Parliamentary Secretary Lalonde announces $1 million to support 70 tourism-oriented businesses and maintain 110 jobs
June 1, 2021 – Pembroke, Ontario
Tourism is essential to the vitality of businesses and communities in Ontario’s Highlands, including those in rural areas, with visitors traditionally drawn to the area’s natural and cultural attractions. The sector has been hit hard by the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic in the past year, and tourism-related businesses are working hard to build back stronger.
Today, Marie-France Lalonde, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages (FedDev Ontario and Official Languages), announced a non-repayable FedDev Ontario investment of $1 million to support the tourism industry’s recovery in Ontario’s Highlands.
The Ontario’s Highlands Tourism Organization (RTO-11) is using this investment to provide tourism-dependent businesses with up to $20,000 in non-repayable contributions to support costs associated with adapting and eventually reopening, such as space renovations and retrofits, implementing new health and safety protocols, purchase of equipment, fixtures and personal protective equipment, and support for technology and digitization. This fund is being delivered in partnership with the Frontenac County Economic Development Department, the Lennox and Addington Economic Development Department, the Hastings County Economic Development Department; the Haliburton County Tourism Department; the Lanark County Economic Development Department; and the Ottawa Valley Tourist Association. It is expected to support 70 businesses and maintain 110 jobs.
Adhering to COVID precautions meant OWL Rafting had to reduce customer capacity on the river by 60 percent. The funding they received from Ontario’s Highlands Tourism Organization was applied towards an innovative approach to replacing some of the lost revenue by modifying their operations to expand their guest experience. They are excited to welcome new guests to Café OWL this summer to enjoy a gourmet coffee, freshly baked pastry or panini sandwich at their waterfront location.
The tourism sector continues to demonstrate 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 future comeback.