1. Funding
  2. Strategic Funds
  3. Digital Strategy Fund
  4. Public Access to the Arts and Citizen Engagement

Public Access to the Arts and Citizen Engagement

Digital Strategy Fund

Project grants to encourage the sharing of artistic and literary works and increase access to the works of Canadian artists both at home and abroad. This component also aims to enhance the public’s artistic experience and broaden the participation and citizen engagement of Canadians of diverse backgrounds.

Applicants may request a grant for a single- or multi-phase initiative.

Types of initiative
Single-phase initiative
Initiatives for which the objectives, timelines and expected results are clearly set out.
Multi-phase initiative
Initiatives for which the objectives and intentions are clearly established and require an iterative approach to achieve desired results.

Individuals who are Deaf or who have disabilities, including those living with mental illness, and require accommodation at any stage of the application process may be eligible for additional assistance.

Apply on the portal

Create an account and submit one or more profile(s) for validation at least 30 days before you want to apply

Activities - what you can apply for

The exploration, development, implementation or optimization of digital initiatives that radically improve – or even establish a new paradigm that potentially transforms – citizen access to, experience of and engagement with the arts and artists. Eligible activities include (but are not limited to):

  • digital visions or strategies that go beyond a single organization;
  • new ways of engaging citizens in creating, producing, disseminating and sharing artwork or artistic content;
  • innovative projects that use metadata to further engage audiences in the arts;
  • hackathons or workshops that use participatory methodologies designed to develop new interactions with citizens;
  • open data and freeware initiatives to foster citizen engagement in artistic and literary creation;
  • preparatory activities, meetings or work for updating existing digital initiatives;
  • approaches to strengthen the long-term viability of existing digital initiatives;
  • expanded sharing of artwork and artistic content;
  • integration of new users;
  • scaling up existing digital initiatives;
  • setting up new networks or alliances;
  • migration towards open access and open data.

Ineligible Activities

You cannot submit applications for activities that have already received Canada Council support, i.e. activities supported under the Council’s regular granting programs, including but not limited to:

  • hiring permanent staff;
  • day-to-day management of social media;
  • projects where the final goal is to digitize documents, collections or archives;
  • updating current computer equipment;
  • creating or updating websites or purchasing/rental solutions or basic technological tools such as ticketing systems or customer relationship management software;
  • projects to research, create or produce digital artwork or creations (these projects are eligible for support from the Canada Council’s regular programs).

Applicants - who can apply

Types of potential applicants to this component:

  • professional artists;
  • arts professionals (excluding consultants and third-party service providers);
  • artistic groups;
  • Canadian arts organizations.

Your eligibility to apply to this component is determined by the validated profile created in the portal.

Applicants may only submit one application to the Fund per deadline. Applications to the Fund do not count towards the maximum number of applications that can be submitted to the Canada Council each year (from 1 March – 28/29 February).

A grant from the Fund does not count towards the number of project or composite grants needed to be eligible for a Canada Council core or composite grant.

The Canada Council strongly encourages applicants to collaborate with service providers and inter-sector partners as well as with artists or consultants from various sectors who could make significant contributions to their initiative’s success. These partners will be considered part of the implementation team even if they are unable to either submit an application themselves or act as a lead applicant in the context of the Fund. All partners and service providers must be independent from each other and not be affiliated with other team members.

Expenses - what is covered

Developing new initiatives:

  • Single-phase initiative: 85% of eligible costs up to $250,000
  • Multi-phase initiative: 85% of eligible costs up to $500,000

Reinforcing and optimizing existing initiatives

  • Single-phase initiative: 50% of eligible costs up to $250,000
  • Multi-phase initiative: 50% of eligible costs up to $500,000

Eligible Expenses

All expenses directly related to carrying out the proposed initiative are eligible, including (but not limited to):

  • honoraria and fees paid to artists, experts, trainers, facilitators and consultants directly involved in carrying out the initiative;
  • travel, accommodation and per diem costs;
  • licensing fees;
  • equipment rental costs;
  • data acquisition costs;
  • access costs for Deaf or disabled artists, experts, trainers and consultants;
  • costs of sharing results and transferring acquired knowledge to the community;
  • administrative costs up to 15% of the total grant requested;
  • equipment purchase costs up to 15% of the total grant requested (must be justified);
  • other costs directly related to carrying out the initiative (must be justified).

Ineligible Expenses  

Expenses that are not directly related to carrying out the proposed initiative are not eligible, including (but not limited to):

  • ongoing operating expenses;
  • deficit reduction costs;
  • expenses for developing and maintaining permanent websites, ticketing systems, customer relationship management software, etc.;
  • expenses incurred prior to the deadline date;
  • expenses related to renovating or constructing a building;
  • expenses for which funding has already been granted by the Canada Council or another funder.

Assessment - how decisions are made

Your application will be assessed by a committee of experts in the arts, digital, business or other sectors as well as individuals who have undertaken digital transformation based on the weighted criteria below.

Impact 50%

  • The initiative aims for concrete results and significant expected benefits;
  • The initiative benefits many artists or organizations and, ideally, an entire community or arts sector;
  • The initiative is based on extensive consultation or close collaboration among many players and partners from different milieux and sectors, and draws on appropriate expertise;
  • The initiative is developed based on openness and sustainable development, as applicable;
  • Knowledge and results are shared with the community in relevant and appropriate ways.

Additional criterion for reinforcing and optimizing existing initiative

  • The additional funding will be used to scale up the initiative.

Relevance 30%

  • The initiative radically improves – or even establishes a new paradigm that potentially transforms – public access to, experience of and engagement with the arts or literature;
  • The proposed technological directions and choices are relevant, suitable and consistent with the initiative’s objectives;
  • The contributing partners are well matched and pertinent.

Additional criterion for reinforcing and optimizing existing initiative

  • The existing initiative meets user needs; its results and impact are clearly demonstrated; and its current partners, are well-established and engaged.

Feasibility 20%

  • The applicant, the applicant’s partners and the implementation team members have the experience and expertise needed to successfully carry out the initiative;
  • The budget and work plan are realistic and the proposed resources and deliverables are clear, optimal and adequate;
  • The governance set up to carry out the initiative (with aligned and complementary partners and collaborators) is effective.

Additional criterion for multi-phase initiatives:

  • The milestones for determining the continuation or termination of the various phases of the initiative’s implementation are clear and realistic.