Application Guidelines – Programming: Presenter Support Organizations

Canada Arts Presentation Fund

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Objectives and expected results for the Canada Arts Presentation Fund

The Canada Arts Presentation Fund (CAPF) provides financial assistance to Canadian not-for-profit organizations that professionally present arts festivals or performing arts series (arts presenters), and organizations that offer support to arts presenters.

Through the CAPF, Canadians have access to a variety of professional artistic experiences in their communities. Each year, we support approximately 600 professional arts festivals and performing arts series, as well as other activities related to art presentation, in more than 250 cities or communities across Canada.

Ultimately, the long-term results of the program will allow Canadians to value and engage with professional artistic experiences.

The CAPF has two main components – Programming and Development. The CAPF Programming component has two sub-components: Professional Arts Festivals and Performing Arts Series Presenters; and Presenter Support Organizations.

Objectives and expected results for the Programming: Presenter Support Organizations sub-component

The Presenter Support Organizations sub-component provides financial assistance to organizations that offer activities and services to arts presenters (professional arts festivals and performing arts series presenters) in order to strengthen the arts presentation sector. Through strategic and focused support to presenter support organizations, arts presenters are better prepared to meet the CAPF objectives and continue to evolve professionally in their field. 
The expected results of the Presenter Support Organizations sub-component include:

  • Presenter support organizations undertake professional development opportunities to strengthen the practices of arts presenters and the presenting community; and
  • Arts presenters undertake their activities within a healthy Canadian presenting environment.

Application deadline

April 1st for projects which will occur after April 1st of the following year.

When an application falls on a weekend or statutory holiday, it is extended to the following working day.

Who can apply

To be eligible for funding from the Presenter Support Organizations sub-component, your organization must be:

  • a not-for-profit organization incorporated under Part II of the Canada Corporations Act or the Canada Not-For-Profit Corporations Act (or under corresponding provincial or territorial legislation);
  • a provincial, territorial or municipal institution (including agencies and public educational institutions that organize presentation activities for the public); or
  • an Indigenous institution or organization (Inuit, Métis, First Nations).

All eligible organizations must:

  • have been in existence for at least one year and have as their core focus the strengthening of arts presentation in Canada; and
  • offer activities and services that meet the following goals:
    • provide arts presenters with access to a variety of artistic choices;
    • provide artists with access to arts presenters (specialized and multidisciplinary);
    • reinforce the Canadian arts presentation circuits; and
    • further practical arts presentation knowledge.

Eligible projects

The following projects are eligible under the Presenter Support Organizations sub-component:

  • contact events;
  • arts presenter conferences;
  • workshops;
  • block-booking/marketing activities; and
  • tool development related to reinforcing Canadian performing arts circuits.

The following projects are ineligible for funding under the Presenter Support Organizations sub-component:

  • book fairs, galas, competitions, receptions and hospitality;
  • tours within or outside Canada , self-presentation or creation and production activities (these activities may be supported by the Canada Council for the Arts);
  • infrastructure projects including the purchase of specialized equipment (these activities may be supported by the Canada Cultural Spaces Fund);
  • activities specifically celebrating Canada Day, National Indigenous Peoples Day, Saint-Jean-Baptiste, or Multiculturalism Day (these activities may be supported by the Celebrate Canada program);
  • festival and activities that receive financial support under the Building Communities through Arts and Heritage program;
  • deficit reduction plans and feasibility studies; and
  • literary reading series, and film, video and media arts series.

Eligible expenses

Only project-related expenses are eligible, which can be of cash and in-kind value; these may include:

  • costs related to the coordination of contact events, showcases and presenter conferences, including hall and venue rentals, registration and material costs, artists’ fees, and per diems, accommodation and travel related to artists;
  • promotion/marketing including cost associated with social media;
  • training and professional development activities, e.g. workshop facilitation, mentorship expenses, consultant fees and research costs as well as travel, accommodation and per diems related to business activities; and
  • administration costs.

In-kind contributions are considered real contributions to the cost of the proposed project but are not reimbursable. Donated goods and services may be considered in-kind contributions if they:

  • are essential to your project’s success;
  • are eligible and would otherwise have to be purchased or paid for by you;
  • can be measured at fair market value (i.e.: in relation to similar goods and services); and
  • are balanced by an equal revenue in your budget (i.e.: total in-kind expenses equal total in-kind revenues).

We cannot fund expenses incurred before we receive your application. If you incur expenses for your project before receiving written confirmation of your funding approval, you will be doing so at your own risk.

Eligibility criteria

We are responsible for determining the eligibility of each applicant, its projects and related expenses.

The CAPF is highly competitive. Requests for funding typically exceed available resources. If your organization is eligible, submitting an application is not a guarantee of funding.

Limits of government assistance

To ensure the success of your project, we encourage you to have other funding sources. This may include contributions from your organization, the private sector or other levels of government.

The total financial assistance received from the Canada Arts Presentation Fund and other levels of government (federal, provincial, territorial and municipal) cannot exceed 90% of the total project-related costs.

We can fund up to 25% of eligible expenses or a maximum of $100,000 per fiscal year in the case of grants or $200,000 per year in the case of contributions.

Provided that the need is clearly demonstrated and validated by the program, on rare occasions we may fund up to 50% of eligible expenses for projects offered in communities facing unusual barriers that cannot be overcome without substantial assistance, or for artistic disciplines that are underserved. 

Please note, however, that funding demands on the CAPF are extensive; therefore, the average level of support ranges from 7% to 17% of eligible expenses, depending on your region.

Applying for more than 12 months

You may request funding for the same activities for a number of fiscal years. You must show that you have the capacity to complete the planned activities on an annual basis. This is demonstrated with realistic results and budget projections, sound governance and continued financial viability. 

Your organization must at a minimum:

  • have received funding under the CAPF for at least two consecutive years, or for the last two editions in the case of an arts festival held every two years; and
  • not have an accumulated deficit exceeding 15% of the expenses from its last completed fiscal year.

If your organization receives funding for more than one fiscal year, you must provide a final activities report for each year of funding.

How to apply

Read these Application Guidelines in their entirety before completing your application.

If you are submitting an application to the CAPF for the first time, you are encouraged to contact the nearest office of the Department of Canadian Heritage to verify whether your organization and your project are eligible.

You must meet all eligibility requirements and submit a complete application package to be considered for funding. A complete application package includes the General Application Form and the following supporting documents:

  • Budget Template: Revenues and Expenses;
  • Sample professional artist contract or letter of agreement used by your organization;
  • Promotional materials (brochures, programs or reports of past events);
  • Organizational chart including a list of permanent employees;
  • List of board members, their professional occupations and the list of volunteer committees;
  • Current planning documents, if available;
  • Board resolution authorizing this application and designating the person with signing authority (duly signed by the board chair or president of your organization);
  • Curriculum vitae of the executive director;
  • Copy of the letters of patent and their amendments or the corporate charter;
  • Most recent financial statements:
    • Audited financial statements for organizations having previously received a contribution from the CAPF in the amount of $250,000 or more; or new applicants with an operating budget greater than $500,000
    • Non-audited financial statements for organizations having previously received a contribution from the   CAPF in the amount of less than $250,000; or new applicants with an operating budget of $500,000 or less

If you are a first-time applicant, you must also provide:

Application process

Please submit your application in only one format.

Mail or in-person submissions

You can mail, courier or hand-deliver your complete application package to the nearest office of the Department of Canadian Heritage

Your application must be postmarked or hand-delivered no later than the published deadline to be considered.

Email submissions

We encourage you to submit your application package electronically, at the email address to your nearest office of the Department of Canadian Heritage.  

The embedded “sent” date must be no later than 11:59 p.m. local time on the date of the application deadline for your application to be considered eligible.

Please contact the nearest office of the Department of Canadian Heritage if you wish to submit your application package by fax.

How applications are evaluated

We fund projects that have clear objectives and measurable results. Your application will be reviewed for eligibility before being evaluated using the national standard criteria described below and the past performance of your organization. It will be compared with other applications from your region and prioritized in relation to the funds available.

Site visits or meetings with your organization may be undertaken by the program staff. 

Failure to submit a final report for a previously funded project will be considered in the evaluation of your new application and could result in the rejection of your new application.

Evaluation criteria

We will evaluate all eligible applications using the following criteria:

Relevance of programming (30%)

  • clear alignment between the organization’s mandate, the proposed activities and services and the CAPF objective; and
  • relevance of activities and services offered to improve arts presenters’ access to a variety of artistic choices, to increase artists’ access to Canadian arts presenters, to reinforce the Canadian presenting circuits, and to deepen practical knowledge;

Impact on activities and services on presenters (40%)

  • capacity to gather knowledge and efficiently deliver relevant activities and services based on arts presenters/stakeholders needs;
  • impact of activities and services on arts presenters; and
  • contribution to the local, regional and, if applicable, national and international ecology of presenter support organizations as demonstrated through previous activities and services.

Management and financial health (30%)

  • appropriate resources (financial, human) and expertise (volunteer, board, staff) to undertake the proposed activities; and
  • realistic and balanced budget with diversified public and private sector funding sources and a sound financial performance record.

Your application may be evaluated by a regional review committee, which will compare and prioritize it with other applications from your region in relation to the funds available.

Application processing time

For application processing time, please refer to the Service standards for Canadian Heritage funding programs or contact the program.

We will acknowledge receipt of your application within two weeks of submitting your application.

If we solicit additional information about your application your organization will have five business days to submit the information.

Funding decisions

We reserve the right to target our funding to specific activities.  Please note that decisions regarding eligibility and funding amounts are final. 

How funding is provided

We will determine if funding will be disbursed as a grant or as a contribution.

A grant is a payment issued to a recipient for a project. The conditions you agreed to at the time of application will apply. At the end of your project, you may be required to submit a report and/or participate in the evaluation of results.

A contribution is a conditional payment issued to your organization for a specific purpose, as outlined in a funding agreement. The agreement is signed by us and your organization and specifies the terms and conditions to receive payment. At the end of your project, you must submit a final report.

Funding conditions

You may be required to submit interim reports during your project. If you receive $250,000 or more per fiscal year as a contribution, you are required to submit audited financial statements or audited financial reports.

Additional conditions may apply and will be included in your funding agreement.

Official languages requirements

We are committed to taking positive measures to enhance the vitality of official language minority communities and to promote the use of English and French in Canadian society. If you receive funding, you agree to comply with the official languages requirements set out in your application or in your funding agreement.

Acknowledgement of financial assistance

If you receive funding, you must publicly acknowledge – in English and in French – the financial support received from us in all communications materials and promotional activities. Additional requirements may be included in your funding agreement

For additional information, please refer to our Guide on the public acknowledgement of financial support.

Access to information requests

We are subject to the Access to Information Act and the Privacy Act. The information you submit in your application may be disclosed in accordance with these Acts.

Disclosure of information

By submitting your funding application, you authorize us to disclose any information submitted with this application within the Government of Canada or to outside entities for the following purposes:

  • to reach a decision;
  • to evaluate the results of the project; and
  • to support transparency, accountability and citizen engagement.

Audits of recipients and evaluation of the Program

We reserve the right to audit your accounts and records to ensure compliance with the terms and conditions of your funding agreement. We also conduct periodic Program evaluations, during which you may be required to present documentation. 

You must keep any records, documents, or other information that may be required to perform the audit or the evaluation for five years. Demonstrated failure to maintain such records may result in the repayment of amounts previously received.

Contact us

Department of Canadian Heritage
Canada Arts Presentation
15 Eddy Street
Gatineau, Quebec
J8X 4B3

1-866-811-0055 (toll-free)

1-888-997-3123 (toll-free)
Agents are available to answer your questions, Monday to Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. (EST).

Regional offices of the Department of Canadian Heritage.


Admission fee
An amount paid by audience members in exchange for access to an arts presentation. Exceptions to this admission fee may be made when the event occurs within communities facing specific barriers to participation. If an exception applies to the applicant, it must contact a program officer to discuss the situation prior to sending an application.
Artistic discipline
An identified and recognizable area of artistic activity, known as a discipline which involves its own artistic process, vocabulary, aesthetic and history. These disciplines are known as theatre, dance, music, literary, visual and media arts, circus and others. Each of these distinct disciplines encompasses genres that further define the specificities of the artistic practice and its appreciation.
Artistic experience
Contact with artists or work in an environment that may include traditional encounters performances or non-traditional encounters with the artist(s) (e.g. talks, presentations of excerpts from performances in the community - at shopping malls, in parks, etc.).
Artistic vision

For a presenter organization, artistic vision lies in the presenter’s perception of what could be offered in the community in order to allow both qualitative and quantitative audience development, as well as diversification of the artistic experiences available in that community.

Artistic vision assumes a capacity to imagine, develop and implement a range of programs, dynamically combining the potential of the audience and of the artistic milieu. This vision is based on:

  • knowledge of the audience, its tastes, interests and development potential;
  • knowledge of the local community and other artistic experiences available; and
  • knowledge of the artistic milieu and the various disciplines, traditions, contemporary trends, individual creators, the circumstances and conditions for carrying out activities, and the available programming opportunities.
Arts festivals
A number of artistic events or shows organized, in one location, over a specified period of time. Festivals provide an opportunity to share, with a broad audience, experiences and customs related to a specific theme or form of cultural or artistic expression (e.g. dance, music, theatre, traditions). Festival programming is guided by a clearly articulated artistic vision. In general, festivals must last a minimum of three days to four weeks. Festivals must include the presentation of a minimum of three distinct professional works, from more than one province or territory.
Audience development/outreach
Audience development/outreach is a process that may involve two stages. The first consists of identifying, informing, researching, reaching and engaging a new audience through specific promotional activities, market research, audience profiling and establishing contacts in particular sectors of the community. Once the audience has been identified and engaged, the second stage consists of building knowledge and appreciation of specific artistic disciplines or forms, presenting new artists or disciplines, and then developing the demand for such presentations. This is achieved through public discussion/lectures, pre- or post-show panel discussions, roundtable presentations, workshops open to the public, demonstrations, residencies, seminars, public rehearsals and other forms of contact with the community by professional artists programmed by the presenter in the community. All audience development/outreach activities must be directed to the general public.
Audited financial report
The Audited Financial Report is prepared by professional accountants who are independent and shall clearly include all of the revenues realized and expenditures incurred by the Recipient for the given period with regard to the Project.
Audited financial statements
A complete set of financial statements including a statement of financial position; a statement of operations; and a statement of changes in financial position. Audited financial statements are completed by a certified accountant who is not part of your organization. The certified accountant performs auditing activities in accordance with generally accepted auditing standards.
Balanced budget
The organization must show that revenues equal expenses with a zero balance for the purposes of the proposed activities as presented in the CAPF Budget Template.
Cash flow
A presentation of all anticipated revenues and planned expenses that will occur over the length of your project. At the beginning of your project, your cash flow will have only forecasted revenues and expenses. Over time, your cash flow will be updated to reflect the actual revenues and expenses.
Community engagement
Community engagement activities can include: partnerships with other community-based organizations or events that support the organization's mandate; active outreach to schools, community centres or other venues where professional artists engage with the community; initiatives that reach out to specific segments of the population (i.e. youth, disabled, seniors, or underserved communities); programming that engages local professional artists; extending programming outreach to other communities; and programming that combines and complements paid admission events with free or low-cost events.
A contest or event during which participants are evaluated or judged. Note that competitions are not eligible for CAPF funding.
Demographics refer to selected population characteristics. This is understood to be in a specific geographical area, community and/r audience reach. Commonly-used demographics include ethnicity, age, income, disabilities, educational attainment, home ownership, employment status and location.
Donation (monetary)
A sum of money that is usually given either by an individual, a company or an organization. The recipient must have a legal charitable number and acknowledge this donation through a tax receipt.
Ethnocultural communities
A group of people whose members identify with each other, through a common heritage. For the purpose of this definition, ethnocultural communities include Canadians of diverse culture such as, but not limited to African, Arab, Asian, Latin American or mixed heritage.
Fair ticketing policy
A ticketing policy stipulates the grounds on which the organization sets ticket prices. It can take into consideration the cost of tickets for other events, the economic situation in the region, a particular audience, charges for similar activities, etc. A presenter may also seek sponsors in order to offer an activity free of charge. The Department may decide not to support an activity if the organization’s ticket pricing policy creates unfair competition for its colleagues. Exceptions may be made when the event occurs within communities facing specific barriers to participation.
Financial statements
A complete set of financial statements, including a statement of financial position; a statement of operations; and a statement of changes in financial position. Financial statements may be audited or unaudited.
Final report
A final report is submitted at the end of your project based on the requirements in the funding agreement. Your final report needs to provide the results of the activities you have undertaken for the duration of your project and include a final report of actual revenues and expenses.
Guaranteed fee
The negotiated amount a presenter agrees to pay the professional artist or artistic organization for a performance, regardless of the number of tickets sold. This fee may include artists’ fees, per diems, accommodation and travel. The presenter may also offer an additional fee in addition to the guaranteed fee.
Indigenous communities
Indigenous communities include First Nations, Métis and Inuit communities.
Media arts
Arts that make use of film processes, video and audio techniques, new media, or a combination of any of these processes.
Official-language minority communities
The official-language minority communities are the Anglophone communities residing in Quebec and the Francophone communities residing outside of Quebec.
Partnerships usually support programming or audience development goals. They are considered strategic alliances made with other presenters, not-for-profit arts and community organizations and/or educational institutions in which resources, material, and/ or labour, are shared to realize organizational presenting goals. Partners may include peer organizations that have access to different markets or may be interested in merging programs to increase and widen audience reach and share expenses.
Performing arts
Includes the entire range of genres (traditional, contemporary, avant-garde, classical, street, etc.) associated with all the live art disciplines: dance, theatre, music, performance art, spoken word, circus and comedy.
Performing arts series
A series of at least three performing arts presentations grouping performances over a season. A season may focus on a single artistic discipline or may cover a number of them. Choices are guided by a clearly-defined artistic vision.
Presenter support organization
Organization that organizes activities and offers services to its members and directly furthers the interests of presenters, artists and other artistic organizations, through activities associated with the delivery of professional services.
Professional artist
Artist who has specialized training in the field (not necessarily in academic institutions), who is recognized by his or her peers (artists working in the same artistic tradition), who is committed to devoting more time to the artistic activity, if financially feasible, and who has a history of public presentation.
Professional arts presenter
For the purposes of the CAPF, professional arts presenters select the artistic programming for public presentation in their community based on an artistic vision. They purchase performances and other artistic activities created by professional artists, groups and companies; and they are responsible for paying a guaranteed fee to the producer for each presentation. They provide the venue and supply the technical and promotional support. Presenters may also organize audience development and/or outreach in support of their artistic programming. They have a thorough knowledge of the audiences in their communities, of the professional arts community and of the various networks that support both the artists and the presenters.
Ability of the presenter to keep the interest of past audiences by the continued effort of offering them quality programming.
Assumption by professional artists or artistic organizations of the financial risks related to presentation of their own programs, with ticket revenues going to them. The artist/organization usually takes responsibility for administrative, technical and promotional aspects. Self-presentation activities are not eligible for CAPF funding .
To sponsor something is to support an event, activity, person or organization by providing money or other resources in exchange for access to an audience.
An individual working on behalf of others without receiving financial or material gain.

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