Ontario Providing Targeted Relief To Resource-Based Tourism Industry

Kayaking and canoeing are popular attractions in many parts of Ontario’s wilderness areas. Pic: Pixabay

TORONTO: The Ontario government is providing $1.3 million in financial relief for the resource-based tourism industry by waiving certain licences and crown land use fees.

Licensing fees have been waived for bear hunting and baitfish harvesters and dealers.

Additionally, Land Use Fees for Commercial Outpost Camps, Bear Management Area fees and Baitfish Harvest Area fees have been waived.

This initiative is part of the 2021 Budget, Ontario’s Action Plan: Protecting People’s Health and Our Economy. Total support from the Ontario government for the tourism, culture, sports, recreation, and heritage industries specifically since the start of COVID-19 now  totals $625 million.

“The tourism industry was one of the first sectors affected by public health and safety measures related to COVID-19 and could be one of the last to recover,” said John Yakabuski, Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry.

“As an industry that contributes significantly to Ontario’s economy, especially in rural communities, the local impacts have been devastating. That’s why our government is providing financial relief to businesses in this incredibly important industry.”

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, resource-based tourism operators continue to express significant concerns about their business and ability to stay viable in the economic landscape.

This critical industry has been impacted by health and safety measures such as border closures and travel restrictions, which have resulted in substantial revenue losses for predominantly small- to medium-sized, family owned businesses.

Healthy people are essential for a healthy economy. With vaccines being distributed, hope is on the horizon. Ontario’s Action Plan: Protecting People’s Health and Our Economy provides the resources necessary to finish the battle with COVID-19, building on the government’s record investments to protect health and jobs during the global pandemic.

• There are approximately 1,600 resource-based tourism businesses across Ontario. Many of these businesses are small- to medium-sized and family-owned, operating in central and northern Ontario on a seasonal basis.

• In 2020, the ministry provided $1.2 million in relief to the resource-based tourism industry by waiving certain licences and crown land use fees as well as refunding revenue received.

• To support Ontario’s tourism, hospitality and culture industries, that have been among the most heavily impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, Ontario is investing an additional $400 million over the next three years in new initiatives to support these sectors. This builds on previously announced investments of $225 million, bringing the total to more than $625 million since the pandemic began.

• Ontario’s Action Plan: Protecting People’s Health and Our Economy, brings total investments to $16.3 billion to protect people’s health and $23.3 billion to protect the economy. Ontario’s COVID-19 plan support now totals $51 billion over four years. Peter Bethlenfalvy, Minister of Finance, said: “People in the tourism, hospitality, culture, sports, and recreation industries have been particularly hard hit by the necessary public health restrictions.