During the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, certain sectors have been hit harder than others. With the lack of leisure and recreational travel, the tourism industry has experienced significant turmoil. That is why the Ontario provincial government has introduced the Ontario Tourism Recovery Program (OTRP), which provides financial support to businesses in the tourism sector looking to recovery and adapt, including for-profit attractions, accommodations, transportation, and other sectors that have been hardest hit by COVID-19.
OTRP applicants must have experienced a qualifying revenue decline of at least 50% in the reported 2020-2021 year compared to fiscal year-end 2019.
Over 1.8 million Canadian are employed in the tourism sector, with roughly 35% of all Canadian tourism spending happening in Ontario (source). With the travel restrictions put in place because of COVID-19, financial recovery programs have become crucial for post-pandemic survival and recovery for these organizations.
Funding Snapshot: Ontario Tourism Recovery Program (OTRP)
OTRP Funding Amount
Tourism businesses that are eligible for funding through the Ontario Tourism Recovery Program (OTRP) will be eligible for funding up to the lesser of:
- Up to 20% of 2020-2021 qualifying revenue losses, compared to fiscal year 2019, or
- Salaries and wages for fiscal year 2019 according to the following tiers:
- Tier 1: More than $4M in salary and wage expenses in 2019. Funding cap: $1M.
- Tier 2: $2M to $4M in salary wage expenses in 2019. Funding cap: $500,000.
- Tier 3: $1.3M to $1.9M in salary and wage expenses in 2019. Funding cap: $250,000.
- Tier 4: Less than $1.3M in salary and wage expenses in 2019. Funding cap: $100,000.
OTRP Applicant Eligibility
Canadian tourism businesses that meet all of the following requirements are eligible for Ontario Tourism Recovery Program (OTRP) funding:
- Be a for-profit business, legally incorporated (federally or provincially) as of January 1, 2018;
- Operate an eligible tourism business in Ontario and have a Canadian bank account;
- Have experienced eligible revenue decline of at least 50% in the reported 2020–2021 year (COVID impact year), compared to fiscal year-end 2019 (pre-COVID baseline year);
- Have annual financial statements for fiscal year-end 2018, 2019 and the reported 2020–2021 fiscal year that reflects the impacts of COVID-19 and related losses;
- Have issued at least one T4 to an employee in 2019;
- Normally be open to the public at least 12 consecutive weeks per year and open at least five days per week during operating season; and
- Be open, as permitted, in 2021.
Eligible businesses include:
- Eligible accommodations: Bed and breakfasts, resorts, hotels, motels, inns, lodges, hunting and fishing camps, cottages and cabins, campgrounds and recreational vehicle parks.
- Eligible attractions: Farm-based tourist attractions, amusement parks, theme parks, water parks, indoor and outdoor recreational facilities, scenic/ sightseeing tours, zoos, botanical gardens, aquariums, eco- and nature centers, museums, Indigenous attractions, performing arts/ music venues, cinemas, boat tours, marinas, convention and conference centers, destination spas, wineries, breweries, distilleries, golf courses, ski and snow attractions.
- Eligible transportation businesses: Commercial passenger airlines, motor coaches.
- Indigenous businesses: Indigenous owned businesses do not need a CRA Business Number to apply but must meet all other eligibility requirements.
Eligible Projects for OTRP
Applicants that are eligible for funding through the OTRP will use their funding to help them prepare to re-open safely, develop new tourism products to help them cope with tourism during COVID-19, retain and create jobs in their sector, and support tourism recovery in their region. Those that meet the eligibility requirements are not guaranteed funding.
Eligible applicants can use their awarded funding for expenditures, such as:
- Reopening and operating expenses, including staff salaries and maintenance
- Health and safety measure to support the safety of visitors and workers
- Attracting visitors through tourism product and experience improvements and marketing.
OTRP Funding Timelines
The Ontario Tourism Recovery Program (OTRP) program launched on October 13, 2021 and is currently accepting applications. Successful applicants can use their awarded funding towards eligible expenses incurred between April 1, 2021 and March 31, 2022.
Apply for the Ontario Tourism Recovery Program (OTRP):
If your organization meets the above eligibility criteria, consider applying for the Ontario Tourism Recovery Program (OTRP) with Mentor Works team of Canadian government funding application writers. Our team provides clients with an estimated 95%-time savings when compared to writing applicants in-house. Speak to a member of the Mentor Works team or call us at 1-888-599-3111.
The Canadian federal and provincial governments have a wealth of grant, loan, and COVID-19 business recovery programs. Speak with a member of the Mentor Works team to find out if your business is eligible for these programs and what upcoming projects you have that could receive funding.