$500 Million Relief for Arts and Culture Explained

  • By Cory Crossman


$500 Million Relief for Arts and Culture Explained

Heritage Minister Steven Guilbeault announced how federal funding will support Canada' cultural, heritage and sports organizations saying, "Ultimately, the goal we're pursuing is to keep our arts, culture and sports infrastructure intact... And that once we emerge from the crisis, the ecosystem is still there to support our artists and our athletes."

The goal of the Fund is to protect jobs and support business continuity for organisations whose viability has been negatively affected. It is designed to complement the other federal government measures in response to COVID-19, including the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB), the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS), the Business Credit Availability Program (BCAP), and the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) program.

  • The Prime Minister just announced that the wage subsidy program will be extended beyond June. This may help organisations that did not qualify for the CEWS to now access the program as we enter the peak season for productions, festivals, and museums. You can apply to the CEWS here.


  • $198.3 million will be allocated to the arts and culture sector through existing funding programs at Canadian Heritage.
  • $53 million to the heritage sector 
  • $3.5 million provided to the Digital Citizen Initiative.
  • $55 million distributed through Canada Council for the Arts.
  • $115.8 million will support the Canadian audiovisual sector through the Canada Media Fund ($88.8 million) and Telefilm Canada ($27 million).

A two-phased approach is being used to speed fund distribution:

  • Phase 1 is for funding recipients who are projecting a significant financial impact as a result of the pandemic:
    • A formula-based top-up will be provided to existing recipients through Canadian Heritage’s arts and culture programs, which include the Canada Periodical Fund, Canada Book Fund, Canada Music Fund, Canada Arts Presentation Fund, Canada Arts Training Fund, and Building Communities through Arts and Heritage Program. To simplify the process, current recipients of targeted programs will only need to fill out an attestation. Once this document has been received and reviewed, funding will flow shortly thereafter. Clients will be able to apply for up to 25% of recently approved funding. The minimum amount awarded will be $5,000.
    • Like Canadian Heritage, the CCA, Canada Media Fund, and Telefilm Canada will use a formula-based approach to deliver the funds. Clients will be able to apply for up to 25% of recently approved funding.
    • If your organisation receives funding from more than one participating department or agency, you may only request funding from one of these organisations for support from the Emergency Support Fund. Canadian Heritage and the participating organisations will coordinate their funding responses to avoid duplication of funding.
  • Phase 2 will provide temporary relief to eligible organisations that have heritage collections through the Emergency Component of the Museums Assistance Program, and other arts and culture organisations that do not currently receive funding from Canadian Heritage or another participating federal agency (Canada Council for the Arts, Canada Media Fund, Telefilm Canada). Further details on Phase 2 will be announced in the coming weeks.
    • Grants ranging from $5,000 up to a maximum of $100,000 may be awarded to eligible heritage organisations. Amounts will be calculated based on a sliding scale formula.
    • Indigenous and official language minority community organizations with a heritage collection may also be eligible to apply.
    • Funding for other organizations, which may include some that do not currently receive funding from Canadian Heritage, the Canada Council for the Arts, Telefilm Canada or the Canada Media Fund (e.g., non-recipient arts and culture organizations, small broadcasters, third-language producers, organizations in live music, local news organizations, magazines and community newspapers).

Full Press Release is available here 



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