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Industry Updates

NEW Provincial Government Announces Move to Step 3 of Roadmap to Reopen

July 9, 2021 -

 

With key public health and health care indicators continuing to improve and the provincewide vaccination rate surpassing the targets outlined in the province’s Roadmap to Reopen, in consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health the Ontario government is moving the province into Step Three of the Roadmap to Reopen at 12:01 a.m. on Friday, July 16, 2021.

 

Step Three of the Roadmap focuses on the resumption of additional indoor services with larger numbers of people and restrictions in place. This includes, but is not limited to:

  • Outdoor social gatherings and organized public events with up to 100 people with limited exceptions;
  • Indoor social gatherings and organized public events with up to 25 people;
  • Indoor religious services, rites or ceremonies, including wedding services and funeral services permitted with physical distancing;
  • Indoor dining permitted with no limits on the number of patrons per table with physical distancing and other restrictions still in effect;
  • Indoor sports and recreational fitness facilities to open subject to a maximum 50 per cent capacity of the indoor space. Capacity for indoor spectators is 50 per cent of the usual seating capacity or 1,000 people, whichever is less. Capacity for outdoor spectators is 75 per cent of the usual seating capacity or 15,000 people, whichever is less;
  • Indoor meeting and event spaces permitted to operate with physical distancing and other restrictions still in effect and capacity limited to not exceed 50 per cent capacity or 1,000 people, (whichever is less);
  • Essential and non-essential retail with with capacity limited to the number of people that can maintain a physical distance of two metres;
  • Personal care services, including services requiring the removal of a face covering, with capacity limited to the number of people that can maintain a physical distance of two metres;
  • Museums, galleries, historic sites, aquariums, zoos, landmarks, botanical gardens, science centres, casinos/bingo halls, amusement parks, fairs and rural exhibitions, festivals, with capacity limited to not exceed 50 per cent capacity indoors and 75 per cent capacity outdoors;
  • Concert venues, cinemas, and theatres permitted to operate at:
    • up to 50 per cent capacity indoors or a maximum limit of 1,000 people for seated events (whichever is less)
    • up to 75 per cent capacity outdoors or a maximum limit of 5,000 people for unseated events (whichever is less); and up to 75 per cent capacity outdoors or a maximum of 15,000 people for events with fixed seating (whichever is less).
  • Real estate open houses with capacity limited to the number of people that can maintain a physical distance of two metres; and
  • Indoor food or drink establishments where dance facilities are provided, including nightclubs and restobars, permitted up to 25 per cent capacity or up to a maximum limit of 250 people (whichever is less).

Face coverings in indoor public settings and physical distancing requirements remain in place throughout Step Three. This is in alignment with the advice on personal public health measures issued by the Public Health Agency of Canada, while also accounting for Ontario specific information and requirements. Face coverings will also be required in some outdoor public settings as well.

Please view the regulation for the full list of public health and workplace safety measures that need to be followed.

NEW Ministry of Health Proposes Amendments to O Reg. 364/20

July 9, 2021 -

The Ministry of Health is proposing amendments to O Reg. 364/20 to set out the public health and workplace safety measures for Step 3 of the Roadmap to Reopen. This includes but is not limited to (all with additional restrictions): 

Social gatherings and organized public events 

  • Maximum 25 people indoors 
  • Maximum 100 people outdoors 

Restaurants, bars, food trucks, and other food or drink establishments 

  • Indoor and outdoor capacity limited to the number of people that can maintain 2 metres of physical distance  

Food and drink establishments with dance floors (including night clubs and resto bars) 

  • Limited to the number of people that can maintain 2 metres of physical distance with a maximum capacity of 50% indoors and 50% outdoors 
  • No limits to the number of patrons per table 
  • Buffets permitted  
  • Karaoke permitted with restrictions 
  • Dancing is permitted with restrictions 

Retail Stores 

  • Essential and non-essential retail limited to the number of people that can maintain 2 metres of physical distance 

Wedding, funeral or religious service, rite, or ceremony 

  • For the ceremony itself:  
  • Capacity is limited to the number of people that can maintain 2 metres physical distance  
  • For social gatherings associated with the ceremony (e.g., receptions): 
  • Maximum 25 people indoors  
  • Maximum 100 people outdoors  

Indoor and outdoor meeting and event spaces  

  • Capacity is limited to the number of people that can maintain 2 metres physical distance  
  • Maximum 50% capacity up to 1,000 people indoors 
  • Maximum 75% capacity up to 5,000 people outdoors 

Facilities used for indoor or outdoor sports and recreational fitness activities 

  • Maximum 50% capacity for indoor facilities  
  • Personal trainers and sports trainers permitted with physical distancing and other restrictions  
  • Spectators limited to 50% of the indoor seating capacity for up to 1,000 people; masks are required   
  • Spectators limited to 50% of outdoor seating capacity for up to 10,000 people, and other restrictions; masks are required except for members of the same household seated together  
  • Sports permitted without restrictions on contact 

Day and overnight camps 

Hotels, motels, and short-term rentals 

  • Permitted to open 
  • On-premise indoor fitness or indoor recreational facilities permitted to open with maximum 50% capacity limit 

Campgrounds  

  • Permitted to open 
  • On-premise indoor fitness or indoor recreational facilities permitted to open with maximum 50% capacity limit 

Museums, aquariums, zoos, science centres, landmarks, historic sites, gardens, and similar attractions  

  • Permitted to operate with: 
  • Indoor capacity limited to the number of people that can maintain 2 metres’ physical distance, with a maximum capacity of 50%  
  • Maximum 75% capacity outdoors  

Concert venues, cinemas, and theatres 

  • Maximum 50% capacity indoors, up to 1000 people 
  • An outdoor seated concert, event, or performance or movie within a concert venue, theatre or cinema is permitted to operate at a maximum capacity of: 
  • Maximum 75% capacity outdoors, or up to 15,000 people (seated) 
  • Maximum 75% capacity outdoors, or 5000 people (non-seated) 
  • Masks must be worn unless you are with people from your household or you are seated at least 2 meters away from every person outside your household 
  • Reservations are required for attendance 

Amusement parks and waterparks 

  • Outdoor areas are limited to the number of people that can maintain physical distance of 2 metres, with a maximum capacity of 75%  
  • Indoor areas are limited to the number of people that can maintain physical distance of 2 metres, with a maximum of 50%  

Horse racing venues 

  • Maximum 50% capacity indoors, up to 1000 people (seated) 
  • Maximum 75% capacity outdoors, up to 15,000 people (seated) 
  • Maximum 75% capacity outdoors, up to 5,000 people (non-seated) 
  • Reservations required for seated events 

Casinos, bingo halls, and gaming establishments 

  • Capacity is limited to the number of people that can maintain 2 metres physical distance  
  • Maximum 50% capacity indoors 

Boat Tours 

  • Limited to the amount of people that can maintain 2 metres of physical distance with a maximum capacity of 50%  

Fairs, rural exhibitions, festivals 

  • Maximum 75% capacity outdoors 
  • Indoor capacity is limited to the amount of people that can maintain 2 meters of physical distance, not exceeding 50% capacity 

Strip clubs  

  • Indoor capacity limited to the number of people who can maintain a physical distance of 2 metres (seated)  
  • Performers must maintain at least 2 metres’ physical distance from patrons 

Bathhouses and sex clubs 

  • Capacity limited to the number of people who can maintain a physical distance of 2 metres  
  • Maximum 25% capacity, up to 250 people 
  • Masks required 

Next steps 

The province will remain in Step Three of the Roadmap for at least 21 days and until 80 per cent of the eligible population aged 12 and over has received one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and 75 per cent have received their second, with no public health unit having less than 70 per cent of their population fully vaccinated. 

Upon meeting these thresholds, the vast majority of public health and workplace safety measures, including capacity limits for indoor and outdoor settings and limits for social gatherings, will be lifted. Only a small number of measures will remain in place, including the requirement for passive screening, such as posting a sign, and businesses requiring a safety plan. 

Please view the regulation for full details.

Tourism Economic Recovery Ministerial Task Force Recommendations

June 23, 2021 -

The Tourism Economic Recovery Ministerial Task Force, led by Tim Hudak, released its final report, which contains ten recommendations to government on how best to support the tourism industry recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. The ten recommendations are:

  1. Emphasize safety in everything we say and do.
  2. Give Ontarians an incentive to get out of the home and make new memories.
  3. Encourage and excite Ontarians to experience Ontario through new "Yours to Discover" days.
  4. Provide increased stability and opportunities to tourism businesses and organizations.
  5. Bring back conventions and business events to Ontario.
  6. Make it easier for people to find the package, products and destinations that suit their budgets, schedules and needs.
  7. Reduce the amount of time tourism businesses spend on red tape so they can spend more time delivering unforgettable experiences.
  8. Make nature and outdoor experiences part of the province's solution to physical and mental health challenges.
  9. Create "bite-sized" mobile and scalable experiences during the transition period to a full reopening.
  10. Showcase the best of Ontario through packaged itineraries and trails.

Review the full report online. 

Provincial Government Announces Move to Step 1

June 7, 2021 - 

The Provincial government has announced that Ontario will move into Step 1 of its Roadmap to Reopen at 12:01 a.m. on Friday, June 11, 2021.

Step 1 of the Roadmap to Reopen includes, but is not limited to:

  • Outdoor social gatherings and organized public events with up to 10 people
  • Outdoor religious services, rites, or ceremonies including wedding services and funeral services, capped at the number of people that can maintain a physical distance of 2m
  • Indoor religious services, rites, or ceremonies, including wedding services and funeral services permitted at up to 15 per cent capacity of the particular room
  • Non-essential retail permitted at 15% capacity, with no restrictions on the goods that can be sold
  • Essential and other select retail permitted at 25% capacity, with no restrictions on the goods that can be sold
  • Outdoor dining with up to four people per table, with exceptions for larger households
  • Outdoor fitness classes; outdoor groups in personal training and outdoor individual/team sport training to be permitted with up to 10 people, among other restrictions
  • Day camps for children permitted to operate in a manner consistent with the safety guidelines for COVID-19 produced by the Office of the Chief Medical Officer of Health
  • Overnight camping at campgrounds and campsites, including Ontario Parks, and short-term rentals
  • Concert venues, theaters and cinemas may open outdoors for the purpose of rehearsing or performing a recorded or broadcasted concert, artistic event, theatrical performance or other performance with no more than 10 performers, among other restrictions
  • Outdoor horse racing tracks and motor speedways permitted to operate without spectators
  • Outdoor attractions such as zoos, landmarks, historic sites, botanical gardens with capacity limits and other restrictions
  • Outdoor tours with restrictions are now permitted

Please view the regulation for full details.

Federal 2021 Budget Supporting Tourism, Hospitality, Arts and Culture

April 20, 2021 - 

The impact of COVID-19 on workers and businesses in tourism, arts, and culture has been severe. With the rollout of vaccines underway, businesses in the tourism, arts and culture sectors are getting ready to welcome Canadians back to experience the great places and activities this country has to offer—when it is safe to do so. Canadians are also eager to return to the local festivals and places they know and love.

The government's plan will support our economic recovery, restoring and creating jobs in these sectors, drawing visitors to towns and cities across the country, and unleashing spending that stimulates local economies. See the full update from the Department of Finance Canada.

Provincial Budget to Support the Tourism and Hospitality Sectors during COVID-19

March 30, 2021 - 

In March 2021, the Province announced its 2021 Budget: Ontario's Action Plan: Protecting People's Health & Our Economy. Prior to the pandemic, tourism generated more than $36 billion in economic activity and supported approximately 400,000 jobs in Ontario. As a direct result of the pandemic, the tourism sector has lost more than $18 billion in revenue alone and more than 200,000 jobs.

"This has been the most challenging year the tourism industry has ever faced. Previously an economic powerhouse for the province, tourism has been hit by the triple threat that COVID-19 represents - a health, economic and social crisis. This critical funding will sustain regionally significant businesses, while protecting jobs in communities that rely on tourism investment." - Minister Lisa MacLeod

Tourism initiatives and supports announced in the 2021 Budget include: 

  • Introduction of a new Ontario Tourism and Hospitality Small Business Support Grant, which will provide an estimated $100 million in a one-time payout of $10,000 to $20,000 to eligible tourism and hospitality small businesses. This is meant to protect jobs in local communities to help small businesses recover from the impacts of COVID-19 and once again offer world-class tourism and hospitality experiences.
  • Dedicating $100 million into Ontario Tourism Recovery Program to help tourism operators, anchor businesses and attractions recover from the impacts of COVID-19.
  • Increased funding of up to $15 million for the Regional Tourism Organizations (RTOs) in 2021–22. The initiative will help stabilize and support the tourism sector’s efforts to attract domestic and international visitors when it is safe to do so.
  • Increasing investment in Ontario’s arts community by $10 million in 2021–22. With support from the Ontario Arts Council (OAC), this increased investment will assist with significant costs incurred when preparing for activities and events that could not go forward in 2020–21.
  • To support the recovery and sustainability of Ontario’s wine and agri tourism industry, the government is providing a one time $10 million grant in 2021 to help wineries and cideries impacted by lockdown measures, and help ensure that agricultural production and local jobs are maintained in Ontario’s rural communities.
  • Increasing funding for the Small Distillery Support Program by an additional $1.2 million in 2021–22 to help small distillers recover from the impacts of the COVID 19 pandemic.

Watch the full budget announcement here.

Funding and Financial Relief Programs

NEW 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.

NEW Canada Community Revitalization Fund (CCRF) (Priority given to applications submitted on or before July 23, 2021)

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.

FedDev Ontario staff will also be hosting four technical briefings on the CCRF through Zoom over the next few weeks. Those who are interested may register via one of the following links:

Ontario Tourism and Travel Small Business Support Grant (Deadline: June 25, 2021)

The Ontario government is providing one‐time payments of $10,000 to $20,000 to support eligible small tourism and travel businesses struggling to recover from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic through the new $100-million Ontario Tourism and Travel Small Business Support Grant. 

This grant will support eligible small tourism and travel businesses that did not receive the Ontario Small Business Support Grant (OSBSG), such as travel agents, hotels, motels, resorts, and bed and breakfasts. To qualify, businesses must have fewer than 100 employees and demonstrate they have experienced a minimum 20 per cent revenue decline between 2019 and 2020.

For information on eligibility and how to apply, visit: www.ontario.ca/covidsupport

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.

Canada Recovery Hiring Program

This new $595 million program will make it easier for businesses to hire back laid-off workers or to bring on new ones by providing eligible employers with a subsidy of up to 50% on the incremental renumeration paid to eligible employees between June 6, 2021 and November 20, 2021. As the rates for both the wage subsidy and the hiring program will slowly ramp down over time, employers will have a strong incentive to begin hiring as soon as possible and maximize their benefit.

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.

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.

Canadian Tire Jumpstart Sport Relief Fund (Application Deadline: August 1, 2021)

The next intake for the Canadian Tire Jumpstart Sport Relief Fund is now open. This grant offers Programming Support to assist organizations with the costs of delivering sport and recreational programming and Operational Support to assist organizations with operational and administrative costs.

This grant is for programs that start between September 1 and December 21, 2021. Applications close August 1, 2021. For more information and to apply, visit the Jumpstart Sport Relief Fund website.

Training and Networking Opportunities

NEW 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.

Free Training for Workers in the Tourism & Hospitality Sector

The workplace has changed dramatically and continues to do so. The Ontario Tourism Education Corporate (OTEC) and Tourism SkillsNet Ontario (TSNO) have created two programs - Resiliency Training and Leadership Training - to increase engagement and help with retention and advancement within the industry. The training is free and is open to full time, part time, and furloughed workers of tourism and hospitality businesses (note that business owners and senior leadership are not eligible). 

Public cohorts will be running every month until March 2022, and TSNO has the ability to offer exclusive, customized sessions for larger teams. Details about the Resiliency Training and Leadership Training programs are available online.

Free Tourism Digital Marketing Certificate

With the new realties of COVID-19, digital marketing has become the predominant avenue for the tourism industry. Working with E-Learning University, the Hamilton-Halton-Brant Regional Tourism Association is offering four Digital Marketing Certificates that are free to earn for Brantford's business operators and organizations. 

There are four certificates that are available for completion (available until March 31, 2022): 

  • Tourism Social Media Marketing 
  • Tourism SEO and SEM Marketing 
  • Tourism Content Marketing 
  • Tourism Website, Email and Advanced Marketing 

​Each certificate can be taken individually, however there is opportunity to receive a Tourism Digital Marketing Expert (TDME) Certification if you complete the four certificates detailed above. Each certificate is compiled of a variety of 1-hour video training and a 5-question quiz. 

How to Start:

Step 1: Create a login with E-learning University. Once you are logged you will also have access to register for upcoming live webinars or view a library of tourism-focused recorded webinars, in addition the access to the Digital Marketing Certification Program.  

Step 2: Once your login is confirmed, visit the E-Learning U website to start your certification courses.

For any assistance, please contact angelica.smith@theheartofontario.com

2021 Ontario Tourism Summit - October 26 & 27, 2021

Join the Tourism Association of Ontario and the Province's many stakeholders for the tourism industry event of the year - because tourism matters. Delegates can attend in person (Ottawa) or virtually to gather, share and collaborate as we rebuild Ontario's tourism industry together. This year's summit is about respect, collaboration and rebuilding our future. 

For more information, and to register for OTS21 visit the TIAO website.

Research and Development

Revisiting Tourism: Canada’s Visitor Economy One Year into the Global Pandemic
Recovery is forecasted to take years, but a significant increase in domestic travel can accelerate recovery by one year. Because of its service nature, tourism is the most impacted sector in the Canadian economy. Canada’s major cities have been hit the hardest by the loss of tourism revenue. Review the report from Destination Canada online.
Destination Ontario - Impact of COVID-19 on the Canadian Economy and Consumer Sentiment

To better understand the impact of COVID-19 on the economy, the consumer mindset and to inform marketing recovery strategies, Destination Ontario has accessed various economic and public attitude and behavior studies. The most recent (February 23, 2021) report is available online.

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

TIAO Complimentary Membership Offer Extended

The Tourism Industry Association of Ontario (TIAO) has extended its complimentary membership program to the entire tourism industry in Ontario for 2021.

Reach out to TIAO directly here and they will set up your membership. They will also extend to you the option as we do to our existing members.

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.