Ontario's Highlands Tourism Organization (RTO-11) has made available funds as a one-time, non-repayable grant to support eligible tourism businesses in the region of Ontario's Highlands.  The Tourism Recovery and Innovation Program (TRIP) - Capital Projects has been developed in response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic to ensure our industry can effectively meet the evolving health, safety and experience needs of residents and visitors. 

TRIP - Capital Projects has been designed to help alleviate part of the current financial burden that COVID-19 has placed on local tourism businesses and features a simple application and awarding process that aims to get relief funds into the hands of eligible businesses as quickly as possible. 

Applications for the TRIP - Capital Projects will be accepted starting on January 15, 2021.

OHTO gratefully acknowledges the generous support from Ottawa Tourism in the development of this program, along with the collaboration of our six county partners: Haliburton County, Lanark County, Renfrew County, Hastings County, Lennox & Addington and Frontenac County.

FUNDING AVAILABLE: 

The TRIP - Capital Projects provides tourism-dependent small businesses with non-repayable funding to offset up to 80% of eligible costs, to a maximum of $20,000, related to one-time modifications and/or re-opening costs, including the implementation of health and safety protocols and digitization measures.

There is a set amount of funds available for this program. As such, applications will be processed on a first-come, first-served basis with priority given to submissions received by Thursday, January 31, 2021. Due to the high volume of applications anticipated, an offer less than the full requested amount may also be awarded.

APPLICANT ELIGIBILITY CRITERIA:

  • Businesses who rely on visitor revenues to sustain their business can apply for this funding. A visitor is considered anyone who travels greater than 40km to specifically transact at your establishment for tourism purposes.  

  • Only one application per ownership group is allowed to ensure we are able to reach as many businesses as possible with the available TRIP - Capital funds.

  • Applicants must be located within the boundaries of Ontario's Highlands refer to map 
    • Haliburton County

    • Hastings County - excluding the municipalities of Tyendinaga and Deseronto 

    • Lennox and Addington County - exclusive to the Municipality of Addington Highlands

    • Frontenac County - exclusive to the Municipalities of North and Central Frontenac

    • Lanark County

    • Renfrew County

  • For-Profit and Not-For-Profit businesses and organizations are eligible to apply.  Government organizations, municipalities, charities, and chambers of commerce are not eligible.

  • Applicants must be operating as a sole proprietor, partnership, or incorporated in Canada. Businesses must have been fully operational prior to January 1, 2020

  • Applicants must have no more than 25 full time employees and a Business Number. Special exceptions may be made for seasonal businesses where employee numbers fluctuate.

  • Applicants are able to make use of other funding towards the specified activities contained in their funding application, but these many not overlap with TRIP - Capital funds (i.e. you cannot ‘double dip’).

  • Applicants must be in full compliance with all applicable government laws, rules, regulations, guidelines, and other legally binding measures (Laws).

  • Applicants must plan to be in operation through to December 31, 2021.

  • Applicants must submit the following documents: 

    • HST registration number. Business number, incorporation number (if applicable) 

    • 2019 Financials

  • Applicants must have and provide proof of commercial general liability insurance of at least $2,000,000.

  • Applications are confidential and will only be utilized for the purposes of administering this program.

ELIGIBLE ACTIVITIES AND COSTS:

Funding can be applied to any of the following eligible costs if they are incurred between June 1, 2020 and December 31, 2021.

The following activities are considered eligible under the terms of the TRIP - Capital Projects:

  • Purchase of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) - masks, face shields, latex gloves etc. 

  • Reconfiguration of space and/or of business offering and/or processes to adhere to re-opening guidelines while maintaining a quality visitor experience. This includes any alterations, temporary or permanent, made to the applicant’s business specifically to reduce the risk of customers or staff contracting COVID-19. 

  • The building or purchase of physical barriers and/or sanitizing stations. 

  • The creation of signage or floor markers. 

  • The installation of touchless devices such as doors or waste containers.

  • Investment in the digitization of experiences such as any of the following: 
    • Virtual queues;
    • Timed entry ticketing; and
    • E-commerce tools aimed at contactless purchase of tourism experiences

INELIGIBLE ACTIVITIES AND COSTS:

  • Expenses already claimed through other government support programs. 
  • Renovations and/or purchases not required to comply with COVID-19 requirements 
  • Expenses not exclusive to a businesses’ needs arising from the pandemic such as:
    • Cost of electronic hardware (such as computers, laptops, printers etc.)
    • Taxes
    • Consulting fees
    • Business plans/strategic plans/feasibility studies/strategies, etc.
    • Inventory costs
    • Employee wages
    • Existing operating costs
    • Office furniture
    • Third party delivery transaction fees
    • Social media advertising, posts, marketing, etc.
    • E-commerce tools for online stores
    • Items purchased for resale
    • Costs of land, building or vehicle purchase
    • Recurring subscription fees/services implemented pre-COVID-19
    • General cleaning services

REQUIREMENTS FOR SUCCESSFUL APPLICANTS:

Funding Agreement

Upon awarding of TRIP-Capital funds, applicants will be required to enter into a formal Funding Agreement with OHTO. This Funding Agreement will define the terms of payment and the obligations of the parties. A sample Funding Agreement can be found here

Evidence and Supporting Documentation

Evidence to support project costs will be required from successful applicants. Acceptable documents include:

  • Receipts of purchase and/or proof of payment.

  • Photographs of installed items.

Reporting

Successful applicants will be required to submit a brief summary of the project, including a synopsis of how the project helped to protect jobs and the visitor experience. 

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:

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