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Destination Canada Introduces New Fund to Attract Conventions

This is a photo of the skyline in Toronto, Canada.

VANCOUVER, B.C.—Destination Canada launched a new $50 million CAD three-year fund — the International Convention Attraction Fund, or ICAF — to assist its major cities in their efforts to bring major international conventions, conferences and events to Canada.

That’s good news for the organizers of conventions in the program’s targeted industry sectors — advanced manufacturing, agribusiness, life sciences, natural resources, digital industries and finance/insurance—and/or those “that align with a Canadian federal government mandate, objective or initiative” and can show well-documented evidence of the economic benefits they bring to their host cities. To be considered, conventions must also qualify as a “citywides,” meaning they attract a pre-defined minimum number of delegates, proportional to the size of the city, its infrastructure and its facilities.

The funding will be made available to Canadian Destination Management Organizations (DMOs) putting together bids for eligible international conventions. DMO applicants must have an international business events attraction strategy in place that includes: hosting infrastructure and facilities, marketing and promotion, dedicated financial and human resources, and industry collaboration. Awards of up to $1 million will be determined by a pre-established scoring system.

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ICAF is expected to generate at least $174 million for the Canadian economy. “We see 2024 as Canada’s year of competitiveness for business events,” Destination Canada President and CEO, Marsha Walden, said. “This is what it takes to compete for the world’s major business events, and win. Business events have immediate benefits for the Canadian economy and the tourism sector today as well as long-term ‘beyond- tourism’ benefits in attracting foreign direct investment, innovative businesses and new talent in high-growth sectors that are critical to Canada’s future economy.”

In Toronto, the major convention hub, business events brought in an estimated $624 million in economic impact to the city’s economy in 2023, and there’s excitement about the potential to significantly grow that number in 2024.

“The announcement of the International Convention Attraction Fund comes at a crucial time with increased competition to secure major events,” said Tara Gordon, CMP, Senior Vice President, Global Sales & Services at Destination Toronto, who sat on Destination Canada’s business events committee (which helped develop the ICAF framework). “The fund underscores Canada’s commitment to supporting major events and the economic sectors that benefit from hosting global conventions in our country. When conventions, conferences or other major events select Toronto, they know they are choosing a destination that recognizes the value of their business and is invested in their success.”

Reach Marsha Walden at; Tara Gordon at

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