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: March 16, 2021
- Will organizations that received an operating grant last year be peer assessed this year?
Yes. 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 assessed by a panel of peers.
The application asks for less detail than a standard Year 1 or annual application, and multi-year projections are not required. Organizations in Year 2 or 3 of a multi-year cycle will need to supply more information than would normally be required in a mid-cycle report. The application gathers the essential information peer assessors will need to understand your situation.
- When will the 2021-22 operating grant payments be issued?
Grant notification will be available approximately five months after the deadline. Grant recipients will receive their cheques by regular mail shortly after acknowledging receipt of the letter in Nova, or after meeting any conditions for payment as outlined in the letter.
- How will OAC determine the amount of my organization’s 2021-22 operating grant?
The amount of your organization’s grant will be based on your 2020-21 grant level, OAC’s 2021-22 budget context and the 2021-22 operating funding framework.
As in most years, OAC will learn of its 2021-22 budget allocation in the spring when the provincial budget is tabled. After that, our 2021-22 funding framework will be determined and shared with applicants.
- 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 the recipient of a 2020-21 operating grant, 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.
At this point, we expect and encourage you to factor the pandemic into your plans for the current year and request year when preparing your 2021-22 application. Your plans should be realistic and informed by the current context. But we understand that these plans may need to change in unpredictable ways.
- Is OAC accepting operating grant applications from new applicants this year?
No. The OAC will not be accepting new applicants to any operating programs in 2021. Once it is confirmed when a particular program is accepting new applicants, it will be noted on the program web page.
- I can’t access my organization’s regular mailbox or P.O. box due to the pandemic. Can we 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 organization’s profile in Nova.
- Is OAC providing any additional financial support to operating grant recipients?
As part of the 2020 provincial budget, the government of Ontario has provided one-time funding to OAC operating grant recipients with total annual revenues of over $1 million. This funding aims to help these organizations cover losses incurred as a result of the pandemic so that they may remain solvent and prepare for a time when they can fully re-open their facilities, resume full programming and welcome back their visitors and audiences. OAC is administering this $24 million fund on behalf of the Ministry of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries.
Eligible funding recipients were notified of the amount of their payment and other details on March 9, 2021. Funding amounts were determined based on a percentage of each organization’s most recent Ontario Arts Council operating grant. Recipients will be asked to report on the results of this recovery support funding.
Last updated: September 21, 2021
- Is OAC still accepting project 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.
In order to support continued relationship building between artists and presenters during the suspension of our 2021 Touring and Market Development program deadlines, we have launched a temporary program: Artist-Presenter Collaboration Projects. It will support some of the activities that were previously funded through the suspended programs.
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 with Nova in 2017, we are in a good position to proceed with our grant application processes.
- Does OAC have any specific project grant programs addressing the challenges of COVID-19?
Not at this time. Later in 2021, OAC will be allocating an additional $1 million in funding to individual artists across Ontario on behalf of the Ministry of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries. The Ministry will be announcing details for the application process for individuals in the near future.
In 2020, OAC created the Arts Response Initiative to help individual artists, ad hoc groups, collectives, and arts organizations address the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. As this was a one-time reallocation of funds, there will be no further deadlines.
Project Grant Recipients
Last updated: January 25, 2021
- 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). You can request a final report due date extension along with approval of your changes.
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.
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.
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.
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.
- 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: September 21, 2021
- 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. 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 be lifted, 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, you may indicate that it would be possible for you to do it online if required.
Travel, Touring and In-Person Gatherings
Last updated: September 21, 2021
- 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 program for the current year.
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.
In order to support continued relationship building between artists and presenters during the suspension of our 2021 Touring and Market Development program deadlines, we have launched a temporary program: Artist-Presenter Collaboration Projects. It supports some of the activities that were previously funded through the suspended programs.
- 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. Some programs, such as Chalmers Professional Development Projects, have temporarily made in-person activities ineligible for funding.
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. Applicants should think about possible pandemic-related challenges and include contingency plans in their application.
If, after submitting your application but before receiving your notification letter, you realize that your project can no longer take place, we recommend that you withdraw your application as soon as possible after the deadline. For this, please contact the program administrator. It may be possible to adapt the project and apply to a different program or deadline once the original application is withdrawn.
- I have submitted an application to participate in an event (such as a festival, conference or 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.