Canadian Experiences Fund
The application period for the Canadian Experiences Fund is now closed.
The Canadian Experiences Fund (CEF) provides $58.5 million over two years (2019-2021) to support communities across Canada as they create, improve or enhance tourism products, facilities and experiences. The purpose of the CEF is to provide new tourism products or experiences, to improve what is already offered, or to create, renovate or enhance tourism facilities.
In Quebec, the CEF is delivered by CED. The other Regional Development Agencies throughout Canada deliver the fund in their respective regions. The CEF is part of the Government of Canada’s renewed efforts to support the tourism sector, which includes Creating Middle Class Jobs: a Federal Tourism Growth Strategy. The Fund will see investments made in the types of products and experiences that showcase Canada’s strengths, while also growing tourism outside major cities and outside the summer season.
The window for application will remain open until funding runs out. Applications received before 4 p.m. on June 7, will be given priority.
Investments made through the CEF will focus on five categories:
- Expand winter and shoulder-season tourismFootote 1 by funding projects like onsite experiences development, tours, excursions, special events and tourism facilities;
- Grow tourism in rural and remote communities by investing in projects such as community beautification, onsite fishing or winery experience development, adventure, eco- and agritourism, local product development, or rural and remote tourism facilities;
- Increase Indigenous tourismFootnote 2 by investing in such projects as market readiness, onsite experiences development, developing a line of consumer products, tours, festivals and special events;
- Promote inclusiveness, especially for the LGBTQ2Footnote 3 community, by supporting train the trainer programs, projects such as attractions, special events and festivals as well as market readiness; and
- Boost culinary, farm-to-table and oceans-to plate experiencesFootnote 4 by funding projects in areas including culinary tourism trails, farmers markets, onsite experiences development in various locations (e.g. farms, breweries, orchards).
- For-profit enterprises with fewer than 500 employees;
- Non-profit organizations (NPOs);
- Municipalities and regional county municipalities (RCMs);
- Indigenous governments (e.g.: Band Councils).
Eligible projects will support the growth and diversification of the tourism sector. These activities may include:
- Creating or improving tourism facilities: developing or renovating properties for tourists such as trails, campgrounds, and shelters;
- Planning and development of tourism products and services: improving or designing new tourism services and products such as tours, special events and festivals;
- Market readiness training: working with tourism associations to provide training to businesses to market their products, adopt foreign payment systems, manage cultural differences.
- The project fits into at least one of the five categories of the CEF;
- The purpose of the project is to develop the tourism offering. The project can include a minor component for developing or enhancing marketing tools;
- The project will help attract tourists;
- The project will end no later than March 31, 2021.
Proposals that meet the asset criteria may be given preference. These criteria focus on:
- skills development;
- job creation;
- environmental and economic sustainability.
In addition, CED may give priority to some projects based on the following considerations:
- Projects that fit into more than one of the five categories of the CEF;
- Projects that help attract tourists from outside Quebec (from outside Canada for the greater Montréal area);
- Projects that fit into the offering, enhance the regional tourism experience, and are supported by regional players (e.g. ATR, ATS, RCM or CFDC);
- Projects that contribute to the objective of taking action through the CEF in all regions of Quebec;
- Projects that have one or more sources of funding other than the CEF and that maximize the leverage of CED's assistance;
- Projects with the highest probability of being implemented in a timely manner (e.g. those with a complete financial package);
- LGBTQ2 events of the “Pride” type that are local in scope;
- Structuring projects that contribute to the regional or provincial ecosystem and are likely to attract international tourists.
Funding and type of assistance
- The financial assistance awarded will be non-repayable. It may be in the form of a grant for some projects.
- For SMEs, the financial assistance requested is less than $100,000 and represents a maximum of 50% of the project’s eligible capital costs and 75% for the other eligible costs (the assistance awarded may be less based on the analysis of financial need). The client contributes at least 10% of the financing package;
- For NPOs, the financial assistance requested does not usually exceed $500,000 and represents 90% of the project’s eligible costs (the assistance awarded may be less based on the analysis of financial need). The client usually provides at least 10% of the project’s financial package, but on an exceptional basis, the financial assistance awarded may be up to 100% without a financial contribution by the client;
- For LGBTQ2 events of the “Pride” type that are local in scope (e.g. annual parade), grants of up to $25,000 may be awarded if the client’s financial situation and limited resources warrant.
- Capital and infrastructure;
- Professional fees;
- All other costs directly related to the project, deemed reasonable by CED and essential for it to be carried out Restrictions may apply in some cases.
Project costs are eligible as of March 19, 2019.
All costs that are non-essential and not directly related to the project, including:
- refinancing an existing debt;
- purchasing any asset that exceeds its fair market value;
- depreciation expenses;
- goodwill expenses.
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