Huntsville Municipal Accommodation Tax Partnership Program (funding and application information)
Effective February 16, 2023, HMATA funding is on hold. We’ll post here when applications reopen. Stay tuned!
On November 23, 2017, the Province of Ontario issued the Transient Accommodation Regulation 435/17, which came into effect December 1, 2017 and provides the necessary provisions for municipalities across Ontario to implement a Municipal Accommodation Tax (MAT).
On October 29, 2018, Huntsville Town Council passed Bylaw 2018-131, approving the implementation of a four per cent (4%) mandatory MAT applicable on all short-term accommodations under 30 days.
The MAT came into effect on April 1, 2019, and has been collected from all accommodation sold for a continuous period of less than 30 days in a hotel, motel, lodge, inn, and bed and breakfast.
Use of revenue generated through the program
The tax will generate funding to promote and develop tourism within Huntsville. Seventy per cent of the net revenues are directed by a newly established Non-Share Capital Corporation, the Huntsville Municipal Accommodation Tax Association (HMATA), whose primary focus is to build occupancy in Huntsville. This organization will direct funds towards tourism promotion and development with a focus on attracting more visitors to Huntsville during the shoulder seasons.
The remaining 30 per cent of the net revenues will be retained by the Town of Huntsville, earmarked for projects and initiatives that promote and support tourism and economic development efforts that benefit residents and visitors. The Town of Huntsville also retains all MAT funds collected from short-term rental accommodations (STRAs).
The Huntsville Municipal Accommodation Tax Association Board
Vision: We will become Ontario’s most visited year-round destination made possible by our engaged community and tourism industry.
Mission: Our mission is to inspire year-round sustainable growth of Huntsville’s visitor economy, by working with our local and regional partners to motivate visitors to enjoy our unique brand of community hospitality and Muskoka experiences.
Values: Being collaborative, being creative, being progressive, being inclusive, and respecting our natural environment.
The next application intake period will be announced soon.
I. Eligible applicants
- Incorporated organizations (for-profit, not-for-profit, or co-operatives).
- Unincorporated associations, partnerships and/or sole proprietorships are encouraged to apply, however, HMATA may include conditions in its Contribution Agreement that may either require an entity to become incorporated or to partner with one or more other entities in order to deliver the project as a condition of funding.
To be considered eligible, project benefits must accrue to Huntsville.
All eligible applicants must be legal entities capable of entering into legally binding agreements.
All eligible applicants must not be in default of the terms and conditions of any grant agreement with the Huntsville Municipal Accommodation Tax Association or the Town of Huntsville.
Applicants need not be payers of the Municipal Accommodation Tax.
Multi-year projects are welcome.
II. Eligible costs
Eligible costs include all expenses directly related to the project and deemed reasonable and necessary for its execution. Examples of eligible expenses include but are not limited to the following:
- Fees paid to artists, musicians, performers, celebrities, special guests, and speakers including travel, accommodation, and bookings costs;
- Fees paid for new programming;
- Costs related to visitor services (e.g. shuttle buses, security);
- Marketing buys to attract tourists;
- Placement of targeted paid advertising;
- Media distribution costs for printed materials; and
- Capital costs related to equipment that can be reused within the community (tents, staging, etc.)
III. Ineligible and/or unsupported costs
Certain activities and costs will not be considered eligible, including but not limited to:
- Any expense item for which the eligibility, tourism rationale or relevance to this program are not clearly demonstrated in the application;
- Infrastructure supporting social goals, including educational facilities and health care services and delivery (e.g. hospices, long-term care facilities, health centres);
- Permanent staff salaries;
- Budget deficits;
- Infrastructure related to retail, wholesale, accommodation, and administrative facilities;
- Government services; and
- Land and rolling stock.
I. Funding criteria
Applicants are eligible to receive up to 75 per cent of eligible and supported costs.
Government stacking up to 100 per cent is allowed for the Accommodation Tax Partnership Program. All potential recipients of assistance under this program must disclose all sources of confirmed and potential government assistance before the start and at the end of the project.
Financial assistance from government programs may have tax implications for an organization. It is recommended that applicants obtain advice from a qualified tax professional.
Project funding is subject to board approval of funds and to the maintenance of current and forecasted program-related budgetary levels.
The HMATA will fund based on alignment with the following criteria:
- Need to drive occupancy growth;
- Priority will go to shoulder-season programs that meet the mission, vision, and values of the HMATA Board;
- Need to have 25 per cent of total budget to apply (cash or in-kind);
- Need to provide a detailed business and strategic marketing plan which demonstrates a reasonable likelihood of success in the promotion and development of tourism in Huntsville;
- Need to provide a certificate of insurance;
- Need to provide previous year-end financials; and
- Need to provide a final report (template will be provided).
HMATA may, depending on the size and nature of the application, request legal due diligence on the application as a condition of funding.
II. Application review
Detailed applications will be evaluated on their ability to support the objectives of the program and meet the following criteria:
- Applicant can demonstrate it has an established track record in the delivery of projects;
- Applicant has the expertise and the resources required to complete the proposed project;
- Applicants applying on behalf of a sector or industry represent the key project stakeholders;
- Applicants have established a clear project governance structure and decision-making process;
- The project addresses a need identified by end users and will not duplicate existing efforts or projects;
- Accountability mechanisms are in place to ensure due diligence in administering public funds and the ability to report on performance measures; and
- Identification of a person and position responsible for project delivery and management along with key officers that have signing authority.
III. Assessment process
HMATA will review applications as they are received. All applications will be screened initially for completeness.
Complete applications are those that include all prescribed documentation containing all information needed for HMATA to complete the review. Information should be accurate, verifiable, relevant, and consistent.
Applicants will be contacted within three weeks of their submission with next steps.
The Huntsville Municipal Accommodation Tax Association cannot guarantee funding to all applicants, nor can it ensure that the total amount requested by successful applicants will be granted. Past funding does not guarantee program funding.
There is no appeal process for unsuccessful applicants to the HMATA Partnership Program.
Disbursement of funding
If a project receives approval, a contribution agreement will be executed with HMATA. Funding will be disbursed, calculated based on the percentage of funding approved for eligible costs incurred.
HMATA will allow for advance payments under this program based on the recipient’s cash flow requirements.
To receive funding, recipients must submit claims forms, on templates provided by HMATA, that summarize eligible costs incurred and paid within a defined period. Generally, the duration of these periods will be quarterly.
Each eligible cost must be incurred within the period specified by the Contribution Agreement and must be claimed by the date specified in the Contribution Agreement. Failure to complete the project as contracted (i.e., approved budget, expenditure forecast, and timeline) may jeopardize funding and/or result in the applicant repaying any and all funds received as well as any and all costs incurred by the HMATA in recovering such funds.
Applicants for selected projects must submit claim(s) with supporting documentation, including invoices or receipts as set out in the Contribution Agreement. Payment is made following HMATA’s approval of submitted claims.
To be deemed eligible for reimbursement, the eligible expenses must be incurred within the period specified by the Contribution Agreement.
Certificate of insurance
All successful applicants are required to carry at least $2 million commercial general liability insurance coverage before the legal grant agreement can be executed.
It is mandatory that the “Huntsville Municipal Accommodation Tax Association, its agents, appointees and employees” is added as an additional insured.
The insurer must have a secure A.M. Best rating of B+ or greater, or the equivalent.
A certificate of insurance must:
- State that the insured party is the recipient organization with whom the HMATA has contracted;
- Identify the date of coverage (i.e., the dates start on the Contribution Agreement’s effective date and end on the Contribution Agreement’s expiration date);
- Identify the HMATA as an additional insured, represented in the following language, “Huntsville Municipal Accommodation Tax Association, its agents, appointees and employees”;
- Identify the type and amount of coverage (commercial liability insurance is listed and is on an occurrence basis for $2 million);
- The policy must include:
- Third-party bodily injury;
- Personal injury;
- Property damage;
- A cross-liability clause; and
- Contractual liability coverage;
- Include a statement that the certificate holder (HMATA) will be notified of any cancellation or material change within 30 days;
- Include the signature of an authorized insurance representative; and
- List the HMATA as the certificate holder and include the mailing address in this section of the policy.
- Reporting requirements will be determined once an application has been accepted, and may vary depending on the nature and timeframe of the project. A template for reporting will be provided to successful applicants.
- Successful applicants will be required to report to HMATA on project expenditures and activities, the results/outcomes of the project, and achievement of performance indicators as identified in contribution agreements.
- Multiple and concurrent project submissions from the same applicant are discouraged and may not be considered by HMATA. Applicants are encouraged to prioritize project submissions.
- HMATA reserves the right to initiate calls for proposals as deemed necessary to encourage applications in priority areas or sectors. HMATA also reserves the right to change the application process at its sole discretion.
All proprietary data, commercially sensitive information, and potentially valuable results or ideas will be protected from unauthorized, inadvertent, or untimely disclosure. This information will be treated in accordance with the Privacy Act.
These laws govern, protect, and limit the collection, use, and disclosure of personal and confidential information. Beyond the parties already mentioned above, confidential commercial information will not be shared without the applicant’s consent.
Visibility and communications requirements
Recipients must agree to participate in a public announcement and other promotional activities linked to the Contribution.
HMATA reserves the right to modify these guidelines at any time without notice and may waive certain requirements on an exceptional basis.
For more information on this HMATA program, contact us at 705-788-5847 or firstname.lastname@example.org.