The 2019 federal budget, tabled by Finance Minister Bill Morneau on March 19, included some major wins for Canada’s tourism sector. But there’s still much work to be done.
Since the budget, TIAC has been in close communication with government stakeholders for more details and clarification on key funding announcements.
One of the major funding announcements to the direct benefit of tourism businesses was the $58.5 million Canadian Experience Fund to support tourism infrastructure. TIAC President and CEO Charlotte Bell has been meeting with the Regional Development Agencies (RDAs) to discuss the process for tourism businesses to apply for funding.
This is what we know about the Canadian Experience Fund:
- It will total $58.5 million, over two years, starting this fiscal year.
- The Regional Development Agencies (RDAs) will be responsible for delivering funding in their respective regions. There are six (6) RDAs across Canada. There will be no centralized program to deliver the Fund, so stakeholders will need to contact their respective RDA to apply for funding.
- The Fund’s objectives are diverse. The fund aims to support businesses and organizations create, improve or expand either tourism-related infrastructure (e.g. accommodations or local attractions), tourism products or tourism experiences.
- The Fund will focus on five categories: tourism in rural and remote communities, Indigenous tourism, winter tourism, inclusiveness specifically for the LGBTQ2 community, and farm-to-table tourism, which is also known as culinary tourism.
- Please also note that while the six RDAs work within similar guidelines, there are some regional differences. For instance, some RDAs currently have caps on the amount of non-repayable funding for SMEs or for-profit organizations which means in some cases, portions of, or all funding going to for-profit organization would be repayable over time. However, funding for not-for-profit (NFPs) organization is generally awarded as a non-repayable contribution. As TIAC continues talks with each of the RDAs and more information becomes available, including contact information, stay tuned for updates as we learn more about this funding envelope, the application process and conditions.
In the coming weeks, we are expecting an official announcement on the fund at which time we will have more information to share.
Keep your eye out for future articles in TIAC Talk on this and other budget announcements and what they mean for the tourism sector.