The Canada Council for the Arts is committed to transparency, integrity and full accountability in its funding decisions, with peer assessment at the heart of its decision-making processes.
The annual budget allocations for granting programs are guided by the Council’s strategic plan commitments.
Our decision-making process, commitments, and funding principles are the cornerstones of our operations.
The three steps of the decision-making process
Peer assessment is the basis for the majority of the Canada Council’s funding decisions. Some applications are assessed by internal committees of program staff when artistic merit is not the primary criterion (e. g., Travel, Professional Development, and Access Support).
Funding decisions of the Canada Council for the Arts are final. Decisions cannot be appealed unless evidence suggests that a procedural error may have occurred during the assessment process.
The Council retains the right to cancel any grant previously awarded. The Council may initiate a process to review and potentially reverse a grant decision where there are serious concerns about the recipient or the funded activities. Examples of serious concerns include failure to meet the terms and conditions of the grant, failure to comply with legal obligations, and misrepresentation and risk of insolvency.
Feedback on individual grant application results
Canada Council staff continue to help and support applicants who are preparing new grant applications.
However, the Council has shifted away from providing individualized feedback on past applications in an effort to continue to meet its service standards for the processing and assessment of applications, and to focus on helping applicants with their future applications. Program staff will no longer discuss past applications.
Funding Commitments for 2016-21
The budgets for the granting programs, strategic funds and investments are determined by the Director and CEO in close consultation with the Director General of Arts Granting Programs, in alignment with Council’s strategic plan. The budget is approved annually by the Board.
In 2016, the federal government announced a progressive doubling of the Canada Council’s budget over five years. The following funding commitments guide the allocation of Council’s grants budget, including the new investments, by 2020-21:
- award 88 % of the new investments in the form of grants, payments and prizes to artists and arts organizations;
- increase the total funds allocated to core grants by 55%, and project grants by 224%, in order to evenly distribute resources on a 50-50 basis to core and project funding overall;
- triple support to Indigenous artists, organizations and communities;
- double investments in international support to enhance our global presence in the arts;
- invest $88.5 million in the Digital Strategy Fund;
- award 25% of the new investments to artists, collectives or organizations that are new recipients or receive core funding for the first time.
Transparency and accountability
The Canada Council engages artists and arts professionals for its peer assessment committees. Peer committee members are selected for diversity of:
- professional specialization;
- artistic practice;
- demographics (age, gender, ethnicity); and
Program Officers compose committees with appropriate knowledge and expertise based on the applications received, with final approval by the Director of the program.
Proactive Disclosure: Committee Members, Grant Recipients and Funding Allocation
The Canada Council publishes quarterly the names of the peer assessors who served on a committee.
The Council provides information on all grants and prizes it awards. Its searchable online database is updated four times a year.
The Stats and Stories webpage presents a breadth of information about the Canada Council’s investments including breakdowns of funding, five-year trends, open data tables and stories about what artists, groups and arts organizations did with their grants.
How Can I Serve as a Peer Assessor?
Artists and arts professionals that are interested in being peer assessors are asked to self-nominate using the portal. The steps are as follows: