Business Resources


Tourism Adaption Fund in partnership with Southwest Ontario Tourism Corporation and Tourism Windsor Essex Pelee Island

On Tuesday January 13th in partnership with the Southwest Ontario Tourism Corporation, and with support from collaborating partners including ourselves at Tourism Windsor Essex Pelee Island, Tourism Sarnia Lambton, Middlesex County & Tourism London, we have launched the Tourism Adaptation Fund to support efficient and effective recovery in our sector from the negative impacts caused by the COVID-19 global pandemic.

This Fund will provide non-repayable contributions between $5,000 and $20,000 to tourism-oriented small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs), Not For Profit organizations (NFPs) and Indigenous Communities, to support one time adaptation and reopening costs, retroactive to June 1st, 2020 and completed by December 31st, 2021. Recipients must contribute a minimum of 20% of total project costs.

Eligible costs will include:

  • Implementation of health and safety protocols (e.g. partitions);
  • Alterations to accommodate social distancing (e.g. expansion of patio space for restaurants and or acquisition of outdoor heaters);
  • Purchase of PPE and cleaning supplies for workers and business;
  • Implementation of digital tools and transformations for tourism operators (e.g., virtual queue, online menus and time entry ticketing).

Deadline for applications is January 29th, 2021 at 11:59pm.  For more information on the Tourism Adaptation Fund, eligibility criteria, ineligible costs, and how to apply, please visit

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.

Digital Main Street (Digital Transformation Grants, Digital Service Squad and ShopHERE)

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

  • Digital Main Street Program including 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

Ontario Small Business Support Grant

For small businesses in Ontario that were required to close or significantly restrict services under the December 26, 2020 province-wide shutdown, the Ontario Small Business Support Grant might be applicable.  For more information, click here and to apply for the grant click here.


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

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  December 22nd 2020 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 herefor the latest on the COVID-19 emergency status by the province.
  • Click herefor 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.

Workplace Safety & Prevention Services Keeping Ontario Safe and Open web page provides immediate access to a webinar and presentation kit in identifying and understanding Ontario’s new COVID-19 Response framework.

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.


As we move into Stage 3 of re-opening, gatherings including Meetings, Conferences & Social Events will be permitted. To assist, ORHMA has developed the Practical Guide for the Safe Reopening of Meeting and Events in Ontario.




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