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Heather Alinsangan

Director of Research and Evaluation
Toll-free in Ontario: 1-800-387-0058

Michael Choo

Research Analyst
Toll-free in Ontario: 1-800-387-0058

Early COVID-19 Impacts on OAC-Funded Arts Organizations: Survey Findings

May 1, 2020

In April 2020, the Ontario Arts Council (OAC) undertook a survey to gather some high-level indicators of the early impact of COVID-19 on OAC-funded organizations.

The survey was sent to organizations that had received a grant from OAC in the past two years. OAC received responses from 441 organizations – a substantial number, especially in these unprecedented times when organizations are facing many challenges and are functioning with reduced staff working from home.

Here are the key highlights from the survey:
  • The anticipated loss of revenue up to the end of June 2020 due to COVID-19 for these Ontario arts organizations combined totaled $128 million.
  • The $128 million anticipated loss of revenues to the end of June due to COVID-19 represents an average loss of 16% of the responding organizations’ total annual revenue.
  • Close to three-quarters (71%) of responding organizations confirmed that they will have to take some action relating to staff/personnel decisions by the end of June if the current situation continues – including such actions as laying-off employees, reducing or suspending employee hours, and/or reducing hours or suspending/cancelling contracts of self-employed artists or other independent contractors. A further 21% indicated that it was too early to say whether such actions would be necessary.
  • Almost all (94%) of the responding organizations have cancelled or postponed performances, exhibitions, screenings, readings or other events due to COVID-19.

The full report on the survey findings can be found here.