(Last updated: May 18, 2020)
ALAS has gathered the following sources which provide information on the support mechanisms available (and planned to be available) to Canadian creators during the developing COVID-19 pandemic. This list is geared towards creators located in the Province of Ontario, but may include resources that are helpful to creators located across Canada.
We will be updating this page periodically as more information becomes available. If you are looking for assistance we recommend that you consider these resources, and continue to check back for more information as it becomes available. ALAS will continue to update this webpage as more information becomes available, and many of the resources listed below are similarly expected to update as things develop.
If you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and you are located in Ontario then the Province recommends you immediately contact Telehealth Ontario at 1-866-797-0000.
1) Governmental Support
Canada Council for the Arts (CCA) – CCA is working with various Canadian government entities to put support mechanisms in place for the arts community in light of the developing COVID-19 pandemic. CCA has prepared an online info hub for details, and they will be updating the webpage as things develop.
The webpage is available at https://canadacouncil.ca/
The CCA has also partnered with CBC to offer $5000 micro-grants for artists to bring their work online. These grants are available to artists of all disciplines, and includes individual artists, collectives, and companies. The grants can be applied for on the application portal of the Canada Council website. You must create an account, which must be verified (can take up to 15 days), so act quickly. The deadline in June 15.
Canada Media Fund (CMF) – The CMF has partnered with a number of groups in the Canadian interactive digital media industry to form a taskforce dedicated to assisting Canadian companies impacted by COVID-19. The partnered groups including the Canadian Interactive Alliance (CIA / AIC), DigiBC, Interactive Ontario (IO), New Media Manitoba (NMM), La Guilde du jeu vidéo du Québec, SaskInteractive, and Videogames PEI. They have posted a number of resources on their COVID-19 Information Hub For Canada’s Screen-Based Industries. This site has daily updates to their Action Plan, including information on the latest funding supports for the screen industry.
The CMF announced that, starting May 20, $88.5M in funding will be dispersed to businesses and organizations in Canada’ television and digital media sectors that have been affected by COVID-19. These funds are available to parent companies who have received support in any year from 2017 to 2020 and funding will be between $200k ad $800k depending on the prior level of funding. More information about the criteria can be found in this overview or in greater detail on the programs site. Applications are open until June 12 via Telefilm Canada’s Dialogue platform.
Telefilm Canada – Telefilm has been engaged to distribute the $115.8M stimulus from the Federal Government to support the audiovisual sector. Details on how the funds will be dispersed are still in discussion, but a dedicated team will be handling its distribution. Clients can contact Telefilm Canada by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or the Canada Media Fund at email@example.com for more information, or visit their website: https://telefilm.ca/en/covid-19-updates.
Telefilm’s regular programs are continuing as usual, with the ability to request waivers for theatrical releases.
Toronto Response to COVID-19 – For creators in the City of Toronto, the City has grouped updates and resources for residents on a webpage located at https://www.toronto.ca/home/covid-19/. The site includes phone numbers for city services, including the following:
Telehealth Ontario: 1-866-797-0000
Toronto Public Health Hotline: 416-338-7600 / 416-392-0658 (TTY) / PublicHealth@toronto.ca
311 Toronto: 311 / 416-392-2489 (if outside City limits) / 416-338-0889 (TTY)
2) Private Resources
Access Copyright – Access Copyright has launched #ReadAloudCanada for educators and librarians to access free, non-commercial usage licenses for books written by Canadian authors to be read for digital distribution. This is a non-funded program that gives students the opportunity to engage with materials. More information on the website: https://www.accesscopyright.ca/read-aloud To request permission, email firstname.lastname@example.org with the title, publisher, and ISBN of the work.
Akin Collective – Members of the Akin Collective can apply for rent relief during the COVID-19 crisis. The Fund, provided to current Akin artists and creatives, provides one-time, anonymous grants towards studio rent at Akin. The Fund is also open for donations. If you are an Akin member, more information can be found here: https://www.akincollective.com/rentrelief
Behind the Scenes – Behind the Scenes provides Basic Needs Grants to those who have earned a living for a minimum of five years in the entertainment technology industry. This grant is not available to performing artists. For more information, go to their website. To apply, fill out this form.
Black Emergency Support Fund – Black Lives Matter Toronto has organized a support fund for members of the Black Community in Toronto who have lost income due to COVID-19. The Fund aims to support those who have extreme needs, but the Application is based upon self-assessment of need. The application is now closed, but you can visit the GoFundMe to donate.
Canadian Art in Isolation – This non-monetary initiative seeks to connect visual artists with seniors who have been disproportionally affected by COVID-19. The initiative asks for submissions by Toronto-based artists who can provide seniors with works of art that can be displayed in their room, an attempt to alleviate the stress of isolation. For more information, go to their website: https://cdnartinisolation.format.com/
Canadian Artists’ Representation (CARFAC) – CARFAC is encouraging all visual artists to document their economic losses through ILostMyGig.ca.
Canadian Artist + Musician Relief Fund (CAMRF) – The CAMRF has launched a GoFundMe to support Artists and Musicians that have been impacted by COVID-19. Their goal is to give $200 to 500 Artists across Canada. In order to qualify, you must fill out this Google Form. Dispursements are made every Sunday. For more information or to donate, go to their GoFundMe page.
Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) – The CBC has partnered with the Canada Council for the Arts to offer $5000 micro-innovation grants to creators to transition their work online. The grants are available to artists, groups or organizations to adapt existing work or to create new work for digital dissemination. Projects will be housed on a dedicated CBC website and will feature selected projects on their CBC/Radio-Canada platforms (eg. GEM, Listen). If selected, curated content will receive an additional $1000. Applications can be made through the Canada Council of the Arts and the deadline is June 15.
Co-Mission – Co-Mission is an organization designed to raise money to pay musical performing artists by organizing online benefit concerts. Music submitted to Co-Mission will be streamed and made into an album, and the musicians involve retain their own rights. This program will reset when funding goals are reached. To apply or receive more information, email Fred Knittle of Folkadelphia. For more information on the project, visit their website: https://comissioncompilation.wordpress.com/
Festival Academy – The Festival Academy provides useful resources, including webinars, that help to move a festival online. These resources can also help consider how to create revenue-generating livestreams for companies looking to transition. More information on their website: https://www.thefestivalacademy.eu/en/covid-19/
Glad Day Book Shop – The Glad Day Bookstore has organized a non-profit program, Glad Day Lit, to raise money for an Emergency Survival Fund to assist those in the LGBTQ2+ community. The Fund is available to artists, performers, and tip-based workers in the community who need emergency support. They are providing paid work and swift grants and loans up to $800 to go towards living expenses. To apply, donate, and for more information, go to gladdaylit.ca
Music Together (Ontario Live) – Music Together is an online living-room concert series that pays musical artists in need. The program, funded by arts leaders and the Ontario Government, provides funding, discovery, and eCommerce tools during COVID-19. The program pays $1000 to play a livestream show to new and established audiences and gives the opportunity to monetize the audience via merchandise. In order to be selected, you must be a working musician (making a living through music), Ontario-based, and have the ability to film your own livestream. More information on criteria, benefits, and application can be found on their website.
Netflix – Netflix has provided a $150M relief fund for employees and crews that have been impacted by COVID-19. If you were working on a Netflix production before the shutdown and have not received funding, reach out to your Production head or union rep. The fund is currently only reported to be until the end of April, but we will see as things progress.
Ottawa Music Development Fund (OMDF) – Available to Ottawa-based musicians who are members of Ottawa Music Industry Coalition (OMIC). The $25,000 fund provides Educational grants and Needs grants of $500 each. There are 3 Education and 45 Needs grants available. OMIC is also setting up Confined Dining, a program that provides musicians with a 20-minute set. Recipients of grants will be invited to partake and will be coached on adapting to a virtual audience. The application form can be filled out here. More information can be found on the website: https://ottawamic.com/news-nouvelles/2020/4/30/9g9u0ii9ai3pxcaaf7obftneiuhp92
Ontario Creates/Ontario Film Commission – The Ontario Film Commission has compiled a list of Professional Development & Learning Resources that are available online during the COVID-19 Pandemic. The full list of resources can be found here.
Ontario Creates is also working to release funding more quickly, increase flexibility on filing, and have created a second application deadline of August 31. A full list of their COVID-19 response can be found here.
Playback Magazine – The film, television, broadcasting and media magazine, Playback, has removed its online paywall for articles relating to COVID-19, and is allowing all users to review the magazine’s current articles and archives. Playback’s COVID-19 related coverage can be found here.
Social Distancing Festival – The Social Distancing Festival is a submission based multidisciplinary festival that provides a platform for the dissemination of art in a isolated world. Submissions are ongoing and open to all, though preference is given to works that were cancelled or postponed due to COVID-19. More information and submissions can be made on their website: https://www.socialdistancingfestival.com/submit
As of March 22, UNISON has announced the Unison COVID-19 Relief Program, a $500,000 funding program for the Canadian music industry. Details are still emerging but Unison has stated that the funding is intended for Canadian musicians’ urgent needs for groceries, housing costs, and medical expenses.
Work In Culture – Work in Culture has waived all fees for posting jobs for the month of May. You can post work-from-home jobs on the JobBoard and training, events, or calls-for-submissions on the DiscoveryBoard. To make a posting, email email@example.com.
They have also compiled a list of information and resources, including free webinars and roundtables, which you can find on their COVID-19 Response page.
Writers’ Trust of Canada (WTC) – The Writer’s Trust set up the Canadian Writers’ Emergency Relief Fund. The last round of funding completed on May 7, but stay up-to-date on their website for new deadlines.