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Update: Kingston chosen for $1 million grant to support tourism sector

Photo by Tommy Vallier.

Kingston has been chosen as one of three communities across Southern Ontario to receive a federal grant from FedDev Ontario. The grant totals $2 million, with the Kingston area receiving half of that total.

According to a release from FedDev Ontario, dated Friday, Sept. 18, 2020, millions of travellers visit Southern Ontario to enjoy its natural beauty, culture, festivals, theatre, world-class wineries and waterfront attractions. This translates to income and jobs for many communities.

Recognizing the significant impact that COVID-19 has had on tourism, the Government of Canada continues to support the recovery and growth of this important industry as the economy reopens, said the release.

“From our waterfront attractions to our incredible hospitality industry, we are supporting the businesses in the local tourism sector so they can keep showcasing all they have to offer,” said Mark Gerretsen, Member of Parliament for Kingston and the Islands. “The investment in Kingston and Gananoque will deliver support directly to local businesses seated in this sector, help them adapt to a new normal, and maintain valuable jobs.”

The Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages and Minister responsible for FedDev Ontario, announced a total non-repayable FedDev Ontario investment of $2 million to support the tourism industry across the region, according to the release.

“Our tourism industry and the 1.8 million Canadians it employs have been hit hard by COVID-19, and we’re here for them,” Joly said. “This funding from FedDev Ontario will help communities across southern Ontario continue welcoming visitors, adapt to the new reality and prepare for the future. Our message to our tourism sector and those whose livelihoods depend on it is clear: we’ve been here for you with immediate measures, we’re here for you now as our economy reopens and we’ll get through this, together. We’re working with you to support good, local jobs and help Ontario tourism come back strong.”

With this government support, Kingston, the City of Stratford and Bruce County will establish funds to provide non-repayable contributions to local tourism-oriented businesses. These contributions will cover costs associated with recovery and reopening for business such as personal protective equipment, renovations to accommodate social distancing and implementing new safety protocols, according to the release.

The funding breakdown is as follows:

  • Kingston Economic Development Corporation will receive a contribution of $1 million and will deliver the fund in partnership with the Town of Gananoque. This fund will offer contributions of up to $2,400 to local tourism-oriented businesses with up to five full-time employees, and up to $4,800 for businesses with more than five full-time employees. The project is expected to support 100 businesses and maintain at least 200 jobs. For more information visit Kingston.
  • The Stratford Economic Enterprise Development Corporation (SEEDCo) will receive a contribution of $750,000 and will deliver the fund in partnership with the City of Stratford, the Stratford Tourism Alliance, the Stratford City Centre Committee BIA and the Stratford and District Chamber of Commerce. This fund will offer contributions of up to $20,000 to local tourism-oriented businesses. The project is expected to support more than 75 businesses and maintain at least 150 jobs. For more information visit Stratford.
  • Bruce County will receive a contribution of $250,000 and will deliver the fund in partnership with the Bruce County Community Futures Development Corporation. This fund will offer contributions of up to $10,000 to local tourism-oriented businesses. The project is expected to support more than 50 businesses and maintain at least 50 jobs. For more information visit Bruce County.

“We are excited about FedDev Ontario’s investment in Kingston’s hardest hit economic sector,” said Donna Gillespie, CEO, Kingston Economic Development Corporation. “Tourism businesses and attractions have shown resilience and adaptability and we want to support these small businesses with a program that is fast, flexible and gives them help in ways they need it most.”

In the face of the pandemic, the tourism sector has shown its resilience by adapting to challenges and seeking opportunities for recovery and growth. The Government of Canada is working to support these businesses and communities by helping to maintain jobs and prepare the tourism sector for a strong comeback.

“We have a vibrant tourism industry that has been hit especially hard by the pandemic and continues to face significant challenges,” said Bryan Paterson, Mayor of Kingston. “This investment will go a long way to help businesses not only meet these challenges but adapt in a way that will make them even stronger in the long term.”

Update from Kingston EcDev (Monday, Sept. 21, 2020):

The Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages and Minister responsible for FedDev Ontario, announced a total non-repayable FedDev Ontario investment of $2.55 million to support the tourism industry and LGBTQ2+Pride tourism across the region, read a release from Kingston Economic Development Corporation (Kingston EcDev) dated Monday, Sept. 21, 2020.

“We are pleased to see the Federal Government recognize the severe impact COVID-19 has had on Kingston’s tourism sector, which generates an economic impact of $500+ million annually to the city,” said Megan Knott, Executive Director of Tourism Kingston.

Kingston EcDev will receive a contribution of $1 million and will deliver the fund in partnership with the Town of Gananoque, the release said. The program is designed to ease the financial pressure experienced by businesses to allow them to continue their operations. Businesses may use the money for expenses incurred for personal protective equipment, renovated their space to adhere to health guidelines, transitioned to a virtual workforce or launched e-commerce platforms.

The intention of this program is to support the hardest hit tourism sector, foster economic recovery and position Kingston to be able to pivot and respond quickly to a potential second wave and future emergency situations, according to the Kingston EcDev release.

“Kingston’s business community has shown a lot of resiliency and we are grateful for their ongoing efforts. We recognized that most of the COVID relief programs were loan based and wanted to provide non-repayable financial support to assist with the costs required to pivot their business to align with public health restrictions,” said Shelley Hirstwood, Business Development Officer, Attraction and Aftercare at Kingston Economic Development Corporation.

In partnership with the Town of Gananoque, Kingston Economic Development is offering non-repayable loans in the amount of 80% of eligible expenses (with a 20% contribution from businesses) are available. The fund can go towards expenses incurred from June 2020.

“We are grateful for the critical support during those unprecedented times. Gananoque’s businesses have been hit hard due to the decline in the tourism industry. This grant will provide tremendous support for those who are struggling to remain open,” said Ted Lojko, Mayor, Town of Gananoque.

According to the Kingston EcDev release, eligible COVID-Recovery improvements will include, but are not limited to, implementation of health and safety protocols, alterations to accommodate social distancing, purchase of personal protective equipment and cleaning supplies for employees, and implementation of digital tools and transformation for tourism operators.

Applications will open September 28. Learn more about the program and eligibility criteria, visit www.KingstonEcDev.comTourismBusinessSupportProgram

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