Updated on August 13, 2021
Hard hit by the pandemic, organizations in the tourism, leisure and culture industries have had to revise their business plans and seek financial assistance.
A number of financial aid programs are available to help Quebec organizations get through the crisis and plan their reopening—and more relief measures are on the way from the government and regional agencies.
Where to start?
There are more than 20 programs available to help cultural, sports and tourism organizations stay afloat and plan for the future. Additional opportunities could surface in the coming months. But since each program has specific requirements and eligibility criteria, it can be hard to navigate them all.
How can you be sure you’re taking full advantage of available relief programs?
The key is to prepare a strong application so that government analysts can process your file quickly. You should:
- Provide a financial snapshot that lays out actual and future losses;
- Include a revised business plan that is both concise and convincing;
- Demonstrate that your business is viable.
How to prepare a good case?
Funding agencies are currently receiving 10 times more applications than available subsidies. This means businesses and organizations need a strong application if they want to be selected.
Before you start filling out forms, take the time to review the eligibility criteria. You want to have the right information on hand and provide the best possible answers to their questions. A carefully crafted application will increase your chances of receiving a fast response and getting approved.
Preparing applications for financial relief programs can be complicated and time-consuming for managers who are already busy dealing with the impact of COVID-19.
Our tourism, leisure and culture team is familiar with all currently available relief programs, as well as their specific eligibility criteria, and the key issues in various sectors and regions. Contact our experts. We’re here to help.
Here are some of the programs available to help you weather the pandemic and prepare your post-COVID plan.
Support measures in tourism
Explore Québec program
The Explore Québec program consists of offering tourists a reduction of the cost of an air fare to a destination in Québec’s remote regions, purchased under packages created by selected Québec travel agencies, tour operators and hosting agencies. Eligible regions are:
- Côte-Nord ,
- Eeyou Istchee Baie-James,
The program has three components: Road Trip Packages, Air Trip Packages and Circuits branchés. The program will end on March 31, 2023 or when the budget is exhausted. Find out more.
Programme d’aide à la relance de l’industrie touristique (PARIT) to support sustainable, innovative projects
The purpose of this program is to support the development and consolidation of an innovative, progressive and sustainable tourism offer to ensure the sustainability and competitiveness of the Quebec tourism industry. A 10% top-up of the financial assistance is possible for projects with an eco-responsible theme. The program is in place until March 31, 2024, depending on the availability of funds.
Québec government and City of Montréal invest in Montréal Downtown Recovery
In order to attract workers, tourists and students to downtown Montreal, funds will be injected to set up initiatives to alleviate the consequences of health constraints, such as amenities, entertainment, festivals and circus artists, support for local gastronomy and the installation of start-ups. For more information, consult their press release, as well as their document detailing these support measures.
Concerted Temporary Action Program for Businesses (PACTE)
This emergency financing, in the form of a loan guarantee or line of credit guarantee, is intended to provide circumstantial support to businesses operating in Quebec, including cooperatives and other social economy businesses that carry out commercial activities, such as lodging establishments and tourist attractions, and that are in a precarious situation due to the consequences of the pandemic.
The Assistance for Businesses in Regions on Maximum Alert (AERAM) component is designed to help businesses located in the red zone that are affected by a business closure.
For eligibility criteria, please consult the Investissement Québec page.
However, businesses in the tourism sector, except travel agencies, must be registered on the Bonjour Québec website to be eligible.
Programme d’appui au développement des attraits touristiques (PADAT)
This program supports private investments through loans and loan guarantees. It is intended for for-profit and non-profit organizations (NPFOs) and cooperatives legally constituted in Quebec, as well as recognized Aboriginal communities and nations.
Part 1: Support for development of tourist attractions
This minimum financial assistance of $150,000 is available in the form of a loan, loan guarantee and grant. The maximum amount awarded is $5,000,000, not to exceed 60% of eligible costs.
Projects funded must be invested in a tourism infrastructure, product, service or equipment with the goal of creating jobs and increasing revenues and visitor numbers. More information on the Ministry of Tourism website.
Part 2: Funds for business tourism financing for hotel establishments
This fund is specifically intended for the renovation and upgrading of ageing hotel infrastructures in order to prepare these businesses for recovery, but projects for the construction of new hotel establishments in tourist regions with a shortage of accommodation units are now eligible.
Funding is in the form of a term loan of a minimum of $100,000 and a maximum of $5,000,000 and could cover up to 90% of eligible work costs. Go to the Investissement Québec site for more information.
Fonds de développement des entreprises touristiques (FDET)
This fund provides financing to existing or start-up SMEs in the form of loans ranging from $50,000 to $500,000 for projects that aim to attract new customers and significantly extend the operating period of their business. Visit the fund’s website for more information.
Incubator-accelerator for tourism projects north of the 49th parallel
The Quebec government is providing $8M for the creation and implementation of an incubator-accelerator that will help tourism projects north of the 49th parallel. This incubator will be headed by three sector tourism associations, Fédération des pourvoiries du Québec, Indigenous Tourism Quebec and Aventure Écotourisme Québec. Click here for more information.
Tourism Relief Fund
The Tourism Relief Fund (TRF), administered by Canada’s regional development agencies and Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED), is a $500-million national new program. This fund will help tourism businesses and organizations to adapt their operations to meet public health requirements, improve their products and services and position themselves for post-pandemic economic recovery.
A minimum of $50 million of the TRF will specifically support Indigenous tourism initiatives and organisations.
Entente de partenariat régional en tourisme (EPRT)
Two components are proposed under this agreement to support tourism businesses that are suffering from the effects of the pandemic.
A third component aims to support projects to develop and structure the tourism offer and a fourth component is designed to support strategic tourism businesses in the downtown areas of Montréal, Québec City and Gatineau. You will find all the details of this regional partnership on the Quebec government website.
Fonds de maintien des actifs stratégiques en tourisme (FMAST)
In order to encourage the development of large-scale projects to promote traffic in downtown Montreal, financial assistance is being provided under Component 4 of the EPRT. A call for projects is underway with a deadline of April 30, 2021. Visit the Ville de Montréal website to learn more or to attend the information webinar on March 30, 2021 for interested organizations.
As part of the tourism recovery plan, the Quebec government is providing a subsidy equivalent to the amount of the tax on lodging (TSH) to the businesses concerned. To take advantage of this subsidy, these establishments must apply to the Association Hôtellerie Québec.
Centrale d’achats en tourisme de l’Alliance de l’industrie touristique du Québec
This sanitation equipment and supplies purchasing group allows all registered tourism businesses to reduce their costs for products that meet the needs of maintenance, protection and compliance with new health safety standards. Visit the Alliance website to learn more and to register.
Programme d’accessibilité aux établissements touristiques (PAET)
To help tourism establishments improve the accessibility of their infrastructures for people with disabilities, this program offers a grant of up to 80% or 90% of eligible costs, depending on the type of establishment, for a maximum amount of $100,000. Consult the details of this grant on the Quebec government website.
Almost $3.6M to create the Fonds des actifs stratégiques du centre-ville de Québec
In order to help tourism businesses in downtown Québec City, which have been particularly hard hit by the drop in tourist numbers, the Quebec government is granting $3,570,000 in financial assistance to the Office du tourisme de Québec (OTQ). This money will be used to create the Fonds des actifs stratégiques du centre-ville de Québec. See the announcement for more details.
Keeping seasonal employees employed: Pilot project extended
The Quebec government has confirmed a $6.6M investment to support this project that keeps seasonal workers employed through off-season training. Employers can obtain financial assistance to set up in-house training. Consult the announcement to find out more.
Pilot project for Quebec tourism industry post-secondary internships
Headed by Les Offices jeunesse internationaux du Québec (LOJIQ), this initiative will facilitate internships through increased mobility support. Students aged 18 to 35 have until March 31, 2022 to apply for an internship through this program.
Green Jobs Initiative by the Canadian Parks and Recreation Association (CPRA)
This program will provide direct financial support (through wage subsidies of up to 50%) to local governments (municipalities, Indigenous communities, etc.) and other sector organizations for the hiring of youths aged 15-30.
Passeport Attraits Program
This program reimburses businesses for the discount offered to visitors who purchase a passport for certain tourist attractions. The program is available to eligible businesses that register through Événements Attractions Québec until December 31, 2021 or until the budget is depleted. All the details as well as the participation form for companies are in this document.
Support for workers in Live Arts and Music Sectors Funds
The purpose of this fund is to support the arts and culture sector by immediately engaging artists and cultural workers to provide public and virtual arts and culture experiences to help overcome the effects of the pandemic. Applicants must first apply for regular funding under the Local Festivals component of the APCD or the Developmental Support component of the CAPF. Visit Canadian Heritage for more information.
Additional support for the presentation of Quebec shows – Addition under the Economic Recovery Plan for the Cultural Sector
In March 2021, the Minister of Culture and Communications announced the addition of $18 million to the measure to support the presentation of Quebec shows. This measure allows for compensation of up to 75% of the box office revenues that could not be collected due to health measures during the period from October 1, 2020 to June 30, 2021. Visit the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec (CALQ) website for details.
Presenting physically distanced performances: Measure for artists and arts organizations reintroduced
The Quebec government has announced it is reintroducing the assistance provided by the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec (CALQ) with $5M in funding in connection with the presentation of physically distanced performances.
Available to artistic organizations in the summer of 2020, the measure will now be accessible to professional artists in all fields supported by CALQ who wish to present a show (public reading, concert, performance, walking tour or any other form of live art). Go to the CALQ site for more information.
$11.8M in Financial Aid for Circus Arts
This assistance from the Quebec government is intended to support training, the resumption of activities on international markets, the presentation of circus projects throughout Quebec and to promote research and creation. Read the announcement to learn more.
Bill to limit meal delivery fees in time of pandemic passed
Assented to on March 16, 2021, the bill is intended to support restaurant owners already greatly affected by COVID-19-related sanitary measures by limiting the delivery fees charged. The law goes into effect on March 22. Visit the MAPAQ website for more information (in French). You can also consult the document presenting the details of Bill 87 (in French).
Free training program on digital transformation in restaurant and hotel services
The Quebec government is awarding a grant of up to $3,550,235 to the Institut de tourisme et d’hôtellerie du Québec (ITHQ) to support the implementation of a training program and a center of excellence in artificial intelligence. Offered free of charge, this training program will allow restaurant and hotel owners to learn about the best business practices and inform them about the methods and tools available in Quebec, as well as the contribution of artificial intelligence in optimizing the management of their activities. Consult the announcement to learn more.
Recovery fund for bars and restaurants in downtown Montréal
With a budget of $4 million, this financial assistance will be used to support bars and restaurants in downtown Montreal to help them recover from the consequences of COVID-19. More information.
Call for project for platform for social economy businesses
With a $500,000 budget, this call for projects aims to develop a fair and affordable promotion, online sales and delivery platform for the Montréal restaurant industry. More information.
Regional Economic Development
Regional Air Transportation Initiative (RATI)
This Government of Quebec initiative complements Transport Canada’s initiative to assist inter-regional air transportation affected by the economic impact of COVID-19 and allow this ecosystem that contributes to regional economic growth to remain operational. Assistance will be available until March 31, 2022. Consult the website for more information.
Regional innovation ecosystems
Through the Regional Economic Growth through Innovation (REDI) program, Canada Economic Development (CED) supports projects that help create a regional entrepreneurial environment conducive to innovation and promote business development, growth and competitiveness. Consult the website for more information.
Attracting investments or tourists from outside Quebec
Through the Quebec Economic Development Program (QEDP), CED also supports projects aimed at promoting the regions in order to increase the presence of international organizations or encourage increased spending by tourists from outside the province. Consult the website for more information.
You can also consult our page on support measures for businesses affected by the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic. This page is updated regularly.
You will find in particular:
Emergency Assistance for Small- and Medium-Sized Businesses (PAUPME)
Regional Relief and Recovery Fund (RRRF)
Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy (CERS)
Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) for employers
Small Business Emergency Account (SBEA)
Business Credit Availability Program (BCAP) through EDC and BDC
29 Mar 2021 | Written by :