Equity is a principle and process that promotes fair conditions for all persons to fully participate in society. It recognizes that while all people have the right to be treated equally, not all experience equal access to resources, opportunities or benefits. Achieving equality does not necessarily mean treating individuals or groups in the same way, but may require the use of specific measures to ensure fairness.

The Canada Council for the Arts aims to support a vital and diverse arts ecology that enriches the lives of Canadians, and equity is a critical means to achieve this. All citizens deserve to benefit from a vibrant, accessible and pluralistic arts sector, and all creative expressions should have the same chance to flourish.

Funding Initiatives

Application Assistance

Applicants who are Deaf and /or have disabilities (includes people living with mental illness) may apply for funding to contribute to costs for services to assist them specifically in completing a grant application and/or in submitting a final report.

Access Support

Access Support funds individual applicants who are Deaf, have disabilities or who are living with mental illness, as well as Deaf and disability arts groups and organizations. Grants provide a contribution towards costs for specific services and supports required to complete a project funded through a Canada Council program.

Guiding Principles

The Equity Office advances the guiding principle of equity throughout the Canada Council to positively impact the Canadian arts sector and through it, the general public. It provides critical discourse and generates policies focusing on a wide array of equity-related issues in the arts. The Equity Office works to increase equity of access to Canada Council’s grants and services for professional artists, arts organizations and communities that are marginalized or disadvantaged. It develops initiatives, partnerships, policies, procedures and strategies that advance the arts practices, engagement and participation of these groups, in collaboration and consultation with various stakeholders.

The Council recognizes that systems of power and systemic discrimination have created unequal conditions – including financial resource distribution – that prevent many Canadians from fulfilling their cultural capacity and be meaningfully engaged in the arts; this impacts health, wellbeing and sustainability of the entire society. The Council is therefore committed to taking bold actions to make measurable progress towards building an arts milieu that engages everyone. Through its equity policy work, the Council strives to be thought leader, influencer and instigator for change while maintaining its relevancy and credibility in a rapidly changing world.


Accessible and alternative formats, services and supports are available to potential applicants, who are Deaf or have disabilities, or have other barriers which require accommodation.


More information about the Canada Council’s approach to Equity can be found in the Equity Policy.

What We Do

  • Develop fair internal processes and measures to counter systemic barriers experienced by groups of artists based on age, culture, disability, ethnicity, gender, generation, language, region and socio-economic status etc.
  • Advance racial equality in the arts by developing funding strategies and policies to support culturally diverse artists (Canadian artists of African, Asian, Middle Eastern, Latin American or mixed racial heritage,) and their artistic practices
  • Create greater access for and participation of arts professionals who are Deaf and have disabilities into the Council’s processes and programs by recognizing distinct arts practices generating from these communities.
  • Contribute to policies pertaining to Canada’s Official language minority communities
  • Promote best practices and act as influencer with government agencies, academic institutions, arts organizations and businesses
  • Foster the understanding and practice of equity in the arts through consultation, research, partnership and sector-wide Council-led initiatives.

Want to measure the diversity in your organization?
We can help.

The Canada Council’s Equity Office has prepared a Diversity Evaluation Tool in the form of a fillable pdf. We invite you to download and complete this form. You can also download a sample completed form for reference.

PDF Diversity Evaluation Tool

Expanding the Arts Guidebook

In 2015 we published the Expanding the Arts Guidebook, a unique and practical guide to supporting deaf and disabled artists and audiences in theatres and other venues.

PDF Read the guidebook

Equity at the Canada Council

Contact the Equity Office at the Canada Council by calling 1-800 263-5588 ext. 5221 or TTY: 1-866-585-5559.

Contact us