Destination Canada launches multi‑million dollar International Convention Attraction Fund

Destination Canada has announced the launch of a new, three-year, International Convention Attraction Fund (ICAF or “the Fund”) in a strategic move to bolster Canada’s global competitiveness in attracting major international conventions, conferences, and events to Canada.


The Fund was officially announced this week (during a working session of the Ministerial Tourism Council), by Soraya Martinez Ferrada, minister of tourism and minister responsible for the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec and Destination Canada president and Marsha Walden, CEO. Federal ministers responsible for Canada's Regional Development Agencies as well as the minister responsible for Small Business were present.

The Fund is a major part of an overall $50 million investment from the 2023 Federal Budget and is a key priority of the Federal Tourism Growth Strategy (FTGS).

"Hosting more international events is a central part of our work to help Canadian tourism reach its full potential," says Martinez Ferrada. "That’s why, as part of the new Federal Tourism Growth Strategy, Destination Canada is making historic investments to attract more conferences and conventions. These events showcase the best of Canada, extend our tourism season, and attract business people—who typically spend twice as much as leisure travellers. We anticipate that this program will bring in at least $174 million into the Canadian economy. From the Women Deliver Conference to the World AIDS Conference, Canadians are world-class hosts. With fierce competition for these events, this investment will ensure that Canada can contend with the best—and then welcome them."

The ICAF will provide financial commitments for bids on major international conventions. The financial support and backing from Destination Canada will greatly improve each applicant’s chances of winning their respective bids. The awarded financial commitment, eligible up to $1 million CAD, is determined by a pre-established scoring system based on select criteria, demonstrating the value of each bidding opportunity. Using a conservative estimate, ICAF is expected to produce around $3.5 for every dollar invested, generating at least $174M for the Canadian economy.

The ICAF represents Canada's commitment to driving sectoral growth, advancing national priorities, and ensuring the country remains an attractive destination for major international business events.

Who is eligible for ICAF funding?

Canadian Destination Management Organizations (DMOs) putting together a bid for an eligible major international convention may apply.

DMOs must have an international business events attraction strategy, which includes the following key components: hosting infrastructure and facilities, marketing and promotion, dedicated financial and human resources, and industry collaboration.

The international convention under consideration must:

  • Fall within one of Destination Canada’s six priority sectors—advanced manufacturing, agribusiness, life sciences, natural resources, digital industries and finance/insurance—and/or align with a Canadian federal government mandate, objective or initiative

  • Produce well-documented economic benefits for host regions

  • Qualify as a “citywide” event by attracting a pre-defined minimum number of delegates, proportional to the size of the city, its infrastructure and facilities

Destination Canada encourages events aligning with at least one of the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, as this may constitute additional support for DMOs aiming to leverage the event to achieve meaningful, long-term outcomes and potential legacy impacts in the destination.

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