The Ontario Cultural Attractions Fund (OCAF) was established in 1999. It has three aims: (1) to increase cultural tourism by providing investments to assist Ontario organizations to develop, promote and present one- off or first time events, or a significant expansion of existing activity, which are designed to attract new tourists and visitors to cultural events; (2) increase the earned revenue capability of the applicant organization; and (3) support events that foster economic growth and contribute to job creation.
OCAF achieves this by providing up front working capital directed towards the applicant’s marketing and promotional costs, with the investment taking the form of a partially repayable loan.
OCAF board decisions are informed by sound economic analysis and measurable results.
Since 1999, the Government of Ontario has invested $41.75 million in the Fund and the success of the initiatives in which OCAF has invested has led to a healthy replenishment of the Fund for future projects. The program is now expected to continue until 2017-2018, with funding approvals of over $72 M by that time (almost double the government investment!)
Between 1999 and 2015…
- OCAF has committed over $63 M to 581 projects across Ontario, in over 160 different communities
- OCAF-funded events attracted over 51 M visitors and received revenues of over $420 M
- Total earned revenues of OCAF-funded events: over $192 M
- Over 9% of OCAF-funded project revenue was earned
- OCAF operation expenses have averaged 7%
- Since 1999 OCAF has approved funding in rural and Northern Ontario communities
- OCAF has approved nearly $10 M for 195 events in rural and Northern Ontario communities. Those 195 events have attracted over 3.5 M visitors and received over $35 M in earned revenue and reported an average attendance increase of 45% over the previous year
Annual Economic Impact of OCAF Events Independent of Tourist Spending (Average Impact from 2009-2012 based on The Ministry of Tourism Culture and Sport’s Tourism Regional Economic Impact Model (TREIM):
- Average annual direct provincial tax collected from OCAF-funded event spending (not including visitor spending): $4 Million
- Average annual GDP generated by OCAF-funded event spending (not including visitor spending): 32$ Million
Since 1999 OCAF funding has reached over 160 Ontario communities.