Application Guidelines — Aid to Publishers — Digital Periodical
Canada Periodical Fund
On this page
- Objectives and expected results for the Canada Periodical Fund
- Objectives and expected results for the Aid to Publishers
- Application deadline
- Who can apply
- Eligible expenses
- Limits of government assistance
- How to apply
- Application process
- How applications are evaluated
- Evaluation criteria
- Application processing time
- Funding decisions
- How funding is provided
- Funding conditions
- Workplace well-being
- Official languages requirements
- Acknowledgement of financial assistance
- Access to information requests
- Disclosure of information
- Audits of recipients and evaluation of the Program
- Contact us
Objectives and expected results for the Canada Periodical Fund
The Canada Periodical Fund provides financial support to Canadian print magazines, print community newspapers and digital periodicals, to enable them to overcome market disadvantages. The Fund ensures Canadians have access to diverse Canadian editorial content in printed magazines, printed community newspapers and digital periodicals.
Objectives and expected results for the Aid to Publishers
The Aid to Publishers component is designed to provide eligible Canadian publishers of print magazines, print community newspapers and digital periodicals with the financial support they need to produce and distribute high-quality, Canadian editorial content for Canadian readers.
We recognize that official language minority, Indigenous, ethnocultural and lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and two-spirited (LGBTQ2+) periodicals have a key role in the communities they serve. These periodicals benefit from special measures that improve their access to the Aid to Publishers component. These measures deal with matters such as the number of paid copies and the prices of magazines and newspapers and the financial verification requirements for all types of publication.
December 8, 2020
When an application deadline falls on a Saturday, Sunday or statutory holiday, it is extended to the following working day.
Who can apply
Publishing firms producing digital periodicals.
To be eligible, you must meet all eligibility criteria for both the publishing firm and your periodical until March 31, 2022.
Eligible publishing firms
Your publishing firm must:
- be a private-sector entity, which includes corporations, not-for-profit organizations, partnerships and sole proprietorships;
- be majority owned and controlled by Canadians;
- have its principal place of business in Canada; and
- have published one or more eligible periodicals at the application deadline.
Your periodical must:
- be published by an eligible publishing firm;
- be majority owned and controlled by Canadians;
- be either a digital-only magazine or digital-only community newspaper;
- have completed at least one uninterrupted 12-month publishing cycle at the application deadline, and continue to be published until at least March 31, 2022;
- maintain a regular publishing schedule in which the majority of editorial content changes at least twice during a 12-month period;
- contain an average of at least 80% Canadian editorial content in the issues published during the publisher's financial year. Ethnocultural periodicals must contain an average of at least 50% Canadian editorial content in the issues published during the financial year;
- contain an average of at most 70% advertising in the issues published during the financial year;
- contain a majority of original content;
- have a clear distinction between editorial content, advertising, advertorial content and sponsored content clearly identified;
- be edited, designed and published in Canada;
- maintain an editorial function where the editor is named;
- regularly present written editorial content from more than one person;
- present a clearly displayed masthead or contact page that includes, at minimum, the names of the publisher and editor in addition to the postal address for the publication;
- be available in machine-readable format (e.g. through a valid URL, an app for download, email format, or a third party publishing platform) and provide access to the program;
- generate revenues (e.g. subscription revenues, advertising sales, etc.); and
- have a verifiable method of distribution specific to the publication.
The following periodicals are ineligible under the Aid to Publishers component:
- print or digital daily newspapers;
- free print periodicals;
- websites, blogs and social media platforms;
- periodicals produced by or for an organization that primarily reports on the activities or promotes the interests of the organization;
- periodicals produced by or for an organization providing goods or services in which the main goal of the periodical is to promote the sales of the goods or services;
- periodicals produced under contract by a non-Canadian organization on behalf of a Canadian client;
- periodicals produced under contract by a Canadian organization for a non-Canadian client;
- periodicals produced by or for an organization that promotes the organization's main business, when it is not periodical publishing;
- professional association periodicals;
- periodicals produced by or for a government, a Crown Corporation or a government agency;
- periodicals whose editorial content is primarily reproduced or repeated from current or previous issues of the same periodical or other publications;
- loose-leaf periodicals;
- periodicals with editorial content that is made up of more than 50% of the following, singly or in combination: listings, catalogues, magalogues, directories, guides, financial reports, schedules, calendars, timetables, comic books, cartoons, puzzles, games and horoscopes;
- periodicals that contain offensive content in the opinion of the department of Canadian Heritage; and
- periodicals receiving funding from the Government of Canada Refundable Labour Tax Credit (RLTC).
We are responsible for determining the eligibility of the periodical firm and the publication.
Digital periodical eligibility criteria are subject to changes.
Digital-only magazines and community newspapers must:
- have generated a minimum revenue of $10,000 in the fiscal year.
- The minimum revenue does not apply to official language minority, Indigenous, ethnocultural and LGBTQ2+ digital publications
- have a minimum of editorial expenses over $10,000 in a fiscal year
- a $5,000 minimum of editorial expenses is required by official language minority, Indigenous, ethnocultural and LGBTQ2+ digital publications
- have Canadian editorial content levels that are above 80%
- provide list of content contributors and their percentage of the total contribution to the content development from fiscal years (publishing cycle)
- at least 50% of content must be in written format and videos uploaded as content must have a corresponding text article to count towards eligibility
You have flexibility in the use of funds.
Financial support can be spent on different activities, including:
- creation (writing, editing, photography, illustration and design);
- distribution; and
- website development and enhancement (including content development, and enhancements to the site's architecture and functionality).
Financial support must be spent for expenses that occur during the next fiscal year (from April 1, 2021 to March 31, 2022). You may be required to return any part of the financial support not spent by the end of that period.
Limits of government assistance
Except for farm periodicals, we can fund up to $1.5 million per periodical.
Publication receiving the Government of Canada Refundable Labour Tax Credit (RLTC) are ineligible for Canada Periodical Fund.
The total financial assistance received from the Aid to Publishers component of the Canada Periodical Fund and other levels of government (federal, provincial, territorial and municipal) cannot exceed 75% of any publisher's total expenditures for the creation, production, marketing and distribution of magazines, community newspapers and digital periodicals.
How to apply
Read these Application Guidelines in their entirety before completing your application.
When completing the application form, you must report on the publishing activities that occurred during the publishing firm's twelve (12) month financial year that ends on a date within the period of April 1, 2019 and March 31, 2020.
You must meet all eligibility requirements and submit a complete application package to be considered for funding. A complete application package includes the Aid to Publishers – Application Form – Digital Periodical and the following supporting documents:
- Articles of incorporation (for first time applicant or incorporated in the year, if applicable);
- Internet Analytics report;
- Unlimited access to the digital periodical.
Additional information and documents, such as audit circulation reports, financial statements, or additional issues can be requested to determine the eligibility of a periodical.
Financial verification requirements
In order to complete the "Financial Year Information" of the Periodical’s editorial expenditures section of the application form, you must provide the following documents:
Digital-only periodicals with over $250,000 of editorial expenditures:
- You must provide, at the time of application, a certification of editorial expenditures signed by an accredited accounting firm and/or chartered accountant, for a consecutive 12-month period that begins in the financial year entered in the application form.
Digital-only periodicals with less than $250,000 of editorial expenditures:
- The editorial expenditures detailed in the application form must be certified by the Publishing Firm’s Authorized Official Contact.
The financial verification reporting requirement does not apply to official language minority, Indigenous, ethnocultural and LGBTQ2+ periodicals.
- Complete, sign and date the Application Form;
- Attach all the required supporting documents; and
- Submit your application through only one format.
You can mail or courier your complete application package to the following address:
Canada Periodical Fund
Aid to Publishers
Department of Canadian Heritage
25 Eddy St, 25-8-U
Gatineau, QC K1A 0M5
Your application must be postmarked no later than the published deadline to be considered.
How applications are evaluated
Funding is distributed proportionally according to the eligible editorial expenditures of each recipient and the proportion is adjusted to account for the following factors: type and category of periodical
These factors are given additional consideration to reflect the core principles of the Canada Periodical Fund that:
- recognize the different realities for printed magazines, printed community newspapers, and digital only publications; and
- allow additional support to farm periodicals.
Your application will be evaluated based on the eligible editorial expenditures incurred during your financial year.
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 receiving your application in our office.
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 for a specific purpose, as outlined in a funding agreement. The agreement is signed by your organization and by us and specifies the terms and conditions to receive payment. At the end of your project, you must submit a final report.
Additional conditions may apply and, if applicable, will be included in your funding agreement.
Should the status of your publishing firm or periodical change, you must immediately inform us if one or more of the following changes occurs:
- Name of publishing firm;
- Title of periodical;
- Periodical ceases publishing;
- Insolvency - Assignment in bankruptcy; and
- Sale of periodical or publishing firm.
Should shares or assets of your periodical or publishing firm be sold, merged or by any other means transferred, resulting in a change of control of the specific firm or of the specific periodical, the following applies:
- We must be advised before the transaction is finalized, to determine whether the periodical and new owner remain eligible.
- If applicable, it is the entire responsibility of the parties to agree on the value of the assets to be sold, which includes any financial type of support received from us.
- The current owner must send a copy of the sale contract to us. The contract must specify the intention of both parties vis-à-vis the financial support.
- The publishing firms must sign an Assignment and Assumption Agreement, and the new owner must submit proof that it is Canadian-owned and controlled. Otherwise, it will cease to be eligible to the funding. Contact us to obtain an Assignment and Assumption Agreement.
All or part of the financial support will have to be reimbursed, if the periodical or the publishing firm ceases to be eligible during any part of 2021-2022.
Prior to the release of a payment through a funding agreement, you must pay any outstanding amount to the Receiver General. If you fail to comply with the obligations related to prior funding, including repayment requirements, your future applications for funding may be rejected.
The Government of Canada is strongly committed to promoting healthy workplaces where harassment, abuse and discrimination are not tolerated. Organizations that receive funding from Canadian Heritage must take measures to create a workplace free from harassment, abuse and discrimination.
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 and 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 the Government of Canada 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
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.
For further information, please contact us:
Department of Canadian Heritage
Canada Periodical Fund
Aid to Publishers
25 Eddy St, 25-8-U
Gatineau, QC K1A 0M5
Agents are available to answer your questions Monday to Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. (EST).
- Advertising pages
Include paid advertising, contra or in-kind advertisements and advertorial, but does not include charitable, public service, house advertisements, the masthead or other non-revenue pages.
- Advertorial content
Content of a periodical that promotes or presents the interests, opinions, services or products of an advertiser in a similar style, format and payout as the editorial content. Advertorial content is considered to be advertising.
- Articles of incorporation
A legal document filed with a provincial or territorial government, or the federal government, which sets out a corporation's purpose and regulations.
- Arts and literary periodical
A periodical that fosters awareness of the arts and literature and nurtures the vitality of Canadian cultural expression in Canada.
- Average circulation
The average circulation is the total number of copies circulated during the financial year divided by the total number of issues published during that financial year.
- Business number
A Business Number is a unique 9-digit number assigned by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA). A sole proprietor, partnership, corporation, trust or other organization must enter their Business number on the application form in "Publishing Firm Information" section. Register your business on the CRA website.
- Canadian editorial content
Editorial content (text and photographs, graphics and illustrations) created or translated by a Canadian citizen, a permanent resident of Canada within the meaning of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act or a participant to a federal or provincial program that provides work experiences or internships to individuals. Translated editorial content by a citizen or a permanent resident of Canada within the meaning of this Act will be considered Canadian editorial content if the editorial content is translated into one of the two official languages. Translation does not modify the nature of the editorial content.
- Canadian ownership and control
To be eligible, a publishing firm or periodical must be majority owned and controlled by a Canadian. For the Canada periodical Fund, "Canadian" means:
- a Canadian citizen;
- a permanent resident within the meaning of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act;
- a Canadian corporation; a partnership, trust or joint venture in which a Canadian or permanent resident or any combination of Canadians and/or permanents residents beneficially owns and controls, directly or indirectly, interests representing in value at least 51% of the total value of the assets of the partnership, trust or joint venture, as the case may be. The president or other presiding officer, and more than half of the directors or other similar officers are also Canadians or permanent residents;
- a not-for-profit organization in which at least 51% of its members and directors are Canadians or permanent residents.
If at any time one or more persons who are not Canadian have any direct or indirect influence through a trust, an agreement, an arrangement or otherwise that, if exercised, would lead to a control in fact of the publishing firm, the firm will no longer be recognized as Canadian-owned.
- "Canadian corporation"
"Canadian corporation" is one that meets the following criteria:
- a corporation that is incorporated under the laws of Canada, a province or a territory;
- a corporation whose principal place of business is in Canada;
- a corporation whose president or other presiding officer, and more than half of the directors or other similar officers are Canadian citizens or permanent residents within the meaning of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act;
- a corporation, in the case of a corporation with share capital, of which Canadians beneficially own and control, other than by way of shares held only as security, directly or indirectly, in the aggregate at least 51% of all the issued and outstanding voting shares representing more than half of the votes; and
- a corporation, in the case of a corporation without share capital, of which Canadians beneficially own and control, directly or indirectly, interests representing in value at least 51% of the total value of the assets.
As an exception to the requirement for both Canadian ownership and Canadian control, publishing firms that are owned by Canadians and have operated in Canada as a publisher of periodicals for at least thirty years will be considered eligible even if they are not Canadian-controlled.
- Circulation report
A circulation report issued by an accepted audit circulation board that reports on the volume of circulation by source, circulation type by breakout, frequency, locations of distribution and selling price for a magazine or non-daily newspaper during a specific period.
We accept reports from the following audit circulation boards:
- Canadian Circulations Audit Board (CCAB/BPA), a division of BPA Worldwide
- Alliance for Audited Media (AAM)
- Canadian Community Newspaper Association (CCNA) / Canadian Media Circulation Audit (CMCA)
- Consumer periodical
A periodical aimed at the public, of two types:
- General interest: dealing with broad topics likely to be of interest to anyone, such as news, general history and entertainment.
- Special interest: dealing with niche topics, such as hobbies, cooking, sports, and countless other topics.
- Community Newspaper
A newspaper that primarily circulates local or regional information on a geographically defined territory or on information on the basis of common affiliation (e.g. farm, ethnocultural, religious), published under a common name at regular intervals.
- Complimentary circulation
Copies distributed free of charge.
- Controlled circulation
Copies distributed free of charge on a regular basis to consumers selected by the publisher.
- Cost of goods sold
Value of the opening stock plus all purchases less the value of the closing stock.
- Digital only periodical
Is defined as a publication that primarily text, photographic, and illustrated editorial content delivered through a website, download or email, and that is published on a regularly scheduled basis under a common title and governed by an editorial function (editor).
- Digital non-replica periodical
A periodical that is the digital version of a print magazine but whose content is at least 50% original.
- Editorial content
The space in a periodical, excluding advertising and non-revenue pages, which consists of original text, images, photographs, graphics and illustrations.
- Editorial expenditures
Salaries/costs related to the generation of editorial pages and the activities leading to the production of Canadian editorial content, (for both print and digital content), these include:
- The person(s) responsible for implementing the editorial policy and is responsible for the editorial content of the publication
- A person who composes thoughts and presents information in literary forms as their occupation or profession
- An employee or third party services whose specific job requires changing words in written form for one language into a different language
- Translated editorial content see “Canadian editorial content”
- An employee or third party services whose specific job requires changing words in written form for one language into a different language
- The function of reading text after typesetting but before printing. A proofreader compares the compositor's typeset pages to the original manuscript
- The function of producing photographs as stand-alone stories or associated with a theme or story for the purpose of publication in a print or digital publication
- a person that prepares and issues journals, magazines and community newspapers in traditional and digital formats for sale to the public which can include their own work and from other authors’.
- Costs associated with creative selection of graphic elements and correlating the selected text and graphics into a visually pleasing page format ready for production.
- A paid person that creates a conceptualizes drawing from the theme of the copy and designs images consistent with the style or format of the publication
- The function of producing videos for publication on an associated digital platform or a digital only magazine or digital only community newspaper
- The systematic approach to studying materials and to ascertain details from sources in order to determine facts and/or reach conclusions
- A paid employee who researches and/or investigates events and produces articles which include facts, descriptions or events explanations of interest to the reader.
- Canadian content rights purchased
- Costs associated with the acquisition of Canadian editorial materials from a Canadian or permanent residents who are not salaried employees
- Freelance editorial work
- Costs associated to a Canadian or permanent resident that are not employed by the publishing firm but provide editorial services to the publication
- Third party financial accounting
- Accounting services provided by a company or individual who does not have a direct connection with the legal transactions of the business which involves recording, reporting, and analyzing financial transactions of the business
- Considered a valid editorial expenditure only for services specific to the Financial verification requirements detailed in the guidelines
- Circulation audit report – See “Circulation report” definition
- Ethnocultural periodical
A periodical that primarily serves or is primarily concerned with a commonly recognized specific cultural or racially distinct community or specific linguistic group using other than Canada's official languages.
An eligible ethnocultural periodical may be published in any language.
- Farm periodical
A periodical aimed at the farming industry, including animal farming.
- Final report
A final report is submitted at the end of your project based on the requirements defined in the funding agreement.
- Financial year
Refers to the publishing firm's twelve-month financial year that ends on a date within the period of April 1, 2019 and March 31, 2020.
- Fiscal year (of the Government)
Refers to the federal government fiscal year, which starts on April 1 of a given year and ends on March 31 of the following year.
- Foreign editorial content
Editorial content (text and images) created or translated by a person who is not a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident of Canada within the meaning of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act. If the creator or translator is unknown, or if the citizenship cannot be determined, the editorial content is deemed foreign.
- Indigenous periodical
A periodical that is primarily targeted to and concerned with serving First Nations, Inuit and Métis communities.
- Ineligible Editorial expenditures
Salaries/Costs related to the generation of editorial content that are not recognized or covered by the Aid to Publishers formula for the production of Canadian editorial content, these include:
- Amortized capital costs
- Salaries for employees other than those involved in the creation of editorial content (administration, marketing, advertising, etc.)
- Salaries of employees creating editorial content that are not Canadian citizens or permanent residents
- International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)
An internationally agreed upon standard number that uniquely identifies a publication. It is assigned by the ISSN Network.
- LGBTQ2+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and two-spirited) periodical
A periodical that primarily serves or is primarily concerned with the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and two-spirited communities.
A series of words, numbers, paragraphs, photos or other items, which may include descriptions, opinions or analysis. Examples: stock listings, sports scores and standings, television listings, product descriptions and restaurant descriptions.
A print periodical that is commonly recognized as a magazine, is paginated and bound, appears in consecutively numbered or dated issues, is published under a common title at regular intervals and may possess an International Standard Serial Number (ISSN).
The section of a periodical which lists information on the staff, the publisher, the editorial board, and provides contact information.
A publication, issued periodically, typically by a business, institution, or other organization, that presents information and news to members, customers, or employees with a specific interest in the organization or subject.
A newsletter attributes include the following but may not be limited to:
- No cover page – articles start immediately
- Fewer than 20 pages
- No table of contents
- No list of authors
- No full masthead
- No regular editorial columns or letter to the editor
- Part of a continued series.
Newsletters are not eligible for funding under the Aid to publishers component.
A periodical which contains news on current events of special or general interest. The individual articles are listed chronologically or numerically and appear regularly, usually at least once a week but sometimes bimonthly or monthly.
A print periodical scoring six or more points on the following scale is a newspaper.
Specifications Points 1. Broadsheet format, tabloid format or outsized (larger than 8-1/2 x 11 inches) 2 2. Unbound 3 3. Printed on any type of newsprint 1 4. Identified as a newspaper 1 5. Cover subdivided (articles, boxed photos) 1 6. Advertising on front cover 1 7. Divided into detachable regular sections, such as news, analysis, entertainment, sports 1 Total /10
- Non-revenue pages
All pages other than advertising pages, contra or editorial. They can include self-promotional pages, pages donated to local charities or businesses, delivery of in-kind services, etc. Blank pages are considered to be non-revenue pages.
- Offensive content
Periodicals or projects that, in our opinion, contain or promote any of the following:
- material that is hate propaganda, obscene or child pornography, or any other illegal material, as defined in the Criminal Code;
- pornography or other material having significant sexual content unless it can be demonstrated that there is an overriding educational or other similar purpose;
- material that contains excessive or gratuitous violence;
- material that is denigrating to an identifiable group; or
- any other similarly offensive material.
Periodicals that contain offensive content, in our opinion, are not eligible for funding under the Aid to publishers component.
- Official language minority periodical
A periodical that is published in English or French, in a region of Canada where the language and content of the periodical primarily serves and is concerned with an official language minority community (a French-language community outside of Quebec or an English-language community in Quebec).
- Original content
Editorial content created for the Canadian market that has not previously been published elsewhere in Canada or abroad, including websites and other Canadian or foreign periodicals.
- Paid circulation
Copies of a magazine or community newspaper sold through subscriptions, single-copies/ newsstand sales and sponsored copies.
- Professional association periodical
A professional association periodical meets all the following conditions:
- is directly owned by an association;
- membership in the association is necessary to maintain a professional status which is recognized by a federal or provincial statute; and
- membership in the association includes paying professional dues which are deductible under subparagraph 8(1)(i) (i) of the Income Tax Act.
Professional association periodicals are not eligible for funding under the Aid to publishers component.
- Publishing cycle
The number of issues of a periodical, pre-determined by the publishing firm, that are published during the 12-month financial year.
- Religious periodical
A periodical that is primarily religious in purpose and content.
- Request circulation - Direct request copies
Copies of magazines that are individually addressed to recipients who have directly requested the periodical from a publishing firm using written, telephone, email or fax request.
- Scholarly journal
A magazine, aimed at specialists, which presents results of research in a specific field for disseminating knowledge.
- Special issue
An insert or a combination of two issues is not considered as a special issue. A special issue:
- is published within the regular publishing cycle;
- is an additional issue, sent separately, that focuses on a specific theme or topic;
- has a title and International Standard Serial Number (ISSN) common to the host periodical; and
- has its cost included in the subscription cost.
- Sponsored content
A specific and distinct section of content that is sponsored by a single advertiser. The sponsored content will often match the subject matter, as well as the targeted audience. Sponsored content is considered to be advertising.
- Sponsored copies
Copies purchased by a sponsor for distribution to targeted consumers.
An individual who has knowingly paid or undertaken to pay for a subscription to a periodical, to be delivered over a specified period.
- Trade magazine
A magazine that is targeted to workers in a particular field of employment, usually using request circulation. Also known as a business, business-to-business, or professional magazine.
An individual working on behalf of others without receiving financial or material gain.
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