On April 17, 2020, the Prime Minister announced new actions to protect Canadian jobs and provide more support to businesses and organizations dealing with the economic impacts of COVID-19.
These actions included $500 million to establish a COVID-19 Emergency Support Fund for Cultural, Heritage and Sport Organizations to help address the financial needs of affected organizations within these sectors so they can continue to support artists and athletes.
Further details regarding this funding were announced on May 8, June 18 and July 7, 2020.
The Fund is administered by Canadian Heritage and divided among select departmental programs and Portfolio agencies as well as key delivery organizations. Specifically:
Up to $326.8 million is being distributed by Canadian Heritage, of which:
$198.3 million is being provided to the beneficiaries of arts and culture funding via existing programs as well as other organizations with demonstrated needs;
$72 million is being provided to the sport sector;
$53 million is being provided to the heritage sector via the emergency component of the Museums Assistance Program; and
$3.5 million is being provided for COVID-related projects under the Digital Citizen Initiative;
$55 million is being distributed by the Canada Council for the Arts to help artists and art development; and
$115.8 million to support the Canadian audiovisual sector, distributed by the Canada Media Fund ($88.8 million) and Telefilm Canada ($27 million).
The use of the remaining funds will be assessed based on needs.
In order to accelerate the distribution of funds, a two-phased approach has been followed. Phase I provides an urgent formula-based top-up to eligible current funding recipients of the following programs:
Canadian Heritage – Arts and culture programs
Canada Periodical Fund – $18,818,650
Canada Book Fund – $10,541,575
Canada Music Fund – $9,162,308
Canada Media Fund – $88,750,000
Canada Arts Training Fund – $5,694,860
Canada Arts Presentation Fund – $10,070,686
Harbourfront Centre Funding Program – $1,250,000
Building Communities through Arts and Heritage – $5,336,400
Canadian Heritage – Sport sector
Sport Support Program – $34,500,000
Athlete Assistance Program – $5,000,000
Bilateral agreements with provinces and territories – - $32,500,000
Canadian Heritage – Digital Citizen Initiative
COVID-related projects – $3,500,000
Canada Council for the Arts – $55,000,000
Telefilm Canada – $27,000,000
Phase II provides funding to the following components, which were determined based on a consideration of gaps seen to remain after Phase I with respect to program coverage, diversity/equity and regional distribution:
$53 million through the emergency component of the Museums Assistance Program;
$45 million for special measures in support of journalism under the Canada Periodical Fund;
$25 million for independent broadcasters that invest in news and community broadcasts;
$20 million for the live music industry through the Canada Music Fund;
$2.5 million for producers of content in a language other than English or French through the Canada Media Fund; and
$52.1 million to various arts and culture organizations that do not usually receive funding from Canadian Heritage programs and/or did not receive funding in Phase I, including:
$8.2 million for the arts sector, of which $7.8 million is being distributed by the Canada Council for the Arts;
$27.8 million for the audiovisual and digital media sector, of which nearly $2.8 million is being distributed by Telefilm Canada;
$5 million for the music industry;
$10 million for the publishing sector; and
$1 million for arts and culture organizations that serve official-language communities.
In Phase II, broad outreach efforts were undertaken to encourage eligible organizations that are not current funding recipients to apply from across Canada.
At a minimum, all eligible organizations are required to attest the following in order to receive support:
they are in need of funding to support a continuity of operations and to safeguard jobs;
they remain in operation at the time of application and plan to continue contributing to their sector in the future;
they are not receiving funding from multiple sources to cover the same costs (e.g., Canada Emergency Response Benefit, Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy, Canada Emergency Business Account, and Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance for Small Businesses); and
where relevant, funds will be used to support workers such as the self-employed and freelance workers, artists and creators.
Canadian Heritage is working closely with its partners, in particular the Canada Council for the Arts, Telefilm Canada and the Canada Media Fund as well as FACTOR and Musicaction, to distribute the funds through a streamlined process that facilitates the rapid distribution of funds in a manner that is consistent across all organizations.
As of September 30, 2020, more than 96% of the funding (representing $482 millions) was distributed among more than 10, 000 recipients.
The Emergency Support Fund for Cultural, Heritage and Sport Organizations complements other Government of Canada measures to help Canadian workers and employers impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, including the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB), the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS), the Business Credit Availability Program (BCAP), and the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) for Small Businesses.
The Fund also built on pre-existing measures announced on March 25, 2020, to simplify the process for submitting and processing requests for 2020–21 funding for the Canada Book Fund and Canada Periodical Fund, which allowed eligible beneficiaries to complete applications and access financial assistance much more quickly than usual.