In 2006, the Government of Ontario created the awards as a sign of the province’s deep appreciation of the wonderful artists and arts groups who have chosen to work here and its appreciation for their invaluable and lasting contribution to the enrichment of our way of life.
The awards recognize the outstanding achievements of artists and arts organizations, as well as their contributions to arts and culture in Ontario over a significant period of time.
The awards support any artistic practice, including but not limited to craft, dance, literature, media arts, music, theatre, visual arts and cultural industries, such as book and magazine publishing, digital media, film, television and sound recording. The awards are not intended as a lifetime achievement award.
This program was suspended in 2019.
About the Artist Award
The Artist Award recognizes a professional artist who has a significant history in the arts in Ontario. The laureate receives an award of $35,000. The laureate also selects a promising new or emerging artist in the same artistic field, who receives an award of $15,000. Five finalists each receive an award of $2,000.
Who is eligible
Who is not eligible
- Professional artists.
- Residents of Ontario who have lived in Ontario for a minimum of one year preceding the deadline, have a permanent physical address in Ontario and live in Ontario no less than eight months a year.
- Canadian citizens or permanent residents of Canada.
- Previous Artist and Emerging Artist Award finalists.
- Previous Premier’s Awards for Excellence in the Arts laureates.
- Persons who lead or direct an arts organization nominated in the Arts Organization Award category at the deadline.
- Persons who are members of their nominators’ immediate family (spouse or equivalent, son or daughter, parent, sibling or member of the immediate household).
- Persons employed by their nominator.
- Persons who are their nominators’ employer.
- Persons who are a member of their nominators’ board of directors.
- Staff and board of OAC.
- Staff of the provincial ministry responsible for the Premier’s Awards for Excellence in the Arts or staff of agencies.
- Elected federal, provincial or municipal representatives or judges.
No person will receive an award posthumously unless their death occurs after the assessment process.
About the Arts Organization Award
The Arts Organization Award recognizes an Ontario-based arts organization that supports professional artists, is led by professional artists and art administrators and has a significant history in the arts in Ontario. The laureate receives an award of $50,000. Five finalists receive an award of $2,000.
Who is eligible
Who is not eligible
- Incorporated not-for-profit organizations or for-profit commercial enterprises registered in the province of Ontario that have a permanent physical address in Ontario and are led by professional personnel.
- Organizations whose primary business supports the professional arts sector or cultural industries of Ontario.
- Previous Arts Organization Award finalists.
- Previous Premier’s Awards for Excellence in the Arts’ laureates.
- Arts organizations if their organization’s leader or director is nominated in the Artist Award category at the deadline.
- Ad hoc groups/collectives.
- Public government departments or agencies.
- Colleges, universities, municipalities, school boards or schools administered by a First Nation or an Indigenous administered authority.
About the nomination process
Who is an eligible nominator
- Any Ontarian can nominate an Ontario-based artist or arts organization.
- Nominators may submit only one nomination for either the Artist Award or Arts Organization Award, not both at the deadline.
- A nominee can accept one nomination only at the deadline.
- Nominees do not apply for the award but must be nominated.
Who is not an eligible nominator
- Persons who are residents of Ontario and have a permanent physical address in Ontario.
- Persons who are members of their nominees’ immediate family (spouse or equivalent, son or daughter, parent, sibling or member of the immediate household).
- Persons employed by their nominee.
- Persons who are their nominees’ employer.
- Persons who are a member of their nominees’ board of directors.
- Staff of the provincial ministry responsible for the Premier’s Awards for Excellence in the Arts.
- Staff or board members of OAC.
- The OAC may request documentation to confirm a nominee’s or nominator’s eligibility at any time. If they are unable to provide documentation, the nomination will be withdrawn or any funds awarded must be repaid.
Before you start your nomination
Both the nominee and nominator must have Profiles in Nova.
If the nominator and/or nominee do not have a Profile, go to grants.arts.on.ca
and follow the instructions.
- Since two parties are involved in the nomination, we recommend you start well in advance of the deadline.
To submit your nomination
Go to grants.arts.on.ca
and log in. If you do not already have a Profile, please register.
All you have to do is upload three documents
to the online nomination form. They are:
- Nominator’s letter (maximum 2 pages – PDF format)
- Nominee’s résumé or organizational profile (maximum 2 pages – PDF format)
- Support documents (maximum 3 pages – PDF format)
The OAC administers the nomination and evaluation process of the Premier’s Awards for Excellence in the Arts on behalf of the Government of Ontario. Assessors chosen by OAC for their expertise in arts and culture will evaluate the nominations and select the awards’ laureates and finalists.
Award finalists are called in advance of the notification of the results.
The OAC will notify all other nominators and nominees of the results. The OAC does not give awards results by telephone or email, so please do not call us or email us for this information. The OAC does not provide feedback on submissions.
The laureates and finalists are announced publicly at an event hosted by the Government of Ontario and are available on the OAC website following the event.
: A professional artist/arts professional is someone who has developed skills through training or practice, is recognized by artists working in the same artistic tradition, has a history of public presentation or publication, seeks payment for their work and actively practises their art. Short breaks in artistic work history are acceptable.
: Organizations incorporated under the laws of Ontario or the laws of Canada with a head office in Ontario. The organization must be governed by a volunteer board of directors or an advisory board. They may not distribute any profits (surpluses) to members, directors or officers, and they must use any profit (surplus) exclusively for their not-for-profit purposes.
: A commercial enterprise that is a registered company in Ontario that is primarily Canadian-controlled (51%), with at least one-third of its activity available to Ontario audiences in the form of exhibits, performances, recordings, videos, publications or other forms of creative endeavour. The enterprise must be a corporate taxpayer in the province of Ontario.
Ad hoc group/collective
: Ad hoc groups are made up of two or more individuals or organizations/groups that come together for a one-time project. Collectives are made up two or more individuals or groups who have ongoing activity. They are mostly composed of professional artists or arts professionals, are not an incorporated organization and operate on a not-for-profit basis.
Permanent physical address
: The place where you live most of the time. It is your usual place of residence and is a physical location with a street number and name. A post office box does not qualify as a permanent physical address, only as a preferred mailing address.
: An individual enrolled in a secondary public or private school, or an undergraduate at a college, conservatory or university.
: A written account that is a description of the accomplishments of the organization, their history and reputation, include dates.
: A list of a person’s education, qualifications and achievements. Each item includes a citation that refers to place and date.
Biography (or bio)
: A written account that is a description of a person’s accomplishments, include dates.