The Canada Council for the Arts aspires to support a vital and diverse arts ecology that enriches the lives of all Canadians—and equity is a critical element in achieving this.

Expanding the Arts II: Deaf and Disability Expression and Engagement Strategy

Our 2019 Expanding the Arts Strategy intends to support the expression and engagement of artists who are Deaf or have disabilities and of arts organizations across Canada that work with them.

Explore the previous Expanding the Arts Strategy (2012) and read the Expanding the Arts Guidebook (2015), a practical guide for organizations that work with artists and audiences who are Deaf or have disabilities.

This video includes ASL interpretation and captions.

Read the transcript here.

Funding Support

The Canada Council believes that everyone deserves access to the arts, and that all expressions should have the same chance to flourish. But persistent barriers prevent many people from participating meaningfully in the arts. This affects the well-being and sustainability of our communities.

The Council applies equity principles across all its funding programs. In addition, the Council provides targeted funding support for designated priority groups:

  • Support to foster a vital and resilient Indigenous arts ecosystem to First Nations, Inuit and Métis individuals, groups and organizations: Creating, Knowing and Sharing.
  • Assistance with the application process for artists who are Deaf, are hard of hearing, have a disability or are living with a mental illness, and First Nations, Inuit or Métis artists facing language, geographic and/or cultural barriers: Application Assistance.
  • Supplementary funds contributing towards the cost of disability-related supports and services needed to carry out activities funded through a Canada Council program for applicants who self-identify as Deaf, having disabilities or living with mental illness, as well as groups and organizations that dedicate the majority of their resources to supporting these communities: Access Support
  • Support to increase access to diversified markets and audiences for Official Language Minority Communities (OLMCs): Market Access Strategy for Official Language Minority Communities (OLMCs) Fund.
  • Support towards building capacity and improving the arts sector for organizations and cultural connectors from culturally diverse, Deaf and disability, official language minority, and Indigenous communities: Sector Innovation and Development.


Deeply rooted in our policies

Canada is one of the most diverse places in the world. When this diversity is reflected in the arts, we get to promote everyone’s cultural rights and embrace our common humanity.

Our decades-long commitments to equity are reflected in our Equity Policy, which explains why and how we do what we do.

many grey pebbles

Central to our processes

We apply equity principles across our grant programs. We ensure that the composition of our peer assessment committees reflects the plurality of Canadian society and we include diversity-related assessment criteria in our grant programs.

Towards a Better Understanding of Equity

Defining Equity

Critical understanding of terms is a first step towards recognition. The Council proposes definitions of key terms while recognizing that each individual and community is complex, with identities that intersect and evolve with time.

Deaf and disability arts in Canada

What are the practices, issues and collaborations that exist in the Deaf and disability arts field in Canada today? To better answer these questions, the Council conducted a research project with participants in different regions through interviews and focus groups.