Fashion Advocacy: Petition the Ontario Government to fund and support the fashion industry

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Fashion Advocacy: Petition the Ontario Government to fund and support the fashion industry

This petition had 1,447 supporters

Ashlee Froese started this petition to Hon Michael Coteau, MPP (Don Valley East) (Ontario Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport)

This submission was created by Ashlee Froese and is officially endorsed by the Toronto Fashion Incubator, Fashion Group International, the Canadian Arts and Fashion Awards, Lisa Tant, Jeanne Beker, Stylist Box, Sue Roadburg, David Dixon, Suzanne Rogers, Deirdre Kelly, Paul Mason, Robert Ott, Sabrina Maddeaux, Ryerson Fashion Zone, Mikael D, Novella Magazine, Toronto Men's Fashion Week, Bojana Sentaler, Fashion Art Toronto, Christopher Bates, Toronto Entertainment District Residents Association, IMG Canada, The Knot Group, Ron White, Natasha Koifman, Debra Goldblatt-Sadowski, Art of Fashion, SABMiller Canada,Sylvia Mantella.


In 2014-2015, the Ontario Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport invested approximately $800 million into the province’s cultural industries.  To date, the fashion industry has been ineligible to receive any of this funding on the basis that it does not qualify as culture or arts.  I, on behalf of a collective of fashion industry stakeholders, am delighted to bring forward a compelling report to the Ontario government that will encourage it to view the fashion industry as a viable, dynamic, and exciting sector.  We believe that fashion is an integral component of Ontario’s culture and is deserving of government funding and support.  Moreover, through this report, we believe that there is a compelling value proposition for the Ontario province as a whole. 



The fashion industry has consistently been excluded from Ontario’s cultural funding.  The fashion industry is deserving and in need of government funding and support.  This report will demonstrate that the fashion industry is vibrant, profitable and organized.  It financially impacts the economy, in a beneficial way, as it offers a significant contribution, which will only be increased with government support and funding.  In addition, investing in the fashion industry has a trickledown effect to a myriad of related industries, which provides a greater ROI to both the fashion industry and the economy as a whole.  The fashion industry has a well-established infrastructure comprised of post-secondary educational institutions, professional organizations and associations, dedicated incubators and accelerators, and world renowned fashion shows that all play an integral part in supporting and boosting the fashion industry.  The effectiveness of this infrastructure will be further enhanced through government funding and support.  Finally, the Quebec, British, Hong Kong and New York City governments have proven that government investment in the fashion industry garners positive results.  Moreover, the Ontario government has invested into other cultural industries with success, which provides a framework to use in respect of the fashion industry.  The Ontario government should similarly invest in its fashion industry by allowing fashion to be included in the Ontario Culture Strategy.



There are a number of ways in which the Ontario government can lend its support to the fashion industry.  Below is a non-exhaustive list of examples:

  • Create an agency dedicated to funding for the fashion industry within the Ontario Media Development Corporation and/or Ontario Arts Council; it will herein be referred to as the Ontario Fashion Fund
  • The Ontario Fashion Fund will be responsible for delegating government funds to drive activity, investment and support to Ontario fashion businesses, organizations and events, with a goal to expanding their economic and cultural footprints in Canada and across the world

The Ontario Fashion Fund would provide the following:

  • Establish eligibility criteria, develop grant applications, manage review and reporting processes and other required administrative aspects, as needed
  • Government grants available to eligible fashion designers and businesses for the purpose of production, manufacturing, business development, promotion and export initiatives 
  • Tax incentives rewarding Ontario-based apparel manufacturing
  • Government funding available to eligible fashion incubators and accelerators to develop small business entrepreneurship and create more sales opportunities in the marketplace
  • Government funding available to eligible fashion organizations and associations to enhance mentorship, educational programming and events
  • Investment into fashion events, shows, awards and marketing initiatives thereby raising the calibre and profile of the fashion industry
  • Funding of fashion road shows that will enable Ontario fashion businesses and designers to gain exposure internationally
  • Government support to integrate the fashion industry's development with other industries that require apparel, costumes and uniforms
  • Incentives provided to other industries to integrate Ontario-made fashion into its government funded festivals
  • Government support to develop a strategy to encourage consumers to buy local during key purchasing occasions
  • Create an annual Ontario fashion summit to bring global fashion mavens to share best practices and innovations within the fashion sector
  • Invest in co-marketing efforts with other tourism drivers, such as culinary, performance arts and sport

In addition, we believe that the Ontario Fashion Fund should conduct periodic studies to determine the effectiveness of the government support and funding and investigate how the funds are being used by the recipients.  We acknowledge that government support and funding must be granted within a system of checks and balances. 




I am a partner with a Bay Street law firm (Fogler, Rubinoff LLP), who practices fashion and branding law. I am also recognized as a Certified Specialist by the Law Society of Upper Canada. I currently hold a 3 year term as co-chair of the Toronto Chapter of Fashion Group International, am a mentor with Toronto Fashion Incubator, an advisor with the Ryerson Fashion Zone and a mentor with the Canadian Arts and Fashion Awards. I am honoured to have leadership roles in the majority of Ontario’s fashion organizations and associations. Through my participation, I have been able to develop a deep insight into the fashion industry. I interact with fashion industry professionals every day of my life. Canada’s fashion industry is filled with enterprising, industrious, exceptionally hardworking and dedicated individuals. But they need government support and funding. Express government support and funding is a key factor to allow the fashion industry to flourish.


Enter your details on the right and attach your name to this petition.  The deadline is December 7, 2015. 

Together we can make this happen, together we will make this happen!


Petition Closed

This petition had 1,447 supporters