Frequently Asked Questions

Does "not eligible" mean "not good"?

No. The Canada Council has very precise guidelines and eligibility criteria for each program. If a project does not meet the requirements of a specific program, it does not mean that the project isn’t worthwhile. Try contacting other organizations or government departments; they may have programs that could support your project.


I want to start an art business. Can I get a grant from the Canada Council?

No. While the Canada Council supports individual professional artists in the creation and presentation of their work, an organization must be incorporated as non-profit to be eligible for assistance (except in the case of a professional publishing house). The Council does not give grants to support a commercial production line of art.


Can I get a grant to go to university or college in my artistic field?

It depends. Some of the Canada Council’s grants to individuals cover costs related to a period of advanced study or professional development training (for example, in theatre, music, dance). However, these grants are intended for recognized professional artists who are pursuing further studies to build on their existing skills or to study with a mentor. The Canada Council will not cover the costs of basic training at a university or college.


Are Aboriginal artists restricted to Aboriginal programs at the Canada Council, or can they apply for grants from other programs?

Aboriginal artists can apply to any Canada Council program for which they are eligible. All programs are accessible to Aboriginal artists or arts organizations and artists or arts organizations from diverse cultural and regional communities of Canada.


How do I determine whether my project belongs in Media Arts, Inter-Arts or another section?

Artists in many disciplines are now incorporating media technologies into their work. Read the program guidelines and application form carefully, and be sure to discuss your project with a Program Officer in Media Arts or with the Inter-Arts Coordinator before applying. The Program Officers will be able to direct you to the right program for your project.


How can I tell the difference between a disciplinary art form (such as theatre) and an inter-arts practice (such as interdisciplinary work or a new artistic practice)?

Consult the information sheet for the discipline closest to your project and compare it with the Inter-Arts Program. If your project is eligible under an existing grant program of the Canada Council, it is not eligible under the Inter-Arts Program (with the exception of performance art, which is also eligible under certain programs in the Visual Arts Section). Note that interdisciplinary work projects, by definition, integrate distinct art forms (not just juxtapose them) and transform them into a new form of disciplinary practice.

You may also consult the "Searchable Grants Listing" of previously successful Canada Council applicants.

If you still have questions, send a one-page summary of your project (maximum of 300 words) to the Inter-Arts Coordinator well before the competition deadline. Include the following information: a summary of the artistic intentions and activities of the project; the names of the project participants, with a short description of each one’s role; the intended audience and venue for presentation of the work; project cost; and specific questions concerning eligibility.


Grants to individuals cover "subsistence" costs. What does this mean?

Subsistence costs are essentially the costs of living, like rent and food. Grants can cover a maximum of $2,000 per month for living expenses.


How do I describe my "program of work"?

Describe what you want to do. Present your plan in such a way that someone who has never heard of you can understand your vision. Outline how you intend to organize your time to carry out the project. State what you will accomplish with the grant.

Present your plan clearly and succinctly, allowing the peer assessment committee to grasp the nature, intention and relevance of your project in relation to your artistic approach. Remember, you are writing for artists and arts professionals who work in your artistic discipline.


Can I submit extra support material?

Submit only the material requested in the application form and be judicious about the material you include. Peer assessment committees have a limited time in which to study each grant application. This ensures that all applicants are assessed on the same basis.


Can I fax or e-mail my application?

No. The Canada Council does not accept applications that are sent by fax or e-mail. You may, however, send your application on the day of the deadline, as long as it carries the postmark of the deadline date (a postmark is the Canada Post or courier company's date stamp). If this date falls on a weekend or statutory holiday, the deadline moves to the next business day. Note that photocopies of application forms are acceptable, but all signatures must be original (not photocopied).


Can I submit my application after the deadline, or send the form by the deadline and the support material later on?

No. The Canada Council’s deadlines are firm, and any applications that are incomplete or postmarked after the deadline will be returned to you unassessed (unless you have confirmed otherwise with a Program Officer).


How will I know whether the Canada Council has received my application?

Upon receiving the application, the Canada Council will send, by mail, an immediate acknowledgement.


How do Program Officers decide which applications will get a grant?

Program Officers do not have the authority to decide who gets a grant, except in the case of Travel Grants. Their job is to determine your eligibility to apply to the program and to oversee the peer assessment process. Applications are reviewed by peer assessment committees, composed of other practising artists or arts professionals who are specialists in a particular field. New peer assessment committees of three to seven members are selected for each competition.


What should I do if there is a major change to my project after it has been submitted?

If major changes are made to your project after the application has been submitted, contact the appropriate Program Officer. The changes should be discussed with the officer and documented in your file.


How do I find out whether I got a grant? Can I telephone to find out my results?

The Canada Council will not release the results by telephone. Results are sent by mail only, three to five months after the deadline. Support material is returned at the same time (sometimes under separate cover), unless other treatment of support material has been indicated in the application guidelines.


How will I receive payment of my grant?

Grant payments are made in one or two instalments, in Canadian funds only. You will receive a letter notifying you that your application was successful and describing any special conditions. In some cases, you have to fill out, sign and return a grant acknowledgement form before a cheque can be issued. Note that the amount received may be less than the amount you requested in your application.


Can I find out who got a grant and who was on the peer assessment committee?

Yes. The "Searchable Grants Listing", a database of successful grant applicants, is accessible through our website.

The names of the peer assessment committee members are posted at council/annualreports. You can also write to us to request the list of peer assessors, and we will send it to you by mail.


I didn’t get a grant. Can I get feedback about my application from the peer assessment committee?

In some cases, feedback will be included in the letter of notification. If it isn’t, you are welcome to call the appropriate Program Officer to discuss your application, and he or she will transmit the committee’s feedback. Remember, though, that any feedback given by the peer assessment committee is in the context of the particular competition. That is, you will find out how your application fared compared with the others that were assessed in the competition.