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Industry News

Ontario Announces Staycation Tax Credit

December 9, 2021 - 

The temporary Ontario Staycation Tax Credit for 2022 aims to encourage Ontario families to explore the province, while helping the tourism and hospitality sectors recover from the financial impacts of the COVID-19covid 19 pandemic.

Ontario residents can claim 20% of their eligible 2022 accommodation expenses, for example, for a stay at a hotel, cottage or campground, when filing their personal Income Tax and Benefit Return for 2022. You can claim eligible expenses of up to $1,000 as an individual or $2,000 if you have a spouse, common-law partner or eligible children, to get back up to $200 as an individual or $400 as a family.

The credit will provide an estimated $270 million in support to about 1.85 million Ontario families.

Who is eligible?

You are eligible to claim the credit if you are an Ontario resident on December 31, 2022.

Only one individual per family can claim the credit for the year. Your claim can include the eligible expenses of your spouse or common-law partner and your eligible children. An eligible child is not entitled to claim the credit on their personal Income Tax and Benefit Return for 2022.

If you do not have a spouse or common-law partner, or eligible child, you can claim your own eligible expenses for the credit.

Eligible expenses:

You can claim the Ontario Staycation Tax Credit for accommodation expenses for a leisure stay of less than a month in Ontario, at a short-term accommodation or camping accommodation, such as a hotel, motel, resort, lodge, bed and breakfast, cottage or campground.

Short-term accommodation would generally not include timeshare agreements, or a stay on a boat, train or other vehicle that can be self-propelled.

The tax credit only applies to leisure stays between January 1, 2022, and December 31, 2022, regardless of the timing of payment for the stays. The tax credit does not apply to business travel.

The accommodation expenses must also:

  • have been paid by you, your spouse or common-law partner, or your eligible child, as set out on a detailed receipt
  • have been subject to Goods and Services Tax (GST)/Harmonized Sales Tax (HST), as set out on a detailed receipt
  • not have been reimbursed to you, your spouse or common-law partner, or your eligible child, by any person, including by a friend or an employer

As long as all other conditions are met, you can claim any of the following expenses:

  • accommodation for a single trip or multiple trips, up to the maximum expense limit of $1,000 as an individual or $2,000 as a family
  • accommodations booked either directly with the accommodation provider or through an online accommodation platform
  • the portion of the expense that is necessary to have access to the accommodation
  • the accommodation portion of a tour package expense

How to claim the credit:

You must keep your detailed receipts for any eligible expenses you incur. Those receipts should include at least all of the following information:

  • the location of the accommodation
  • the amount that can reasonably be considered to be for the accommodation portion of a stay
  • the GST/HST paid
  • the date of the stay
  • the name of the payor

You can claim the credit on your personal Income Tax and Benefit Return for 2022.

The Ontario Staycation Tax Credit is a refundable personal income tax credit. This means that if you are eligible, you can get this tax credit regardless of whether you owe income tax for 2022.

If you have questions about the tax credit, please contact the Ontario Budget Hotline at 1-800-337-7222.

Funding and Financial Relief Programs

Ontario’s Greenbelt 2022 Fall Grant Round

The Greenbelt Foundation champions Ontario’s Greenbelt. Ontario’s Greenbelt Prosperous Greenbelt and Resilient Greenbelt funding streams invest in projects that protect the Greenbelt and increase environmental, social, cultural and economic benefits, enhance the health of the Greenbelt’s natural and agricultural systems, support farmers, and foster a sustainable rural economy. 

Ontario’s Greenbelt is accepting Letters of Intent (LOIs) for our 2022 Fall Grant Round. LOIs are due by 5 p.m. on September 21, 2022.

Individuals are encouraged to contact the Foundation staff to discuss their proposal prior to submitting a funding request. Please contact program@greenbelt.ca and (416) 960-0001 ext. 310 or 341 to schedule a call with the Grants team.

 

For more information on funding deadlines and the submission process please visit the Apply for a Grant page at www.greenbelt.ca.

Three Fires Collaborative Quest Program for Employees and Employers

 The Tourism Industry Association of Ontario (TIAO), in collaboration with Indigenous Tourism Ontario (ITO) and Ontario Tourism Education Corporation (OTEC), is accepting applications for A Three Fires Collaborative Quest Program - a program designed to fill critical gaps within the industry and encourage recovery and growth of the province’s tourism workforce by bringing awareness of opportunities to potential Indigenous employees. 

Fire One: 

Indigenous tourism businesses will receive one-on-one coaching and support from ITO’s Indigenous Business Advisory (IBA) Program to assist in getting them market ready for the reopening.

Fire Two:  

The second fire will be managed by OTEC who will design and execute workshops to provide customized frontline training for 100+ Indigenous tourism employees as well as those identified through the IBA.

Fire Three: 

The third fire, executed by TIAO, is an employee-to-employer matching event designed to bridge the gap between the other two fires by helping Indigenous tourism employees find employers, and conversely, tourism businesses (both Indigenous and non-Indigenous) find employees.

Upon completion of the program, Employers are eligible to receive a wage subsidy of up to 30%, with a maximum of $5,000 per employee hired.

To learn more and apply for the program, employees and employers can visit the Tourism Industry Association of Ontario’s website.

Grand River Destination Animation Program - Grant Opportunity (Open) 

RTO4 invites eligible organizations and businesses to apply to the Grand River Destination Animation Program to create experiences associated with the Grand River. The program was launched in response to a growing number of community members sharing stories of the unique histories that exist along this Canadian heritage river and the usefulness of these stories in communicating the rich history of the river to visitors through these animations. RTO4 is looking for ideas that share the essence of the Grand River’s history and DNA in bold, and creative new ways. Proposals can apply for up to $10,000. Eligible businesses include:

  • Local Tourism Businesses
  • Festivals & Events
  • For Profit & Non-Profit Organization
  • Artists/Creatives

For more information please visit https://rto4.ca/grand-river-destination-animation-program/ or email tristin@rto4.ca

Canada Digital Adoption Program

How Canadians do business has changed. To stay competitive and grow, small and medium-sized businesses need to adopt new digital tools.

In Budget 2021, the Government of Canada announced the $4 billion Canada Digital Adoption Program (CDAP) to help get your business online, give your e-commerce presence a boost or help digitalize your business's operations.

CDAP provides funding and support to businesses, as well as training and work opportunities for young Canadians.

There are two streams:

Grow Your Business Online

This is a micro-grant program for small businesses. Applications can only be submitted by a small business that meets all of the following criteria:

  • Is a for-profit business (including for-profit social enterprises and co-operatives)
  • Is a registered or incorporated business
  • Is a consumer-facing business
  • Can be accessed by consumers or provides in-person services to consumers
  • Has at least one employee
  • Must commit to maintaining digital adoption strategy for six months after participation in the program
  • Must consent to participating in follow-up surveys, sharing information with the Government of Canada (ISED and Statistics Canada), and having the name of the business published as a recipient of funding

Boost Your Business Technology

This is a grant and/or 0% loan opportunity with the loan portion being offered through BDC. Before applying, your business must meet all of the following eligibility criteria:

  • Be incorporated federally or provincially, or be a Canadian resident sole proprietor
  • Be a for-profit, privately owned business
  • Have between 1 – 499 full time equivalent employees
  • Have at least $500,000 of annual revenues in one of the previous three tax years

Only an owner or a director (listed in the articles of incorporation) can complete the application form, and the business must meet all eligibility criteria.

Applications Now Open for the Ontario Business Costs Rebate Program

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

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.

Businesses will be required to submit property tax and energy bills as part of the application process.

Eligible businesses include: 

  • restaurants and bars 
  • indoor meeting and event spaces 
  • indoor concert venues, theatres and cinemas 
  • casinos, bingo halls and other gaming establishments 
  • indoor portion of horse and car racing tracks 
  • indoor museums, galleries, aquariums, zoos, science centres, landmarks, historic sites, botanical gardens and similar attractions 
  • indoor clubhouses at outdoor recreational amenities 
  • indoor business associated with tour and guide services 
  • bathhouses and sex clubs 
  • personal care services (hair or body) 
  • retailers (non-grocery, less than 50,000 sq ft) 
  • small grocery stores (less than 5,000 sq ft) 
  • gyms and other indoor sports and recreational facilities 
  • places of worship 
  • steam rooms and saunas 
  • oxygen bars 
  • indoor teaching and instruction centres 
  • day camps and overnight camps for children 
  • before- and after-school programs 
  • pet and veterinary services 

To apply to the program, please visit here. 

For more information on the Ontario Business Costs Rebate program, please visit here. 

To read the provincial government’s technical briefing on the Ontario Business Costs Rebate Program and Ontario COVID-19 Small Business Relief Grant, please visit here.

If you have questions about the Ontario Business Costs Rebate Program, call 1-866-668-8297 (1-866-ONT-TAXS).

Jobs and Growth Fund in Southern Ontario

The Jobs and Growth Fund provides funding to businesses and organizations to help create jobs and position local economies for long-term growth. The fund, delivered by Canada's regional development agencies (RDAs), provides $700 million nationally over three years, which includes up to $70 million dedicated to businesses created after January 2020 that meet eligibility criteria. Eligible activities include:

  • Support in the transition to green economy;
  • Fostering inclusive recovery;
  • Preservation of Canada's competitiveness and future-proof SMEs through digital adoption;
  • Strengthen capacity in sectors critical to Canada's recovery and growth.

Applications will be accepted on a continuous intake basis, until funding is fully allocated.

Propel: Student Work Placement Program

Tourism HR Canada announced the launch of a federally funded Student Work Placement Program offering paid work-integrated learning opportunities in the tourism and hospitality sector.

Called Propel, the new program benefits the full spectrum of the visitor economy as it emerges from the crushing impact of the pandemic. Propel coordinates wage subsidies for registered Canadian businesses, startups, and not-for-profits related to the tourism and hospitality sector. The position being covered must be a work-integrated learning opportunity for a post-secondary student.

Students, employers and post-secondary institutions in the tourism and hospitality sector can find out more information on TourismHR's website.

Tourism Relief Fund

The Government of Canada has just launched the Tourism Relief Fund, to be delivered through FedDev Ontario. The Tourism Relief Fund 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. This fund has a $500 million budget (ending March 31, 2023) and will focus on product development and destination development. The fund will empower businesses to create or enhance tourism experiences and products to attract visitors and to help the sector provide the best Canadian tourism experiences. 

Contributions to businesses will be either non-repayable contributions up to $100,000 for up to 50% of eligible costs OR fully repayable contributions up to $500,000 for up to 75% of eligible costs. 

The fund will offer a minimum of $50 million to support Indigenous tourism initiatives and $15 million will be dedicated to national initiatives that support the advancement of national tourism priorities. Eligible applicants include tourism entities that cater mainly to visitors, such including businesses, not-for-profit organizations, and band councils or other Indigenous organizations and cooperatives.  

To be considered eligible for this fund, applicants must meet at least one of the following criteria: 

  • Be a key supplier or operator in the visitor experience; 
  • Be part of a defined tourism cluster or a tourism dependent community, including supporting downtown cores; or 
  • Provide an anchor product or service in a tourism destination. 

For more information on eligibility and how to apply, please consult the Tourism Relief Fund – Application guide - FedDev Ontario.

Canada Community Revitalization Fund (CCRF) 

The Government of Canada has launched the national $500-million Canada Community Revitalization Fund (CCRF). The CCRF will support not-for-profit organizations, municipalities and other community groups and Indigenous communities to:

  • build new community infrastructure and revitalize existing assets;
  • bring people back to public spaces safely as health measures ease; and,
  • create jobs and stimulate local economies.

This new Fund is being delivered across the country by Canada’s regional development agencies to help eligible organizations improve local infrastructure projects to position their communities for a successful recovery. FedDev Ontario is now accepting applications for funding through the CCRF for organizations in southern Ontario.

For full eligibility criteria and other information, please visit FedDev Ontario’s CCRF web page.

Ontario Cultural Attractions Fund

The Ontario Cultural Attractions Fund (OCAF) has three aims:

  1. to increase cultural tourism by providing investments to assist Ontario organizations to develop, promote and present one- off or first time events, or a significant expansion of existing activity, which are designed to attract new tourists and visitors to cultural events;
  2. increase the earned revenue capability of the applicant organization; and
  3. support events that foster economic growth and contribute to job creation.

OCAF achieves this by providing up front working capital directed towards the applicant’s marketing and promotional costs, with the investment taking the form of a partially repayable loan.

Applying to the Ontario Cultural Attractions Fund is a two-stage process, which ensures that organizations do not dedicate significant time, effort and resources to an ineligible project. The OCAF Program Guide provides all relevant criteria about the application process. 

  • Stage 1 requires the applicant to complete a three-page form with basic information about the proposed project and target market. This application is reviewed by program staff.  If the project meets the general eligibility criteria, applicants will be provided with the Stage 2 application form.
  • The Stage 2 application requires the development of a detailed business case that includes a marketing plan, attendance and revenue projections and an analysis of the benefits of the project for the community. Stage 2 applications are reviewed by the OCAF board once staff has done a preliminary assessment.

Additional information and the program application is available on the Ontario Cultural Attractions Fund website.

Celebrate Ontario Blockbuster

Offered through the Ministry of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries, the Celebrate Ontario Blockbuster funding program supports costs related to hosting a major one-time event in Ontario. Applications are accepted on an ongoing basis, however you must submit your application at least four months before your event start date.

RTO3 Partnership Funding

The Heart of Ontario is committed to working with regional tourism industry partners to create high quality, new or enhanced experiences that will drive new visits and spending in the region of Hamilton Halton Brant. There are four streams regional industry partners can participate in to promote, develop and deliver events, experiences or offers.

Eligible partners include:

  • Tourism Enterprises & Related Businesses
  • Destination Management Organizations
  • Business Improvement Associations
  • Tourism Organizations
  • Accommodations
  • Municipalities
  • Associations or interest groups with an active interest in tourism

Details, including the application, can be found on the Hamilton Halton Brant Regional Tourism Association website.

Tourism Economic Development and Recovery Fund

The Tourism Economic Development and Recovery Fund (TEDRF) is an application-based, cost-sharing program designed to provide non-capital funding to projects that either:

  • encourage the development of innovative new tourism products
  • support tourism investment
  • build the capacity of Ontario’s tourism industry

The program also supports innovative tourism recovery projects aimed at increasing tourism within Ontario to address the reduction in global travel as a result of COVID-19.

Training and Networking Opportunities

Indigenous Tourism Ontario – Business Advisory Program

Indigenous Tourism Ontario (ITO) offers one-on-one support services to Indigenous tourism businesses. Indigenous Business Advisors (IBA) Program will assist Indigenous tourism businesses throughout the province to improve sustainability and resiliency and encourage success within their operations. The IBA Program uses a relationship-focused approach whereby businesses receive one-on-one support from industry leading Indigenous tourism professionals. This innovative program will be the first of its kind in Canada.

 

To learn more about ITO’s Indigenous Business Advisory Program, or to sign up, please contact iba@indigenoustourismontario.ca.
HHBRTA Fall Training Week: October 3-7, 2022

Hamilton Halton Brant Regional Tourism Association (HHBRTA) is launching Fall Training Week. The 5 day Fall Training week opportunity for Hamilton Halton Brant Tourism operators addresses issues related to the development of the tourism industry that meets current and future market demands, including enhancing competitiveness and sustainability across all tourism industry sectors. Training sessions are being offered at NO COST and are offered either virtually or in-person depending on the topic. Registration is required for all sessions.

 

To register for training sessions offered during Fall Training Week visit The Heart of Ontario website's Industry Relations page at www.hamiltonhaltonbrant.com
Building Back Better Training Series
Offered by the Hamilton Halton Brant Regional Tourism Association (HHBRTA), Building Back Better is a training series to assist tourism industry partners in identifying opportunities to recover and thrive as the province re-opens, and simultaneously work on overall economic recovery to ensure the tourism industry is market ready and competitive. The Training Modules will include digitalization, e-commerce, providing a safe and welcoming place for consumers, partnership skills development, buyable offer creation to diversify consumer audiences, recruitment and retention, and mental health and well-being.

This training is free to attend and accessible 24/7 on the HHBRTA website.

Ontario Tourism Education Corporation (OTEC)

The Ontario Tourism Education Corporation (OTEC) is an Ontario-based independent, not-for-profit training, consulting and workforce development organization that delivers high quality, creative and branded solutions for the development and growth of a professional, skilled workforce. It is a leading source of support for community workforce capacity building and for helping companies attract, retain, and develop high performing employees and become Employers of Choice. OTEC is the premier source for Customer Service training and strategy development, Tourism Ambassador training and occupational certification, leadership skills training, and education products and services for tourism, hospitality and service oriented organizations in a wide range of industry sectors both nationally and internationally. 

Learn more about OTEC's Workforce Development, including Tourism SkillsNet Ontario, and Training Solutions for tourism-oriented businesses on their website.

Research and Development

Destination Canada – Spring 2022 Tourism Outlook

Destination Canada has published their Spring 2022 Tourism Outlook outlining the forecast for tourism recovery.

While recovery is uneven among the markets, momentum is building and the Destination Canada outlook is forecasting that pleasure visitor segments will return to 2019 levels by 2025, with an upside to 2024 as their best-case scenario. Read the full report to learn about travel demand, key recovery drivers and several forecast scenarios.

Visit www.destinationcanada.com to view their Spring 2022 Tourism Outlook.

Destination Ontario – Ontario Tourism Health Check

Destination Ontario’s Insights team has released the most recent Ontario Tourism Health Check report which highlights key recovery indicators such as accommodation occupancy rates and border crossings.

The most recent Ontario Tourism Health Check report is available as of August 4, 2022.

Adventure Tourism Market: Global Industry Trends

A new report has been released from Research and Markets. Here are some of the highlights:

  • The global adventure tourism market reached a value of US$ 852.4 Billion in 2021. Looking forward, the publisher expects the market to reach US$ 2,548.2 Billion by 2027, exhibiting at a CAGR of 20.23% during 2022-2027.
  • The escalating demand for authentic and personalized traveling experience on account of rapid urbanization, improving disposable incomes, rising social media influence, and affordable air travel tickets represents one of the key factors bolstering the market growth.
  • The growing awareness about the adverse impact of conventional tourism, such as soil erosion, increasing pollution, and natural habitat loss, is shifting the preferences of travelers towards sustainable and adventure tourism.
  • The report provides an analysis of the key trends in each sub-segment of the global adventure tourism market, along with forecasts at the global, regional and country level from 2022-2027. The report has categorized the market based on type, activity, age group and sales channel.

Find out more Adventure Tourism Market: Global Industry Trends, Share, Size, Growth, Opportunity and Forecast 2022-2027.

Tourism and Hospitality Emergency Recovery (THER)
As businesses and operators prepare for a strong summer season, workforce recovery remains a challenge. Access tools and strategies specific to your region, including readiness assessments, real-time data, and workshops for businesses. Learn more on the Let's Get Ready website.
Impact of COVID-19 on the Canadian Economy and Consumer Sentiment 
To understand the impact of COVID-19 on the economy, the consumer mindset and to inform marketing recovery strategies, Destination Ontario is actively compiling economic and public attitude and behavior information. This includes economic models and consumer sentiment research studies, which are structured to better understand when and where to re-engage visitors to think about travelling again; and with what kinds of messages. The information is both from publicly available sources as well as from a subscription study. In this unprecedented time of declined global economy, there are many key variables to consider in any model and research studies. The information shared here is what Destination Ontario currently has access to and can share. As such, the information should be treated as directional only.

Festivals and Events Ontario has compiled all resources on their COVID-19 Resource Centre webpage. The most recent Consumer Sentiment Research is available as of December 14, 2021.

Destination Ontario - Research and Insights

Timely and relevant tourism research information is important to marketing strategy, partners and tourism businesses operating in today’s competitive travel market. Destination Ontario conducts primary, proprietary tourism-related research and has access to third-party research. It is our goal to provide reports with actionable insights that enable the industry to market their products more effectively.

Destination Ontario's corporate website includes research and insights related to segmentation, visitor spending in Ontario, performance and market trends based on border crossing statistics, and monthly consumer sentiment and economic modelling studies.

Reconnecting Ontarians - Re-emerging as a Global Leader
An action plan for economic and social recovery through Ontario’s Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries (Province of Ontario). 
2021 TIAC Tourism Recovery Plan
The Tourism Industry Association of Canada has prepared a comprehensive 2021 Tourism Recovery Plan to to ensure the survival and competitiveness of Canada's tourism industry through COVID-19. 

Other Updates

2022 Ontario Tourism Resiliency Awards 

The Tourism Industry Association of Ontario (TIAO) in partnership with Attractions Ontario, The Culinary Tourism Alliance, Indigenous Tourism Ontario and OTEC is proud to present the Ontario Tourism Resiliency Awards 2022.  

Awards will be presented by business category in each of the following three areas:

1)     Sustainability

2)     Innovation

3)     Collaboration

Nominations for the Ontario Tourism Resiliency Awards close on September 7, 2022.

Learn more about awards criteria and submit your nominations on the Tourism Industry Association of Ontario’s website.

Safe Travels Stamp Administered by TIAO

TIAO has been chosen by the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) to administer the Safe Travels Stamp in Canada. The Safe Travels Stamp is an international symbol designed to allow travellers to recognize governments and companies around the world, which have adopted health and hygiene standardized protocols  – so consumers can experience ‘Safe Travels’.

Apply here. See list of successful applicants here

Free COVID-19 Rapid Testing Kits for Small and Medium Businesses

The Chamber of Commerce Brantford-Brant along with the Paris & District Chamber of Commerce have joined forces to provide free self-screening kits to small and medium businesses. The goal of this program is to identify asymptomatic or pre-symptomatic individuals to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 in your workplace which will then help prevent the spread at home and in our community.

Visit the Chamber of Commerce Brantford-Brant's COVID-19 Rapid Testing Kits page of their website for detailed information and to order rapid testing kits for your business.