May 11, 2020

Input on measures to off-set impacts on arts sector
of COVID-19

May 11, 2020

Better understanding the arts sector in a time of pandemic

To better understand the needs of the professional arts sector to overcome the COVID-19 crisis, the Canada Council for the Arts sent a national survey on April 6, 2020 to approximately 30,000 of its existing clients (artists, groups, organizations).

Within just a few days, 8,842 or 32% of survey invitees replied.

The survey and responses reflect the challenges faced by the professional arts sector, and address the Government of Canada's emergency aid measures as they were during the period the survey was conducted. Additional measures were announced May 6, 2020. See Canada's COVID-19 Economic Response Plan for more information.

The final report prepared by Forum Research Inc. is now available. This report is complemented by data tables, which provide more information for specific parts of the sector (e.g., by region, type of respondent, field of practice).

The Canada Council for the Arts thanks the arts sector for its engagement and participation. This level of response demonstrates the arts sector’s commitment to addressing the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Findings at a glance

  • The majority of survey respondents (61%) felt that the emergency aid measures would help them withstand the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Less than half of respondents had applied or intended to apply for the emergency measures:
    • 42% of individual respondents said they had or would be applying to the Canada Emergency Response Benefit.
    • 41% of organizations said they had or would be applying to the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy.
    • 17% of organizations said they were planning to access the Canada Emergency Business Account.
  • No fields of practice supported by the Canada Council will be untouched by the crisis.
  • Certain aspects of the sector remain at risk (for example, organizations relying on self-employed professionals and organizations with high non-payroll fixed costs).
  • Respondents emphasized that additional assistance would be needed to address the challenges faced by the arts sector in the long-term.
  • Suggestions included expanding the eligibility of the current emergency aid measures and providing additional sector-specific supports.

Read the final report and explore our data to understand the complexity of the challenges faced by the arts and culture sector to get through the pandemic crisis:

Standing together

We have made announcements about stabilizing the sector (March 30, 2020). We continue to assess how our programs and our services are impacted, and to make adjustments where necessary. Our commitment to dialogue with Canadian artists and arts organizations will continue during this crisis, and beyond.

Staying connected and engaged

If you have questions about this report, email:

Individuals who are Deaf and/or or have disabilities (including those living with a mental illness) and require accommodation to access the report and data tables can contact us by calling 1-800-263-5588, ext. 4205, or by emailing

Visit our COVID-19 information page for the latest on impacts to our programs and services. If you have questions that we haven’t addressed, email us at