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Shoshana Wasser

Associate Director of Public Affairs and Communications
Toll-free in Ontario: 1-800-387-0058

OAC Takes Action to Support Artists and Arts Organizations Through COVID-19 Crisis

April 17, 2020

The Ontario Arts Council (OAC) has announced a number of actions to support Ontario’s artists and arts organizations through the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. These provisions will offer flexibility and support to sustain Ontario’s vital arts community through this difficult period.


NEW! COVID-19 Response Initiative

OAC is developing a strategic fund to help Ontario artists and arts organizations respond to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. Details will be announced in the coming weeks.


Changed or Cancelled Projects

Many artists and arts organizations have lost income or incurred unanticipated expenses due to changed or cancelled projects. Any change or cancellation costs due to COVID-19 will be considered eligible expenses. OAC will not ask for repayment of grants for which related expenses have been incurred, including any reasonable expenses related to unexpected changes and cancellations, up to the total grant amount.


Project Program Deadlines and Requirements

We know that preparing an application is challenging right now. All spring deadlines for project programs have been extended by two weeks to provide additional time for applicants to adjust their plans and add any COVID-19 contingency measures to their applications.


Operating Grants

Program deadlines and peer assessment of operating grants have been suspended for 2020. We recognize the difficulty of preparing and assessing operating grant applications while the COVID-19 situation continues to evolve. OAC will release 2020-21 operating grant payments as soon as possible, to respond to the cash flow needed to sustain operations. Operating grants will not need to be returned if activities are changed or cancelled.


Travel and In-Person Gatherings

Following federal and provincial government advisories, OAC is not allocating any new grants for activities that involve travel or in-person gatherings that are expected to take place before June 30, 2020. The next Touring Projects deadline is June 25, 2020, for tours beginning this fall or later. The Market Development Travel Assistance program is suspended while we consider new approaches to supporting market development activities.


A Province-Wide Snapshot of COVID-19 Effects on Arts Organizations

OAC has completed a mini survey of OAC-funded organizations across all sectors to get a sense of the high-level impact figures in Ontario. This complements the more detailed work being done by sector-specific Arts Service Organizations (ASOs), which OAC is also following. OAC will do a comprehensive analysis later in the year once we have a fuller picture of the impacts.


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) relating to COVID-19

Resources relating to COVID-19

Various COVID-19 updates

OAC COVID-19 overview


For more information

Kirsten Gunter
Director of Communications