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Ontario Arts Council

FAQ Online Grant Applications and Program Redesign

General Questions

What has changed that everyone needs to know about?
Why has the deadline time changed to 1 p.m. ET?
Has my program deadline date changed?
Why have program deadlines changed?
Why has OAC made so many changes?

Applying Online

How do I submit an application online?
How long should I give myself to complete and submit an online application?
What if I have technical difficulties with the online application process?
Why has OAC moved to online applications?
What if I want to submit a paper application?

Program Redesign

How can I find out if any changes have been made to the program I apply to?
I’m seeing that my program has the same name as before. Can you confirm whether there will be any changes?
I’m seeing that my program has been combined with another one. How did you decide to do this?
How will these changes affect program budgets?
My specific program has been merged into a more general one. How will we be assessed amid a wider pool of applicants?
Were priority groups taken into consideration in your program redesign?

New Funding Framework

What’s the difference between an OAC funding stream and an OAC program?


General Questions

What has changed that everyone needs to know about?

  • Applications to most OAC programs are now submitted through Nova, our online grant application system. Applications to third-party recommender programs are not yet submitted through Nova.
  • The deadline time for all applications is now 1 p.m. ET.
  • Application forms are available in Nova approximately two months before your program deadline. 
  • Deadlines dates for many programs have changed. See the complete list of programs by deadline.
  • Many OAC programs themselves have also changed. See the Program Redesign section for details.

Why has the deadline time changed to 1 p.m. ET?

  • The 1 p.m. ET deadline was chosen to ensure timely technical support for applicants, right up until the deadline time. This wouldn’t have been possible with a 5 p.m. or a midnight deadline.
  • Deadline extensions will not be given if you miss the deadline. Be sure to start your application early.

Has my program deadline date changed?


Why have program deadlines changed?

There are two main reasons for this:
  • Previously, OAC scheduled multiple program deadlines on the same date. Now, fewer programs share a deadline date; this is to ensure the system works well, and that we are able to provide technical support to all applicants who need it. 
  • Some programs (which had different deadlines) have been merged. Where possible a deadline that worked for both programs was selected. Most now have more than one deadline. More on OAC’s program redesign.

Why has OAC made so many changes?

  • Moving to Nova created somewhat of a domino effect. There is a close relationship between the online applications, the program redesign and the new website. Each one of these areas depends on the others to work.
    • For example – to be able to process applications online, we needed to develop a more streamlined program structure, which we did by looking for common elements between programs. 

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Applying Online

How do I submit an application online?

  • First, you’ll need to register and set up a profile in Nova. To access the registration page, go to grants.arts.on.ca. (You can also access it by clicking the “Apply Now” button on OAC’s home page or on individual program pages.)
  • For full, step-by-step instructions and troubleshooting tips, click here to access the Nova User Guide.

How long should I give myself to complete and submit an online application?

  • We recommend creating your profile in Nova as soon as possible, to give yourself plenty of time to familiarize yourself with the system and the new application process. 
  • We also recommend starting your application well before the deadline date. You can begin working on your application approximately two months before the program deadline.
  • We recommend submitting your application ahead of the 1 p.m. ET deadline to ensure a successful submission. Give yourself extra time for uploading support material. 
  • Deadline extensions will not be given if you miss the deadline.

What if I have technical difficulties with the online application process?

  • Check the Nova User Guide (especially the Troubleshooting Tips sections) to see if it offers a solution to the issue you’re experiencing.
  • If you don’t find the answer you need there, contact us between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. ET Monday to Friday (excluding  statutory holidays):
    • Phone: 416-961-1660 (select option 3)
    • Toll-free in Ontario: 1-800-387-0058 (select option 3)
    • Email: Contact the program administrator for the program you’re applying to. Their contact information is provided on the web page for each program.
  • If you have program-related questions, please contact the program officer or program administrator for the program. Their contact information is provided on the web page for each program.

Why has OAC moved to online applications?

  • To provide better service to OAC applicants. Paper application processes have become outdated, costly and inefficient for applicants and OAC staff alike. Online applications are more efficient and cost-effective for all of us.

What if I want to submit a paper application?

  • For the most part, paper applications will no longer be accepted. 
  • However, OAC is committed to having an accessible application process, so certain exceptions will be made. Please see our Inclusive Application Process Policy for details.
    • If you require a paper application for accessibility reasons, please contact the program officer or program administrator for the program. Their contact information is provided on the web page for each program.

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Program Redesign

How can I find out if any changes have been made to the program I apply to?

  • First, check OAC’s list of Grant Program Deadlines. This will show whether the name of the program you apply to has changed.
  • Then, check the program page on OAC’s website. Go to the section titled “What’s changed this year.”

I’m seeing that my program has the same name as before. Can you confirm whether there will be any changes?

  • Even if your program doesn’t look like it has changed, the deadline very likely has. Visit your program page for deadline dates or view grant program deadlines by date.
  • Eligibility and support material requirements may also have changed for your program. Please review all program information in detail on the program page.
  • Finally, even if the program name, deadline date, eligibility or support material requirements have not changed, you will still be applying online, which itself is a big change!

I’m seeing that my program has been combined with another one. How did you decide to do this?

  • In order to launch Nova, OAC needed to streamline granting programs and applications to remove inconsistencies and improve clarity. Some programs have been merged, and others have had certain elements of their activity moved to another program.
  • Many of these changes were already in the works – they were simply sped up in order to facilitate the launch of online applications.  
  • Overall, these changes aim to make applying for OAC funding a much more accessible process:

How will these changes affect program budgets?

  • Where programs have merged, their budgets have been combined as well.

My specific program has been merged into a more general one. How will we be assessed amid a wider pool of applicants?

  • The OAC remains committed to peer assessment, so your application will still be assessed by artists and arts professionals working in your field, and with expertise in the kind of work that you do.
  • As always, assessors for each deadline will be chosen based on the types of applications received at that deadline.
  • Many OAC programs currently combine multiple art forms within an artistic discipline. As such, we already have a successful model for how to assess applications fairly in broader programs. There will also be some panels that are split into specialized assessment categories.
  • Learn more about OAC’s assessment process.

Were priority groups taken into consideration in your program redesign?

  • Yes. Priority groups remain a key focus in all OAC programs and streams. We remain committed to our priority group–designated programs and our peer assessment processes in which the priority groups play a significant role.

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New Funding Framework

What’s the difference between an OAC funding stream and an OAC program?

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