COVID-19: Information and support for the arts sector

Last updated: July 29, 2021

We encourage you to consult this page for our latest updates. Older related content has been moved to an archived page. 

Our thoughts go out to the many artists, staff at arts organizations, and their loved ones whose health and livelihoods are affected by the global spread of COVID-19. 

What's new

On July 29, 2021, the Canada Council lifted restrictions on travel and public gathering activities within its programs. Grant recipients undertaking travel and public gathering activities must comply with the latest COVID-19 measures imposed by reliable government authorities.

It is the responsibility of grant recipients to:

  • comply with health and travel measures, as required by the jurisdiction where the funded activities are to be held
  • follow all public health and travel measures, laws and regulations issued by relevant government authorities.

Travel and public events are undertaken at the grant recipient’s own risk. Any additional expenses incurred due to COVID-19-related measures, including quarantine expenses, will be borne by grant recipients.

Whether the grant recipient’s project includes travel departing from Canada or abroad, they must consult the relevant travel authorities to ensure they are complying with all local health and travel measures, laws and regulations. In Canada, helpful pages include:

For projects that include public gatherings in Canada, recipients are encouraged to read the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) guidelines.

If your plans include travel and/or public gatherings in locations with public health measures in place, consider postponing the project, completing the project without these elements or modifying the activity to a virtual event or one that respects social distancing guidelines. These changes must be pre-approved by a Program officer in writing or through an approved project update report.


Impact on Council programs, initiatives, and activities

General changes to our granting activities

Peer assessment committees

The Council is currently holding virtual peer assessment committee meetings. We are grateful to our many accommodating peer assessor committee members.

Feedback on grant applications

Canada Council staff members continue to help and support applicants who are preparing new grant applications.

That said, the Council has shifted away from providing individualized feedback on past applications to continue to meet its service standards for assessing current applications and to help applicants with their future applications.

Successful grant applications: postponing your project

If your grant application is successful but you are unsure if you will be able to undertake your proposed project, please indicate that you do not want to receive the payment until you have confirmation of your plans in your grant acceptance form. When you make a final decision, contact the program officer identified in your results letter. Payments of successful grants may not be released until any changes have been pre-approved in writing by a program officer to ensure eligibility or through an approved project update report.

Cancellations and postponed events

The Council relies on its grant recipients to make sound decisions about their funded activities based on relevant public health guidelines and travel measures information made available at that time. If your activity is cancelled or postponed due to COVID-19-related restrictions, please contact your program officer. Certain expenses related to cancellation or postponement of events may be eligible. Note that all expenses related to mandatory quarantines are ineligible.


Additional investment for the arts

In June 2021, the Canada Council for the Arts welcomed a $500 million federal government investment to relaunch the arts, culture, heritage and sports sectors and to resume their public activities. Of that amount, the Council will receive $75 million, which it will invest over the course of the 2021–22 and 2022–23 fiscal years.

This is in addition to the investment of $116.5 million that the Council received from the federal government in the fall of 2020.

Explore and Create: Additional funding

The Council is investing a portion of the additional one-time funding in the Research and Creation and Concept to Realization components of its Explore and Create program. Program guidelines and eligibility remain unchanged.

Digital Now: grants for the development of digital artistic content

The remainder of the Council’s portion of the $116.5 million funding was invested in a one-time initiative called Digital Now. Digital Now provides groups, collectives and arts organizations with grants to develop, create, adapt, promote, disseminate and optimize digital artistic content.

Creating, Knowing and Sharing: The Arts and Cultures of First Nations, Inuit and Métis Peoples

The Council is investing additional funds in the Short-Term Projects and Long-Term Projects components for upcoming deadlines.


Latest news and communiqués

See our Press section for the latest news. 

Contact us

We invite you to explore the information on these pages before contacting us.

If you have a question for the Canada Council and you didn’t find an answer here, please email info@canadacouncil.ca. Although we aim to reply within two business days, this may be affected by volume and staff availability.

Accessibility: We welcome Video Relay Service (VRS) calls, and we can also support longer conversations with your preferred sign language interpreter in ASL or LSQ. As always, we will cover these interpreting costs. Please email us at info@canadacouncil.ca

We recognize the disproportionate effects of the COVID-19 health crisis on many equity seeking communities including Deaf and disability arts communities. Many artists and arts professionals who are Deaf, have disabilities or live with mental illness are now required to develop alternative approaches to maintaining their independence, health, and safety in everyday life. The Council wants to be as flexible as it can in the ways it is assisting and supporting the arts community. If there are alternative ways that the Council can deliver its support that will be more accommodating to your situation, please let our staff know.

For more information about the types of accommodations we currently provide, please consult our accessibility page.

SRV Canada VRS logo

Canada Council also welcomes VRS (Video Relay Service) calls.

For more information, please see the SRV Canada VRS Canada website (http://srvcanadavrs.ca/en/)