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This page will provide you with tips and advice to help you in the application process, as well as information about your responsibilities if you receive a grant and your options if your application was unsuccessful.

There are 2 main steps to the grant application process.

1

Create an account in the portal and register one or more profile(s) for validation.

2

Once your profile has been reviewed and validated by Canada Council staff, you can apply to program components.

More information about the application process

Create Your Account

Create an account

You can create your account on the portal at any time. Make sure to keep a record of your username, password and the email address you used.  Any time you want to login to your account, you will need this information.

Register your profile

Part of creating your account includes identifying your profile(s), which incorporates your role or specialization in an artistic field of practice (discipline). Each profile has unique access to Council program components. To learn more, you can explore how these components are linked to the various profiles without finalizing your account registration.

If you are submitting a profile as an individual artist, or as a member of a group, your professional résumé or curriculum vitae will be required, so please ensure it is up to date. It must clearly show that you meet the profile’s eligibility criteria and will be used to validate your profile(s). Groups will need to provide the curriculum vitaes of all group members. Organizations will need to provide a brief history along with corporate information. All personal information you provide is kept private.

Validation of your profile

Before you can apply to program components, your profile has to be validated by program staff against the profile’s eligibility criteria. You can expect to hear back within 15 business days. You will be contacted both by e-mail and via a message on your portal dashboard.

Self-ID form

The Canada Council for the Arts encourages you to complete a voluntary self-identification form to help determine whether our programs and services are reaching a diverse range of Canadian artists. Anyone applying to the Canada Council for the Arts, participating on a peer assessment committee or being nominated or accepting a prize is invited to complete this form.

The Canada Council believes that equity is key to fulfilling Canada’s artistic aspirations, and we strive to ensure our applicant base reflects Canada’s rich demographic reality. We are committed to equity, diversity and inclusion in our grants and services, and to using our unique national perspective to identify and address issues related to access. The information you provide on this form will help us to meet these commitments.

Note: this information is not used to assess your application and will remain private.

You are invited to complete our revised form located in the portal even if you have provided self-ID information in the past.

Apply to Programs

Before you apply

  • Create an account in the portal
  • Read the program component guidelines
  • Review our General Ineligibility list
  • Review the Annual Application Limits
  • Contact the Canada Council if you need to learn more, or if you are a first-time applicant or are considering applying for a core (operating) grant for the first time. You can either use the “request a call” function in the portal or call 1-800-263-5588 ext. 5060.

Preparing your application

Grant applications consist of an online application process, supplementary forms such as appendices or budgets, and sometimes support material (examples of your artistic work or other information about your activities) that are shared with the assessment committee.

While you will complete your application in the portal it is a good idea to gather and update all the support materials you need beforehand. You can preview the application form to see what will be requested.

If you identify as Deaf or as having a disability (including living with mental illness) and require assistance in preparing your application or final report, see: Application and Final Report Assistance.

In most cases, applications for core grants must be translated into the other official language.

Tips for your application

  • Preview the application well in advance of any deadlines. For longer answers, you may wish to prepare your content in a word-processing program to help you revise your information and then cut and paste the content into the application form.
  • If you don’t think your project or activity plans will be ready by a deadline, it may be wise to wait until the next deadline. That way, you’ll have a stronger application and won’t use up one of your applications that count towards the Annual Application Limits.
  • Ask someone who has not read your application to read it and give you constructive criticism.
  • Test your support material before you submit it, to ensure that it is formatted correctly.

Application Dos

  • Keep in mind the assessment criteria as you develop your answers.
  • Include hard facts to demonstrate the potential impact of your proposed activities.
  • Check your application for spelling mistakes and grammatical errors.
  • Provide relevant background information – don’t presume that the peer assessment committee is familiar with your work or the nature and terminology of your field of practice (discipline).
  • Show that your project is well thought-out and can be carried out as planned.
  • Be concise and to the point.

Application Don'ts

  • Don’t claim financial need, ill health or other personal misfortunes as reasons for requesting financial support – what is important is the positive impact of your activities.
  • Don’t write lengthy, vague or general statements about your project.
  • Don’t assume that the peer assessment committee can “read between the lines” or guess at what you’re trying to say.
  • Avoid criticizing others in your application

Translating your application - core (operating) grants only

In most cases, applications for core grants must be translated into the other official language. Translations are due 2 weeks after the application deadline. Deadline dates and other details are in the program guidelines for each component.

In the assessment of core grant applications, it is important to protect and promote the full equality of Canada’s two official languages, while maintaining a pan-Canadian perspective. The Council therefore uses peer assessment committees that work in both English and French for these grants (with the exception of language-based artistic practices such as Theatre and Literature). In such cases, we require translation of text portions of your application - but not budgets or other attachments - into English or into French. You have 2 options for the translations:

  1. Arranging your own translation
    In this situation, you identify your own translator and upload the translated text in the portal as indicated (respecting the specific deadline for translations set out in the guidelines, normally 2 weeks after the regular deadline). Council will reimburse you for costs to a set maximum amount upon receipt of a copy of the invoice the translator sent to you. Details are provided in the guidelines.
  2. Asking Council to provide the translation
    In this situation, Council will arrange for translation of your application. This option is beneficial to organizations that do not have experience with translations and are not in a position to monitor the accuracy. In such arrangements, Council works with reputable translators but does not check accuracy.

Submitting Your Application

The Canada Council will notify you through the portal and by e-mail that it has received your application. You may be contacted for further information or clarification, and will also hear back if your application is ineligible.

Assessment

Your application will be assessed by a committee composed of either fellow artists and arts professionals, or program officers. They will use the assessment criteria established for each program component to make their recommendations. Every effort is made to ensure that applications are assessed fairly. The Canada Council’s funding decisions are final. If you are interested in becoming a peer assessor, you can self-nominate in the portal.

To learn more, see The application assessment process and the awarding of grants and read our Granting Policy.

Hearing back from the Canada Council

After a decision is reached on your application, you will receive an email notification, as well as a notification in the portal. The Canada Council does not release results by phone. The guidelines for each program component indicate when you can expect to hear the results, which will include details about grant payment, including terms and conditions. For more information on how grants are awarded review our Application assessment process and our Granting policy.

If You Receive a Grant

Project and micro grants (individuals, groups and organizations)

Acknowledging Canada Council support

You must acknowledge the support of the Canada Council in all promotional material associated with the grant. To learn more, see Logos and acknowledgment.

Reporting & changes to your project

You must provide all reports that are required as part of the terms and conditions of the grant. Details about updates and reports are outlined in your grant notification letter and your Grant Acknowledgement form.

You must contact us immediately if you decide to make changes to your proposed activities or organization (for example: changes in the activity budget, to key artistic personnel or to the start or end date). Council must approve any major changes to your funded activities before you carry them out.

If you identify as Deaf or as having a disability (including living with mental illness) and require assistance in preparing your reports, see Application and Final Report Assistance.

Traveling abroad

If you are planning to travel abroad as part of your project, you can request a letter of introduction identifying you as a Canada Council grant holder. Presenting the letter to the cultural attaché at the Canadian embassy or high commission, to other officials, or to arts organizations may allow access to facilities not available to the general public. Contact your Program Officer to request the letter. Global Affairs Canada may also be able to help you present your project through official channels.

It is advisable to learn about any visa requirements from a consulate or the consular section of the embassy of the country concerned. Contact the host country’s embassy or consulate in Canada, and inform Global Affairs Canada. If you are traveling abroad to countries requiring visas, you should also communicate with individuals and institutions in the host country before traveling abroad.

Taxes

Because Canada Council grants are considered taxable income, you may wish to receive the funds in the same year(s) that you have expenses related to your activities. You may also request to receive your project grant over multiple years. The Canada Council issues T4A slips to individuals at the appropriate time. If you have any tax-related questions, contact the Canada Revenue Agency or your provincial or territorial revenue department. Read more about income taxes and your grant.

Enhanced review

The Canada Council may randomly or selectively undertake a deep analysis of recipients’ activities after a grant has been awarded. This may include

  • Substantive review of application documentation
  • Site visit
  • External assessment of activities
  • Request for substantiation of financial information provided
  • Audit of an applicant or project

Grant amounts may be reviewed or revised if Enhanced Review has found serious misrepresentation or errors in a profile registration, a grant application or a report.

Core grants (organizations)

Acknowledging Canada Council support

You must acknowledge the support of the Canada Council in all promotional material associated with the grant. To learn more, see Logos and acknowledgement.

Canadian Arts Data / Données sur les arts au Canada

Canadian Arts Data / Données sur les arts au Canada (CADAC) collects, disseminates and analyses financial and statistical information about Canadian arts organizations. As a core grant recipient, you are required to complete the “CADAC Financial Form for Arts Organizations” and the “CADAC Statistical Form for Arts Organizations”. To learn more, see CADAC. Publishers receiving core grants are required to complete the Canada Council form requesting financial and statistical data.

Parliamentary appropriation

Should its parliamentary budget appropriation be reduced, the Canada Council may adjust funding allocated to your organization.

Reporting

You must provide all reports that are required as part of the terms and conditions of the grant. Details about updates and reports are outlined in your grant notification letter and your Grant Acknowledgement Form.

Enhanced review

The Canada Council may randomly or selectively undertake a deep analysis of recipients’ activities after a grant has been awarded. This may include

  • Substantive review of application documentation
  • Site visit
  • External assessment of activities
  • Request for substantiation of financial information provided
  • Audit of an applicant or project

Grant amounts may be reviewed or revised if Enhanced Review has found serious misrepresentation or errors in a profile registration, a grant application or a report.

If You Do Not Receive a Grant

If You Do Not Receive a Grant

If you’re unsuccessful in your grant application, please remember that it is a competitive process and that budgets are limited.

If your application isn’t successful, it doesn’t necessarily mean that your work lacks merit. Reassess your application in light of the feedback in the results notification and consider whether you should apply again or for a different project. Note too that every competition has a new group of applicants.

While you may request more feedback on your application and the assessment, note that Council decisions are final and the information in the results notification contains all the assessment notes available.  

Finally, please note that the Canada Council does not tolerate any form of verbal abuse, harassment or intimidation of its staff.

To learn more, see The application assessment process and the awarding of grants, our Public Feedback Process, and the Granting Policy.

Information For Applicants

In addition to the criteria set out in the applicant profiles, the following activities are not eligible for grants from the Canada Council:

  • activities proposed by someone under 18 years old
  • activities that are illegal according to the Criminal Code of Canada
  • artistic activities that are led by non-professionals
  • activities that are carried out to satisfy the course requirements of an educational institution (for non-course activities related to graduate studies, please contact a program officer).
  • activities that directly support the delivery of an educational program or course
  • activities that are funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC)
  • self-publishing or vanity publishing of literary works
  • activities carried out by organizations that have not paid, or do not pay, fees or royalties to artists according the standards of the arts practice or sector
  • Fundraising activities
  • Capital expenditures, unless explicitly eligible
  • Contests and competitions (including prizes and awards)
  • Contributions to endowment funds

Annual application limits

Each program component has limits on the number of applications you can submit and/or the grants you can receive each year – details are included in the guidelines for each component. In addition, there are over-riding limits on the number of applications you can submit annually to Canada Council for the Arts (1 March to 28/29 February). If you are planning several projects in a year, you will want to strategize which projects to submit to the Canada Council for support.

The over-riding limits are as follows:

  • Individuals and groups, as well as organizations not receiving core (operating) grants may submit a maximum of 3 applications to the Council each year.
  • Organizations receiving core (operating) grants may submit a maximum of 2 project applications to the Council each year, in addition to their core grant request every 2 or 4 years.

However, there are exceptions. To enable you to respond to invitations and other time-sensitive opportunities, applications to the following components are not counted in the over-riding limits:

  • Creating Knowing and Sharing: Travel
  • Creating Knowing and Sharing: Small Scale Activities
  • Arts Across Canada: Travel
  • Arts Across Canada: Representation and Promotion
  • Arts Across Canada: Translation
  • Arts Across Canada: Circulation and Touring
  • Arts Abroad: Travel
  • Arts Abroad: Representation and Promotion
  • Arts Abroad: Translation
  • Arts Abroad: Circulation and Touring

To see a comprehensive list of all overriding application limits and individual program/component limits please view see this Annual Application Limits Overview (PDF, 48.8 KB).

Fields of practice

Fields of practice are linked to applicant profiles In the portal and describe a general field of artistic activity or an artistic discipline.

Applicant profiles

Applicant profiles are roles or specializations that applicants identify as part of creating an account in the portal. Applicants can have multiple profiles if they wish.

We have developed a glossary to help you to understand important grant-related terms and how we use them.

Composite grants provide support for a multiplicity of projects taking place over 1 to 3 years. Instead of submitting a number of separate project applications, individuals, groups and organizations can combine their activities into a composite proposal. Organizations may also find this to be a more flexible and less onerous alternative to core grants. Applicants will need to have a history of receiving project grants from the Canada Council before they are eligible to apply for a composite grant.

Composite grants are available in the following components:

  • Explore and Create: Concept to Realization
  • Supporting Artistic Practice: Sector Innovation and Development
  • Arts Across Canada: Public Outreach

The Canada Council for the Arts is committed to the principles of public accountability and transparency. We report to Parliament through the Minister of Canadian Heritage, and submit regular re¬ports to other government departments according to schedules and regulations set by legislation and the departments. Each quarter we publish on our website the names of grant recipients and peer assessment committee members, and proactively disclose information on our activities. The Canada Council is subject to the Access to Information and Privacy Acts.

Conversion of documents from Paper to PDF

Documents not received electronically will be converted to PDF (Portable Document Format). These PDF documents and those received electronically will be put on an appropriate electronic system in their entirety. This means that they will be posted exactly as you send them, including your signature and any other personal information they contain, in the official language and format in which they are received. The paper version will be destroyed once the electronic version receives an internal approval

Verification of Information

The Canada Council reserves the right to verify any information obtained through the application process

Signatures and Electronic Signatures

Canada Council does not require original signatures on applications or other documents submitted electronically through the New Funding Model portal. The electronic submission of applications through this system represents approval and replaces the traditional physical signatures.

For more information on our granting procedures please consult our Granting Policy.

The Canada Council is committed to equity and inclusion, and encourages applications from culturally diverse, Deaf, disability and official language minority artists, groups and organizations.

The Canada Council recognizes and affirms the Aboriginal and treaty rights of the Indigenous peoples of this land and encourages applications from First Nations, Inuit and Métis individuals, groups, and organizations in all its programs. Measures are in place in all programs to support these commitments.