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Ontario Arts Council
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David Parsons

Toll-free in Ontario: ​​​​​​1-800-387-0058

Jenny Knox

Program Administrator
Toll-free in Ontario: ​​​​​​1-800-387-0058 

Dwayne Dixon

Toll-free in Ontario: ​​​​​​1-800-387-0058

Music Organizations Operating

Until this program opens in Nova, the Ontario Arts Council’s online granting system, program information may change. This includes deadline dates and specific information on eligibility. Be sure to visit this page after the program opens in Nova, but before starting your application.


The program supports the ongoing operations of not-for-profit, opera companies, orchestras, choral organizations and other music-mandated producers and presenters in Ontario. They include:

  • opera companies
  • orchestras (also includes semi-professional, nationally designated youth training)
  • choral organizations (also includes semi-professional, community choirs, training organizations)
  • music-mandated producers and presenters (e.g. series, festivals, contemporary music organizations)
Note: For project support for live music development and presentation (including projects for choirs, orchestras, presenters of single concerts and concert series, festivals, opera producers and individual musicians), see the Music Production and Presentation Projects program.


  • activities that engage Ontario and Canadian professional musicians and support the work of Ontario and Canadian composers and songwriters, unless restricted by genre (e.g. early music ensemble)
  • activities that support public access to a broad range of music forms and the development of audiences
  • activities that, in addition to the above, may contribute to arts education, public participation and community involvement in the arts in Ontario
  • activities that advance the development of music in Ontario

Deadline dates

March 9 (all organizations, except festivals) and October 15 (festivals only), 2021, 1 p.m. ET

  • For 2021, the OAC has put a pause on the multi-year cycles of all operating programs. All current operating grant recipients will need to submit a streamlined application that will be reviewed by a panel of peers.
  • The OAC will not be accepting new applicants to any operating programs in 2021. Once it is confirmed when this program is accepting new applicants, it will be noted here.
  • Applications are available in Nova approximately two months before the deadline.
  • Financial and statistical reports must be submitted through Canadian Arts Data / Données sur les arts au Canada (CADAC) before the deadline.
  • Grant notification will be available approximately five months after each deadline.

Recent changes

  • Grant notification is now available approximately five months after each deadline.

Eligible applicants

  • Ontario-based, not-for-profit corporations, or national not-for-profit corporations with a head office in Ontario
  • Organizations must have:
    • at least $75,000 in total revenue for the last fiscal year, and in projected revenue for the current and requested years (for applicants not currently receiving funding from this program), with the following exception:
      • opera companies must have at least $100,000 in total revenue for the last fiscal year, and in projected revenues for the current and requested years
      • orchestras must have at least $200,000 in total revenues for the last fiscal year, and in projected revenue for the current and requested years
    • at least two years of sustained, regular, ongoing programming, as of the application date. If your organization does not meet this requirement, consider applying for project funding
    • a range of revenue sources
    • an active board of directors/governing body
  • Music organizations must:
    • actively support Canadian music by hiring professional Ontarian and Canadian performers, and by performing the music of professional Canadian composers/songwriters (unless restricted by mandate: e.g., Baroque orchestra)
    • produce and/or present curated music programming that reflects a defined artistic mandate
  • Orchestras must:
    • be professional, semi-professional or a nationally designated orchestral training organization
    • have completed at least two full seasons by the application date, with a minimum of two self-presented concerts with a different repertoire in each season
    • provide evidence of professional artistic leadership (conductors, core players, etc.) in the case of semi-professional orchestras
  • Choral organizations must:
    • provide evidence of professional artistic leadership (conductors, rehearsal pianists section leads, etc.) in the case of choral organizations that include some amateur singers
    • have an audition/selection process in place to determine qualified choir members
  • Opera companies must:
    • have production of professional opera as the core mandate
    • produce a minimum of two operas per season in the case of companies that produce standard repertoire
    • undertake workshops each season of operas being developed for future productions in the case companies dedicated to the development and production of new work
  • Music festivals must:
    • have core programming that occurs within a concentrated time period

Read the Guide to OAC Operating Programs for more eligibility information.

Ineligible applicants

  • non-arts organizations
  • municipalities, colleges and/or universities
  • presenting facilities
  • organizations or programming that are attached to, or operate directly as part of, religious institutions
  • organizations that do not have music programming as their primary mandate
  • entertainment/variety presenters, trade shows, and conferences
  • music competitions
  • youth orchestras
  • organizations that operate under the umbrella of a parent organization that is currently funded through another OAC operating program

To apply

Complete and submit an application in Nova, OAC’s online grant application system. You will be able to do this approximately two months before the deadline.

Before applying, you must:

Your application includes:

Complete instructions and requirements are in the application in Nova.

For information on how assessors rate applications see the Evaluation Rubric - Operating Programs.

Program-specific definitions

Definitions are provided in the Music Definitions page.