1. Funding
  2. Strategic Funds and Initiatives
  3. COVID-19 Emergency Support Fund

COVID-19 Emergency Support Fund

$55M Council-Administered Fund from Government

The Government of Canada has set aside $500M to help alleviate the financial pressures of affected organizations through the COVID-19 Emergency Support Fund for Cultural, Heritage, and Sport Organizations.

Canadian Heritage, its portfolio agencies, and key delivery organizations are responsible for the distribution of these funds. This funding will be distributed in two phases.

In Phase 1, the Canada Council will distribute $55M of this money to eligible arts organizations experiencing a significant financial impact as a result of the pandemic. The Council has contacted eligible organizations and will email additional information and instructions to receive this funding.

This measure will help maintain jobs, support business continuity for organizations, and stabilize the arts sector—major drivers of the Canadian economy. 

You do not have to apply for this funding.

The Canada Council has emailed information about these emergency measures to key contacts at arts organizations that have applied for and received a project or core grant from the Council over the past three years (April 2017 to April 2020).

The Council has identified key contacts from organizations’ accounts on the Council’s online granting portal.

We will be sending instructions and additional communications to these key contacts.

Please ensure your organization has updated the key contacts in your portal account and profile.

Eligible: Core and project organization recipients

Eligible organizations are Canadian arts organizations that have experienced a 25% reduction in revenues and:

  • have applied for and been awarded core or project funding from any Canada Council program, fund, or special initiative between April 2017 and April 2020 (except for funding awarded through the Commission internationale du théâtre francophone [CITF], prizes or the Canadian Commission for UNESCO);
  • receive only emergency support funding from one participating department or agency (Canadian Heritage, Canada Council for the Arts, Canada Media Fund, or Telefilm Canada)

The Canada Council is working closely with Canadian Heritage and Portfolio organizations to coordinate our funding responses to avoid double funding, and organizations will be contacted by either the Canada Council or one of the other partner organizations or portfolio agencies with instructions on completing the attestation.

Publishers, museums, cultural/educational institutions and provincial/territorial entities

Only literary book publishers that receive funding through the Canada Council, and not from Canadian Heritage, will be eligible for this support from the Canada Council. Other book publishers will be supported through Canadian Heritage’s Canada Book Fund – Support for Publishers program.

Museums that are eligible to receive funding from the Canada Council in Phase 1 will be contacted directly in the coming weeks. Eligible museums with heritage collections currently funded through Canadian Heritage’s Museums Assistance Program (MAP) will be addressed in a second phase of funding through the MAP.

Cultural institutions associated with educational institutions or universities are considered eligible. 

Provincial/territorial crown corporations are not eligible for this funding.  Provincial/territorial government agencies must contact the Emergency Fund team to determine their eligibility.

Submit: Portal attestation form

To receive funding, eligible organizations will be required to complete a form through the Council’s online application portal to attest that they:

  • need funding to ensure a continuity of operations and to safeguard jobs;
  • have experienced or anticipate experiencing a 25% loss of total revenue for a three-month period in 2020 as compared with total revenue for a comparable three-month period in the previous fiscal year;
  • are only receiving emergency support funding from one (1) participating Department or Agency (Canadian Heritage, Canada Council for the Arts, Canada Media Fund and Telefilm Canada);
  • remain in operation at the time of application and plan to continue contributing to their sector in the future.

Additionally, the Council will be asking core funded organizations to update their CADAC financial and statistical projections to help us better understand the impacts of COVID-19 on their organization.

We will email organizations’ key contacts additional instructions on how to submit the attestation form in early June.

Funding: Formula based

There will be no assessment process. Funding will be calculated according to the following formula:

  • For organizations that have core funding in 2020-21:
    • 25% of your 2020-21 core grant;
    • plus, up to 25% of your highest annual project funding amount in the past three years.
  • For project-funded organizations:
    • up to 25% of your highest annual project funding amount in the past three years.
  • If you held a core grant between 2017 and 2019 but no longer receive core funding, a portion (up to 25%) of your last core grant amount may be considered in the calculation.
  • In the calculation, the Digital Strategy Fund amounts will be capped at $25,000. 
  • Each eligible organization will receive a minimum of $5,000. 
  • Exact amounts are subject to demand and availability of budget.

There will be no appeals. 

Reporting COVID-19 Impact in CADAC (Canadian Arts Data / Données sur les arts au Canada): for Core Grant Recipients

The Canada Council for the Arts asks organizations that receive core funding from the Council (excluding publishers) to provide updated financial and statistical (if applicable) projections in CADAC by July 12, 2020.

Updated CADAC data will enable the Council to evaluate the immediate and short-range impact of the disruption caused by COVID-19 on the operations of organizations and provide insights into what other initiatives may help the arts sector in this time of crisis.

Organizations receiving core grants are asked to update their financial and statistical forms (if applicable) and record any variances in projections due to COVID-19 that might affect annual projections.

The update might cover one or two years, i.e., 2019-20 and/or 2020-21, depending on your fiscal year end. Update CADAC data for the year(s) that contain the months of March, April, May and June 2020 and any additional months where there is a known impact from COVID-19 (e.g. confirmed cancellations).

Only update the impacts that are known (e.g. cancellations that are confirmed) versus impacts that are likely (e.g. possible touring cancellation in the fall). The space provided for details in the CADAC financial and statistical forms should be used to record relevant information related to these variances in projections.

Specific instructions on how organizations can update their CADAC financial and statistical data are available under FAQs Reporting COVID-19 Impact in CADAC (PDF).

The guide Reporting COVID-19 Impact in CADAC (PDF) provides instructions on how revenues and expenses related to COVID-19 should be recorded in CADAC.

For all questions regarding this update, please contact CADAC at 1-866-249-0296 #1 or send an email to cadacinfo@thecadac.ca


Eligible organizations will be contacted with instructions on how to complete the attestation in the portal.

When are funds distributed?

We plan to begin releasing emergency funds in batches based on date of attestation submission by mid-June.

For more information

For further information, you can email: covid19@canadacouncil.ca.

Individuals who are Deaf and/or have disabilities, including those living with mental illness, and require additional support for the process of completing an attestation, can contact us by calling 1-800-263-5588, ext. 5060 or by emailing emergencyfund@canadacouncil.ca. We welcome Video Relay Service (VRS) calls, and we can also support conversations with your preferred sign language interpreter in ASL or LSQ. As always, we will cover these interpreting costs.