March Industry Newsletter

by | Mar 5, 2021 | Tourism Industry News | 0 comments

Northeastern Ontario Tourism (NeONT) is a not-for-profit destination marketing organization dedicated to promoting the Northeastern Ontario region. We provide resources for consumers, groups and organizations on travelling to our region for outdoor activities, touring, events and attractions, arts and culture, and fishing.

We work closely with Destination Northern Ontario and Destination Ontario to ensure Northeastern Ontario is represented in pan-Northern and pan-Ontario marketing efforts.

Our partners span every sector of the industry, from our largest municipalities, to the smallest mom and pop motel owners. If you haven’t renewed your partnership yet, please visit our website.


TIAO, the leading representative of Ontario’s tourism industry, is seeking a new CEO. This person will bring energy, creativity and vision to the role to ensure the continued momentum and evolution of this important organization.

Please find the ideal candidate profile here:

Interested candidates should send a letter expressing their interest and current CV to the confidential email address [email protected] by March 26, 2021.

Applicants selected for an interview will be contacted directly.

Ontario Small Business Support Grant – Growing support for changes 

The provincial government has released figures showing that up to 70,000 businesses have applied for the Ontario Small Business Support Grant. Of those applications, around only 14,000 applications have been paid out so far. The interest in the grant highlights the severe financial hardships that so many SMEs are currently experiencing and the desperate need for continued support.

However, the grant continues to exclude key businesses such as accommodators. In both TIAO’s meetings with Ministers at ROMA Conference and in their pre-budget submissions and presentations, they’ve made it clear that the eligible businesses list and revenue loss calculation formula needs to change.

Other organizations such as the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB), Ontario Restaurant Hotel & Motel Association (ORHMA) and the Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC) are supporting TIAO for accommodators to be included (and other excluded businesses) and greater flexibility for businesses to demonstrate their revenue losses, as the current April over April period excludes seasonal and resource-based tourism businesses.  TIAO is working very hard to add to their coalition of organizations calling for change and to keep up the pressure on the provincial government.




Commercial Insurance Update 

It is clear that the pattern of rising premium prices, increasing co-pays and, in an increasing number of cases, demonstrating barriers for some businesses to gain any insurance at all, is a problem not restricted to Ontario.  At a meeting of the Provincial Territorial Tourism Industry Association of Canada (PTTIA) on February 22, the issue of commercial insurance was raised by Walt Judas (CEO, Tourism Industry Association of British Columbia). He was detailing similar experiences and concerns from his members. Time is running out for a solution to this problem. Not only are renewal dates fast approaching but our international competitors are also acting decisively to support their national industries. In the UK, Germany and Austria, there are already substantial programs now in place to support festivals and events and with plans to further intervene in the tourism insurance sector. These governments are providing backstop arrangements to guarantee deposits and cancellation costs.

Beth, in her new role at TIAC, is committed to taking up the issue of commercial insurance and recognizes the national and international solutions that will be needed to address them. TIAO will of course support TIAC’s next steps on this campaign and utilize any research or survey data available.

Indigenous Tourism Ontario (ITO) Introduces the Indigenous Business Advisory (IBA) Program

Building on last year’s Business Support Broker Program and in keeping with their Guiding Principle of using an innovative grassroots approach, ITO has again commissioned a network of experts – Indigenous Business Advisors (IBAs) – to work directly with their members to provide resources, coaching, mentorship, and support. IBAs will serve as a single point of contact to help tourism operators access and navigate financial resources, business planning tools, training and skills programs, marketing opportunities and more; tailored to each business’ identified needs.


Learn More Here

Tourism Counts! Take Action Now

Last week, TIAC released their 2021 Tourism Recovery Plan and have been engaging MPs across all parties to support the defined measures.

While this is happening, we need your engagement and enforcement by asking your Member of Parliament to support Tourism recovery.  Simply click here and scroll to the bottom of the page to use our interactive tool found at Input your address and hit enter (the software will identify your MP), fill in your name, email, and accept terms and conditions, then click send.

We need you to unite with us, the few seconds you spend today could mean the difference in the survival of the travel economy.  We need everyone to hear that Canada cannot afford to lose the tourism industry.




NeONT’s Strategic Plan: Northeastern Ontario Industry Partners-Operators, Communities, local DMOs – We Need Your Input!

Northeastern Ontario Regional Tourism Organization Inc. (NeONT) is a not-for profit organization dedicated to promoting the region as a premier travel destination with the goal of increasing tourism revenue for our Partners, and the region as a whole. We nurture productive relationships with Partners and industry by listening to industry feedback and developing targeted marketing initiatives that speak to the region’s (RTO 13A) key travel markets.

We are currently undertaking our strategic action planning process aimed at enhancing the organization, partnership base and overall marketing efforts. The Three-Year Strategic Action Plan will serve as a roadmap to guide our organization through sustainable growth while meeting industry needs and positioning the region as a premier travel destination.

If you are a Tourism Business, Municipality, First Nation Community, local DMO or any other Northeastern Ontario tourism industry stakeholder, please take 5 minutes to complete our survey. Your input is integral to the development of the project. You can access the survey by clicking this link Thank you in advance for contributing your feedback and ideas and assisting us through this exciting process.

Together We Can Show Travellers Why ‘There’s Nothing Like Northeastern Ontario’

NeONT has created two maps with limited space to advertise your business! One highlights the best Touring Routes in the region, and the other showcases the many museums we have to offer. The maps also feature engaging information on key travel products, tips for travellers, and more.

Advertise in Northeastern Ontario MapsEach map has only 180 business listings and 20 business card-sized spaces available for

purchase. Don’t miss out — reserve your spot today!

Learn More Here





Northeastern Ontario Tourism 2021 Partnership

As an incorporated not-for-profit organization dependent on Partnership revenues to support our operating costs, specifically as they relate to carrying out our destination marketing mission and mandate while promoting safe travel within Northeastern Ontario, your Partnership renewal is important to us, to the sector and to the communities we call home.

In February 2021, we launched our revised website. It features an updated design, new and enhanced landing pages, revised partnership profiles, new content, and a separate information section for our Industry Partners. We also launched new print and digital templated marketing resources for all of our partners to use free of charge. These “fill in the blanks” ad mats are especially valuable to businesses and communities who do not have marketing firms to design their ads.

As a Partner, you will have access to up-to-date industry news and resources, along with future add-on promotional opportunities in travel guides, maps, special projects to name a few, as they arise

Inquiries Here

Learn More Here

Partner Resources


Federal wage and rent subsidies extended until June

March 3, 2021

The government announced that both CEWS and CERS would be extended into June. CEWS would continue to be up to 75% and CERS would offer 65% with a 25% top up available to those mandated to close.

Learn More Here

Ontario Provides Significant Financial Support to the Arts Sector

Funding will help arts organizations and artists cover losses due to COVID-19

March 2, 2021

The Ontario government is supporting the arts sector with a one-time investment of $25 million to help artists and arts organizations survive the COVID-19 pandemic, remain solvent and prepare for a time when they can fully re-open their facilities, resume full programming and welcome back their visitors and audiences.
Details were provided by Lisa MacLeod, Minister of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries. Through the funding, $24 million will be provided to 140 arts organizations.

Further Details Here

Ontario Provides More Than $1 Billion In Support for Small Business

Funding is Helping Eligible Business Owners Affected by the COVID-19 Restrictions

March 2, 2021

The Ontario government has to-date provided more than $1 billion through the Ontario Small Business Support Grant to help eligible business owners affected by the COVID-19 restrictions. The grant provides a minimum of $10,000 to a maximum of $20,000 and can be used in whatever way makes the most sense for individual businesses; from paying employee wages, to offsetting the cost of rent, to purchasing inventory.

More than 78,000 Ontario Small Business Support Grant applications from small businesses across the province have been processed representing more than $1 billion in support. Upon approval, successful applicants will receive payment within 10 days. Applications are still open until March 31, 2021 and a detailed step-by-step instructional video on the application portal is available to help guide applicants through the process.

Eligible small businesses can also apply for additional financial supports including the newly expanded Main Street Relief Grant, which provides up to $1,000 to help offset the costs of purchasing personal protective equipment (PPE). The grant is now available to main street businesses with 2 to 19 employees in all eligible sectors, helping up to 60,000 small businesses in the retail trade, accommodation and food services, repair and maintenance, personal and laundry services, gyms and yoga studios, and arts, entertainment and recreation.

The government is also providing eligible businesses with rebates for property tax and energy costs. Grant programs are available through a simple online application, and businesses can learn more by visiting

Ontario is also helping small businesses go digital in order to reach more customers through the $57-million Digital Main Street program, supported by the federal and provincial government. This initiative is expected to help up to 22,900 Ontario businesses create and enhance their online presence by April 2021.

Small businesses can visit to learn about the many supports available to them. These include resources to find Ontario-made PPE through the Workplace PPE Supplier Directory, tailored local support through the Small Business COVID-19 Recovery Network, and obtain free financial advice.

Full Article Here

The Canada United Small Business Relief Fund (CUSBRF)

The Canada United Small Business Relief Fund (CUSBRF) was established to help small businesses offset the cost of expenses to open safely or adopt digital technologies to move more of their business online.

SMEs can receive up to $5000 to cover PPE costs related to enhanced health and safety measures or adopt online technologies.

Learn More Here


Highly Affected Sectors Credit Availability Program (HASCAP)

The Highly Affected Sectors Credit Availability Program is a new COVID-19 program to help hardest hit businesses from all sectors with additional financing. HASCAP is available to businesses through their primary financial institution.

Businesses heavily impacted by COVID-19 can access guaranteed, low-interest loans of $25,000 to $1 million to cover operational cash flow needs.

If you are a business that has been rejected for HASCAP, please contact TIAO here. They’re currently working with TIAC to detail and map out prospective problems with HASCAP and case studies are vitally important in securing changes from the government.

For more information » CLICK HERE
To see all COVID-19 programs » CLICK HERE

Skills Development Fund

The Skills Development Fund offers funding to organizations for innovative projects that address challenges to hiring, training or retaining workers, including apprentices, during a pandemic.
The $115 million Skills Development Fund offers two funding rounds to support innovative, market-driven solutions that can help people and businesses make it through the pandemic successfully!

For more information » CLICK HERE

Free Tax Help for Small Businesses and Self-Employed Individuals

Join Tourism Excellence North for a webinar with Liaison Officers from the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) to help you understand your tax obligations and learn about:

  • General bookkeeping concepts and best practices
  • Explain common tax errors
  • Demonstrate how to use financial benchmarks for relevant industries
  • Provide information on the CRA’s services

There are only 20 spots available, reserve your seat today!
To register » CLICK HERE

More Funding for Tourism Businesses

The Government of Canada is making available an additional $500 million in support from the Regional Relief and Recovery Fund (RRRF) for small businesses suffering from COVID-related losses. At the same time, the Government has committed to making at least 25% of those funds available to the struggling tourism sector.

This expanded RRRF funding is similar to that offered under additional support through the Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA). It is intended for businesses that do not qualify for CEBA funding.

The Government of Canada has been supporting businesses and protecting jobs since the pandemic began, and will continue to do so for as long as it takes. At this time, we seek your help. Your membership needs to know that this additional financial support is available, if they have sustained COVID-related losses since April 1, 2020, or if they anticipate losses up until March 31, 2021.

Learn More and apply on the FedNor website.
Or, if you have questions, please 
contact FedNor.


The Tourism Industry Association of Ontario (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’.

The future is unpredictable but as Ontario begins the rollout of vaccinations and the province opens up, we want you to be ready to operate and welcome guests safely. Get certified with the Safe Travels Stamp this year and provide travellers with the confidence that your business has the necessary measures in place for a safe visit.

Northeastern Ontario Tourism encourages its members to strive for traveler confidence; one way to ensure your business is following safety standards and effectively communicating those standards to potential visitors is having a Safe Travel Stamp.
See full list of businesses with the Safe Travel Stamp here.

Apply Now


Learn about the Special Edition Northern Ontario “Spark” Program and how you could be selected to receive a $3000 grant, mentorship plus additional partner support valued at up to $9,500.

WEBINAR: Tues, Mar 9 @ 11:30am EST

Register Here

Destination Ontario is pleased to present the next educational webinar in our series: Google My Business. Learn how to optimize your digital presence in this free tourism-focused webinar.

From Google: “In an effort to support small- to mid-sized tourism businesses in Canada during the COVID-19 pandemic, Google will provide an overview of Google My Business and other tools that can help enhance your online presence (e.g. Test My Site, Google Ads, Google Trends). Google will also share the Google Guide for Small and Medium Businesses to help navigate through the readily available resources.”

What is Google My Business (GMB)?
It’s a free tool that allows you to promote your business profile and website on Google Search and Maps. With your GMB account, you can see and connect with your customers, post updates to your business profile, and see how customers are interacting with your business on Google.

Who is GMB for?

  • Local businesses with a physical location
  • Service-area or roaming businesses (e.g. gardener, food truck)
  • Seasonal businesses open for a limited time, if signage is displayed year-round (e.g. pumpkin patch)
  • Businesses inside other businesses (e.g. stores inside a mall)

*Online-only businesses cannot use GMB because there is no in-person contact with customers; however, you can claim your Knowledge Panel on Google (information boxes that appear on Google when you search for people, places, organizations, things).

The presentation will start with an introduction to GMB and follow with more in-depth use of tools to enhance your business’ profile. Join experts Donna Chang and Jenny Vincent, Google account managers, to learn how to optimize your digital presence with Google and to take full advantage of the following tools:

  • Google My Business
    • Features to help you stand out
    • Features that make it easy for people to do business with you
    • Features to keep customers coming back
  • Mobile Site Speed
  • Google Analytics
  • Google Ads
  • Googles Guide for Small Businesses
    • Important takeaways

Date:     Thursday, March 18, 2021

Time:    9:30 – 10:30 a.m. – Welcome and Google My Business presentation
10:30 – 11:00 a.m. – Questions & Answers

Register Here to participate. Spots will be filled on a first-come, first-served basis. Your confirmation will include a webinar link.


Free Tax Help for Small Businesses and Self-Employed Individuals 
Presented by: Canada Revenue Agency  
March 24th, 2021 from 10:00 am to 12:00 pm EST 

Join us for a webinar with Liaison Officers from the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) to help you understand your tax obligations and more.Topics include:

*    General bookkeeping concepts and best practices
*    Common tax errors explained
*    How to use financial benchmarks for relevant industries
*    More information on the CRA’s services

Registration for this webinar will be capped at 20 participants, so don’t wait to register!

Register Here

Are You Ready To Be The World’s Best Snowmobile Destination?

There is no question, Northern Ontario loves snowmobilers! In order to help operators ensure they are offering a world class snowmobile experience, the World’s Best Snowmobile Training Series has been created. This exciting and fun training series aims to:

  • Help tourism-related businesses understand the importance of Northeastern Ontario’s snowmobile tourism industry.
  • Provide tips and tools for businesses and communities on how to be super snowmobile friendly and provide the best experience possible to snowmobilers, increasing their bottom line.
  • Highlight and recognize businesses who commit to enhancing the snowmobile experience for visitors and residents.

Whether you’re a business owner, advocate or community member, you can take steps to welcome and accommodate snowmobilers visiting your community.

The training series consists of four educational and entertaining training videos, each developed for a specific operator type. After viewing the applicable video, operators complete the accompanying self-assessment form, which will determine their level of snowmobile market readiness. The training series can be found on the Tourism Excellence North website in both French and English. Operators can complete the training when it is most convenient for them.

For any questions or to learn more, email to [email protected]

English Training Series

French Training Series

Destination Northern Ontario and Nature and Outdoor Tourism Ontario are pleased to bring you a free virtual Spring Training Week this April as we prepare for the reopening of Ontario. COVID-19 has created challenges for tourism businesses and operators around the province, now more than ever it is essential to be ready for re-opening, recovery and resiliency. Our three-day training week is set to provide resources, tools, action plans, strategies, and connections for both today and the future.

Don’t miss this opportunity to connect with other tourism businesses, communities, build new partnerships, ask questions and get inspired for what’s possible in 2021!

Save the Date – Registration Opening Soon!

FREE Resiliency Training Series Now Available

(OTEC) The world is changing rapidly! The Ontario Tourism Education Corporations new resiliency training series was developed to address worker skills gaps, and build a more resilient workforce within the uncertain covid-19 environment.

  • Supports worker retention
  • Improves employee satisfaction
  • Participants receive a certificate
  • Includes 4 workshops and 2 courses
  • Each workshop is 2-3 hours

Training is free for qualifying participants!
For more information » CLICK HERE

Diversity & Inclusion Workshops

Join a Navigating LGBT+ Diversity and Inclusion in the Tourism Industry workshop facilitated by CGLCC and funded by the Government of Canada in your region to learn the basics of an LGBT+-inclusive vocabulary, space, and workplace.
Sign up for available virtual sessions in Northern Ontario!

To Register » CLICK HERE

Safe Travel 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’.

To view the Safe Travels Stamp webinar recording from the ADAPT 2020 series

To apply » CLICK HERE


Join us for a series of free webinars exploring diverse perspectives on local food. Sessions take place every Wednesday from 10-12 from March 10-31.

The COVID-19 pandemic has created immense opportunity and pressures for local food systems. It showed how critical these systems are, as well as exposing weaknesses that make them vulnerable. The goal of these sessions is to explore the hard-won lessons learned from a global pandemic that can help local food businesses and organizations strengthen as a result.

Keynote speaker Dr. Evan Fraser will kick off the series. Dr. Fraser is a professor of geography and the Director of the Arrell Food Institute at the University of Guelph. A passionate communicator, he has written for the Globe and Mail, the, the Walrus and the Ottawa Citizen, and has authored popular non-fiction books about food and food security; most recently Uncertain Harvest, published in 2020.

This virtual conference is hosted by the County of Renfrew and Northern Ontario Farm Innovation Alliance, and brought to you with the collaboration of OMAFRA.


  • Session 1: March 10, 2021, 10am to 12pm  
    • Local Food More than Ever: Harvesting the Lessons of COVID-19
  • Session 2: March 17, 2021, 10 am – 12 pm
    • Navigating Agri-Tourism During a Pandemic
  • Session 2: March 17, 2021, 12 pm – 1 pm
    • Chef-led Lunch – Taste of the North
  • Session 3: March 24, 2021, 10 am – 12 pm 
    • Surviving and Thriving: The Resilience of Local Food
  • Session 4: March 31, 2021, 10 am – 12 pm
    • Innovations in the Local Food Frontier: Aquaculture, Aquaponics, Greenhouse Production and Vertical Farming
  • Session 4: March 31, 2021, 12 pm – 1 pm
    • Chef-led Lunch – Taste of Renfrew County


Register Here


We know many of you rely on the Toronto Sportsmen’s Show each year as a significant component of your business model. In these unprecedented times, the Toronto Sportsmen’s Show is working hard to continue delivering on their mission to connect your business with their qualified audience.

Unfortunately, circumstances are not looking promising for hosting live events in Ontario during the first quarter of 2021. In the event that the Toronto Sportsmen’s Show cannot take place this year, they’ve developed a new product to help bridge the gap until the next in-person event.

Introducing their new Digital Marketing Platform, allowing users to visit their website and browse a comprehensive database of exhibitors by name, category, and more!

Your exhibitor listing can easily be enhanced with video, images, and product specials. This alternative to face-to-face marketing will be a fantastic tool to get your products and services in front of a targeted audience of boating, fishing, and hunting enthusiasts.

The Digital Marketing Platform will be aggressively advertised through their social media channels, as well as through direct email communications to a dedicated list of industry professionals.

Audience Marketing Timeframe: March 1 – 31, 2021

Learn More Here

2021 Summer Solstice Indigenous Music Awards

Summer Solstice Indigenous Festival resumes its call for submissions for the first annual Summer Solstice Indigenous Music Awards (SSIMA)
The SSIMA will present awards representing a variety of music genres as well as awards for cultural contribution, significance, legacy and social voice. The award show itself will be two hours in length including the presentation of awards to the winners and live performances from finalists throughout the evening. Submissions to 18 awards categories are open until April 1, 2021. Learn more about the event here.










Tourism Day at Queen’s Park, April 15th

Tourism Day at Queen’s Park remains one of the most important and popular lobby events for the tourism industry in Ontario. There has never been a more important time for the tourism industry to have strong links with government. We must ensure that our industry is given the support it needs to recover from the effects of COVID-19.

Exclusive to TIAO Members, Tourism Day at Queen’s Park is TIAO’s annual lobby day event at the provincial legislature.

It offers the opportunity to meet key MPP’s and senior staff and put across your ideas to support the tourism industry in Ontario. The meetings are informal and can be used as an opportunity to discuss legislative changes and to lobby MPP’s for greater support.

Please note that due to a high volume number of requests to attend, TIAO cannot guarantee every applicant will be able to attend. Registering below DOES NOT confirm attendance. 

Express your interest here.




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.

Stay Informed About Covid-19 Announcements, Including Activity Restrictions by District Health Unit Region

Enhancing public health and workplace safety measures in the province-wide shutdown

Learn about the second declaration of emergency to address COVID-19 in Ontario.

Learn more here.

Resources to prevent COVID-19 in the workplace

Find sector-specific guidelines and posters to help protect workers, customers and the general public from coronavirus (COVID-19) in Ontario.
Learn more here.


Health Units in Northeastern Ontario

Resources and information from the Nipissing Parry Sound District Health Unit (NPSDHU) here.

Resources and information from the Porcupine Health Unit (PHU) here.

Resources and information from the Public Health Sudbury & Districts (PHSD) here.

Resources and information from the Timiskaming Health Unit (THU) here.

About Northeastern Ontario Tourism

Northeastern Ontario Tourism (NeONT) is a not-for profit organization dedicated to promoting the region as a premier travel destination with the goal of increasing tourism revenue for our Partners, and the region as a whole.