Skip Navigation


If your festival or event is going to succeed, everyone involved must be aware of the importance of monitoring revenues and expenses as well as staying within the budget.

A budget is only as good as the information that goes into its preparation. Therefore, it is imperative that all aspects of the event be properly planned and revenues and expenses accurately defined before the event takes place. You must forecast how much money will be available and where it will be spent.

By planning for key financial goals you should be able identify well in advance any concerns that need to be addressed. Ensure that all members of your organization are aware of these key targets, and that responsibility has been clearly assigned for meeting these key targets. To receive a sample event budget, contact Paul Burke at 625-2305.

Records and Accountability
Event organizers must keep complete financial records. It is important to know who has control of the money, and to keep separate the collection and recording of revenues. A bookkeeper or treasurer should be appointed or hired to keep track of all the incoming and outgoing cash and/or receivables and payables. It is important to have one person who is responsible for the recording of transactions. An organization must have at least two signing officers to sign cheques and to ensure accountability.

It can be helpful to have an accountant/financial expert on your board of directors to ensure that proper financial planning and bookkeeping procedures are followed.

Taxes and Permits
There may be tax implications associated with your festival or event. GST registration may be necessary, pending a number of factors. See here for guidelines, details and a checklist for help in determining whether you qualify or are required to register. If you have paid staff you will need employee numbers and you will be required to make payroll deductions.

For more information contact:

Canada Customs and Revenue Agency
Business Inquiries
130 Syndicate Avenue South
Thunder Bay, ON  P7E 1C7

Taxes on Goods
Most goods and certain services and admission fees are subject to taxes, although certain purchases are exempt. Under the HST, prepared food and beverages under $4 are subject to GST (5%) only, while those over $4 are subject to 13% HST. See this chart on the Ontario Ministry of Revenue website for more specific details.

For more information contact:

Ministry of Finance
130 Syndicate Avenue South
Thunder Bay, ON  P7E 1C7 
(807) 625-5840

Admission to a place of amusement is now taxed at a rate of 13% (HST). Businesses or events that sell taxable goods, provide a taxable service or charge admission to a place of amusement must obtain a vendor permit and are responsible for collecting tax and remitting it on a regular basis. There is no fee for this permit. Contact the Ministry of Finance to ensure compliance with the current legislation.

If an organization does not already pay business taxes in the City of Thunder Bay, individual sales representatives can be licensed to sell products at an event. The cost of the license is approximately $58.00 for a city resident and $500.00 for a non-resident; a police interview is required. See "Business Licenses" for more details or download the application here.

For more information contact:

City of Thunder Bay
Licensing & Enforcement Division
Victoriaville Civic Centre, 2nd Floor
Thunder Bay, ON  P7E 6S4
(807) 625-2710

You may also wish to contact Volunteer Thunder Bay by calling 623-8272 or e-mailing to arrange for a workshop on fundraising.