The Ontario government has made a commitment to strengthening the global competitiveness of Ontario’s tourism industry. To this end, the government has provided support through new investments to stimulate the industry. The Discovering Ontario: A Report on the Future of Tourism (released in 2009) is considered a first step in an ongoing process to fundamentally change the way the industry and government take advantage of opportunities that exist and to grow tourism as an important economic engine.

The Ministry’s key tourism achievements for 2010-11 included:

Regional Tourism Strategy

  • Established 13 tourism regions each with a strong Regional Tourism Organization (RTO).
  • Allocated $40 million in ongoing annual funding to the 13 new RTOs that are responsible for developing regional tourism strategic plans, developing and implementing regional marketing campaigns, developing tourism products, attracting investments, and coordinating activities and building relationships within their regions, between RTOs and with provincial sector associations.
  • Increased funding for transition to the regional tourism strategy by investing an additional $25 million in each of 2010-11 and 2011-12, and an additional $18.75 million in 2012-13, if passed by the Legislature.
  • Over 60 regional and cross-regional projects initiated by the RTOs.

Advocacy, Research and Cross-Government Collaboration

  • Aligned and developed tourism policies and activities based on the 2009 release of Discovering Ontario: A Report on the Future of Tourism, the most comprehensive review to date of Ontario’s tourism industry. The review presents 20 recommendations within four strategies that together support Ontario’s goal of becoming one of the world’s preferred places to visit.
  • Signed Memoranda of Understanding with three provinces in China. These MOUs will bring more tourists to Ontario and strengthen the ties between Canada and China.
    • Provided vital market intelligence for industry stakeholders, including research on historical trends, travel intentions and economic impact used by industry to support marketing, product development, investment, policy, and business decisions.
  • Provided strategic policy and planning advice on a variety of inter-ministerial initiatives, including the development of the Northern Ontario Growth Plan, Far North land use planning, Multi-Modal Transportation Plan for Northern Ontario, Guide to Crown Land Use Planning, management of Species at Risk and their habitat, and several other Crown land and natural resource related items.
  • Partnered with Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, Canadian Tourism Commission, Ontario Ministry of Economic Development and Trade and industry partners on the 2010 G8 and G20 Summits in Muskoka and Toronto by:
    • creating a welcoming presence at Toronto Pearson International Airport;
    • developing a micro-website for international media;
    • translating promotional materials into seven languages;
    • creating a three-minute high-definition video of Muskoka; and
    • developing media and familiarization tour agendas.

The partnership team will continue to develop Canadian investment kiosks in the summit media centre.

Tourism Development and Investment

  • Delivered the 2010 Celebrate Ontario festival and event program which expanded and enhanced 169 festivals and events across the province.
  • Delivered the 2010 edition of the Tourism Development Fund, which provided almost $4 million to 23 projects to support industry capacity building, new tourism experiences, product development and industry training
  • Committed $2.75 million in 2010-11 through the Convention Development Fund to help six convention cities attract new national and international conventions.
  • Negotiated an agreement to host the International Indian Film Academy (IIFA) Weekend and Awards in June 2011. Ontario is the first jurisdiction in North America to host the IIFA Weekend and Awards.
  • Implemented the Premier-ranked Tourist Destinations Framework and supported tourism planning strategies and implementation projects in regions across the province.
  • Delivered investment e-newsletters on eastern, southwestern and northwestern Ontario to promote tourism investment opportunities to global investors and investment influencers.
  • Promoted Ontario as a tourism investment destination and secured investor leads at MIPIM, the world’s largest real estate tradeshow in Cannes, France in partnership with the City of Toronto.
  • Developed and delivered 10 investment readiness workshops to 250 economic development officers and municipal officials across the province.
  • Provided support to seven regional planning groups to plan and develop War of 1812 Bicentennial events and activities and linked with key stakeholders and organizations about Bicentennial activities and plans.

Strategic Marketing

  • Continued the brand campaign targeting all Ontario residents and consumer segments to vacation in the province.
  • Continued to implement the five-year tourism marketing strategy for Northern Ontario. The strategy was developed in partnership with Industry Canada/FedNor and the Ontario Ministry of Northern Development, Mines and Forestry, and in consultation with the tourism industry.
  • Provided $2.4 million in marketing assistance to 97 festivals and events through the Tourism Event Marketing Partnership Program.
  • Provided $601,488 in marketing assistance to 18 destination marketing organizations and business consortia to develop and implement targeted campaigns domestically and into border United States markets.
  • Featured tourism and culture agencies and Ontario parks in a 60-second video broadcast on the videoboard at Yonge Dundas Square in Toronto for four weeks and online at An online brochure was also added to the OTMPC website.
  • Distributed the Fun Pass to Ontario school boards and private and home schools. Approximately 1,582,000 passes were distributed (1,500,000 in English and 82,000 in French) and 43,000 passes were redeemed.
  • Participated in Canadian Tourism Commission missions in the emerging markets of India and Brazil.

Agency/Attraction Renewal

  • Fort William Historical Park - FWHP was a host partner and venue for the Ontario Special Olympic Games.
  • Huronia Historical Parks - Completed Phase 1 Revitalization of Sainte-Marie among the Hurons and moved into the new Maintenance and Administration building for Huronia Historical Parks. Compliant with the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act and LEEDS certified, the building utilizes modern design and elements to maximize energy efficiency and cost savings. Increased Special Event attendance by 17%.
  • Niagara Parks Commission - The Ministry entered into a contribution agreement with the NPC related to the Infrastructure Stimulus Fund for an $8.94 million capital project to rehabilitate three heritage sites to help celebrate the bicentennial for the War of 1812:  Old Fort Erie, Laura Secord Homestead, and MacFarland House.  The projects should be completed in 2011.
  • Ontario Place Corporation - In 2010, OPC issued a Request for Information (RFI) seeking ideas from around the world for revitalizing the site as a signature year-round waterfront attraction and received 35 responses. OPC also developed a new public website to provide the public with opportunities to submit their own ideas and over 1200 ideas were received. Furthermore, OPC created a new My Ontario Place Pavilion photo exhibit and video display of the history of OPC and in 2010, the pavilion had approximately 2,500 visitors.
  • Metro Toronto Convention Centre Corporation - The MTCC hosted 584 events – including the G20 Summit – attended by 1,932,737 people. It also participated in an omnibus survey of 642 U.S. convention planners, conducted by Watkins Research. When compared to 46 other cities in North America, MTCC rated first place for “superior convention centre services”. MTCC Customer Evaluation Survey achieved an overall satisfaction rating of 97% for user friendliness; 92% indicated “met or exceeded expectations” on overall value received for price paid; and 94% responded as “met or exceeded expectations” on rating the quality of service received.
  • Ottawa Convention Centre Corporation - The OCCC completed construction of its new facility on time for its scheduled opening in April 2011. The Redevelopment Project was on budget and on schedule for opening. Construction milestones set by funding partners for the new facility were met and billings proceeded as scheduled. Management was guided by the Centre’s Strategic Plan, which ensured that maximizing return on redevelopment investment was central to all decision-making from construction through opening.
  • St. Lawrence Parks Commission - Through the 2009 Budget, SLPC received $13 million in capital to construct a Visitors Centre at Upper Canada Village and to revitalize Crysler Park, and $10 million for the construction of a Visitors Centre at Fort Henry. The design of Fort Henry Visitors Centre is largely complete and targeted for completion in the spring of 2012.


In 2010-11, the Ministry made significant progress in assuring the continued growth and leadership of Ontario’s cultural sector and creative industries.

The Ministry continued to work together with its agencies, partner ministries, other levels of government and stakeholders to foster the dynamic cultural environment and strong diverse communities that contribute to Ontario’s high quality of life.  

Driving the Creative Economy

Ontario’s entertainment and creative cluster – including book and magazine publishing, film and television production, music, interactive digital media, and broadcasting – plays an important role in the province’s knowledge-based economy. The Ministry’s strategic investments, research, and policy development support this sector’s potential for economic growth and high-skill job creation. 
In 2010-11, the Ministry’s key achievements included:

  • Released “Ontario’s Entertainment and Creative Cluster: A Framework for Growth” in June 2010, which includes recommendations to guide policy and program development to support the entertainment and creative cluster’s competitiveness. This framework is one way in which Ontario is working to strengthen this sector and to highlight its creative excellence and innovation to the global marketplace.
  • Conducted research into the trends that are transforming the Canadian broadcasting industry, the skills and training challenges facing companies in the cluster, and the accelerating digitization of media content. This research helps to ensure that Ontario’s programs and policies respond to changing industry, technology and market conditions.
  • Implemented the $7 million increase to the Ontario Media Development Corporation’s (OMDC’s) base funding announced in the 2010-11 budget, which will grow to $15 million in 2011-12. This enhanced funding increases stability for OMDC’s long-term delivery of programs and services that support the cultural media industries and help them compete domestically and globally.
  • Worked with the Ontario Media Development Corporation to implement a number of priority initiatives, including:
    • the Entertainment and Creative Cluster Partnerships Fund, which has provided almost $12.7 million to Ontario companies since 2006 to foster new business partnerships that encourage growth in the sector
    • the Interactive Digital Media Fund which supports the creation of proprietary content by Ontario companies and contributes to Ontario’s fast-growing innovation economy
  • Invested $9 million over three years in the Canadian Film Centre (CFC) to help expand its training programs and further develop Ontario’s screen-based and digital entertainment market. This builds on a $10 million investment announced in 2005 in the CFC, the country’s largest institution for advanced training in film, television and new media.

Enhancing Community and Regional Economic Development

Investments in Ontario’s municipalities, public libraries, culture and heritage organizations and cultural agencies support local economic development and help to enhance Ontarians’ quality of life.

Highlights of 2010-11 achievements included:

  • Established the new Arts Investment Fund through the Ontario Arts Council that will provide $27 million over three years to help the not-for-profit arts sector continue to grow and become more competitive and sustainable.
  • Invested an additional $2 million in the ministry’s library service agencies, the Southern Ontario Library Service (SOLS) and Ontario Library Service – North (OLS-N), to support public libraries by offering electronic services, such as electronic databases, to Ontarians.
  • Strengthened the Cultural Strategic Investment Fund (CSIF) by expanding eligibility to include libraries and library organizations and increasing its budget from $950,000 to $1.3 million. The goal of the CSIF is to help build a strong and stable cultural sector by funding projects that contribute to Ontario’s cultural development and economic growth.
  • Invested an additional $10 million over three years in the Ontario Cultural Attractions Fund (OCAF) to help not-for-profit cultural and heritage organizations promote and present high-profile events that attract new audiences. Since 2003, OCAF has provided approximately $26 million to support more than 250 special events and projects in more than 140 communities.
  • Supported cultural agencies as they continue to develop innovative programming that draws millions of visitors, helping to increase Ontario’s share of the cultural tourism market (e.g., Terracotta Warriors at the Royal Ontario Museum, Harry Potter: The Exhibition at the Ontario Science Centre).
  • Continued to deliver the Creative Communities Prosperity Fund and providing advice and expertise to help municipalities, First Nations and other organizations integrate culture into local economic development and community planning.
  • Continued to implement the Museums and Technology Fund that enables arts and heritage organizations to improve access to their collections through new technologies, helping these organizations become centres of innovation.
  • Provided $28.6 million in ongoing annual support to the library sector. This includes $18.7 million in operating funding to 388 public libraries and contracting municipalities, including First Nations libraries, under the Public Libraries Operating Grant program.

Capital Investments

The Ministry preserves and enhances Ontario’s unique cultural infrastructure and agencies, supporting their contributions to regional economic growth and continued delivery of unique services and programming to Ontarians.

Key achievements for 2010-11 included:

  • Launched a new program to support infrastructure projects for non-profit organizations that deliver important public services to diverse cultural communities. The $50 million, three-year Community Capital Fund is administered by the Ministry’s agency, the Ontario Trillium Foundation, and invests in projects that revitalize community-based infrastructure.
  • Undertook capital projects funded through the Infrastructure Stimulus Fund (ISF) at three cultural agencies, all of which will be completed by 2011-12 under an agreed-upon ISF deadline extension:
    • McMichael Canadian Art Collection: $4.2 million to complete the rehabilitation of the grounds and improve site access.
    • Ontario Heritage Trust: $1.5 million for a number of rehabilitation projects of historic properties across Ontario.
    • Science North: $6.2 million to complete a number of projects, including a significant expansion of exhibit space in the main building opened in 2010-11.

Protecting and Promoting Ontario’s Heritage

The Ministry helps conserve Ontario’s built heritage and archaeological resources through administering the Ontario Heritage Act, its archaeology program, and investing in and providing advice to organizations that play a key role in the stewardship of Ontario’s heritage assets.

Key achievements for 2010-11 included:

  • Introduced the Standards and Guidelines for the Conservation of Provincial Heritage Properties, a comprehensive framework for the protection and stewardship of provincially-owned or controlled heritage resources. These mandatory standards and guidelines, part of implementing the 2005 amendments to the Ontario Heritage Act, apply to all Ontario ministries and 14 public bodies.
  • Implemented new Standards and Guidelines for Consultant Archaeologists that modernize technical requirements for consultant archaeologists. The standards and guidelines require Aboriginal engagement in archaeological assessment for the first time, contributing to better protection of archaeological resources.
  • Provided outreach and engagement to over 50 First Nations, Métis and Aboriginal organizations on archaeology, heritage and other related interests.
  • Enhanced heritage grant programs for museums, provincial and local heritage organizations with an additional investment of $650,000. This increased investment will help ensure that local heritage organizations have the necessary resources to continue as stewards of Ontario’s heritage collections.
  • Delivered cultural heritage conservation training, education, outreach and technical advisory services at approximately 27 events.

Ontario Senior's Secretariat

Planning for an Aging Population

Seniors represent an important and growing segment of the Ontario population. Through its work with partner ministries and seniors’ organizations, the Ontario Seniors’ Secretariat delivered a variety of policy and public education initiatives designed to improve the quality of life of Ontario seniors.

Key achievements in 2010-11 included:

Retirement Homes Initiative

  • The Ontario Seniors’ Secretariat led the Retirement Homes Act, 2010 through the legislative process and on June 8, 2010 the Act received Royal Assent, marking the first time in Ontario’s history that provincial legislation will protect seniors living in retirement homes. Proposed Phase 1 regulations under the Act were developed after extensive consultations and would include details relating to care and safety standards, residents’ rights and protections, the definition of a retirement home, and licensing, inspection and enforcement. Public consultation closed on April 8, 2011.
  • The Act also established the Retirement Homes Regulatory Authority, a new regulatory body responsible for the administration of the Act. The Authority’s responsibilities include the licensing of retirement homes, enforcement of the care and safety standards for residents, and educating licensees, consumers and the public on legislative requirements and standards. An interim board of directors has been appointed to lead the Authority. To help ensure the accountability, transparency and independence of the Authority, a Memorandum of Understanding has been signed between the Minister Responsible for Seniors and the Interim Chair of the Authority.

Policy Initiatives

  • The Ontario Seniors’ Secretariat works closely with Ontario’s major seniors’ organizations through the Ontario Seniors’ Secretariat Liaison Committee (OSSLC) and its subcommittees on Long-Term Care and Housing. The OSSLC meets quarterly, and convenes special sessions as often as necessary to address specific issues.
  • In June 2009, annualized funding for elder abuse prevention initiatives was announced. Annual funding of $900,000 is providing the Ontario Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse with long-term stability to better assist victims of elder abuse in communities across the province. Over 100 front-line staff participated in 11 elder abuse prevention training events held in fall 2010. 91 percent of participants reported they are better equipped to serve seniors because of increased knowledge and awareness about elder abuse gained through this training.
  • To facilitate information sharing across the province about the Age-Friendly Communities (AFC) framework, resources and local initiatives, in March 2010, OSS provided a grant ($10,000) to the Murray Alzheimer Research and Education Program (MAREP) to enhance their AFC website to capture local stories across the province related to age friendly communities. To date, 21 local community AFC initiatives from across the province have been posted on the MAREP website: An online fire side chat was held on November 30, 2010 to promote the website and for communities to share their AFC stories.
  • Federal/Provincial/Territorial Ministers Responsible for Seniors have recognized elder abuse, and most recently the specific issue of financial abuse of seniors, as a priority area for collaborative work. A series of eight fact sheets for seniors on financial planning and protection from financial abuse were developed and made available across jurisdictions in support of World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, June 15, 2010. They were reprinted and distributed across jurisdictions again in January 2011.
  • Under the Canada-Ontario Agreement on French Language Services (2009-2011), a two-year partnership agreement was signed with La Fédération des aînés et des retraités francophones de l’Ontario and Action ontarienne contre la violence faite aux femmes. These projects aim to improve access to high-quality French-language services for Francophone seniors in Ontario which will enable them to make informed choices regarding healthy aging and help them protect themselves from abuse. The Francophone Seniors Advisory Committee advising on these partnership initiatives was highlighted as a best practice in the inaugural Annual Report of the Office of the French Language Services Commissioner. In 2010-11, seven (7) Francophone Seniors’ Information Fairs were held, focusing their outreach in rural, isolated and under-serviced communities. For the first time, three (3) fairs were held in rural and remote communities in Northern Ontario: Wawa, Chapleau and Iroquois Falls.

Public Education and Awareness Initiatives

  • 35 Seniors Safe Meds seminars were delivered by pharmacists in the language preferred by the seniors group. This program is focused on the delivery of oral presentations, with accompanying slides, given to seniors and their caregivers in the community by a practicing pharmacist. Participants receive information on the safe and appropriate use of medications of all kinds and the role of the pharmacist in helping them manage their medication and other health-related needs. Presentations followed by a question and answer session were made in English, French, Chinese, Hindi, Gujarati, Korean, Italian, Farsi and Polish.
  • Seniors’ Month 2010 featured more than 361 community events across the province.
  • The Minister Responsible for Seniors announced funding for 13 new seniors centres under the Elderly Persons Centres program administered by the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care.
  • In Spring 2010, a refresh and reprint of “A Guide to Programs and Services for Seniors in Ontario” was completed. Approximately 47,000 English and 4,300 French copies were distributed between July 2010 and March 2011. These guides are a very popular resource among seniors, their caregivers and community service providers. The Guide is also available on-line.

Another 70,000 English copies of the Seniors Guide were printed in 2010-2011.

  • OSS Website refreshed following CO guidelines, new website launched on March 1, 2011.

Table that reflects Ministry Interim Actual Expenditures 2010-11