Artist Grants (2021): 171 Funding Programs for Your Creative-Sector Business

You read that right – there are 171 artist grants of various sorts available for artistic professionals and arts and culture-based corporations and non-profits!

While the majority of them are grant programs, there are even some tax credits you could pile onto those grant programs to save yourself even more money and realize your dream, purpose, or goal.

It doesn’t matter what your discipline, there’s a little bit of everything, from music to digital gaming to books, so grab a cup of coffee or tea and settle in to read through and see how many of these programs you can make work for you.

Artist Incentives Available Across Canada

The federal government is a rock star when it comes to handing out money to professional artists, arts-based entrepreneurs, corporations, and nonprofits. In many cases, applying is easy and qualifying is easy. Lists of what may or may not be eligible are a bit lengthy though, so make sure you read those over a few times to make sure you’ve got it all.

And as with applying to any grant program for any reason, keep organized records so those lists of supporting documents aren’t so overwhelming. Otherwise, enjoy finding yourself some money!

New Artist Incentives for 2021

Artist Grants Available Across Canada

Canadian Heritage Business Innovation Canada Periodical Fund

Contrary to popular myth, magazines aren’t dead! And that’s in part thanks to this funding program from the federal government.

Small and medium-sized magazines and periodicals can get financial support to find new ways to adapt to the changing market and contribute to the diversity of content Canadian readers want. And digital publications can benefit too!

Contrary to popular myth, magazines aren’t dead! And that’s in part thanks to this funding program from the federal government.

Small and medium-sized magazines and periodicals can get financial support to find new ways to adapt to the changing market and contribute to the diversity of content Canadian readers want. And digital publications can benefit too!

Your organization could get up to $50,000/periodical/year if you qualify. You could even get up to $75,000 if your project spans 2 government fiscal years. This is thankfully a stackable program, so you can have additional funding from all levels of government and other sources.

But know that all your government funding can’t total more the 75% of eligible project costs.

The eligibility criteria for this program are broad, so your organization could very well qualify.

You have to be a Canadian publishing or affiliated company with a head office in Canada, but you can be for-profit, nonprofit, a partnership, or a sole proprietor to qualify. But if you’re for-profit, you’ll only qualify if you publish less than 100,000 copies per issue per year for print and $500,000 in revenue for digital.

To apply, just fill out the application form and send it to the program via email or mail (But not both!) to

Canada Periodical Fund
Business Innovation
Department of Canadian Heritage
25 Eddy Street, 25-8-U
Gatineau, Quebec  K1A 0M5

Note: This program also has a start-up component, so if your goal is to start a new digital periodical, you’re in luck! The program will give you up to $5,000 to get started, and you can also use this component to further develop an existing digital periodical. You’ll have to contact the program to get an application form for this component.

You will, however, have to cover at least 50% of project costs through cash or in-kind contributions, and they prefer applicants who raise those funds through successful crowdfunding campaigns. And while you will have to be not yet established or in the earliest phase of commercial operations, you won’t have to have published yet. But don’t forget to get a business number and include it in your application!

Applications are accepted for both parts all year long, but the deadline for each year is September 15, so don’t miss it!

Check out the applicant guidelines for help with the application process or for answers to your questions, but if you want more information about either part of this program, send them an email or give them a call at 1-866-811-0055 (toll-free).

Canadian Heritage Collective Initiatives: Canada Periodical Fund

This funding program, also from Canadian Heritage, helps nonprofit Canadian periodicals to last long term, which is getting more and more difficult in recent years.

If you have a project that would help sustain your periodical, such as training and professional development for your staff, market research, or developing a business plan, apply for this one. It’s certainly worth it, even though it has a laundry list of supporting documents.

Your organization could get funding of up to 75% of project costs and up to 75% of eligible expenses per government fiscal year if it’s determined you’re eligible. Your anticipated project could last as long as 3 years if needed too. However, you’ll have to supply 10% of project costs yourself from whatever source, including other levels of government.

Now you could be eligible if you meet the following criteria:

  • are incorporated as a nonprofit under Canadian or provincial law
  • have your head office located in Canada
  • have been in operation for at least 1 financial year before applying

You’ll have to meet at least one of these criteria:

  • have a mandate of representing and informing members of the periodical industry
  • have a mandate of delivering educational or consulting programs to your members and/or other members of the industry
  • have a mandate of promoting Canadian print magazines, digital periodicals, and/or nondaily newspapers or the services of their creators
  • have a mandate of encouraging and/or recognizing excellence in the content and creation of Canadian print magazines, digital periodicals, and nondaily newspapers

Now that you’ve made it through the list of criteria and know that you can, in fact, take advantage of this program, just fill out the application form and email or mail it (at the address listed above) to the program along with your supporting documents, but not both.

And here’s your list of the supporting documents you’ll need to send in:

  • articles of incorporation and charter (or constitution and bylaws)
  • list of board members and membership list
  • the most recent annual activity report
  • for funding requests of $100,000 and over, one of the most recent financial statements of the organization (audited, review engagement report, or notice to reader)
  • resolution from the board of directors supporting the project and identifying signing authority
  • letters of support from organization members and representatives from other sectors of the Canadian periodical industry, if applicable
  • quotes from vendors or service providers, if applicable
  • résumés of consultants to be hired for the project, if applicable
  • documents confirming in-kind contributions and volunteer work for the project, if applicable
  • documents confirming cash funding sources for the project, if applicable

The application deadline for this one is also September 15 of every year. Take a look at their application guidelines if you need some help getting through the process, and email them or call them at 1-866-811-0055 (toll-free) if you have additional questions.

Canadian Heritage Canada Book Fund: Support for Organizations

It’s not enough to just write, edit, and publish a book. After all, no one is going to buy it if they don’t know about it.

It’s for that reason that Canadian Heritage also has a funding program to help publishers market and promote books written by Canadians, regardless if your organization is for-profit, nonprofit, or a professional association.

Eligible nonprofits could even see up to 100% of eligible expenses or $2 million per project per fiscal year compared to for-profits or professional associations, which could get up to 75% of eligible expenses or $1.5 million per project per fiscal year. Unfortunately though, they usually limit funding to 50% of eligible project costs, so they encourage you to find additional funding sources. And while you can apply for funding for more than one project per year, your total funding through this program during the year can’t exceed $2 million.

So to be eligible, you only need to be Canadian owned and controlled, representing or related to the Canadian book publishing industry, and be incorporated under federal or provincial law.

If all this is a good match so far, just fill out the application form and email or mail it (to the address listed previously) to the program along with your supporting documents. Thankfully, the list of supporting documents is quite short. You’ll only need a detailed project description and your organization’s most recent audited financial statements.

But act fast! Applications have to be received by April 30, 2020, for projects starting between September 1 and March 31, so you’re running out of time!

And don’t forget the check their applicant guidelines for help with the application process or to find answers to your questions. Otherwise, you can get in touch with them via email or phone at 1-866-811-0055 (toll-free).

Canadian Heritage Accessible Digital Books: Support for Organizations

This is an all-new, special program that’s been recently added to the Support for Organizations funding program. Its purpose is to help publishers sustainably produce and distribute accessible Canadian digital books.

The idea is to integrate accessible publishing features into e-books and audio books so more Canadians with disabilities have access to Canadian books.

Any Canadian organization representing or related to the Canadian book industry can qualify for this funding, but they prefer those projects that show the involvement of Canadians with print disabilities or organizations that provide services to them and/or that involve partnerships between organizations in different language markets or different parts of the industry, such as publishers and distributors for example.

Now that you know you qualify, you’ll have to apply and finish up your project quickly because though you could get your entire project funded, your project must be finished by March 31, 2020.

Just email or mail them (to the same address as all Canadian Heritage projects listed here) your application form to apply, and use their application guidelines to help you out along the way. And of course you can always email or phone them at 1-866-811-0055 (toll-free).

Canada Book Fund Support for Publishers: Publishing Support

Only Canadian book publishers can take advantage of this one, though you can be for-profit, nonprofit, or a university press.

Funding from this program is designed to help you produce, market, and distribute Canadian-written books. You can even apply for extra funding if your export sales qualify you for it.

Could you use up to 75% of your expenses covered? Or 90% of your expenses for official-language minority publishers, Indigenous publishers, or small literary publishers? And how about 100% of your expenses if you’re a nonprofit?

Since the answer is most likely yes, then apply now by filling out the application form and emailing it or bringing it to the program in person along with your supporting documents. You’ll have to do so right away, however, because the application deadline is April 1. And you should know that financial contributions from other sources is highly encouraged.

Here’s how you’ll know if you can apply:

At the time of the application and until the end of the term of any contribution agreement, you must meet these criteria:

  • have completed at least 12 months of operation as a book publisher
  • be at least 75% owned and controlled by Canadians
  • have your headquarters and at least 75% of your employees based in Canada
  • be financially viable
  • have fulfilled all contractual obligations with respect to author royalty payments or other payments to authors, from the beginning of the year through to the end of any contribution agreement

Now if you’ve met all those and you’re ready to apply, here’s an unfortunately long list of supporting documents you’ll need to send in:

Now if you’ve met all those and you’re ready to apply, here’s an unfortunately long list of supporting documents you’ll need to send in:

  • financial statements (more details here)
  • production report
  • business plan
  • author payment/royalty certification report
  • catalogue
  • books
  • any justification for printing outside of Canada
  • distribution contract(s)
  • confirmation of distributor’s fees
  • incorporation papers
  • geographic analysis report
  • letter authorizing submission of the application
  • export sales certification

You’ll also have to pay back any contribution $100,000 or more if your profit margin—except all CBF funding—turns out to be 15% or more during the financial year in which the contribution agreement was signed and the 2 preceding financial years.

For more information and help with the application process, read through the application guidelines or email or call them at 1-866-811-0055 (toll-free).

Canada’s Music Incubator Artist Entrepreneur

If being part of the music industry is your dream, jump on this bootcamp program. You’ll get mentoring, networking, and coaching opportunities from industry leaders in a multitude of categories.

You’ll learn valuable skills in more areas than there is space to mention here, but some them will include management, marketing, social media, publicity, promotion, touring, funding, production, and songwriting. And so much more!

This program chooses 16 lucky emerging artists for each of their twice yearly sessions. The total cost of the program is $7,500, but don’t worry, they cover $5,000 of that for you. Your only job is to come up with the remaining $2,500 and work harder than you’ve ever worked before at their session.

The next session runs from August 4 to September 25, 2020, so if you want in, make sure you get your application in no later than June 5, 2020. Also, you’ll need to be prepared to travel to Toronto to participate.

This is your chance to work with leading Canadian artists, producers, and professionals, so fill out that online application!

Check out their brochure for additional information, and feel free to get in touch with questions by email or phone at 416-755-0025.

Canada’s Music Incubator Artist Manager

Do your talents lie in artist management rather than in the music itself? Then this is the program for you. 

Also offered by Canada’s Music Incubator, this bootcamp will give you all the skills you need to manage not only your business but your artists’ businesses.

This program has the same $7,500 price tag as the Artist Entrepreneur program as above, but it too will cover $5,000 of that with the help of its many sponsors such as the JUNO Awards and the CCMA.

So if you can come up with the remaining $2,500 and can get to the Toronto-based 8-week session, apply online now because the application deadline for the next session is August 4, 2020. Actual session dates are from October 6 to November 27, 2020.

If you’re one of the 16 candidates chosen to take part in this valuable, career-changing opportunity, you’ll come away with the skills you need to run a sustainable artist managing business in a variety of areas such as business building, client relations, team building and making industry contacts, booking better gigs, branding and marketing, publicity and digital strategy, streaming and radio, and copyright and royalty.

If you’re currently working with at least one client in any genre, are a music industry professional transitioning into management, are a self-managed artist or artist who manages other artists, or hold a post-secondary diploma or certificate in music, entertainment, or arts, consider taking part in this program. It could be the very opportunity you’ve been waiting for.

Just apply online and cross your fingers! But if you want more information first, you can email them or give them a call at 416-755-0025.

Canada Council for the Arts

The Canada Council for the Arts is a diverse organization that offers support for professional artists and organizations. The CCA does this with a variety of streams that provide funding for things such as operating costs, research, travel, marketing and promotion, project development, professional development, and more.

There are 5 grant streams available this year that offer funding to individuals, groups, nonprofit organizations, for-profit organizations, academic institutions, communities, and/or Indigenous groups or organizations. Each stream is aimed at different groups for different purposes, so not every group is eligible for every grant stream.

One stream is the Explore and Create stream, which itself is further divided into 4 components: Professional Development for Artists, Research and Creation, Concept to Realization, and Artist-Driven Organizations. These components are rather self-explanatory, but to clarify, use the first to further develop your career as a professional artist (individually or as a group), and use the second to fund the research you need to do to create your project.

Use the third to bring your project to the world and use the last to solely as an organization seeking to support artists in one of these ways.

A second stream is the Creating, Knowing and Sharing: The Arts and Cultures of First Nations, Inuit and Métis Peoples. This one is divided as well but into 5 components, Travel, Small-Scale Activities, Short-Term Projects, Long-Term Projects, and Indigenous Organizations. You can use the travel grant to attend an event either at home or abroad, and the second comes in the form of a microgrant. Short-term projects are those predicted to take less than a year while long-term projects should take between 1 and 3 to complete. The last component you can use to support the activities of your organization, including staffing.

On to the third stream: Supporting Artistic Practice. It aims to build a more supportive and connected arts sector so professional artists can develop their careers, run successful arts organizations, and present their art to the world.

This stream is divided into 6 components: Professional Development for Arts Professionals, Sector Innovation and Development, Literary Publishing Projects, Literary Publishers, Support Organizations, and National Arts Service Organizations. The purpose of all these components is rather clear, but they’re all for organizations, whether for- or nonprofit and between them all cover just about any need your organization faces.

Arts Across Canada is your fourth stream. Its goal is to connect Canadian art with the Canadian public. This stream includes 7 components: Travel, Representation and Promotion, Translation, Circulation and Touring, Foreign Artist Tours, Public Outreach, and Arts Festivals and Presenters. Both individual professional artists and organizations, whether for- or nonprofit can take advantage of some of these components but not all. Some, such as Translation, are for organizations only.

Finally, we have the last stream: Arts Abroad. Use this one if you’re an individual professional artist or an organization to bring Canadian art to the world at large, not to just the Canadian public. Of course, this is also divided into 6 components: Travel, Representation and Promotion, Translation, Circulation and Touring, Residencies, and Co-Productions. Canada has some superb talent, so both individuals and organizations can make use of some of these programs, but again, not all. For example, only organizations can apply for the Representation and Promotion component.

Wait, there’s more. The CCA also has 4 strategic funding or initiatives programs: The Digital Strategy Fund, the Access Support Fund, Market Access Strategy for Official Language Minority Communities Fund, and the Canada in Germany Fund – Incentive for Purchasing Translation Rights and for Publishing in German. These are all competitive programs, so you’ll need a strong case with lots of supporting documents.

The Digital Strategy Fund, like the grant programs, is divided into 2 components: Public Access to the Arts and Citizen Engagement and the Transformation of Organizational Models. Use the first component to improve public engagement and participation in the arts and the second to help your organization adapt to the ever-changing digital environment.

The next 2 initiatives serve to improve access to arts funding programs for those groups who face obstacles, such as those with disabilities or who speak an official minority language, and the last is just how it sounds—it’s designed to bring Canadian works to Germany using translation.

You can apply for all CCA grant programs using the online application form located each program page, but before you do, make sure you’ve checked out the list of supporting documents you’ll need for the program(s) you’re applying for because they can be fairly long. Also ensure you’ve checked to see if your chosen grant program(s) require you to get in touch with them before applying because this is a requirement in some cases.

There are so many grant programs within the CCA it’s certainly worth it to put together all your supporting documents regardless of how long it takes because in many cases, you can apply to specified additional grant streams, but be careful because they’re very specific about which ones can be stacked. For example, if you apply for an operating grant, you can’t apply for another operating grant program unless you’ve been told you didn’t qualify for your initial stream. But you can apply for a different one such as one for supplies or research.

The CCA has made it easy to apply too. They’ve put everything online, including an applicant guide for every program, eligibility requirements, restrictions, budget templates, deadline calendars, and more. You can even access funding to help you complete your application if you have a disability.

They’ve even made it easy to talk to them. You can call them toll free at 1-800 263-5588, send them an email, use social media, fax them at 613-566-4390, or use TTY at 1-866-585-5559 toll free. You can even fill out an online form if you like.

FACTOR the Foundation Assisting Canadian Talent on Recordings

FACTOR is a funding organization that helps financially support Canadian recording artists, labels, songwriters, publishers, event producers, and distributors. In fact, they’re a driving force behind such productions as the East Coast Music Awards, BreakOut West, and the JUNO Awards.

In fact, they’re a driving force behind such productions as the East Coast Music Awards, BreakOut West, and the JUNO Awards.

It doesn’t matter if you’re an individual, a band, or a company (for-profit or nonprofit), this program is so vast there’s guaranteed to be something for you. Whether you want to record a demo or a full-length sound recording, market an existing album, or tour at home or internationally, they have funding for you. However, this funding program is designed to support your goal, not pay for the whole thing, so you do need to also find additional funding sources.

Also know that this program generally funds only English-language music, but they do have a partner program for Francophone music. Check out Musicaction if you’re interested in heading in that direction.

Their funding is divided first into programs and then into components. There are 11 programs further divided into its individual components. Eligibility for each program is different, but organizations or companies generally need to have been in operation for at least 2 years to qualify.

Here’s a handy list of all their programs and components:

Artist Development

  • Artist Development

Collective Initiatives

  • Industry Events
  • Showcase Production for Export-Ready Artists
  • Showcase Production for Artists from Official Language Minority Communities

Comprehensive Artist

  • Sound Recording
  • Marketing
  • Tour Support
  • Video
  • Showcase
  • Radio Marketing

Comprehensive Music Company

  • Sound Recording
  • Marketing
  • Tour Support
  • Video
  • Showcase
  • Radio Marketing

Envelope Funding for Music Companies

  • Envelope Funding

Juried Sound Recording

  • Envelope Funding
  • Marketing
  • Tour Support
  • Video
  • Showcase
  • Radio Marketing

Live Performance

Marketing and Promotion for Non-FACTOR-Funded Sound Recordings

  • Marketing
  • Tour Support
  • Video
  • Showcase
  • Radio Marketing

Sponsorship

  • Sponsorship

Support for Eligible Music Companies

  • Business Development
  • Business Travel
  • Songwriter Support for Music Publishers

Video

  • Video

The application process is the same for all programs, though, and is as easy as creating a user profile online. From there, you can further create as many artist or applicant profiles you need depending on who you are and how many programs you’re applying for.

Before you apply, read through their Program Guidelines, Business Policies, and FAQs so you know exactly what to apply for, what you need, and how to do so.

If all you’d like is more information about the organization in general or about something you didn’t find an answer to in your reading, you can always get in touch using their online form, email, or phone 416-696-2215.

Radio Starmaker Fund

If you’re a Canadian emerging artist with star potential, this nonprofit organization wants to give you that last push you need to make it to the top. You can apply yourself, but managers and labels can also apply/qualify.

To qualify as an emerging artist with star potential, you must meet the minimum track record requirement for your genre but have never sold more than 100,000 units (major labels) or 150,000 units (indie labels). You can, however, have established this track record either from the sales of any previous record released within the last 5 years or from the sales of a current record.

This funding is to be used for marketing and promotion purposes, and you’ll have to be already recording, not in preproduction, when you apply. This funding program too is designed for English-language music, so visit Fonds RadioStar for the Francophone program.

The program is temporarily closed for now, but you can sign up to get details on the next round of applications so you know first, and you can download the sample application forms for both the domestic and international marketing components so you’re prepared when the next round opens.

You can also give them a call at 416-597-6622 for more information.

SOCAN Foundation Grants

The SOCAN Foundation works to spread and enhance appreciation for Canadian music both at home and abroad and offers grants to underscore that purpose.

There are grants for creators, music publishers, individuals, and organizations. 

There are a total of 6 grant programs, 3 for organizations and 3 for all others. They cover a variety or purposes from operating costs to travel expenses.

However, only 1 for organizations is open right now: the Annual Operations Assistance Program. The others, the Canadian Music Assistance Grant and the Work Commissioning Assistance Grant, should open again soon, so keep checking.

But 2 out of 3 of the grants for other applicants are ongoing, so apply now. The Travel Assistance grant could give you between $400 and $1,000, and Professional Development Assistance grant could get you up to $1,500, but you can’t apply to both programs at the same time. And don’t forget about that last grant program, the Work Commissioning Assistance grant, when it opens.

Just apply online for any of the available grants, and keep looking to see when the others open back up again.

If you’d like to learn more, send them an email or just give them a call at 1-800-557-6226, ext. 3855.

Artist Incentives Available in Ontario

Once again Ontario is the best place to be to find funding programs for your arts-based business, whether you’re a corporation, a nonprofit, or an individual professional artist.

You’ll find grants for numerous disciplines and purposes here, all from your generous provincial government. Keep reading and you’ll also find a fair-sized list of tax credits, depending on your discipline.

Grants for Ontario Artists

Ontario Arts Council

Here’s another vast, all-inclusive grant program for professional artists and arts organizations. It’s just as comprehensive—if not more—than the Canada Council for the arts given this one has, currently, 61 grant programs for various disciplines and purposes.

So in that vein, they won’t all be listed here. They are, however, divided into 2 kinds of grant programs: project grants and operating grants, and you can easily find the ones that fit you best by searching by funding stream, artistic discipline, or priority group or by looking through the alphabetical list.

Project grants are a one-time infusion for a particular project, and though full eligibility criteria are different for every grant, if you’re a professional individual artist, a group or collective in the arts, or a for- or nonprofit arts organization based in Ontario, you’ll find something you can take advantage of. And here’s a bonus: even though it’s meant to be just a one-time grant payment, you can still apply for it for different projects up to 3 times!

Operating grants are just that: funds you need to keep your organization running. These grants are only available to nonprofit organizations in the arts, though you can be federal or provincial as long as you’re based in Ontario. This one offers multi-year funding, but you’ll have to meet these criteria:

  • have received operating funding from OAC for the past 2 consecutive years
  • have stable artistic, organizational, and board leadership with plans in place for any transition
  • a long-term plan
  • a balanced budget

There’s also a large list of additional criteria just to apply for an operating grant, so check out the list before applying.

Applying is easy though! You can do that online (project and operating), at which point you’ll be asked a few questions and you’ll learn which supporting documents you’ll need to send in. In the case of operating grants, you’ll also need such things as staff and board/governing body lists, lists of programming activities for the current and request years, your financials, and more.

You can find more information in the FAQs for operating grants, or you can send an email with your questions or give them a call at 1-800-387-0058, ext. 0.

Ontario Trillium Foundation

This provincially funded grant organization funds Ontario-based arts applicants, including charities, nonprofits, Indigenous groups, and municipalities, but their grants fit general categories such as capital expenditures, operating costs, and seed investments.

As such, they don’t have grants specifically for artists and arts organizations, but they do specifically tailor funding qualifications in a particular stream called Inspired People to the uniqueness and cultural importance of your industry.

However, funding is closed for most programs for the time being, but the grant portal will open up again soon for the next applications for the Grow component and the Capital Grants component so keep checking back.

Read through their FAQs to learn more about their grants and the eligibility requirements, or get in touch with them via email or phone at 1-800-263-288.

  • have received operating funding from OAC for the past 2 consecutive years
  • have stable artistic, organizational, and board leadership with plans in place for any transition
  • a long-term plan
  • a balanced budget

There’s also a large list of additional criteria just to apply for an operating grant, so check out the list before applying.

Applying is easy though! You can do that online (project and operating), at which point you’ll be asked a few questions and you’ll learn which supporting documents you’ll need to send in. In the case of operating grants, you’ll also need such things as staff and board/governing body lists, lists of programming activities for the current and request years, your financials, and more.

You can find more information in the FAQs for operating grants, or you can send an email with your questions or give them a call at 1-800-387-0058, ext. 0.

Toronto Arts Council

The Toronto Arts Council has whole host of grant programs for both music organizations, whether for- or nonprofit, and individual artists to support music development in Toronto.

Before you apply for a grant though, they’d like you to get in touch with a music program manager to discuss your eligibility. Once you’ve determined you can apply, just fill out the form online.

If you feel you need more information or have questions, go ahead and get in touch with anyone on this lengthy list of folks ready to help you out.

Ontario Creates

And the government of Ontario has yet another program for artists that’s chock full of grants and more! It truly doesn’t matter what your discipline, there’s funding of some sort here for you thanks to the support of all its generous stakeholders.

These funding programs are designed to assist Ontario cultural entrepreneurs bring their art to public and continue to do so over the long term. So let’s dive in!

If your discipline is book publishing, you’ll find 2 funding programs available for you: the Industry Development Program and the Business Intelligence Program.

The first is open to Ontario-based for-profits, nonprofits, and national organizations who’ve been operating for at least a year and whose goal is to expand skills, business capacity, market share, sales, and/or innovation. It has 2 deadlines left this year: July 6, 2020, by 5:00 p.m. ET and November 5, 2020, by 5:00 p.m. ET. The program guidelines spell out in detail eligible activities and funding levels.

The second is open only to incorporated nonprofits who’ve decided it’s time to pursue business intelligence initiatives aimed at gathering business intelligence about growing one or more content-creating sectors in Ontario. This one’s got 3 deadlines remaining this year: April 14, 2020, August 4, 2020, and November 17, 2020. Be sure to read through the guidelines for this one to know all the necessary details before applying.

For for-profit film and TV producers, there are 3 available grant programs. The Film Fund – Production offers funding for producing films with diverse content and industrial and cultural benefits and that create jobs for the industry. You too have 2 more application deadlines this year: July 7, 2020, 5:00 p.m. ET and November 17, 2020, 5:00 p.m. ET, so read through the program’s guidelines and get started early!

Then there’s the Export Fund – Film and Television. This is for those companies wanting to introduce their product to an international market. There are plenty of guidelines for this one too, so check out all the criteria before you apply. You’ve only got 1 deadline this year of April 20, 2020, 5:00 p.m. ET, but you could get up to $15,000 or up to 50% of project costs.

The final program, the Industry Development Program, is precisely the same as for book publishers, from guidelines to eligibility to funding levels, so take another look at the guidelines for more information.

Now, you’ve hit the grant jackpot if you’re in the interactive sector. You’ve got a sweet 4 grant programs for you, one of them being the very same Industry Development Program as above, so take a look at those guidelines and then apply.

Otherwise, you’ve got the IDM Fund: Production and Concept Definition, IDM Fund: Global Market Development, and IDM Fund: Marketing Support. 

Apply by April 6, 2020, at 5:00 p.m. ET or August 24, 2020, at 5:00 p.m. ET for the production and concept definition grant if you’ve got a high quality, original interactive project that could make a positive contribution to the Ontario economy. But read through the guidelines first so you know you qualify! You could get up to $250,000 for production or $50,000 for concept definition.

Much like the Export Fund for film and TV, the global market development program could give you up to $15,000 to take a sales trip and attend an international market event to bring fantastic Canadian content to the rest of the world. Just read through their guidelines first and apply before May 25, 2020, by 5:00 p.m. ET.

Your last program, the marketing support grant, is exactly what it purports to be: a funding program for marketing your product. Unfortunately, it’s only open to those who have received a production grant and are about to market it. If that’s you though, you can apply whenever you’re ready as long as that’s before January 31, 2021. And of course, read all the guidelines!

And now that we’ve come to the end, you’ll find 2 funding programs available for magazine publishers: the Industry Development Program and the Business Intelligence Program. You’ll find they are the exact same programs as for book publishers, so you’ll also have the same guidelines to follow and the same deadlines to catch: July 6, 2020, by 5:00 p.m. ET and November 5, 2020, by 5:00 p.m. ET for the first program and April 14, 2020, August 4, 2020, and November 17, 2020, for the second program.

The application is also the same for every grant program in every sector. Just apply online using their portal, but remember the supporting documents listed in the corresponding guidelines for your chosen program.

If you have difficulties applying or have questions, feel free to send an email or give them a call at 416-314-6858.

Tax Credits for Ontario Artists

Ontario Creates Ontario Book Publishing Tax Credit

Book publishers in Ontario can find themselves with a 30% tax credit for all the eligible expenses included with publishing qualifying literary works in that tax year up to a maximum of $30,000 per work.

For a publishing company to qualify, you must be a Canadian-controlled corporation, run a book publishing business primarily in Ontario, not be exempt from tax under Part III of the Taxation Act, 2007 (Ontario), and not be controlled by the author of the literary work or by a person not dealing at arm’s length with the author.

Now that you’ve gotten through the legalese and determined you qualify, all you have to do is apply online for a certificate of eligibility and file the Certificate of Eligibility with your T2 Corporate income tax return to claim the Ontario Book Publishing Tax Credit. You’ll also need to file a completed Schedule 564, Ontario Book Publishing Tax Credit.

Now here’s the catch: there are some fees associated with this tax credit. You’ll have to pay the OBPTC administration fee of 0.15% of eligible expenditures for the application from a minimum $50 per application to a maximum of $200, plus a filing fee of $100 for applications for Certificates of Eligibility received more than 24 months after the first year-end of the claim,

and $100 for each Amended Certificate requested. Whew!

It’s certainly worth it to reduce the amount of tax you need to pay, but make sure you check out the list of eligible works and what constitutes eligible Canadian works.

If you need to get in touch with someone about this tax credit, the CRA is your point of contact, so call 1-800-959-5525.

Ontario Film & Television Tax Credit

Eligible Ontario-based and Canadian-controlled companies can claim 35%—40% on the first $240,000 for first-time applicants—of qualifying Ontario labour expenses on acceptable film and television projects with this one.

Beyond the qualifications already listed, the individual producer of the film will also need to have resided and filed a personal income tax return in Ontario for at least the 2 preceding years.

You can take a look at what constitutes a qualifying production here, but know that it can’t fit into one of the following excluded categories:

  • news or current affairs
  • talk shows
  • game shows
  • sports shows
  • awards shows
  • fundraising shows
  • reality television

If you’re interested in applying, you’ll need to ask Ontario Creates for a certificate of eligibility, which you’ll then send to CRA with your tax return.

If you have questions or need more information, you’ll have to contact CRA directly at 1-800-959-5525.

Ontario Production Services Tax Credit

Film and TV producers in Ontario can also claim this credit equal to 21.5% of your qualifying production expenditures from Ontario and 16% of qualifying Canadian labour expenditures. But of those acceptable Ontario expenses, labour must account for at least 25% of them.

As long as you’re based in Ontario, file an Ontario corporate income tax return, and either own the copyright or contract directly with the copyright owner, you could qualify.

Take a look at all the criteria for an eligible production and eligible activities before you apply for the claim though.

For this tax return too, you’ll contact Ontario Creates and ask for a certificate of eligibility, which you’ll file with your corporate tax return.

If you find yourself with questions, contact CRA directly at 1-800-959-5525.

Ontario Computer Animation & Special Effects Tax Credit

You thought that was it for tax credits? Of course not!

Film and television producers have so many opportunities to reduce their provincial taxes. This one is for those whose projects included computer animation and special effects.

This one is worth 18% of your eligible Ontario labour expenditures, and you could be eligible if you’re a Canadian corporation based in Ontario and file an Ontario tax return. It doesn’t matter if you’re an animation or visual effects house, post-production house, or film and television production company because they all qualify.

Before you ask Ontario Creates for that certificate of eligibility though, make sure you read through the list of qualifications for eligible projects and activities. If you’re still good, then go ahead and get that certificate and file it with your corporate tax return. Contact CRA directly at 1-800-959-5525 with questions though.

Ontario Interactive Digital Media Tax Credit

This one is super simple and straightforward. If your Ontario-based corporation created an interactive digital media product, you could claim 40% of your eligible Ontario expenses on your corporate tax return if you developed and marketed your own product. 

Otherwise, you could claim 35% if you had a fee-for-service arrangement. Even digital game corporations can claim 35%.

The lists of eligible expenditures and projects aren’t quite so succinct though, so read through carefully to see what qualifies and what doesn’t. Once you’ve made it through, though, and determined what you can claim, just ask Ontario Creates for a certificate of eligibility. Then you can file it with your corporate tax return for that year.

If you’re still a little unsure or just can’t find answers to your questions, call CRA directly at 1-800-959-5525.

The Bottom Line

There’s a plethora of financial support out there for arts and cultural organizations and individuals. You can be a for-profit corporation, a nonprofit or charity, or professional artist, municipality, or group. The options are almost endless!

Whether you need to develop a project or product, market it, introduce it to the public at home or abroad, research business opportunities, or more, you can find a funding program to help you. You’ll even find plenty of tax credits.

And the best part? Depending on your purpose, you can even look around at some of the general funding programs for businesses and put together a bundle of funding to help you realize your artistic goals.

So go ahead, practice your art, bring some beauty, understanding, and compassion to the world, and get some money for doing it.


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