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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Updates to these FAQs will be posted when new information is available. Up-to-date information will also be located on relevant program web pages and in Nova, OAC’s online granting system. Some updates will also be shared on social media.  

OAC Staff and Operations

Last updated: April 8, 2020

OAC is operating during regular business hours, but please be mindful that our staff may be dealing with a higher volume of calls while also managing other demands (such as caring for family members). We appreciate your patience if response times are slower than usual.

The best way to reach us is by email. Please visit the relevant program page or the staff directory for contact details.


Operating Grant Recipients

Last updated: July 17, 2020
  • Will organizations that received an operating grant last year be peer assessed this year?

    No. Operating grant program deadlines and assessments have been suspended for current operating grant recipients. We recognize the difficulty in preparing and assessing operating grant applications while the COVID-19 situation continues to evolve. We are releasing 2020-21 operating grant payments earlier than usual, understanding the need for cash flow to sustain your organization’s operations.
  • I have already submitted my organization’s operating grant application. Will it be assessed?

    No. Applications from current operating grant recipients will not be assessed by advisory panels in 2020.  

  • I have not yet submitted a 2020-21 operating grant application. Will I be required to?

    You will not be asked to submit a full operating application for this year if you have not yet done so.
  • When will the 2020-21 operating grant payments be issued?

    With a few exceptions, all previous operating grant recipients received an initial payment of 50% of the total grant in May 2020. The remaining 50% will be paid out according to regular operating grant payment timelines. For example, an organization that usually receives its operating grant payment in September received 50% in May and will receive 50% in September 2020.
  • How will OAC determine the amount of my organization’s 2020-21 operating grant?

    The amount of your organization’s grant will be based your 2019-20 grant level, and OAC’s 2020-21 budget context. No assessment-based grant increases or decreases will be applied.
  • Will my organization need to return funds if our plans are cancelled or changed due to COVID-19? Will we be required to reschedule activities to a later date?  

    As an operating grant recipient, you will not be expected to return funds to OAC if your plans cannot proceed as originally proposed, nor will you be required to reschedule activities. If you made financial commitments to artists, collaborators, venues or other contractual partners, use the grant as intended to cover these obligations. If you are now faced with cancellation fees or penalties, you can also use the grant to pay for these unexpected costs.
  • My organization has applied to the operating program this year for the first time. Will my application be assessed? 

    If you are applying to an operating program for the first time, your application will be assessed by an advisory panel. Contact the program officer to find out when results will be available.


Project Programs

Last updated: September 8, 2020
  • Is OAC still accepting grant applications? 

    Yes, we are still accepting grant applications for all programs with the exception of Touring Projects, Market Development Travel Assistance, Market Development Projects and Chalmers Arts Fellowships, which have been suspended for the current year.

    OAC staff are available to provide support as you work on your application. We are proceeding with the peer assessment of project program applications (via virtual panel meetings), the notification of results and the payment of grants. Since moving our granting processes online three years ago with Nova, we are in a good position to proceed with our grant application processes.  

  • Does OAC have any specific programs addressing the challenges of COVID-19?

    Yes. The Arts Response Initiative is designed to support individual artists, ad hoc groups and collectives, and arts organizations in the steps they are taking to respond to the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. For more information, go to the Arts Response Initiative web page.


Project Grant Recipients

Last updated: October 23, 2020
  • I received a project grant, but my OAC-funded activity has been cancelled, postponed or changed due to COVID-19. What should I do? 

    We understand that grant recipients may need to pause, change or cancel their activities as well as adjust targets and dates. Give yourself some time to think about your options and explore alternate plans. When you are ready to move ahead, you have a number of options:
    • Pause or postpone

      If you need more time to complete your project, submit a request for approval of this change through Nova (see instructions under “Modify” below).

      Note: If you are unsure of when you will complete the project, it’s okay to let a final report become overdue for the time being, but keep in mind that you will be unable to submit a new application to OAC or receive further grant payments until you have submitted the report. In addition, if you are a member of a collective or ad hoc group, the status of your final report may affect the other members’ eligibility to OAC programs.
    • Modify

      You must request prior approval for significant changes to the presentation format, key collaborators, budget, programming, duration, timing and location of funded activities. The officer needs to review your proposed changes to confirm that your modified project is still eligible, and that it retains enough of the original elements that influenced the assessors’ grant recommendation.

      All requests for approval of changes must now be submitted through Nova. You can request a final report due date extension along with approval of your changes.

      Submit a request by following these steps:
      • Log in to your Nova account.
        • Note: If your personal profile is affiliated with a collective, ad hoc group or organization, you may need to switch to the correct profile after logging in.
      • In the Applications for... section of your home page, select the Grants tab.
      • Click the row for the application that corresponds to your project.
      • At the top left corner of the application, click on the red Request Project Change Approval button.
      • Click Continue and follow the instructions to send a message to the program officer through Nova.
    • Cancel

      If your project is cancelled, use your grant as intended for non-refundable expenses already incurred, and to pay any financial commitments to artists, collaborators, venues or other contractual partners. You can also allocate some of your grant to lost income if the projected income was listed in your budget. If you are faced with cancellation fees or penalties, use the grant to pay these unexpected costs as well. If you can provide proof that all of your grant was spent on costs that are non-refundable, state this along with any variances from your original budget in your final report.

    At this stage, contact your program officer outside of Nova only if you are unable to submit an overdue final report that is preventing you from submitting a new application to OAC. If you are unsure about how to move forward, your program officer will work with you to advise on what is possible. Do not submit a final report for an incomplete project unless you have been instructed to do so by the program officer.
  • I received a project grant for an event/tour that was cancelled, and the presenter is unable to pay the agreed upon artist fee. Can I use my grant to pay myself and my collaborators?

    Yes, the payment of artist fees is a fundamental principle of OAC. We expect and hope that presenters will pay artists for cancelled engagements. If for whatever reason, the presenter is unable to pay the fee, you may pay these fees as well as eligible costs already incurred, up to the total amount of the grant.
  • My project was cancelled, and I had to spend all my grant funds to cover the costs that had already been incurred. Can I apply again if my project is remounted?

    If your project is rescheduled due to COVID-19, you would be eligible to reapply to the program for new expenses related to the remounted project. You may also apply for a new project grant for a different phase or component of a project.   

  • I can’t access my regular mailbox or P.O. box due to the pandemic. Can I receive the grant payment by direct deposit instead of by cheque?

    Unfortunately, we are not able to offer payment by direct deposit. However, you can provide a temporary mailing address by updating your profile in Nova.

  • I have completed a project for which I received a grant, but due to the pandemic I am delayed in submitting the final report. What should I do?

    We understand that COVID-19 is having an impact on people’s ability to work on reporting. You may be finding it difficult to communicate with project partners, gather the required documentation, or set aside time to work on your final report while dealing with repercussions of the pandemic.

    If you (or other members of your collective or ad hoc group) aren’t working on a new application to OAC, it’s okay to let a final report become overdue for the time being and to submit the final report when you are ready.

    If, due to the pandemic, you are unable to submit an overdue final report that is preventing you from submitting a new application to OAC, email your program officer.

    If the project has been delayed, please wait until you are able to provide an updated timeline. Then, request approval of project changes (see first question in this section). You can request a final report due date at the same time. Do not submit a final report for an incomplete project unless you have been instructed to do so by the program officer.  

Project Grant Applicants

Last Updated: July 17, 2020
  • I am planning to submit a project program application, but I’m unable to submit in Nova due to the pandemic. Are there alternate application processes available to me?

    If you do not have an adequate computer or internet source and are unable to access public internet sources (such as libraries) or borrowed technology in the context of COVID-19 closures and restrictions, please contact the program administrator for the program to which you would like to apply. There may be options to fully or partially submit your application outside of Nova.

    For more information, please see OAC’s policy on offline submissions for persons with limited internet access. Note that OAC is currently being more flexible than usual in providing this service, and will consider requests that fall outside of the usual scope of the policy if they are related to the pandemic.
  • I am planning to submit a project program application, but I can’t get some mandatory application items because of business and service closures. What should I do?

    We understand that certain mandatory application items (e.g. letters of confirmation from schools) may be difficult or impossible to obtain at this time. We will work with you to ensure that these limitations are not barriers to applying. Please contact the program administrator to discuss the particulars of your situation.

    If you are awarded a grant, you will need to provide the missing mandatory application items to receive your grant payment. If you do not meet this condition within two months of receiving your notification letter, your grant will not be paid out to you.
  • I am planning to submit a project program application. It is possible that my plans may be affected by COVID-19, but I can’t know for sure. What should I do?  

    OAC has added a COVID-19 section to all project program application forms so that you can tell us about how you could modify your plans if your project is impacted by COVID-19.  

    We realize that this might be difficult to do because no one knows yet when the pandemic will end or when restrictions will lift, but a brief description of any contingency plans that you could adopt if your project cannot be carried out as planned will help inform assessors of what is possible. If, for example, you are planning to hold an in-person workshop in September, you may indicate that it would be possible for you to do it online if required.  

    If your COVID-19 contingency plans are outdated at the time of assessment, or if assessors support your project but have specific questions about how it may be carried out, you may be awarded a conditional grant at the officer’s discretion. You will need to provide additional information about your project plan to receive your grant payment.


Travel, Touring and In-Person Gatherings

Last updated: September 1, 2020
  • Is OAC still accepting applications for touring projects?

    Given the ongoing evolution of the COVID-19 pandemic and changing public health guidelines for travel and public gatherings, OAC will be revising the Touring Projects program so that it can better serve the Ontario arts sector. As such, OAC has made the decision to suspend the October 14, 2020 deadline and to relaunch the program in early 2021.

    The most recent program deadline has given OAC an opportunity to understand the new considerations in tour planning as artists, arts organizations and presenters adapt to the pandemic. Some of these new considerations include travel restrictions and quarantine periods, uncertain airfare costs, measures needed on tour and in presentation to ensure the health and safety of artists and audiences, and ways of developing alternative partnership models for disseminating work to non-local audiences.

    The current program will be updated to better respond to continuing and new opportunities for artists and arts organizations to engage with presenters and expand their audiences. OAC recognizes the significance of this program to artists and arts organizations. Program guidelines and the Nova application will be available in December 2020. Please check the program web page for updates. The next program deadline is scheduled for winter 2021.
  • I am planning to submit an application involving travel or in-person gatherings. Considering the uncertainty around the future impacts and outcomes of COVID-19, how should I outline my plans?

    We encourage you to stay up to date on the latest COVID-19 developments from reliable public health authorities and to carefully consider safety and risks when planning the format, location(s) and timing of your proposed project.

    While no one knows how long restrictions will continue to be in place, it may be best to postpone your travel or in-person gathering(s), modify it to an activity that doesn’t require travel or in-person contact (such as an online exchange), or remove this aspect of your project altogether.

    If your plans do include travel and/or in-person gathering(s), including touring, performance events, rehearsals, workshops, conferences, etc., provide a strong rationale and use the COVID-19 section of the project program application form to tell us about how you could modify your plans if your project is impacted by COVID-19.

    See guidelines outlined in the Project Grant Applicants section of this FAQ for guidance on describing contingency measures in your application.

  • I have already received a grant for travel and/or an event/in-person gathering, but I can’t go ahead with my project due to current public safety measures. What should I do?  

    OAC requires you to comply with the latest requirements outlined by government authorities regarding travel and in-person gatherings during the COVID-19 pandemic. See guidelines outlined in the Project and Operating Grant Recipients sections of this FAQ for guidance on cancellations or modifications to your OAC funded activities.
  • I have already submitted an application that includes travel and/or in-person gatherings that conflicts or is likely to conflict with official public safety measures. What should I do?  

    Once an application is submitted, no changes or additions can be made to it. If it is possible, postpone your travel or in-person gathering(s), modify it to an activity that doesn’t require travel or in-person contact (such as an online exchange), or remove this aspect of your project altogether. That way, you will be ready to provide updated information if you receive a conditional grant.

    If it is not possible to postpone, modify or remove activities that conflict with official public safety measures, and if the project therefore cannot take place, you should withdraw your application as soon as possible. For this, please contact the program administrator.
  • I have submitted an application to participate in an event (e.g. festival, conference, contact event) that may be cancelled because of COVID-19. What should I do?  

    If the event is cancelled before your application is assessed, you should withdraw the application as soon as possible. For this, please contact the program administrator.  

    If the event is cancelled after you receive the grant and before you have incurred expenses, contact your program administrator to return the grant to OAC.


Kirsten Gunter

Director of Communications
Toll-free in Ontario: 1-800-387-0058

Shoshana Wasser

Senior Communications Coordinator (Government & Media Relations)
Toll-free in Ontario: 1-800-387-0058