Business events, including trade and consumer shows drive $33 billion into the Canadian economy on an annual basis. The Regional Development Agencies across Canada which are tasked with implementing the Tourism Relief Fund are mandated to fund projects in their regions which drive economic development and there is no question trade and consumer shows drive economic development in the cities and communities they serve. Further, one of the key criteria in this funding program is to be aligned with the objectives set out in the Federal Tourism Growth Strategy, mentioned in the previous paragraph. Pillar 1 in the strategy document is Building Tourism in Canada’s Communities. As you read through this section you'll find that one of the objectives under this Pillar is to grow winter and shoulder-season tourism. In our discussions with FedDev Ontario we pointed out that trade and consumer shows are a key driver of tourism and the visitor economy in the winter and shoulder seasons. Many shows across the country fill hotels in downtown cores in the fall, winter, and spring seasons with exhibitors and visitors from across North America and beyond. These visitors spend money not only on hotels, but in restaurants, retail and at local attractions. When this was pointed out, the officials at FedDev Ontario agreed, based on our description, that trade and consumer shows met the criteria to apply for this funding.
It is for these reasons we encourage you to explore applying for the Tourism Relief Fund in your region. The application is very narrative based, meaning it is important to explain in detail what you would use the funding for and how it would benefit your city, community or region. Further, we suggest you also read through the Federal Tourism Growth strategy as you may find other elements that align with your events beyond what we have highlighted. We have been told applications will be thoughtfully considered and a representative from the Regional Development Agency will reach out to discuss your application and how it fits (or does not fit) in this funding stream and perhaps offer suggestions of other available funding streams.
Tips to keep in mind when filling out the application form:
- Full explanations of how the funding will be used and how it will impact the economic development/tourism of your local area are very important, as well as a focus on economic recovery.
- If jobs will be created/recovered with the funding this is important to illustrate.
- When asked for specific numbers regarding visitors/tourism, 2019 numbers can be used.
- Financial statements from the last 2 fiscal years are to be included with applications as well as letters of incorporation.
While there is no deadline to submit applications, it is a competitive process and the sooner an application is submitted the better. FedDev Ontario is already receiving applications and hopes to announce the first round of recipients in September.
Below you will find the links to the Federal Development Agencies across the country who are administering the Tourism Relief Fund. The application process is explained thoroughly in each of the links , but you are encouraged to reach out to the agency in your region with any questions you may have as you work through the application process.
Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency 1.800.561.7862
Canada Economic Development for Quebec Regions 1.800.561.0633
Federal Development Agency for Southern Ontario 1.866.593.5505
FedNor (Northern Ontario) 1.866.694.8389
Western Economic Diversification Canada 1.888.338.9378
As always, you are welcome to reach out to the CAEM office as we are happy to help direct you based on the conversations we've had with FedDev Ontario regarding this funding stream. We also ask you to please let us know if you apply for the Tourism Relief Fund and what the outcome is. The more information we have from you, the stronger our advocacy will be.