COVID-19 Resources, Updates and News
As the voice of the Ontario tourism industry we recognize that in times of uncertainty there is a need for industry to have access to clear and reliable information. We have created this dedicated section of the website of to link to rapid updates on COVID-19.
Our team is closely following the evolving situation and will link to pertinent articles, with a focus validity and relevance to our industry.
Our weekly TIAO newsletter includes all the latest information, government updates and resources we think are pertinent for those in the tourism industry. You can sign up for our free newsletter on our home page.
COVID-19 Protocols and guidelines resource centre
As Ontario slowly looks to reopen it's economy there are a growing number of guidelines and protocol documents emerging on how to do so safely and adhering to physical distancing and health protocols. TIAO is collecting documents issued by other provincial governments, the federal government, international tourism agencies associations and others below to give you an insight on how to safely open and operate your businesses. Please note you will need to turn your pop-up blocker off to download PDF and word documents that these links link to.
RV, rafting and Camping
- Camper Code of Conduct 2020
- Contractor Code of Conduct by Highland RV Resort
- Meeting Guest Needs During and After a Pandemic by the National Association of RV Parks & Campgrounds
- Overall Guidance for Campgrounds by Camping in Ontario
- Re-Opening RV Parks and Campgrounds by the National Association of RV Parks & Campgrounds
- Sample Cancellation/Refund Policy for RV Parks and Campgrounds
- Suggested Phased Re-Opening of RV Parks and Campgrounds
- BC RIVERS OUTFITTERS ASSOCIATION -COVID-19 BEST PRACTICES FOR COMMERCIAL RIVER RAFTING OPERATIONS
Events and Attractions
- The Event Safety Alliance Reopening Guide for event professionals during COVID-19
- The Event Safety Alliance Reopening Guide for event professionals during COVID-19 (FRENCH VERSION)
- The Event Safety Alliance Reopening Guide for event professionals during COVID-19 (CHINESE VERSION)
- COVID-19 Considerations for the Global Attractions Industry by IAAPA Global Association for the Attractions Industry
Workplaces, Resorts, Restaurants, Hotels and Motels.
- Guidelines For New Brunswick Workplaces Re-opening In A Covid-19 Environment As We Safely Return To Work Embracing The New Normal
- Ontario Restaurant Hotel and Motel Association Dine Safe Protocols
- Hotel Association of Canada - Enhanced industry-wide hotel cleaning standards in response to COVID-19
- Resorts of Ontario - BUSINESS CONTINUITY PLAN 2020- Procedures on Safety and Prevention (Covid-19 pandemic threat)
- COVID-19 Best Practices For the Safe Operation of Resource-Based Tourism Businesses in Northern Ontario
- Ontario Government COVID-19 Workplace Safety Plan
- COVID-19: Reopening Guidelines for Businesses & Organizations City of Toronto
- COVID- 19 Best Practices For Commercial River Rafting Operations By BC Rivers Outfitters Association
- Boating Ontario - Introduction to guidelines
- Social Distancing Best Practices Marine Personnel by Boating Ontario
- Global Protocols for the New Normal Attractions
- Global Protocols for the New Normal Car Rental
- Global Protocols for the New Normal Short Term Rental
- Global Protocols for the New Normal for Hospitality
- Global Protocols for the New Normal for Outdoor Shopping Destinations and Establishments
- Global Protocols for the New Normal for Aviation
- Global Protocols For The New Normal Convention Centres, Meetings
- Global Protocols for the New Normal Airports
- Global Protocols for the New Normal Tour Operators
- Resonance COVID-19 Destination Management Marketing Toolkit
- World Tourism Organization COVID-19 Tourism Recovery Technical Assistance Package
- US Travel Industry Guidance
TIAO COVID-19 Industry Calls
Since the escalation of the COVID-19 crisis TIAO continues to hold weekly conference calls with industry stakeholders. These meetings are designed to disseminate information that we have received, give top line information on our industry consultations and the latest news from government and our partners.
Sign up to our newsletter for information on how to take part to be sent directly to your inbox.
You can read the notes of previous meetings here.
Organizations across our industry are producing informative webinars on COVID-19. Varying from support in completing forms, maintaining your mental health and how to evolve your business.
TIAO COVID-19 Job information
During the COVID-19 crisis we will post information on benefits and jobs available here for people affected by job losses and who are looking for new opportunities.
TIAO COVID-19 Surveys
TIAO has been working with industry stakeholders and government to collect data on the impact of COVID-19 on the front-line. Our weekly surveys have provided a comprehensive database on the immediate and severe impact COVID-19 is having on businesses across the province.
This data is being used by government to shape the economic recovery package and monitor the continuing negative impact COVID-19 is having on the tourism industry. Below you can find the links to our latest survey and the top-line results of previous weeks.
SURVEY 5.0 RELEASED: A MESSAGE FROM ALEX RODGERS
Thank you to every one of you who has filled out our survey every 3 weeks since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.
We know it can feel as though answering the same questions in these surveys is an exercise in futility, but this data really does matter. It matters because what you are experiencing matters.
The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on tourism businesses is historic and unprecedented. We need to leverage the power of the collective impact of this, to tell all levels of government what tourism businesses and operators need to survive this crisis.
We use our survey data to:
- Directly report to Minister MacLeod on the loss of revenue, business closures, and lay offs.
- Directly report to provincial and federal levels of government how to make the financial aid available to all tourism businesses.
- Put the power of numbers behind our asks to government.
When we meet with government to advocate on behalf of the tourism industry, the number one question we hear is “Do you have numbers to support this?”
We recognize that in the midst of a crisis, it takes valuable time and energy to fill out a survey, but please know that this data tells a powerful story, and it is making a difference.
At TIAO our job is to make sure no tourism business is left behind, because we are a powerful and united industry. When you take time to give us data, you empower us to represent you to government.
The survey closes Tuesday May 19 EOD. You can find the link here: https://www.
Survey 4. 0 Released
Please listen to our Director of Policy & Research Alexandra Rodgers on why it's vital that we continue to track data from the front-line.
Take part in the survey ✍️
Share the survey link 👨💻
Email it to stakeholders 📧
Survey closes at 8am on Monday 27th April ⏰
You can take part in our latest survey here.
Survey 3.0 Results: Why our surveys are so important
Over the weekend we released the results from our latest industry survey. Our Director of Policy and Research Alex Rodgers briefly discusses our findings.
You can read and download the report here .
Survey 3.0 Released
Please note the survey will close at 8am on Monday April 6th so that we can collate and analyze the information before our weekly conference call with Minister MacLeod.
The survey link is:
Please ensure that when sharing the survey you include the closing date prominently.
TIAO COVID-19 Advocacy
Please find below examples of TIAO advocacy documents, press releases and collaborative work with partners and industry stakeholders.
Tourism Roundtable letter to Premier Ford (June 8th)
TIAOs President and CEO Beth Potter has joined other tourism leaders to form the Tourism Roundtable group.
The Roundtable is comprised of leaders in Canada’s tourism and travel sector – airports, airlines, hotels and others – working together with a goal of restarting the sector safely and smoothly.
The Roundtable have written to Premier Doug Ford urging the Ontario government to immediately establish clear and consistent health standards and protocols that are aligned with global rules and procedures and designed to build traveller confidence.
You can read the letter here.
Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs (June 4th)
Please find here TIAO's recommendations to the Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs as presented by our President and CEO Beth Potter on the 4th June.
Joint Letter to Premier Doug Ford (June 2nd)
Tourism organizations have come together to send the following joint letter to Premier Doug Ford with a simple request.
Allow businesses in the tourism and travel sector in Ontario to open immediately based on their ability to demonstrate that they are operating in accordance to the guidelines set out by WSPS.
As each business is unique, some will be able to open immediately, others will open when they are ready to do so. All sectors of the travel and tourism industry in Ontario are part of the same economic ecosystem. When one succeeds, so too do the others.
The COVID-19 pandemic is first and foremost a health crisis, however, it is also an economic crisis, and we are prepared to work collaboratively with government.
Read the full letter here. The letter was signed by;
David MacNeil - Chief Executive Officer - Festivals & Events Ontario
Doug Switzer - President and CEO - OMCA
Rebecca Mackenzie - President - CTA: Culinary Tourism Alliance
Don Cleary - President - Marriott International, Canada.
Troy Young - President - Attractions Ontario
Laurie Marcil - Executive Director - Nature and Outdoor Tourism Ontario
Terry Mundell - President & CEO - Greater Toronto Hotel Association
Rick Layzell - President & CEO - Boating Ontario
Alexandra Anderson - Executive Director - Camping In Ontario
Grace Sammut - Executive Director - Resorts of Ontario
Steve Ball - President - Ottawa Gatineau Hotel Association
Beth Potter - President and CEO - Tourism Industry Association of Ontario
Tony Elenis - President & CEO - Ontario Restaurant Hotel & Motel Association
Joint OBIAA, EDCO and TIAO letter to Finance Minister Rod Phillips (May 6th)
In partnership with our colleagues at the OBIAA(Ontario BIA Association) and the Economic Developers Council of Ontario (EDCO) we've sent the following letter to Ontario finance Minister Rod Phillips.
In addition to welcoming and commenting on the Ontario Jobs and Recovery Committee we've asked for immediate support for businesses regarding commercial rent. We've asked for the following.
Put rent relief in the hands of the tenants. To accomplish this, we recommend that mandating all landlords to enroll in CECRA if their tenants qualify.
Freeze rent evictions by passing legislation for a moratorium on commercial evictions for a minimum of six months (to be applied to tenants who were in good standing as of March 15).
That the 70% threshold be reviewed and, if necessary, reduced (e.g. a 70% threshold if your rent is above $5,000 and 50% below $5,000.
You can read the full letter here
TIAOs letter on insurance coverage to Ontario's Finance Minister Rod Phillips (May 4th)
Our most recent industry survey indicated that more than 60% of Ontario tourism businesses are closed due to the COVID-19 response, and less than 4% of these businesses are covered through their insurance for this form of business interruption.
This is a critical time, in which we are working to ensure that tourism businesses across every sector, and region of Ontario, are able to re-open when the COVID-19 restrictions are lifted.
Please read our latest recommendations on behalf of the tourism industry to Minister Phillips, detailing the need for expanded business interruption insurance coverage.
Download the letter here.
Joint OBIAA, EDCO and TIAO letter to government (April 14th)
In partnership with the OBIAA and EDCO we've released this letter to senior provincial and federal ministers. We must ensure that SMEs are given the support they need to survive this crisis and lead our economic recovery through direct financial aid not more debt deferrals. The letter includes three practical steps to counter the current unparalleled threats to businesses and jobs. Read the full letter here.
TIAO's Industry Response for Economic Recovery (April 14th)
TIAO's Industry Response for Economic Recovery
Thanks to the comprehensive information and real-time financial data TIAO has collected during this crisis, we have been been able to paint an accurate picture of the challenges facing the tourism industry on the front line due to COVID-19.
This has helped us to identify the immediate short term critical support needed for businesses to survive this crisis and the long-term work needed to ensure that the tourism industry can help lead an economic recovery.
You can read and download our 'Industry Response for Economic Recovery here .
TIAO Policy Update (April 2nd)
At TIAO we are in ongoing communication with tourism stakeholders across Ontario. We are using our Evidence Generation Strategy (EGS) which includes stakeholder consultations, and survey data collected and analyzed through our province wide surveys.
Data collected through the EGS is used to provide evidence informed recommendations to all levels of government.
We recognize that the response to COVID 19 requires a whole government approach, and that recommendations must reflect the cross-jurisdictional work that is underway.
Please see the TIAO COVID 19 Update document attached here.
This document is being updated on a rolling basis, as new information is acquired through our EGS. This document highlights our recommendations on behalf of the industry, and reflects what is being put forward by key international organizations, like the World Travel and Tourism Council.
Please continue to fill out our survey, join our President and CEO Beth Potter and our weekly calls, and reach out directly to Alex Rodgers our Director of Policy and Research at, firstname.lastname@example.org
TIAO COVID-19 Federal Government Recommendations
Over the weekend we were asked to consult our members on what steps the Federal Government should take to support the tourism industry. You can read our recommendations based on the feedback we received that we sent to the office of Minister of Finance Bill Morneau by clicking here.
Resources & Briefings
Please find below useful briefings and resources from TIAO and outside organizations including the Provincial and Federal government, Public Health Ontario, Chambers of Commerce and others.
PROVINCE ANNOUNCES STAGE 1 REOPENING BEGINNING THIS WEEKEND (MAY 14TH)
Earlier today the Ontario Government announced the Stage 1 reopening for some businesses. We will continue to communicate these measures as we learn more.
Saturday May 16 as soon as 12:01am:
- Golf courses will be able to open, with clubhouses open only for washrooms and restaurants open only for take-out.
- Marinas, boat clubs and public boat launches may open for recreational use.
- Private parks and campgrounds may open to enable preparation for the season and to allow access for trailers and recreational vehicles whose owners have a full season contract.
- Businesses that board animals, such as stables, may allow boarders to visit, care for or ride their animals.
Tuesday May 19 as soon as 12:01am:
- Retail services that are not in shopping malls and have separate street-front entrances with measures in place that can enable physical distancing, such as limiting the number of customers in the store at any one time and booking appointments.
- Seasonal businesses and recreational activities for individual or single competitors, including training and sport competitions conducted by a recognized national or provincial sport organization. This includes indoor and outdoor non-team sport competitions that can be played while maintaining physical distancing and without spectators, such as tennis, track and field and horse racing.
- Animal services, specifically pet care services, such as grooming and training, and regular veterinary appointments.
- Indoor and outdoor household services that can follow public health guidelines, such as housekeepers, cooks, cleaning and maintenance.
- Lifting essential workplace limits on construction.
To support business-owners, workers and the economic recovery of the province, the government has launched a website to provide businesses with information on personal protective equipment (PPE) suppliers. The Workplace PPE Supplier Directory has an up-to-date list of Ontario companies and business associations that are ready to supply personal protective equipment. Find more information here.
Read the detailed list here: https://files.ontario.ca/mof-detailed-list-stage-1-openings-en-2020-05-14.pdf
REGIONAL RELIEF AND RECOVERY FUND (RRRF) NEW FUNDING PROGRAM (MAY 14TH)
The national $1 billion RRRF provides funding to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) that are unable to access the government’s existing support measures, including Destination Marketing Organizations (DMOs), and access to capital for rural businesses and communities.
This new fund, officially launched on May 13 2020, is being delivered by Regional Development Agencies (RDA) across the country to help organizations continue their operations and position themselves for a successful recovery.
Funding amounts vary by RDA, and fall under two categories:
- $675 million to support regional economies, businesses, organizations and communities in regions all across Canada;
- $287 million to support the national network of Community Futures Development Corporations, which will specifically target small businesses and rural communities across the country.
Applications are now being accepted under two streams:
Regional Economy: This stream supports SMEs that do not qualify for, or have been declined for, current Government of Canada COVID-19 relief measures.
- FedNor information for Northern Ontario can be found here.
- FedDev Southern Ontario information can be found here.
Community Futures: This stream supports businesses in rural and smaller communities through additional funding for the existing Community Futures Program (CFP).
In order to provide targeted assistance to the small towns and communities they serve, CFDCs, who will deliver this stream of funding, will focus on assisting “main street” businesses, such as retail shops, restaurants and corner stores, etc., and businesses of strategic importance to their communities, with loans up to $40,000.
Please apply directly through your local CFDC for funding through this stream. For any additional questions, please contact your local RDA.
WTTC UNVEILS “SAFE TRAVELS” NEW GLOBAL PROTOCOLS TO RESTART THE TRAVEL & TOURISM SECTOR (MAY 12TH)
TIAO is happy to share with you the "fresh off the presses" Global Standard Protocols for Hospitality/Hotels and Outdoor Retail. These have been created in collaboration with input from global brands, and WTTC members. They also take into account WHO and CDC guidelines. TIAOs own Beth Potter is a member of this committee.
The Protocols are designed to rebuild confidence among consumers so that they can travel safely once the restrictions are lifted. They are organized into 4 pillars:
1. Operational and staff preparedness
2. Ensuring a safe experience
3. Rebuilding Trust
4. Confidence and implementing enabling policies.
At the recent G20 Tourism Ministers meeting, there was agreement around the table to adopt a coordinated approach within the sector. This is a step in that direction.
You can download the hospitality document here
You can download the Outdoor shopping destinations/retail establishments document here
PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT ADVISORY PANELS UPDATE (MAY 12TH)
We have previously shared the announcement of the Ontario government setting up a series of panels to assist Minister Lisa MacLeod in meeting the unique challenges of COVID-19 and have gathered your feedback to the questions being asked of these panels. Details of the chairs and co-chairs have now been announced here.
Quebec, Manitoba, Alberta and Prince Edward Island re-opening plans (May 5th)
Quebec, Manitoba, Alberta and Prince Edward Island have outlined their plans to reopen their economies. Read them here.
Tourism HR Canada Emerit Online Offer (May 1st)
Our friends at Tourism HR Canada have extended their offer to include FREE access to ALL of their Emerit online training resources. Simply click here.
RV Rental Association of Canada news release (May 1st)
Please find the latest news release from the RV Rental Association of Canada here.
Ontario, Saskatchewan and New Brunswick announce reopening plans (April 30th)
This week Ontario, Saskatchewan and New Brunswick announced their plans to loosen some of the COVID-19 provincial restrictions. New Brunswick has already loosened some of its restrictions and the first phase of Saskatchewan's reopening will begin May 4.
All three provinces have created a multi-phase recovery approach.
For Ontario's reopening document click here.
For updated information on New Brunswick's COVID-19 and guidance on each phase of their recovery click here.
For information regarding the re-open Saskatchewan plan click here.
Business Pandemic Preparedness Checklist (WSPS) 30th April
Workplace Safety and Prevention services have put together a helpful business pandemic preparedness checklist you can access here .
Canadian Federation of Independent Business CECRA Sample Letter (28th April)
In recent days we have heard more and more tenants tell us about the difficulties they are having when engaging their landlords regarding the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) program.
The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) have put together a CECRA sample letter you can downland to approach your landlord about their potential participation in the scheme. You can download it here.
PPE availability and supply chain cautions (April 28th)
Canadian Lodging news have created a helpful guide on how to access PPE and other COVID-19 related equipment here.
How to apply for Employment Insurance (EI)
You can download our guide to apply for employment insurance (EI) here .
Federal Government announces new support for small businesses (16th April)
The Prime Minister has announced new measures to support businesses. We are currently reviewing the details of these announcements, but welcome their intent to ensure SMEs receive assistance for rent payments and the lowering of the payroll floor for support to SME's.
However, it's vital that the province now works with the PM to help reduce or forgive commercial rents during this period to avoid SMEs taking on insurmountable debt.
The measures announced today:
Expanding the Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) to businesses that paid between $20,000 and $1.5 million in total payroll in 2019. This new range will replace the previous one of between $50,000 and $1 million, and will help address the challenges faced by small businesses to cover non-deferrable operating costs. Since the launch of the CEBA on April 9, 2020, more than 195,000 loans have been approved by financial institutions, extending more than $7.5 billion in credit to small businesses.
Announcing its intent to introduce the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) for small businesses. The program will seek to provide loans, including forgivable loans, to commercial property owners who in turn will lower or forgo the rent of small businesses for the months of April (retroactive), May, and June. Implementation of the program will require a partnership between the federal government and provincial and territorial governments, which are responsible for property owner-tenant relationships. We are working with the provinces and territories to increase rent support for businesses that are most impacted by the pandemic and we will have more details to share soon.
Expansion of CERB eligibility (April 15th)
The federal government has announced changes to CERB to include support for those earning less than $1k a month, seasonal workers and students who earned $5k last year and those who have recently exhausted E.I and have been unable to find work.
Navigating what support is available -some helpful links (April 7th)
In recent weeks both the provincial and federal governments have released a series of relief measures in order to support businesses during this challenging time. Below is a summary relating in particular to the hospitality and tourism industry. Financial relief during this time includes:
Canada Emergency Business Account
Banks will offer $40,000 loans, guaranteed by the government, to qualifying small businesses and loans will be interest-free for the first year. Qualifying businesses must have payrolls of greater than $50,000 and less than $1 million. If certain conditions are met, a 25% loan forgiveness will be available (up to $10,000). Loans will be available through eligible financial institutions and will be fully guaranteed and funded by the Government of Canada
Business Credit Availability Program (BCAP)
New Access to Credit through Small and Medium-sized Enterprise Loan and Guarantee Program. Businesses can apply for a guaranteed loan through their banking institution to access this additional financial support.
Interest & Penalty Relief
Five months of interest and penalty relief for businesses to file and make payments for the majority of provincially administered taxes
The province is setting electricity rates to the “off-peak” price for 24 hours a day for 45 days to support ratepayers in their increased daytime electricity usage.
Employer Health Tax (EHT) exemption
Increasing government funding of EHT to $1 million in order to tax relief to businesses around the province so that they can focus on supporting the well-being of their employees and their continued operations
Workplace Safety & Insurance Board (WSIB)
Employers are allowed to defer payments for up to six months to the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB), to make $1.9 billion available. This allows businesses to defer premium reporting and payments until August 31, 2020
Deferred GST & HST payments
Deferred payments until June 2020 to allow businesses to have more liquidity on hand to survive the financial impact
Canadian Business Resilience Network (April 7th)
The Canadian Chamber of Commerce has established the Canadian Business Resilience Network (CBRN) in partnership with the Government of Canada to help the business community. The CBRN is a coordinated, business-led, inclusive campaign that will focus on providing businesses the tools they need to mitigate the impact of the pandemic as well as supporting continuity efforts – from development to implementation. In addition the CBRN will provide up to date information and awareness building initiatives, including newsletters and webinars.
The network will be able to connect he Canadian Chamber's vast network of over 450 local chambers of commerce and boards of trade, along with over 100 of Canada's leading business and industry associations, including the Business Council of Canada, the Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business, the Canadian Federation of Independent Business, and Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters. It will also have the support of partners such as Canada Life, Export Development Canada, Grant Thornton LLP and Advertek.
The goal is also to help businesses emerge from this crisis and drive Canada's economic recovery. More information can be found here .
Ontario Extends Business Closures to Stop the Spread of COVID-19 (April 3rd)
Following the advice of the Chief Medical Officer of Health, the Ontario government is reducing the list of businesses classified as essential and ordering more workplaces to close. This measure is necessary to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and protect the health of the people of Ontario, while ensuring that necessary goods and services remain available. You can read the updated list here.
Free HR resources from Tourism HR Canada (April 2nd)
Our friends a Tourism HR Canada are committed to helping tourism operators and employees through these troubled times. They are offering a variety of our Emerit frontline, supervisory, and managerial online training modules free of charge.
Simply click here.
Municipal property tax updates (April 2nd)
We've put together a useful spreadsheet of the latest information from municipalities in Ontario regarding degrees of property taxes. You can download it here.
Travel Industry Act Update (April 2nd)
The Ontario Government recognizes the extraordinary nature of the current situation of the COVID-19 outbreak and relief is being provided for travel agents and wholesalers during this financially difficult time.You can find the regulatory changes here.
Banks Briefing: What support is on offer
There have been a series of announcements from the six big banks about the support on offer to individuals and families during this unprecedented time of uncertainty. We've tried to collate that information in manageable chunks from press releases and public statements here .
Provincial government announces closures on non-essential businesses
The office of the Premier has released further information on what is determined to be an essential workplace. Restaurants and accommodations are included in the list.
For the purposes of this order, businesses include any-for-profit, non-profit or other entity providing the goods and services described herein.
This does not preclude the provision of work and services by entities not on this list either online, by telephone or by mail/delivery.
Note that teleworking and online commerce are permitted at all times for all businesses.
You can see the full list of essential businesses here .
Canadian Chamber of Commerce Resources
The Canadian Chamber of Commerce has also prepared resources, including a Crisis Communications Plan ( click here ) and a Business Continuity and Recovery Plan (Click here) so businesses are aware of potential risks and can be prepared for anything. Please download and pass onto anyone you think might find them useful.