TIAO Newsletter May 22, 2020

TIAO Newsletter

As the voice of the Ontario tourism industry, we recognize that in times of uncertainty there is a need for the industry to have access to clear and reliable information.

Our team is closely following the evolving COVID-19 situation and will link to pertinent articles on our website and social media channels, with a focus on validity and relevance to our industry.

Email us with your Coronavirus/COVID-19 updates to feedback@tiaontario.ca

Call us with your updates at 1-888-436-6441 (TOLL FREE)


We have been diligently gathering across different sources a number of reopening guidelines available for different sectors of our industry. Below is a list of documents available.

RV and Camping


Events and Attractions




Global Protocols ​​


At TIAO we are proud to be your voice to government. We have included this survey data in the Tourism Leaders Economic Impact Report delivered to Minister Lisa MacLeod.

Thank you for communicating where the risks are so that we can continue to push for what the tourism industry and workforce need to survive.

The data collected from survey 5 indicates that the greatest risks to tourism operations are:

• Uncertainty around when and how they will be able to re-open
• Lack of information and clarity around the re-opening of borders
• Lack of access to the Ontario-Canadian Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance
• Temporary closures becoming permanent
• Ineligibility for existing government aid
• Insurmountable debt levels and severe disruptions to cash flow
• Risk of bankruptcy
• Government aid not sufficient to ensure the viability of some tourism businesses

Thank you to everyone who continues to take the time. When you provide us with the data, you give us the best tool we have to advocate on your behalf.

Read our report here



Join us virtually in the Kingston Region for TIAO’s AGM, RTO9’s AGM, a highlight reel of Visit Kingston’s Initiatives followed by a TIAC town hall next WednesdayMay 27th.

Please note you will only be able to vote in AGMs if you are a member of that organisation.

TIAC’s Tourism Town Hall series is an event partnership between the Tourism Industry Association of Canada, Destination Canada and the local host partners.

Our virtual Tourism Town Halls will provide an opportunity to engage small and medium-sized business owner operators across Canada to share information, government policy work and available COVID-19 recovery tools with our stakeholders. Town halls will allow owner-operators to provide first hand input on issues they are facing and hear from leading tourism organizations on the efforts being made to support tourism.

Links and relevant documents will follow by email after registration.

Sign up for your free tickets here


Yesterday Lisa MacLeod, Minister of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries hosted her fifth townhall to give stakeholders an update on COVID-19 as it applies to their businesses and organizations. If you missed the live townhall you can watch the recording on her YouTube channel here


Application documents and updated criteria for Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) for small businesses are now available. The program will be opened for applications beginning on Monday May 25.

Find more information of the program including eligibility criteria and frequently asked questions here


The Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC) is pleased to share a series of upcoming webinars:

  • May 25 at 10:15 am:  Canada Together: Townhall with the Hon. Mélanie Joly. Minister Joly will address questions on relief programs, public health measures, and what economic recovery looks like for Canadians. Send your questions in advance when you register and join the Ontario Chamber of Commerce for a dynamic conversation on Monday, May 25 from 10:15 am to 11:00 am. Register here
  • May 26 at 12pm : Ontario’s Tourism and Hospitality Sector – The impact of COVID-19 and what comes next. Join guest panelists : Joe Baker – Dean, School of Hospitality, Tourism and Culinary Arts at Centennial College, Jason Rasevych – President, Anishnawbe Business Professional Association and Keith Simmonds – Vice President and General Manager, Great Wolf Lodge Niagara Falls. Register here
  • June 5 at 9am Webinar with the Hon. Mary Ng, the federal Minister of Small Business, Export Promotion and International Trade. Small businesses are the lifeblood of communities across the province. They are currently experiencing unprecedented hardships and challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic.The discussion with Minister Ng will address key questions on relief programs available to small businesses during a time when they need it most, as well as provide insights on what the path to recovery may look like. Register here This webinar is being rescheduled from a previous date, there is no need to re-register if you had previously done so.


We have been actively onboarding new members as part of our free membership initiative to individuals and businesses in the tourism industry for 2020. We will continue to advocate on your behalf, and provide an even more inclusive message as we represent your voice to the provincial government.  We have over 688 new members and counting.

If you haven’t taken advantage of our offer, we are glad to continue to extend this to the industry. We ask that you reach out to us directly at membership@tiaontario.ca. We will set up your membership and provide you additional information, including the option to choose between:

Membership within TIAO for a period of one year from date of signing.

Or to become a Green shoots sponsor – for those new members that can afford to pay their membership, we will recognize the value of their membership through sponsorship (Green shoots sponsor) and use this value of their membership to continue the research and vital actions to rebuild and represent the industry’s voice to government in Ontario.


The City of Ottawa has developed a business reopening toolkit, in consultation with Ottawa Public Health, to help businesses answer critical questions before they can reopen safely.

The gradual easing of COVID-19 restrictions in the months to come will bring new challenges for local businesses to navigate, as well as opportunities to innovate. The toolkit provides guidance for employers on preparing their workplace, including employees and operations to resume while ensuring physical distancing, and also provides links to official resources such as public health signage, sector-specific guidelines and government financial assistance programs. Information and resources will be updated regularly on the website as guidance from the Government of Ontario and Ottawa Public Health continues to evolve.

The online toolkit can be found here


On May 15, the Government of Canada and FCM launched the next phase of funding to help communities improve their asset management practices enabling them to use sound and reliable data to make more informed decisions about key roads, water systems, buildings and other infrastructure.

The funding is available through a renewed federal investment in FCM’s Municipal Asset Management Program (MAMP), first announced in last year’s federal budget. Since 2017, MAMP has funded more than 585 local asset management projects in communities across Canada. It’s proven to be so popular and effective that Budget 2019 committed an additional $60 million to the program. More information on the program can be found here


In response to how COVID-19 has affected the sport tourism industry, the Canadian Sport Tourism Alliance (CSTA) has announced the formation of the COVID-19 Recovery Task Force. The purpose is to develop an action plan for the responsible, safe and effective reopening of the $6.8 billion sport tourism industry.

The task force includes representatives from all stakeholders, including destinations, national/multi-sport organizations, facilities and suppliers to the industry. The group will work toward establishing and sharing guidelines and recommendations, specific to the sport tourism industry, to demonstrate to all levels of government that there is a clear plan to re-open the industry.

More details can be found here


There’s been a long wait for rent relief for many local businesses. Weeks in the making, the rent program that resulted from pandemic policy making is one that has faced much confusion for landlords and tenants alike.

Yesterday in Regional Council the municipality of Oakville unanimously supported a Resolution brought forward to freeze commercial evictions in Ontario and update the Ontario-Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (OCECRA) program. Find the notice of motion here



It has been an incredibly challenging time for all of us, both professionally and personally, because of COVID-19. That’s why its never been more important to ensure that when we have defeated COVID-19 we recognize the achievements of those in our industry who make our province so attractive to visit.

This is an opportunity for organizations, businesses, and individuals to be recognized on the main stage at the 2020 Ontario Tourism Summit, the province’s premier tourism industry event of the year. More importantly, it’s a chance to be acknowledged by industry peers for the incredible work you do for Ontario’s vibrant tourism sector.

Jointly presented by three organizations —TIAO, Culinary Tourism Alliance (CTA) and Attractions Ontario — these awards recognize achievements in business growth and innovation, travel media and tourism marketing, culinary tourism and popular attractions.

To self-nominate or nominate someone else simply click here 


Ontario Extends Emergency Orders to Keep People Safe

Office of the Premier 

The Ontario government, in consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health, has extended all emergency orders currently in force until May 29, 2020. That includes the closure of bars and restaurants except for takeout and delivery only, restrictions on social gatherings of more than five people, and staff redeployment rules for long-term care homes and congregate settings like retirement homes and women’s shelters. The government is also allowing drive-in religious gatherings.


Ontario Government Supporting Parents as Economy Reopens

Office of the Premier 

The Ontario Government is protecting licensed child care in Ontario during the COVID-19 outbreak by ensuring parents retain access to local licensed child care, as well as EarlyON Child and Family Centres. The government unveiled a plan that, together with federal and municipal partnership, provides supports to licensed child care providers to ensure they remain sustainable and ready to open when parents return to work.


Ontario Collaborates with Med-Tech Innovation Hub in the Fight Against COVID-19

Office of the Premier 

The Ontario government is working with Medical Innovation Xchange (MIX), Canada’s first industry-led hub for med-tech start-ups, to provide non-medical manufacturing companies free support as they retool to provide essential supplies and equipment to health care facilities during COVID-19.

As Ontario Reopens, People Urged to Continue Following Public Health Advice

Office of the Premier 

As the Ontario government carefully and gradually reopens the province, those taking public transit, returning to work or going out shopping are being urged to continue to adhere to public health advice as the best line of defence against COVID-19. To assist the public, the Ministry of Health today released specific recommendations on how to choose, wear and care for appropriate face coverings used in public where physical distancing is not possible, along with additional safety measures for provincial transit agencies.

Ontario Leading COVID-19 Research in Canada

Office of the Premier

The Ontario government is quickly moving forward with innovative research to prevent, detect and treat COVID-19. These projects, part of the government’s $20 million Ontario COVID-19 Rapid Research Fund, focus on areas of research such as vaccine development, diagnostics, drug trials and development, and social sciences. Additionally, Ontario is leading the country with 22 clinical trials investigating COVID-19 vaccines and treatments.

Ontario Reduces Financial Barriers to Postsecondary Education

Ministry of Education

The Ontario government is reducing financial barriers for full-time students attending postsecondary education. Starting today, those most in need can apply to the Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP) for the 2020-21 school year. During this unprecedented period, the government is providing a six-month temporary deferral of OSAP loan payments and interest accrual on OSAP loans from March 30-September 30, 2020 to support OSAP borrowers in good standing.


Niagara businesses crippled by COVID-19 hope Canadians will help them recover

CBC News Hamilton

TIAO’s president Beth Potter shared her industry insights regarding the impact of COVID-19 in the tourism industry. “Sixty-eight per cent of tourism businesses are currently shuttered and 38 per cent of businesses believe they won’t be able to open back up”.

Future Skills Centre and OTEC announce rapid response project for hard-hit tourism and hospitality workers

Canadian Newswire

FSC and OTEC are working with industry partners like Tourism HR Canada to look for opportunities to share and scale the project in other provinces. The goal is to equip these displaced workers to be able to navigate an uncertain future and get new skills for changing jobs by 1) understanding and supporting their immediate needs, 2) mapping their skills and assets, and 3) finding and implementing in real-time new approaches to digitally reskilling and upskilling.

Smaller firms ineligible for federal business programs can now apply for aid through regional agencies


Smaller businesses ineligible or not receiving enough support from the federal government’s slate of existing relief programs can now apply for financial aid through its six regional development agencies.

Canadians vacationing in Canada: What will summer holidays look like this year?

CTV News

As summer approaches, many Canadians are wondering what the season will look like with restrictions on socializing, public gatherings and travel casting a shadow over their vacation planning. Summer travel is sure to be different amid the COVID-19 pandemic this year, with international trips unlikely — even to the U.S. as the border remains closed to non-essential travel for another month.

Northern Ontario tourism operators brace for tough season

CBC News Sudbury

For businesses that rely on tourism, the season is short, and as summer approaches, many business owners wonder just how hard they’ll be hit this summer — as they brace for drastically lower revenues.

Close to 100 Indigenous tourism businesses receive $1.850 million in stimulus funds from phase one of Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada’s COVID-19 Development Stimulus Fund

Indigenous Tourism

Following the April 30 application deadline, ITAC had received over 600 applications from Indigenous tourism businesses across Canada requesting $14.4 million in total. These funds are being used to help Indigenous entrepreneurs and their businesses stay afloat during the shutdown of the global tourism industry as a result of COVID-19.

Canada-U.S. border to remain closed to non-essential travel for another month

CTV News

The extension on the existing agreement means that the border restrictions will stay in place until June 21, even as parts of both countries begin gradually reopening. The agreement, as it stands, exempts the flow of trade and commerce, as well as vital health-care workers such as nurses who live and work on opposite sides of the border. Tourists and cross-border visits remain prohibited.

Centennial College partners with Tourism HR Canada to deliver tuition-free online training

Canadian Newswire

Centennial College hospitality and tourism students are invited to take advantage of tuition-free online training during the COVID-19 pandemic to equip themselves with nationally recognized certificates, thanks to Tourism HR Canada, which cultivates a world-leading tourism workforce.

Travel will never be the same, thanks to COVID-19

Global News

Air travel is down by 95 per cent, the Las Vegas strip has gone dark, cruise ships are stuck in port, and the ‘happiest place on earth’ — Disneyland — faces an uncertain path to reopening. The travel sector has grown to make up about one in ten jobs, worldwide, according to the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC).

Feds announce COVID-19 relief fund for seasonal, tourism companies

Global News

Trudeau made the comments after saying that seasonal and tourism companies that don’t qualify for other federal programs, or who are still facing cash-flow issues, can get help through one of six regional development agencies.

EU unveils its plan to save summer vacations

CTV News

The European Union unveiled its plan to help citizens across the 27 nations salvage their summer vacations after months of tough coronavirus confinement and to hopefully resurrect Europe’s badly battered tourism industry.

Province’s vacation communities await return of tourists

Business in Vancouver

British Columbia’s economy is reliant on small businesses and nowhere is this more evident than in the small vacation communities that dot the province like the District of Tofino.

BC prepares for phase 2 of reopening as US border remains shut

National Observer

B.C. is preparing to enter the second phase of its economic reopening plan following the Victoria Day long weekend, while some businesses in the province wait to hear more details about any future plan to reopen the Canada-U.S. border to tourism.

Quebec promises relaunch guide for restaurants, but it’s not ready yet

The Province

Restaurants remain in the dark, even after two parliamentary committees heard about their struggles on Friday.Tourism Minister Caroline Proulx promised to send a recovery guide Friday to restaurateurs, who have been among the most affected by the COVID-19 crisis.

PEI tourism operators begin data modelling around a 2020 staycation summer

Journal Pioneer

COVID-19 travel restrictions have effectively choked off visits to P.E.I. from out-of-province residents. It remains unclear if any of these travel restrictions will be eased over the summer. Dan James, owner of Cavendish’s Kindred Spirits Inn and Cottages, set out last month to figure out how viable a staycation summer would be.

Plans on hold — but not scrapped — for tourism complex in Salvage

CBC Newfoundland and Labrador

An Ontario car dealer who has big plans for a small Newfoundland community says he’s had to press the pause button on the project due to COVID-19. Jeff Mierins, who owns Honda and Mercedes-Benz dealerships in Ottawa, is planning to transform a shuttered fish plant in Salvage, a town northeast of Terra Nova National Park, into a tourism complex.

Manitoba’s tourism industry bracing for impact of continued Canada-U.S. border closure

CTV News Winnipeg

Manitoba’s tourism industry is bracing for at least one more month of a non-essential travel ban between Canada and the United States.The two countries have reached an agreement that will keep border restrictions in place until June 21, even as economies on both sides of the border slowly reopen.

Italy seeks to boost tourism by opening borders June 3

CTV News

The Italian government announced Saturday that it will throw open its borders next month, effectively ending Europe’s longest and strictest coronavirus lockdown just as the summer tourism season gets under way.

Niagara Falls to Begin Reopening, Sports Teams Should Play: NY Governor 

CTV News Winnipeg

Niagara Falls is part of a sixth New York state region to start reopening after clearing a hurdle for tracing the spread of the novel coronavirus, Governor Andrew Cuomo said on Monday.

Restaurants and racing begin reopening in U.S., but new rules abound

CTV News

Restaurants can reopen in New Orleans, a city famous for its cuisine, but they must take reservations and limit the number of diners. Auto and horse racing tracks in New York can resume competitions but without spectators.



May 27 TIAO’s AGM, RTO9’s AGM, a highlight reel of Visit Kingston’s Initiatives followed by a TIAC town hall

September 14 Terroir – Collaboration: The Power of Partnership

The Carlu, Toronto.

October 27-28 2020 Ontario Tourism Summit  

Deerhurst Resort, Muskoka.

For more events, check out our online industry events calendar