January 11, 2016

The Honourable Kathleen Wynne
Premier of Ontario
Room 281, Main Legislative Building
Queen's Park
Toronto, Ontario
M7A 1A1

Dear Premier:

I am pleased to give you an update on the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport’s successes over the last year, as related to the mandate letter. My ministry is a significant economic driver for our province. The work we do plays an important role in creating jobs and building vibrant communities.

Supporting Festivals and Events

Festivals and events build a strong economy and vibrant communities, attract tourists and contribute to job creation:

  • A $20 million investment from Celebrate Ontario, an annual program, supported over 270 festivals and events in 2015 — the highest ever for the program.

Creating a Healthier Ontario through Sport and Active Recreation

My ministry promotes an active lifestyle and helps to increase participation in sport, recreation and physical activity by all Ontarians:

  • A $7.2 million investment through the Ontario Sport and Recreation Communities Fund supported 123 projects.
  • The Supporting Ontario’s Trails Act, 2015 would, if passed, improve and sustain urban, suburban, rural and remote land and water trails.
  • More than 21,000 children and youth in priority neighbourhoods were given access to healthy, safe after-school activities.
  • A new sport plan will help more Ontarians participate and excel in sport. Initiatives include a Sport Symposium and a Roundtable on Women and Girls in Sport to be held in 2016.

Revitalizing Ontario Place

Progress is being made on the revitalization of Ontario Place:

  • The new Urban Park and William G. Davis Trail, named for the former Premier, will open in fall 2016.

Building a Dynamic Business Climate

Our work with the tourism industry supports the sector’s growth and encourages collaboration among industry partners:

  • We announced the development of a Strategic Framework for Tourism.
  • We supported industry to provide online information on accessible hotels and services.
  • Work on an attractions study to support the ministry’s investment attraction efforts is being finalized.

My ministry continues to make progress in promoting Ontario’s creative and entertainment sectors:

  • We worked with stakeholders to ensure the sustainability of our media tax credits, and improved support to the digital media sector through investments in a revised Interactive Digital Media Fund.
  • The Ontario Music Fund supported 123 music companies and organizations, and was made into an annual $15 million program.

Promoting Culture, Heritage, and Tourism Agencies and Attractions

Our support to culture, heritage, and tourism agencies and attractions maximizes their economic and social contributions to the province:

  • Work — including extensive consultation — is underway to develop Ontario’s first-ever culture strategy.
  • Funding was provided to agencies and community partners to organize TO2015 Ignite Pan/Parapan Am Games celebrations.

Supporting Community Partnerships and Engagement

We continue to build partnerships and engage communities across the province:

  • We are providing support to the establishment of Aboriginal Tourism Ontario.
  • The Community Aboriginal Recreation Activator (CARA) program is being expanded to five more First Nation communities.
  • Through the Ontario Libraries Capacity Fund (OLCF), a $10 million investment over three years to improve public libraries’ IT resources is being rolled out.

I am proud of the work my ministry has accomplished over the last year. The work we do brings opportunity and prosperity to all Ontarians. I look forward to continuing to make our province an innovative and inspiring place to live, visit and invest.


Michael Coteau signature

Michael Coteau

Results achieved

Mandate Letter Commitment

Progress to Date

Support festivals and events that build a strong economy and vibrant communities, attract tourists and contribute to job creation.
  • Merged Celebrate Ontario 2015 with the Tourism Event Marketing Program (TEMP) to streamline the application process.
  • Launched Celebrate Ontario 2016 in September 2015 which supports events that celebrate diversity, heritage and culture, and increase tourists' visitation.
Continue to measure the contributions of these events and festivals and ensure that all decisions relating to them are supported by sound economic analysis.
  • Investing $20 million through the Celebrate Ontario 2015 program to help over 270 festivals and events, the highest number in the history of the program.
  • From 2009 to 2013, Celebrate Ontario recipients reported a 25 per cent increase in tourists and a 17 per cent increase in visitor spending due to Celebrate Ontario support.
Continuing to promote an active lifestyle and increased participation in sport, recreation and physical activity for all Ontarians. You will build consensus and partner with stakeholders to co-ordinate the development, maintenance and promotion of these activities.
  • Game ON; The Ontario government's sport plan, will help more Ontarians participate and excel in sport.
  • After School Program funding of $13.5 million provided to support opportunities for youth to access after-school activities in priority neighborhoods.
  • Provided $3.3 million in funding to make the Pan/Parapan Am Kids Program available in schools, after school programs and summer camps.
Implementing a refreshed Ontario Trails Strategy, including the introduction of trails legislation. This legislation will make thousands of kilometres of trails stronger and safer, and will also support the Pan/Parapan American Games.
  • Introduced legislation in May 2015 to protect and improve urban, suburban, rural and remote land and water trails network while encouraging their expansion.
  • Provided $3.56 million in funding to complete 254 km of gaps in the Trans Canada Trail Ontario, which included connections to four Pan Am/Parapan Am Games venues.
Continuing to partner with key stakeholders in both the public and private sectors to revitalize Ontario Place. Your goal is to create economic opportunities for tourism and investment and transform the site into a year-round, multi-use waterfront destination for people of all ages. As a first step, an Urban Park and Waterfront Trail will open to the public in 2016.
  • The government’s long-term vision for Ontario Place was announced in July 2014.
  • The Urban Park and William G. Davis Trail is in the first phase of revitalization with expected completion in 2016.
Continuing to work with the tourism industry and regional tourism organizations to support the sector’s economic growth and encourage collaboration among tourism industry partners.
  • Invested $40 million to support regional planning and economic development through the Regional Tourism Organizations.
    Enhanced partnerships, better integrated marketing activities, and increased emphasis on product development, investment strategy and workforce development.
Partnering with other ministers to promote Ontario’s global competitiveness and attract international investment.
  • In October 2015, the ministers of Tourism, Culture and Sport and Economic Development, Employment and Infrastructure met with Film/TV stakeholders in Los Angeles to promote Ontario as an attractive production destination. The Premier also met with the industry in LA in November 2015.
  • Competitively procured Leisure Development Partners to develop an Ontario Attractions Study. Results will be used to proactively generate leads and support potential tourism industry investors.
Promoting Ontario’s entertainment and creative industries. Ontario’s creative industries are a pillar of this province’s new economy and one of its best job creators. You will drive innovation and growth through strategic investments, partnerships and programs, including the Ontario Music Fund and Live Music Strategy. I ask that you continue to work with industry stakeholders to create a competitive and productive sector and to showcase Ontario’s talent and expertise.
  • Announced permanent $15 million annual investment in the Ontario Music Fund (OMF) and investments of $6 million in 2015-16 and $10 million per year thereafter in a renewed Interactive Digital Media Fund (IDMF).
  • Focused discussions with stakeholders on OMF and IDMF enhancements to take place in 2015-16.
  • Reconvened the Live Music Working Group and formed Task Teams to explore industry priorities.
Continuing to support culture, heritage, and tourism agencies and attractions to maximize their economic and social contributions to the province. You will continue to work with these agencies to ensure they meet high standards of governance, fiscal management and accountability.
  • All agencies are complying with the new public posting requirements for Memoranda of Understanding, business plans and annual reports.
  • All MTCS agency annual reports for the 2013-14 fiscal year were tabled in the legislature.
  • Dissolved the Minister’s Advisory Council on Arts and Culture in response to the government's commitment to reduce the number of its agencies.
I ask that you continue to work with stakeholders to build on the Entertainment and Creative Cluster strategy and develop an Arts Policy Framework. The Framework should help maximize the economic benefits of arts and culture to individuals and communities. In addition, I ask that you work with Ontario artists, educators and communities to develop an Ontario Culture Strategy, so that we are better able to tell our stories and help a new generation tap their artistic potential.
  • Public consultations for Ontario’s Culture Strategy launched September 24 with an online forum and posted discussion paper.
  • In person consultations, including 11 town halls and separate engagement with Aboriginal partners, ran from October to December 2015.
  • Held targeted discussions with culture stakeholders and procured a vendor who conducted a public opinion survey and eight focus groups.
Continuing to build partnerships and engage communities across the province, including Aboriginal communities. You will continue to support the conservation of built heritage and archaeological resources, strong public libraries, a vibrant arts sector, sport, para-sport and recreation, Aboriginal community recreation, and economic opportunities including Aboriginal tourism.
  • Launched a three-year, $10 million Ontario Libraries Capacity Fund to improve service delivery and encourage research and innovation.
  • Provided $1 million to support Aboriginal engagement for the Pan Am/Parapan Am Games.
  • Provided $228,000 to the Great Spirit Circle Trail to support an Aboriginal Tourism Strategy.
  • Provided $1.4 million to support 27 First Nations in increasing sport and recreation programming.