Business Resources


Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev) – Regional Relief and Recovery Fund (RRRF)

The RRRF is a liquidity lifeline for businesses and organizations impacted by the economic disruption associated with the COVID-19 pandemic in nearly every sector of the economy. It aims to address gaps in or supplement other federal relief measures, as well as complement those provided by other levels of government.  Relevant Links: Program Guidelines; FAQs; Application Guide.

Ontario Small Business Support Grant

Find out if your business is eligible for grants to help with the cost of personal protective equipment (part of Ontario’s Main Street Relief Grant), property taxes, energy bills and extra support if you have to close or significantly restrict services based on provincial public health measures.  Click here for more information on relief and eligibility.  To access the application for funding, click here.

Community Building Fund

The Community Building Fund will support arts and culture, heritage, tourism, sport and recreation non-profits and Indigenous communities that operate facilities and/or deliver experiences or programs for the public. The fund will enable organizations to remain viable so they can continue to improve quality of life and provide services, jobs, educational opportunities, and programming for Ontarians.  Applications will be accepted starting March 31, 2021 and are due April 28, 2021 at 5 PM ET.  Application resources and eligibility requirements being released March 25. Click here for details.

2021 Reconnect Festival & Event Program

The 2021 Reconnect Festival and Event Program is for eligible festivals and events taking place between April 1, 2021, and March 31, 2022.  It will provide support to event organizers who are finding new, exciting and engaging ways to deliver local programming during the COVID-19 pandemic. Click here for information on the program and click here for the application guide and any changes to eligibility, funding priorities and program details.

Digital Main Street Program

Supporting the growth of Main Street businesses by making the adoption of digital tools and technologies easier (click here).

Digital Main Street Program includes Digital Service Squad (Offers one-to-one assistance to main street businesses with their adoption of technology – click here), ShopHERE (Get an online store for your business built for free – click here), Digital Ontario Grants (Learn digital skills and apply for a $2,500 grant for your business – click here), and FutureProof (Detailed deep dive to support business transformation – click here).  Learn more about Digital Main Street and request a free consultation with the Digital Service Squad by visiting

With the Digital Main Street Future Proof Program, Windsor Essex small businesses and restaurants have access to the following programs and services:

  • ShopMyTown (Connecting local vendors with new and existing customers who like to shop local – click here)
  • Entrepreneurs on the Front Lines (Providing free, tailored and on-demand support, programming and resources to business owners, entrepreneurs, and their staff with the goal of ensuring well-being is a priority – click here)
  • Digital Transformation Team (Offering transformation plans to small businesses through working with an interdisciplinary team of marketers, web designers and creators to help create new business models, develop and implement digital marketing strategies, maximize digital tools and more – click here)
  • In-Store Contact Tracing (Through an innovative user-friendly contact tracing solution, businesses will be able to meet local public health requirements safely by improving the customer experience for in-store contact tracing – click here).

Tourism Economic Development and Recovery Fund

The Tourism Economic Development and Recovery Fund (TEDRF) is an application-based, cost-sharing program designed to provide non-capital funding to projects that either: encourage the development of innovative new tourism products, support tourism investment, or build the capacity of Ontario’s tourism industry.

Celebrate Ontario Blockbuster

The Celebrate Ontario Blockbuster program supports costs related to hosting: major one-time events in Ontario, events that do not recur annually or biennially in Ontario, and national or international events in Ontario.


Access to Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) has been highlighted as one of the top roadblocks in reopening businesses. Click the button below for a list of businesses in Windsor Essex that are currently selling PPE.

Click here for a listing of additional PPE providers within Ontario.  Note: You must click on the Terms of Use first.


Businesses can now get a self-certified Safe Travels Stamp based on worldwide industry protocols the World Travel & Tourism Council has put together for every aspect of the hospitality and tourism sector.

They have done this in conjunction with our industry, including the Tourism Industry Association of Ontario (TIAO).  The specially designed stamp will allow travellers to recognize governments and companies around the world which have adopted health and hygiene global standardized protocols – so consumers can experience ‘Safe Travels’.

Tourism Windsor Essex Pelee Island was the first DMO in Ontario to receive their Safe Travels stamp, and we encourage you to apply today for the opportunity to be engaged in this valuable visitor education program.

  • To apply, please click here.
  • For further guidelines, please click here.
  • For terms and conditions, please click here.
  • For more information on the program, please click here and for a list of approved Safe Travels Stamp applicants in Ontario, please click here.

Strategic partner RESPONSE

Destination Ontario has provided key findings to better understand the impact of COVID-19 on the economy, the consumer mindset and to inform marketing recovery strategies.  They have accessed various economic and public attitude and behavior studies. Click here for more information on forecasted economic outcomes, a micro-economic outlook, a travel outlook and media consumption information. This information should be treated as a snapshot in time.

Tourism Windsor Essex partners with Ontario Southwest (RTO1-SWOTC) on a strategic research project to see how the pandemic has impacted travel intentions in 2020 in Windsor Essex, Southwestern Ontario, and the Province of Ontario. The results have been released and are available below:

The Tourism Industry Association of Ontario (TIAO) hosts weekly calls for the opportunity for stakeholders to stay informed and engaged during the COVID-19 pandemic. Calls generally take place on Tuesdays at 3pm. Please sign up for TIAO emails to receive the details directly to your inbox.


  • The results from the seventh TIAO survey on the industry impact due to COVID-19 are available, specific to RTO 1 (Ontario Southwest including Windsor Essex). Click here to download the PDF file. This survey is from July 2020.
  • The results from the seventh TIAO survey on the industry impact due to COVID-19 are available. Click here to download the PDF file. This survey is from July 2020.

W.E Tech Alliance has put together a list of resources (most free or minimal cost) to help you amplify your digital footprint and evolve your business during these challenging times. Click here for their ‘Go Digital With These Tech Tools and Resources’ list.

Destination Ontario has released a report ‘Impact of COVID-19 on the Canadian Economy and Consumer Sentiment‘ that helps understand the impact of COVID-19 as of  January 26, 2021, the consumer mindset and to inform marketing recovery strategies moving forward. To view the report please click here.

The Southwest Ontario Tourism Corporation (SWOTC – RTO1) is providing COVID-19 resources for tourism suppliers


Federal Funding & Support Measures for Businesses

The Regional Relief & Recovery Fund (RRRF) of Southern Ontario offers targeted liquidity support for businesses (SMEs) and business support organizations whose revenues have been affected by the pandemic. For more information please click here.

The Government of Canada is providing COVID-19 Resources for Business and a Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy.

The Business Development Bank of Canada is providing federal and provincial support measures during the pandemic. Click here for more. Timely webinars assisting businesses to adapt and recover can be found here.

The Canadian Chamber of Commerce has created the Canadian Business Resilience Network offering critical resources to assist businesses through the pandemic.

RE3 (Rebuild, Reopen, Revive) is a government funded program that provides non-repayable performance based contributions up to $5,000 to assist Southern Ontario women-led SMEs rebuild, reopen and revive their businesses. Click here for program details.




Provincial Supports for Businesses

The Province of Ontario is offering Support for Businesses during the pandemic.

  • Click here to find out if your business is eligible for grants to help with the cost of personal protective equipment (PPE) and your property taxes and energy bills.
  • Click here for recovery resources and supports for Ontario small businesses with fewer than 100 employees.
  • Click here for the latest on the COVID-19 emergency status by the province.
  • Click here for the current plans to reopen Ontario after COVID-19.

Workplace Safety & Prevention Services is providing resources to prevent COVID-19 in the workplace. Please click any of the links below for downloadable files for your workplace, as they relate to the Tourism Industry.

The Ontario Federation of Agriculture is providing COVID-19 updates for the agri-food industry

The Ontario Chamber of Commerce has created a COVID-19 Pandemic Preparedness for Ontario Businesses

The Ontario Business Improvement Area Association (OBIAA) is providing COVID-19 updates for BIAs across the province.

Google Business – Make sure you update your Google Business Profile to reflect the current status during COVID-19

The Windsor-Essex Chamber of Commerce is partnering with the Toronto Board of Trade and World Trade Centre, Toronto to offer the Recovery Activation Program (RAP) to non-main street businesses.  It is an immersive online workshop program that connects businesses with industry experts for guidance, mentorship and practical advice on process modernization and end-to-end digital transformation.

Support for not-for-profits, tourism and culture operators and sports organizations will be able to access government support of an additional $100 Million over the next two years imminently through the Community Building Fund. The Ontario Trillium Fund support can be found here.

On February 8th the Minister MacLeod held a town hall to inform stakeholders of grant and funding opportunities currently available which can be viewed here.

Destination Ontario Research Summary – released February 23, 2021 – can be read here.


When meetings, conferences & social events are safe to resume,  ORHMA has developed the Practical Guide for the Safe Reopening of Meeting and Events in Ontario to assist.




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