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Tourism Funding and Grant Opportunities

The Ontario and Federal governments offer a variety of funding opportunities that your organization may be eligible for. Below are current opportunities. Please pay attention to deadlines and click on the web links to access more information for each program. Should you have any questions about any of the following programs, please contact Chatham-Kent Tourism - email us.

Ontario's Southwest Tourism Relief Fund 

Currently Closed

The Ontario's Southwest Tourism Relief Fund has been created to support tourism businesses and organizations to adapt their operations, facilitate growth, and position Ontario's Southwest to be a destination of choice for both domestic and international visitors. Tourism businesses and organizations that want to enhance the experience they offer to visitors in the region have until May 15, 2022 to apply. Eligible applicants can apply for a non-repayable contribution between $20,000 and $100,000 for up to 50% of eligible project costs for incorporated for-profit businesses and up to 100% of eligible project costs for not-for-profit organizations and municipalities. 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. All projects must be completed by, and all project expenses incurred no later than, December 31, 2022. Click here now for complete details on this program

What it offers

  • between $20,000 and $100,000 in NON-REPAYABLE MATCHING dollars for incorporated businesses (including Indigenous businesses)
  • between $20,000 and $100,000 in NON-REPAYABLE dollars (no matching required) for non profit organizations 

Key Dates

  • Intake opens - April 12, 2022
  • Application deadline - May 15, 2022

Information Sessions

  • Virtual  information sessions are being offered on;
    • Thursday, April 14, 10 a.m.
    • Wednesday, April 20, 4:00 p.m.
  • register here to learn more

Book a call with an expert

  • Applicants are encouraged to ask questions related to program criteria and the application process. 
  • SWOTC has partnered with GrantMatch to provide optional program insight to support your participation and application, noting that they do not impact funding decisions. 
  • GrantMatch appointments can be scheduled on the Ontario's Southwest Tourism Relief Fund website.

What types of projects qualify for the program?

  • Creating, adapting, and enhancing protocols and permanent infrastructure to meet health and safety requirements to accommodate 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); 
  • 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; 
  • Implementation of tourism plans that create or improve local assets, facilities, and planning for key infrastructure; 
  • Developing and enhancing tourism services and experiences; and, 
  • Implementing strategies to re-activate and animate downtown cores, main streets and business districts through activities, public art, and mixed-use spaces. 

Potential project areas include: 

  • Winter and shoulder tourism
  • Indigenous tourism
  • Rural and remote tourism
  • Culinary tourism
  • Inclusive tourism
  • Environmentally sustainable
  • Innovative and bold - unique ideas and opportunities

Provincial Opportunities

If you are applying for funding through the Provincial Government, please note, you must have a Transfer Payment Ontario account. You can use Transfer Payment Ontario to:

  • register and apply for funding
  • get information about available funding opportunities
  • check the status of your active submissions for funding

Ontario COVID-19 Small Business Relief Grant

Eligible businesses that are part of the list below which were subject to closures as a result of the province's move to the modified Step Two of the Roadmap to Reopen will receive a grant of $10,000. 

To receive the grant, a small business identified from the eligible list below must:

  • be required to close due to public health orders that took effect 12:01 a.m. on January 5, 2022
  • have fewer than 100 employees as of December 31, 2021
  • be an active business as of January 14, 2022

Eligible businesses that previously qualified for the Ontario Small Business Support Grant will be pre-screened to verify eligibility and may need to provide some additional information but will not need to apply for the new program. Newly established and newly eligible small businesses will need to apply once the application portal opens in the coming weeks. Small businesses that qualify can expect to receive their payment in early February. 

Eligible small businesses include:

  • restaurants and bars
  • facilities for indoor sports and recreational fitness activities (including fitness centres and gyms)
  • performing arts and cinemas
  • museums, galleries, aquariums, zoos, science centres, landmarks, historic sites, botanical gardens and similar attractions
  • performing arts venues and cinemas, museums, galleries, aquariums, zoos, science centres, landmarks, historic sites, botanical gardens and similar attractions
  • meeting or event spaces
  • tour and guide services
  • conference centres and convention centres
  • driving instruction for individuals
  • before- and after- school programs

Ontario Business Costs Rebate Program

The Ontario Business Costs Rebate Program supports businesses that are most impacted by provincial public health measures in response to the Omicron variant of COVID-19.

Eligible businesses that are required to close or reduce capacity will receive rebate payments for a portion of the property tax and energy costs they incur while subject to these measures. Eligible businesses required to reduce capacity to 50 per cent, such as smaller retail stores, will receive a rebate payment equivalent to 50 per cent of their costs, while businesses required to close for indoor activities, such as restaurants and gyms, will receive a rebate payment equivalent to 100 per cent of their costs. Payments to eligible businesses will be retroactive to December 19, 2021 when public health measures were first effective. 

Online applications are now being accepted and you can apply here now. 

Improving cash flows for Ontario businesses

The government of Ontario is providing additional support to help improve cash flows for Ontario businesses by providing a six-month interest- and penalty-free period to make payments for most provincially administered taxes. This will: 

  • support businesses in the immediate term while capacity restrictions are in place
  • provide the flexibility Ontario businesses will need for long-term planning

The six-month period started on January 1, 2022 and will end on July 1, 2022. This measure will make available up to $7.5 billion in relief to help approximately 80,000 Ontario businesses. Businesses will have the option to delay their payments for the following provincially administered taxes: 

  • Employer Health Tax
  • Beer, Wine & Spirits Taxes
  • Tobacco Tax
  • Insurance Premium Tax
  • Fuel Tax
  • International Fuel Tax Agreement
  • Gas Tax
  • Retail Sales Tax on Insurance Contracts & Benefit Plans
  • Mining Tax
  • Race Tracks Tax

Celebrate Ontario Blockbuster

Ministry of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries

Deadline: Applications are accepted on an on-going basis, but must be submitted at least four months before the event start date.

Description: The Celebrate Ontario Blockbuster program supports costs related to hosting:

  • major one-time events in Ontario
  • events that do not recur annually or biennially in Ontario
  • national or international events in Ontario

Federal Funding Opportunities

The Government of Canada is taking immediate and significant action through the Canada's COVID-19 Economic Response Plan to support people, businesses and organizations facing hardship as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak. For the most up to date list of assistance we encourage you to check out their website.