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Ontario Arts Council (OAC)
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Sue Carter

Toll-free in Ontario: ​​​​​​​​​1-800-387-0058

Lucy Gouveia

Program Administrator
Toll-free in Ontario: ​​​​​1-800-387-0058

Publishing Organizations: Operating


The program supports Ontario-based, Canadian-owned book and magazine publishers that publish works of literary, artistic or cultural importance for the general public. There are two categories:

  • Book publishers: Organizations that publish books in print or digital format as their primary activity. Some publishers may publish magazines or journals as a secondary activity
  • Magazine publishers: Organizations that publish magazines in print or digital format as their primary activity. Some publishers may publish books as a secondary activity

Deadline date(s)

February 22, 2024 (Book publishers) 1 p.m. ET, and June 13, 2024 (Magazine publishers) 1 p.m. ET
  • In 2024, this program is in year 2 of a three-year cycle.
  • Applications are available in Nova about two months before the deadline.
  • Grant notification will be available about five months after each deadline.
  • 2026 will be the next deadline open to new applicants to this program.
  • Potential new applicants (organizations that did not receive a grant from this program last year) must contact the program officer at least one month before the deadline to request approval to apply. This process will involve one or more discussions between OAC and the potential applicant to determine its eligibility to and fit with the program, what grant amount to request, and other particulars.

Recent changes

The application questions and evaluation rubric have been reworked to better align with OAC’s current strategic plan.

Eligible applicants

Organizations must:

  • be Canadian-owned and —controlled (see definition under Program-specific Definitions, below) with its head office (at least 50 per cent of employees and editorial, management and financial control) in Ontario
  • have been operating as an Ontario-based publisher for at least two years (excepting affiliated companies (see definition below)
  • have at least $75,000 in total revenues for the last fiscal year, and in projected revenues for the current and requested years (for applicants not currently receiving funding from this program)
  • have completed at least two years of sustained, regular, ongoing programming in its community as of the application date (for publishers, publication is considered programming)
  • have book and/or magazine publishing as their primary activity
  • be free to make their own editorial decisions and sign contracts in their own name
  • conduct the majority of their publishing activity in English. (Funding for Ontario-based, French-language publishers is available through OAC’s édition francophone — fonctionnement program.)
  • be governed by a board of directors or an advisory body solely responsible for the publisher (exception: sole proprietorships and private companies)
  • have a range of revenue sources such as private and government
  • have proof of sound financial management
  • submit verification of financial results of the last completed fiscal year with their application. The type of financial statement required depends on the amount of your grant request and the size of the organization’s annual budget, as follows:
    • requests over $50,000 from not-for-profit organizations: audited financial statements
    • requests over $25,000: review engagement (or, if available, audited financial statements)
    • requests $25,000 and under, unaudited financial statement (or, if available, review engagement or audited financial statement)
    All financial statements must be verified or prepared by an independent auditor or chartered or certified accountant.

    We will reduce your grant request to an eligible level if you do not provide the type of financial statement required.

    Organizations that publish both books and magazines apply in the category responsible for the largest share of revenue related to eligible publishing activity. The distinct eligibility criteria for book and magazine publishers will be applied on that basis.

    Book publishers must:
    • demonstrate a significant and ongoing trade book publishing program. New applicants must have at least six eligible trade books (see eligible and ineligible books sections under Program-specific Definitions, below)
    • have published at least three eligible trade books in the previous calendar year
    • have published at least 10 eligible books in the previous calendar year if the books make up less than 25 per cent the total annual book publishing program
    • have established a marketplace presence through bookstore distribution and marketing
    • have devoted less than 25 per cent of its previous year’s publishing to books authored by its owners, staff, editors or their families
    • provide authors with a signed contract before announcing books, regularly issue clear royalty statements and fully meet all royalty and contractual commitments, as defined in its contracts with authors, illustrators and translators

    Magazine publishers must:

    • publish (print or online) at least two issues a year, or post original online content at least 40 times a year
    • have an identified readership and an appropriate distribution method to reach it
    • pay writers and artists established fees, issue contributor contracts prior to publication, and have fully met your contractual commitments to your contributors
    • be dedicated to the publication of original fiction and poetry and/or critical commentary on the arts, culture and society
    • have and follow a clear policy with respect to the use of contributors’ writing and intellectual property

    Magazines that primarily reach their audience through print:

    • must either have a paid circulation (single copies, subscriptions, back issues) of at least 50 per cent of the copies printed or derive at least 25 per cent of revenues from advertising sales and have at least 60 per cent of the magazine devoted to editorial content

    Magazines that primarily reach their audience through a website or other digital media:

    • must either receive significant traffic to their online magazine (at least 2,000 unique hits per month), or demonstrate a dedicated readership (via sales reports from digital retailers, regular visitors who provide their email addresses for updates, RSS subscribers, crowdfunding donors, social media conversion analytics, etc.)

    Magazines linked with associations:

    • may only report on copies sold or readership of non-members as circulation

    Free circulation print magazines:

    • must show clear evidence of a dedicated readership via distribution reports, reader surveys, etc.


    • If your publisher is within a multi-purpose institution (i.e., university, museum, municipality), you must clearly demonstrate your independence by being able to fulfill all OAC eligibility requirements separately and distinctly from the multi-purpose institution.
    • This includes a fully segregated and itemized financial statement specifically for the revenues and expenses of the publisher.
    • Publishers within a multi-purpose institution must be governed by a board of directors or an advisory body solely responsible for the publisher.

    Read the Guide to OAC Operating Programs for more eligibility information.

    Ineligible applicants

    • municipalities, colleges and/or universities
    • publishers that do not pay their authors/contributors, or that require authors or contributors to contribute to publication costs
    • imprints or divisions of companies that apply to this program or Publishing Organizations Projects. Publishers may have a parent company, but must demonstrate independence (see affiliated company under Program-specific definitions below)
    • magazines written or run by students, or publishers whose publications are primarily prepared by students within the context of academic courses or training sessions
    • any magazine in an ineligible class (see Program-specific definitions, below)

    To apply

    Complete and submit an application in Nova, OAC’s online grant application system. You will be able to do this about two months before the deadline.

    Before applying, you must:

    Your application includes:
    • your answers to the application questions
    • book publishers: one copy of each eligible book published in the last calendar year
    • magazine publishers: two copies of each issue published in the 12 months prior to the program deadline
    • book publishers: a PDF of your most recent trade catalogue or a link to a BookNet CataList version of this catalogue
    • PDF of up to 20 pages extracted from eligible books or magazines published in the last year
    • companies that publish books and magazines should submit both with their application
    • support documents: financial and statistical information through our Excel form and financial statements for your organization’s last completed year

    Complete instructions and requirements are in the application in Nova.

    For information on how assessors rate applications see the Evaluation Rubric - Operating Programs.

    Program-specific definitions

    A Canadian-owned and controlled company is a:

    For share capital companies

    • corporation in which at least 75 per cent of the shares have full voting rights under all circumstances with shares representing at least 75 per cent of the paid-up capital beneficially held by Canadian citizens and/or permanent residents ordinarily resident in Canada, and/or by Canadian-owned and -controlled corporations
    • corporation not subject to the control or direction of non-residents

    For non-share capital companies

    • corporation with at least 75 per cent of its membership composed of Canadian citizens and/or landed immigrants ordinarily resident in Ontario and not subject to the control or direction of non-residents

    An affiliated company is a separately incorporated publisher in which another publisher has a controlling interest. In order to be eligible for funding, the affiliated company must:

    • satisfy all of the requirements above
    • maintain a separate and distinct editorial identity from the parent company (to be assessed by the advisory panel)
    • have been in an OAC operating grant program at the time of purchase by the parent company or have been separately incorporated and actively publishing for three years
    • have at least one full- or part-time dedicated senior editorial employee (i.e., a publisher or senior editor who does not work for the parent company or another affiliate as well)

    Eligible books

    Eligible books are used:

    • to determine a publisher’s eligibility for this program
    • to determine appropriate funding acknowledgement
    • to select support material for submission with grant applications


    Eligible books contain at least 50 per cent Canadian-authored creative content (literary and graphic) and are in English, French or one of the Indigenous languages. If you publish more than 50 per cent of your books in French, you should apply to OAC’s Francophone Arts section.


    Eligible books are original works of at least 48 printed pages (at least 24 pages for children’s books) published for a trade market readership in cloth, paper, or digital formats (i.e., books sold subject to the normal trade discount of 40 per cent or more).

    Co-publications are eligible if they originated with the Canadian publisher.

    Translations into French, English or Indigenous languages of Canadian-authored works are eligible if they meet all other eligibility criteria.

    Subject areas

    Eligible books are works of literary, artistic, or cultural importance in the genres of fiction; poetry; drama; literary and arts criticism; autobiography, biography, memoir and essays; comics and graphic novels; works for children and young adults; and creative and literary works of history, politics, social issues, science, travel, etc.

    Ineligible books

    An ineligible book is any book that does not meet the criteria stated above. Additionally, books in the following categories are not considered eligible:
    • abridgments or translations of non-Canadian-authored works
    • saddle-stitched books, except illustrated books for children or poetry books where no more than 50 per cent of the poetry books from the company are saddle-stitched
    • reprints of books that have been previously published for the Canadian market
    • books for which 50 per cent or more of the print run is pre-sold outside normal trade bookselling channels and book clubs
    • books commissioned or paid for by an individual, group, political party or company where the publisher does not have complete and independent editorial control; if the copyright for an eligible title is held by an organization, a government department or the Crown, the publisher must include contract details
    • co-publications with governments or government departments or agencies, except books that are co-published with museums or art galleries and that make a significant contribution to the arts
    • books for which the author receives no royalties or the author has contributed financially towards the publication costs
    • mass-market paperbacks distributed through mass-market channels, with print runs of 8,000 copies or more
    • curriculum materials
    • instructional, personal-growth or self-help books and manuals, including those of a devotional nature
    • books that describe how-to techniques, skills or games
    • colouring, activity, trivia and quiz books
    • travel guide/picture books, nature guide/picture books and tourist-market picture books
    • reference books, unless they are about the arts
    • books published primarily to exploit public interest in an event or personality
    • sports books, except for literary books and works written for children
    • cookbooks
    • catalogues of exhibitions
    • commissioned business, industrial or political books/histories
    • books that are collections of specialized scholarly or conference papers, unless they are destined for a general audience
    • testimonials, including those of a devotional nature, unless they make a significant artistic contribution

    Ineligible Magazines

    This program will not fund:

    • lifestyle magazines: unless they are also significantly devoted to the publication of original fiction and poetry and/or critical commentary on the arts, culture and society
    • magazines devoted primarily to reportage, political advocacy, the promotion of commercial enterprises, religion or spirituality
    • business and trade magazines (except in the field of Canadian arts and literature)
    • scholarly magazines and journals
    • alternative weeklies/monthlies (normally in a tabloid or online format)
    • self-help magazines
    • newsletters, bulletins or house organs that publish material directed primarily to their membership or are not financially or editorially independent