- If you are using Internet Explorer, the form will open automatically if you click ‘Submit your application’ and can be completed in the browser.
- Step 3: Use the Completing an application tab to fill out the Application for Funding. The numbered sections correspond with the sections in the Application for Funding. Prepare all requested documentation and supplementary information. Remember to save your work often. Saving frequently lessens the risk of losing the information you have been filling out.
- Step 4: Attach all documentation to your Application for Funding by selecting the Add Attachments button at the top of the form.
- Step 5: Once your application package is complete, ensure you are connected to the Internet and then select the Submit button on the last page to send your Application for Funding and required documentation to FedDev Ontario.
- Step 6: Once your application package is received, a confirmation message will be displayed on your screen: "Your application has been successfully submitted to FedDev Ontario."
- Step 7: Save and print a copy of the application package and the confirmation message for your records.
Other important details
Multiple and concurrent project submissions from the same applicant are discouraged and may not be considered by FedDev Ontario. Recipients would normally be limited to one successful project under the TRF.
Applicants are encouraged to contact FedDev Ontario electronically or by phone at 1-866-593-5505 if they have any questions regarding the Application for Funding.
The names of recipients, the amount of funding approved and a brief description of the project are included in public records and disclosed on FedDev Ontario’s website in accordance with the Government of Canada’s proactive disclosure practices.
Completing an application
Completing an application
Legal name of Applicant Organization: The name of the organization that appears on your incorporation documents, and/or Partnership Agreement, Letters Patent, or other relevant documentation related to the formation of your organization.
Operating name: The name under which the business is publicly conducted e.g., 123456 Ontario Ltd., operating as XYZ Technologies.
Type of Organization: From the dropdown menu, select the category that accurately reflects your organization type or legal structure.
Important notes: eligible applicants must be capable of entering into a legally binding agreement. Furthermore, applicants must be able to demonstrate the ability to sustain the community asset beyond the funding period.
- Business Number: This is a unique nine-digit number assigned to both businesses and not-for-profit organizations by the Canada Revenue Agency. Should you be an unincorporated Indigenous organization, please fill in the business number with zeros and include your band number under section 3 a).
- Band Number (if applicable): This is a unique three-digit number that distinguishes Indigenous organizations.
- Select from the drop-down menu to indicate the nature of your organization: Select what industry most accurately reflects your organization. If you select “other,” please specify in the provided textbox.
- Provide a brief description of the applicant organization: Please provide some details about your organization. Key items that should be included in your summary are:
- objectives, mandate, core activities, key products or services
- details regarding your organization’s structure and how it is governed (e.g., board of directors, etc.)
- a brief biography of key management and/or technical staff required to complete the project (may include prior experience, education, professional designations, and any other information you consider relevant)
- if applicable, organization ownership and percentage
- if applicable, a list of the members of your organization’s board of directors
- if applicable, a list of your organization’s shareholders and percentages
- Applicant Mailing Address: This address should be the same as the organization’s headquarters.
- Applicant headquarters location: Indicate whether the Applicant Location (provided in line 6) is the same as the organization’s headquarters. If it differs, please provide the headquarters address.
- Is the Applicant Mailing Address the same as the Primary Project Location: Indicate whether the mailing address provided in question 6 is the physical location where eligible costs related to the request for funding are being incurred. This could be different from the organization’s headquarters. Should the project have multiple locations, please note the location where the largest portion of the funding will be allocated.
- Official language for correspondence: Select between English or French as the preferred language for correspondence.
- Date of Incorporation/Formation (YYYY-MM-DD): Indicate the date stated on the organization’s Articles of Incorporation, letters patent or other relevant documentation.
- Date of organization’s fiscal year end: Provide the month and day of your organization’s fiscal year end.
Number of full-time employees inside and outside of Canada: In the appropriate field, please list the current total number of full-time employees (FTEs) working in Canada and outside of Canada, including those employees who may be working remotely but whose jobs were previously considered to be based in Canada (or outside of Canada).
For reference, calculate any FTE jobs as the employment of one person full-time, or more than one person part-time, such that the total working time is equivalent to one person working full-time. Generally, FTE positions involve between 35-40 hours in a regular work week. Do not include FTEs employed by suppliers or contracted services.
Authorized Organization Contact
Please indicate the person who is authorized to represent the organization, and who will be the main point of contact regarding the funding request. Ideally, the authorized organization contact is also a signing officer. If not, confirmation of that person's right to represent the organization may be required. Include this contact’s regular business number and a cell phone number.
Note: This cannot be a consultant, as FedDev Ontario will only communicate with the applicant.
Financial Contact Within Organization
- Provide information for your chosen financial contact within your organization. The listed person should have signing authority within your organization, and will be the main point of contact for all finance-related matters concerning the funding request. Include this contact’s regular business number and cell phone number.
A short project description: Briefly describe the project's main activities and the anticipated outcome(s) of the project.
Please note, this information may be used by FedDev Ontario for public reporting.
Estimated project start date: For projects already underway, insert the day from which your organization began incurring eligible costs for activities associated with this project.
For projects that are yet to begin, insert the date you anticipate incurring expenses for your project using the format of Year, Month, Day (YYYY-MM-DD).
Note that the project start date cannot be earlier than April 19, 2021.
Estimated Project End Date: Insert the last day you anticipate incurring expenses for your project.
Note that the project end date cannot be later than March 31, 2023.
Identify and describe how your organization meets at least one of the following program parameters: From the three options listed, select the option(s) that most accurately applies to your organization (refer to Who can apply). You must select at least one option.
- My organization is a key supplier/operator in the visitor experience
- My organization is part of a tourism cluster or tourism dependent community
- My organization provides an anchor product or service in a destination
In the textbox, explain your selection(s). Your description should clearly outline how this project aligns with the criteria of the program.
Project Description: In this section, describe your project, including:
- whether you are requesting a non-repayable or repayable contribution (refer to Funding available for more information)
- your organization’s role in the tourism sector
- what percentage of your organization is supported by tourism
- an explanation of how your organization primarily caters to tourists
- how the activities of the project will support tourism in your community
- the goals you aim to achieve through the project, and the steps you are proposing to achieve these results
- any activities that are required as a result of new public health protocol
Your answer should serve as a rationale for why this project should receive funding through the TRF. Please refer to the section on Eligible activities for more information. Please describe how and the degree to which your project falls within one of the focus areas for the program or priority (as outlined in About the TRF):
- Product development/Development and enhancement of tourism experiences: Projects that will enhance tourism experiences, help tourism businesses adapt to the “new normal” and modernize their offerings and projects that help the sector adopt more environmentally sustainable and inclusive practices.
- Destination development: Projects that would position communities to take advantage of post-pandemic opportunities through strategic planning for medium- to long-term investments, as well as supporting destination development in line with objectives set out in the Federal Tourism Growth Strategy.
Use non-technical language when describing your project (i.e. description of the project for the general public) and avoid including any confidential or proprietary information. The project description provides FedDev Ontario with a high-level overview of the project and outlines the main elements of the project. It should provide an understanding of why you are seeking financial assistance, how you will use the funds, and how the funds will support the objectives of your project.
Is your organization proposing to deliver a third-party project?
Indicate whether your organization is applying to FedDev Ontario to deliver support based on a proposal to re-distribute funding and/or offer business advice or other services to ultimate recipients in the tourism sector.
If you selected yes, in the textbox provided, please identify any key project partners of this application. Describe how this project does not duplicate other existing measures or initiatives, including from government or otherwise. Explain why federal government funding is required to complete the project. Attach a project plan outlining key project details.
Estimate the total value of your organization’s annual revenue from domestic tourists: In Canadian dollars, provide the estimated value of revenue that your organization receives annually from domestic tourists. This includes all regions of Canada.
Estimate the total value of your organization’s annual revenue from international tourists: In Canadian dollars, provide the estimated amount of revenue that your organization receives from internationals tourists. This excludes tourists from within Canada.
Estimate the annual number of visits to your organization from domestic tourists: Provide an estimate of the annual number of visits that your organization receives from domestic tourists.
Estimate the annual number of visits to your organization from international tourists: Provide an estimate of the annual number of visits that your organization receives from international tourists.
Estimates should be based on pre-pandemic levels. Please make every effort to provide realistic estimates, and provide any context or evidence as an attachment to your application (as applicable).
Will support from this initiative help your organization adapt or create tourism products and/or services? Indicate whether federal government funding through the TRF will help your organization to adapt existing or create new tourism products and/or services.
If you selected yes, in the text box provided, explain your answer.
Describe the project’s key risks and mitigation strategies: Indicate the risks associated with your project, as well as key methods of risk mitigation that will be used for the project. Examples of risk may include: financial, trade, regulatory, implementation, and/or any risks that may impact a successful project outcome.
In this section, please also describe the capacity of your organization to execute your proposed project, including (if applicable) examples of past projects undertaken with support from the Government of Canada.
Are any of the activities of the proposed project expected to occur on federal lands? Indicate whether any of the proposed activities will occur on federal lands. Federal lands are defined in the Impact Assessment Act. Activities on federal lands could be subject to additional requirements.
Federal lands are:
- Lands that belong to Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada, or that Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada has the power to dispose of, and all waters on and airspace above those lands.
- The following lands and areas:
- The internal waters of Canada, in any area of the sea not within a province
- The territorial sea of Canada, in any area of the sea not within a province
- The exclusive economic zone of Canada
- The continental shelf of Canada.
- Reserves, surrendered lands and any other lands that are set apart for the use and benefit of a band and that are subject to the Indian Act, and all waters on and airspace above those reserves or lands.
Have you or will you have to adapt operations to meet COVID-19 health and safety regulations? Indicate whether your organization has or will have to adapt operations in order to meet COVID-19 health and safety regulations.
If you selected yes, in the text-box provided, explain your answer. Describe as completely as possible, the impact of COVID-19 on your operations, including examples of measures taken (or to be taken) to adapt to capacity restrictions, implement health and safety measures for visitors and staff, digitize operations, etc. If applicable, explain how adaptations have impacted your season(s).
Please describe any hardships your organization (or organizations you support) has experienced due to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. Describe as completely as possible the impact of COVID-19 on your organization. Include, where applicable, the length of closures, planned or actual layoffs, impacts on revenue, operations and market demand, and confirmation of COVID-19 relief supports received. Where possible, measure the impact using year-over-year comparative data. If applicable, explain how COVID-19 has impacted your season(s). Very detailed responses are encouraged.
In this section, you must also explain how this funding is needed to help position your organization for recovery.
Note that costs may be eligible on a retroactive basis up to 12 months prior to the receipt of a project application, but no earlier than April 19, 2021.
- Project Costs by Fiscal Year: Indicate your estimated project costs in Canadian dollars over the span of two fiscal years (2021-2022 & 2022-2023). The fiscal year is defined as April 1 – March 31 of a given year.
Project Costs by Category: The TRF will only fund eligible costs.
Eligible costs include:
- Capital costs: capital/site-specific infrastructure, cost of equipment, including acquisition or rental of equipment, and other related capital costs directly related to, or necessary for, the completion of the project.
- Non-capital costs: costs involved in providing training to personnel, licences/software upgrades, project management costs (costs associated with the oversight and administration of the project such as the costs of a public announcement or required temporary or permanent signage), or costs related to intellectual property.
- Labour: incremental salaries and benefits for individuals employed for the project may be eligible should they meet the following conditions:
- The recipient confirms and substantiates that it is not economically feasible to tender a contract
- Costs are for those employed directly in respect of the work that would have been the subject of the contract; or
- Labour hired to work exclusively on the project (i.e., not existing employees of the recipient)
- Expertise: incremental fees paid to professional and/or technical personnel, consultants, or contractors
- Materials: costs of materials and supplies, including costs associated with production and distribution of promotional materials.
Note: All costs are approved in advance and are included in the contribution agreement. FedDev Ontario reserves the right to make the final determination on the value of contributions and to exclude expenditures deemed to be ineligible or outside the scope of the project.
- Funding Sources: If you are seeking or have secured any private funding or other government funding towards the project, please indicate the source, the funding amounts and the status of confirmation in the table.
Please note, Total Project Costs must be equal in the three tables (A. Total Project Costs by Fiscal Year, B. Total Project Costs by Cost Category and C. Funding Sources).
FedDev Ontario Contribution: In Canadian dollars, indicate the amount of funding requested from FedDev Ontario (please see reminder below). Complete Applications for Funding will undergo a due diligence review. Funding decisions will take into account the minimum amount required to carry out the project.
Important reminders about financial support
- Contributions to businesses will be either:
- non-repayable contributions under $100,000 (rate of assistance of 50% of eligible costs) or
- fully repayable contributions up to $500,000 (rate of assistance of 75% of eligible costs)
- A business cannot receive a combination of a non-repayable and a repayable contribution for the same project.
- Contributions to not-for-profit organizations and Indigenous entities (not generating profits) will normally be non-repayable:
- Project contribution amounts would not normally exceed $500,000. The actual contribution amount will be based on the minimum amount required to carry out the project.
Total number of jobs created and maintained at the end date of your Project: Indicate in the respective fields how many full-time equivalent (FTE) jobs are expected to be created and maintained as a direct result of your project.
- A job created refers to a job that did not exist within the applicant organization prior to the project, but was created as a direct result of the project activities.
- A job maintained refers to a job that existed within the applicant organization prior to the project, but would not continue, or would likely be lost if the project is not funded.
For reference, calculate any FTE jobs as the employment of one person full-time, or more than one person part-time, such that the total working time is equivalent to one person working full-time. Generally, FTE positions involve between 35-40 hours in a regular work-week. Do not include FTEs employed by suppliers or contracted services.
Diversity and Inclusion
The Government of Canada is committed to diversity and inclusion so that all Canadians have the opportunity to participate in and contribute to the growth of the economy. Gender and diversity data collected may be used for research, statistics, program and policy evaluation, risk management, strategy development, reporting, and gender-based analysis (including GBA+). This information can help the Government of Canada monitor progress on inclusive access to federal support programs and services, to identify and remove barriers, and to make changes to improve inclusive access.
The Government of Canada understands that participation of underrepresented groups is an integral part of building strong and inclusive communities.
If your organization or project does not align with or support the below groups, or you do not wish to declare your status, leave the following fields blank.
“Led or majority-led” includes organizations where members of underrepresented groups are involved in long-term control and management of the business or organization and play an active role in both strategic and day-to-day decision making.
If applicable, please indicate whether your organization is led or majority-led by one or more of the following groups. Note that this information will not be used in the assessment process. Aggregate and anonymous data may be shared with other federal organizations, and/or published for reporting and monitoring purposes:
- Indigenous peoples
- Members of Official Language Minority Communities
- Persons with Disabilities
- Newcomers to Canada and Immigrants
- Black Communities
- Racialized Communities
- Other, please explain
If applicable, please indicate whether your project will influence any of the above listed underrepresented groups. If you do not know or prefer not to answer, please leave the field(s) blank.
Include the following mandatory documentation as an attachment to the PDF form:
- Historical financial statements for the last two fiscal years either in the form of an Audit, Review Engagement or Notice to Reader. Note: audited or reviewed statements are preferred. Internally-prepared financial statements may be accepted. At a minimum, this should include a balance sheet, income statement (including a breakdown of costs), and statement of cash flow; and
- Incorporation documents, and/or Partnership Agreement, Letters Patent or other relevant documentation.
Applications submitted without these documents will be considered incomplete and will delay the assessment of your project’s merit.
- For more information on financial statements and key terms, please review the Annex.
Other attachments are permitted as supporting information. They must be relevant to the project and complement answers provided in the Application for Funding. These may include a project plan, detailed budgets, copies of relevant permits/licenses, evidence of support from the community, supplier quotes, and other relevant documents. The total size of all supplementary materials cannot exceed 100MB.
- Certification is the act of signing a formal document to confirm that you are bound by its contents.
- Making a false statement or providing misleading information may result in the Minister exercising any remedy available to him/her at law.
- You must review each statement and sign the Certification.
- Checking ‘I Agree’ provides an authorized signature of your business or organization certifying the information provided on the application.
Annex – Glossary of terms: financial statements
Financial statements are written records that convey the business activities and the financial performance of an organization. Financial statements are often audited by government agencies, accountants, firms, etc. to ensure accuracy and for tax, financing, or investing purposes. Financial statements include balance sheets and income statements.
It is a mandatory requirement under the TRF that applicants provide internal or external financial statements for the last two full fiscal years. The glossary below can be used to support applicants in providing this information.
A cover letter to a financial statement (balance sheet, and income statement) that is prepared by the company and attested to be true by the CFO or CEO of the company or equivalent. CFO/CEO equivalent will include the following: President, Vice President, Director of Finance, Finance Manager, or Controller
External financial statements
Externally prepared financial statements such as audited financial statements, review engagement, or notice to reader.
A financial statement is not:
Interim financial statement
A financial statement prepared by the company in the case that a company has existed for less than one year, or if the company's financial statements are not available for the current operating year. It does not include an attestation.
Internal financial statements
Internally-prepared financial statements such as a CEO/CFO or equivalent attested financial statement. At a minimum, these statements include a balance sheet, income statement (including breakdown of costs), and statement of cash flow.
Notice to Reader
A compilation of information provided by the company. The information undergoes no tests and the accountant preparing them offers no opinion or assurance. The cover letter by the accountant discloses what type of financial statement is being released (audited, review-engagement, or notice to reader).
An Officer’s Certificate identifies the officer and directors of an organization, and indicates that they have the authority to enter into a funding agreement on behalf of an applicant applying for funding. It also provides a specimen signature for each officer or director identified.
An accountant-reviewed financial statement focusing only on whether the statement is “plausible”—that is, likely to be accurate. The accountant preparing these statements does not give an opinion on their quality or accuracy. The cover letter by the accountant discloses what type of financial statement is being released (audited, review-engagement, or notice to reader).
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