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Ontario Arts Council

Grants

The Ontario Arts Council (OAC) provides grants to Ontario-based individual artists and arts professionals, ad hoc groups/collectives and organizations. Grants support a range of arts activities and disciplines.
The OAC offers two types of grant programs: 
  • Project grants – one-time grants for specific projects, available to individual artists, ad hoc groups/collectives and organizations
  • Operating grants – ongoing support for Ontario-based, not-for-profit arts organizations and for-profit book and magazine publishers 
 
This step-by-step guide outlines how to apply for an OAC project grant. 
 

Step 1: Find the right program for your project

 
Begin by exploring the programs OAC offers, to find one that is right for you. You can browse OAC’s programs in several different ways. Here is how our programs are organized on our website:
OAC also administers three granting programs on behalf of the Government of Ontario: 
 
Already know which program you are looking for? Use the search function at the top of the home page or use the advanced search function and search by keyword to find your program. 
 
Still need help figuring out which program is right for you? Contact our Information Services Coordinator, Maya Bedward, for guidance and general information.
 

Step 2: Read the program web page

 
Before you start your application, make sure you meet the eligibility requirements for the program you are applying to. You can do this by reviewing the Eligible Applicants section of the program’s web page, and by contacting OAC staff with any questions. You can find the right staff member’s name and contact information on the left side of the program’s web page.
 
Each program web page has a link to the full list of questions you will be asked on your application, under the To apply section. As you read the questions, keep in mind the Priorities listed at the top of the program web page, since you will need to show in your application how your project fits with the program’s goals. 
  • Important: If you have received an OAC grant before – have you submitted the final report for your project? If not, check the final report due date in Nova. If you miss this due date, you will not be able to apply for another grant until OAC receives your final report. 
Now, you are ready to begin your application!
 

Step 3: Prepare and submit your application

 
Applications for OAC grants are completed and submitted using Nova, our online grant application system. 
 
Approximately two months before the deadline of the program you are applying to, you can access the application within Nova and begin working on it. We encourage you to start your application well before the deadline. Applications must be submitted by 1 p.m. on the deadline day.
 
If you have not used Nova before, begin by registering for an account, using the step-by-step Nova User Guide. If you will be applying on behalf of an organization or an ad hoc group/collective (rather than as an individual artist), you will need to follow these additional steps.
 
Helpful tips for using Nova:
 
  1. While working on your application in Nova, make sure to Save often.
  2. Use the Validate Application button to help you locate fields that are missing required information.
  3. If you are submitting image, audio or video files as part of your application, check the support material instructions in Nova and start preparing these files for upload as soon as possible.

OAC has several resources to help you put together support material for your application:
 
Finally, after submitting your application, be sure to print a copy of it for your records. 
 
 

Step 4: Application Assessment

 
Most OAC grants are evaluated by peer assessors, who are chosen from a large, diverse pool of artists and arts professionals from communities all across Ontario. In putting together each assessment panel, OAC aims to reflect the diversity of the applicants to that program, as well as OAC’s priority groups
 
OAC uses peer assessment to ensure that applications are evaluated in a transparent, accountable manner by individuals who are knowledgeable and have experience in the artistic practice being assessed. OAC also has a rigorous conflict of interest policy, ensuring that individuals with a direct conflict of interest do not participate in assessing applications. 

Peer assessors use evaluation rubrics to help them assess project grant applications. To learn more about OAC’s peer assessment process, read the Guide to OAC Assessment.

Step 5: Notification of results

 
About four months after the deadline, the results from your application will be available online. OAC will send you an email instructing you to log into Nova to view your grant notification letter. 

If you are awarded a grant:
  • Follow the instructions in the notification letter.   
  • Review the terms and conditions for receiving an OAC project grant.
  • If you applied as an individual, you will need to provide your social insurance number (SIN) at this point. The SIN is used to issue you a T4A for tax purposes.
  • After following these steps, you will receive a cheque through Canada Post.
    • Note: Read your notification letter carefully. There may be other issues or requirements that need your attention before we can issue the grant payment.
 
If you are not awarded a grant:
  • In most OAC programs, you can contact the program officer to ask for feedback on your application. 
    • Exceptions include programs such as Visual Artists Creation Projects and Literary Creation Projects – check your notification letter to see if feedback is available for the program you applied to.
  • Apply again! See the Guide to OAC Project Programs and the program web page for rules on how often you can apply for or receive a grant.

Step 6: Complete your project

 
Now it’s time to get to work! A few tips to remember:
  • Before beginning, revisit the web page for the program you applied to. In particular, review the section titled Final report requirements, to know what you will need to submit to OAC once your project is complete.
  • Be sure to document your project with photos or videos, and keep a file of promotional materials such as brochures, posters or event invitations. You may need to submit these as part of your final report, and you can use them as artistic examples in future grant applications! 
  • Notify the program officer before any changes or delays to your project occur.  If required, you can ask for an extension on your final report due date. Keep track of your costs. It is important to have a record of your expenses for your final report to OAC and for tax reporting purposes.
You must acknowledge OAC support on all promotional materials related to your project. This page provides full instructions on how to do so. We also encourage you to verbally acknowledge OAC support at any public events that receive funding.  This helps build recognition of the value of public funding for the arts.
 

Step 7: Report on the grant

 
After completing your project, you must submit a final report using Nova. You will find the final report form and due date in the Action Items section when you log in to Nova. 
 
We also invite you to share photos from your project to feature on OAC’s website and social media. Read the Share your photos web page for more information.