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  • Writer's pictureMaryAnn Anderson

NEW: Canada Council Covid-19 Emergency Support Fund

Note: no deadline, no application form; information will be sent directly by CCA to eligible recipients in May 2020

What emergency funding is available for arts organizations through the Canada Council? On May 8th, the Government of Canada released further details regarding temporary relief measures to support the culture, heritage and sport sectors as they manage the challenges and impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, and plan for the future. A total of up to $500 million has been transferred to the COVID-19 Emergency Support Fund for Cultural, Heritage and Sport Organizations.

As one of the partner organizations named by Canadian Heritage, the Canada Council will distribute $55M in Phase 1 of these emergency measures to eligible arts organizations who are projecting a significant financial impact as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. This emergency funding complements the Government’s existing COVID-19 support measures for wages and fixed costs, but also addresses challenges that arts organizations face in accessing measures such as the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy because of their reliance on self-employed professionals or seasonal revenues and costs. The objectives of the funding are:

  • to maintain jobs and support business continuity for organizations whose cash flow and short-term operational viability have been negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic; and,

  • to stabilize a sector that is a major driver of the Canadian economy.

Who is eligible to receive emergency funding from the Canada Council in Phase 1? Only Canadian arts organizations that are grant recipients of the Canada Council, have experienced a reduction in revenues, and are not receiving other emergency funding from Canadian Heritage or its partner organizations are eligible for Phase 1 funding. Provincial/territorial crown corporations and agencies are not eligible for this funding, but cultural institutions associated with educational institutions or universities are considered eligible. To be eligible, you must either:

1. Hold a 2020-21 core grant from any of the following components:

  • Artist-Driven Organizations

  • Artistic Catalysts

  • Artistic Institutions

  • Indigenous Organizations

  • Support Organizations

  • National Arts Service Organizations

  • Arts Festivals and Presenters

  • Literary Publishers (only if you do not receive support from Canadian Heritage’s Canada Book Fund - Support for Publishers)


2. Have applied for and been awarded project funding from the Canada Council between April 2017 and April 2020. This includes project funding from any Canada Council program, fund or special initiative with the exception of Commission internationale du théâtre francophone (CITF) funding and funding awarded through prizes or the Canadian Commission for UNESCO. In addition, eligible organizations will be required to attest the following in order to receive support:

  • they are in need of funding to ensure a continuity of operations and to safeguard jobs;

  • they have experienced or anticipate a 25% loss of total revenue for a three-month period in 2020 as compared with total revenue for a comparable three-month period in the previous fiscal year;

  • they remain in operation at the time of application and plan to continue contributing to their sector in the future;

  • they are not receiving other federal funding to cover the same costs (e.g. Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy, Canada Emergency Business Account, and Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance for Small Businesses);

  • they are only requesting emergency support funding from one (1) participating Department or Agency (Canadian Heritage, Canada Council for the Arts, Canada Media Fund and Telefilm Canada).

How will the Canada Council distribute this emergency support funding? To ensure that the Council can deliver the funding quickly and is consistent with the approach developed by Canadian Heritage, eligible recipients will not have to apply for funding. Instead, you will be required to complete and submit an attestation. Once the attestation has been received and reviewed, funding will flow shortly thereafter. We will be communicating additional information and instructions in an email as soon as possible. Please continue to monitor emails. Additionally, for those organizations that receive core funding from the Canada Council, we will be asking you to update your CADAC financial and statistical projections to help us better understand the impacts of COVID-19 on your organization. We will be sending guidance to core funded organizations on updating CADAC data in the coming weeks. While you will not be obligated to complete these updates prior to submitting your attestation for emergency funding, providing updated information is requested as part of Council’s emergency funding for core organizations. How will the Canada Council determine how much funding each organization will receive? The amounts allocated will be calculated according to a formula rather than following an assessment by peers. Amounts will be determined by the Council and based on the following formula: For organizations that have core funding in 2020-21:

  • 25% of your 2020-21 core grant; plus

  • Up to 25% of your highest annual project funding amount in the past three years

For project funded organizations:

  • Up to 25% of your highest annual project funding amount in the past three years

In the calculation of emergency support funding, Digital Strategy Fund amounts will be capped at $25,000. Each eligible organization will receive a minimum of $5000. Exact amounts are subject to demand and availability of budget. There will be no appeals.

My organization receives funding from more than one participating Department or Agency (Canadian Heritage, Canada Council for the Arts, Canada Media Fund and Telefilm Canada). Can I receive emergency funding from multiple sources? If not, which Department or Agency will distribute my funding?

No, you cannot receive emergency funding from multiple federal Departments or Agencies. If your organization receives funding from more than one participating Department or Agency (Canadian Heritage, Canada Council for the Arts, Canada Media Fund and Telefilm Canada), you may only request funding from one (1) of these organizations for support from the Emergency Support Fund. The Canada Council is working closely with Canadian Heritage and Portfolio organizations to coordinate our funding responses to avoid double funding. You will be contacted by either the Canada Council or one of the other partner Departments or Agencies with instructions on completing the attestation. You can only receive funding from one participating Department or Agency.

The Government of Canada has announced that eligible organizations with heritage collections currently funded through Canadian Heritage’s Museums Assistance Program will be addressed in a second phase of funding. Museums that are eligible to receive funding from the Canada Council in Phase 1 will be contacted directly in the coming weeks.

Please note that book publishers will be supported through Canadian Heritage’s Canada Book Fund. Only those literary book publishers that receive funding through the Canada Council but do not receive funding from Canadian Heritage will be eligible for support from the Canada Council.

When will the Canada Council distribute this emergency funding?

We cannot commit to a specific timeframe as we are still working out the details. However, we will be sending you additional instructions by email in the coming weeks on how to submit the attestation. At that time, we will be able to provide you with clearer timeframes. Our hope is to begin releasing emergency funds in batches based on date of attestation submission by the end of June.

While I am awaiting further instructions, what can I do to prepare?

The portal administrator for your organizations should update the key contacts identified in your portal account and profile by Wednesday, May 20th. We will be using these to send you instructions via email. We will be sending these instructions and other important communications to all individuals listed as a key contact for your organization. As your funding is linked to an existing portal account, please do not create a new account. The contact information can be found in the Account Summary part of your dashboard in the Applicant Information section. If you do not know how to update your account or can’t identify the portal administrator, please contact us at

Who do I contact for further information about the emergency funding?

For further information, you can email:

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