Minister Joly visits MacKinnon Brothers Brewery to announce Tourism Relief Fund

Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages Mélanie Joly takes a tour of Bath's MacKinnon Brothers Brewery led by Ivan MacKinnon. Photo by Adam Prudhomme.

Adam Prudhomme

Canada’s Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages Mélanie Joly was in Bath on Monday to announce the launch of the Canadian government’s Tourism Relief Fund.

Fittingly the minister toured the MacKinnon Brothers Brewery as part of her trip, which included stops at tourism-based businesses in Bath and Prince Edward County.

“It’s great news for all the tourism operators that have been hard hit by the pandemic crisis,” Joly said of the fund. “We’ve heard their calls for help and we’ve got their backs. That’s why we’re announcing $500 million for them to access either non-repayable contributions up to $100,000 or interest free loans up to $500,000. That is for them to either expand their destinations and infrastructure and at the same time it’s also for them to adapt to the public health requirements in a sustainable way.”

Canada’s regional development agencies (RDAs) will deliver $485 million directly to businesses and organizations to help them adapt their operations to meet public health requirements while investing in products and services to facilitate future growth.

According to a press release announcing the fund, Indigenous communities that rely heavily on tourism have been disproportionately affected by COVID-19. In order to close this gap, the Government of Canada is investing a minimum of $50 million of the Tourism Relief Fund in Indigenous tourism projects.

In addition, $15 million, delivered by Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada, will support destination development, seasonal and local attractions, and human resources and skills development.

MacKinnon Brothers owner Ivan MacKinnon, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages Mélanie Joly and Loyalist Mayor Ric Breese say cheers. Photo by Adam Prudhomme.

The Tourism Relief Fund, part of the $1 billion in tourism supports announced in Budget 2021, promises to help tourism businesses bounce back, while making Canada a unique premier destination when it is safe for international visitors to return.

“Our government has been there for the tourism sector since the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis and today’s announcement is about adding another tool to the suite of COVID supports that will help it recover and prepare for future growth and create jobs,” added Joly. “This is an important step in our recovery efforts to attract visitors from all over the world so they can discover our country’s extraordinary wild natural beauty, delicious food and rich cultural experiences and incredibly warm hospitality once it is safe to do so.”

Ric Breese, who holds the title of both mayor of Loyalist and warden of Lennox and Addington County, was also at MacKinnon Brothers to take a tour and chat with the minister.

“(Tourism is) a huge element of our local economy but one of the pieces that’s missing right now is the ability for people in the villages, in the communities that they’re actually coming to visit, the attractions are here, now we need them for them to stay,” said Breese. “More restaurants, more hotels, things of that nature. Anything that we can do with the federal or provincial government to help that, it’s certainly beneficial.”

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