Emergency Resources for artists

There are 2 sections to these resources: 1) links to resources for artistic communities and 2) federal and government links for individuals and businesses. This webpage will be updated on a regular basis.

Last update: September 21, 2020

Resources for artistic communities (Nationwide)

  • THE CBC CREATIVE RELIEF FUND will provide immediate, urgent support to Canadian creators. The unprecedented new Fund will provide $2 million in development and production funding for a diverse range of innovative, original Canadian storytelling, including scripted comedies and dramas, unscripted entertainment, kids and young adult programming, podcasts, play adaptations and short documentaries.
  • LEADERSHIP EMERGENCY ARTS NETWORK (LEAN) is an immediate, grassroots, pro bono response network to help Canadian professional non-profit arts organizations (big and small) deal with what is coming at them during this crisis. Celia Smith, Jeanne LeSage and Michele Maheux launched this national initiative a few days ago and already have 55 advisers signed on: sector leaders including board members, current and former arts Executive Directors, consultants, etc. from across the country. If you need help at this time in strategic decision-making, crisis response, financial analysis, board direction, relationship mediation, HR management, systems change or inspirational leadership, they invite you to “LEAN ON US”! Click here for more info and to sign up: LEAN ORG LINK
  • SOCAN – SOCAN announced today that it is expanding its efforts to provide financial assistance to struggling members as a result of the COVID-19 crisis by allocating up to a total of $2-million for emergency royalty advances.
  • The National Arts Centre and Facebook CanadaBenefiting: Performing artists in Canada – Kevin Chan, head of public policy for Facebook Canada, contacted the National Arts Centre in Ottawa. Together, they came up with #CanadaPerforms, which offers $1,000 for selected artists to give 45 to 60 minute performances online. Facebook Canada’s initial $100,000 donation was matched by Slaight Music, with $200,000 in donations coming from both the RBC Foundation and SiriusXM Canada. With $600,000 in donations, the program is set to continue through the end of May.
  • Canada Council for the Arts | COVID-19 Information Page
  • Unison Benevolent Fund – A toll-free number to connect Canadian music professionals with resources and support for personal and practical issues in English and French. The organization made $250,000 available for a COVID-19 Relief Program, which the philanthropic Slaight Family Foundation matched, bringing the fund to $500,000.
  • CANADIAN Low-Income Artist/Musician Relief Fund –  A group fundraising to support a relief fund.
  • Facebook-National Arts Centre Fund for Performing Artists – Accepting applications from artists who post a 45 to 60-minute online performance between today and March 31, 2020. Financial grants will be given out from a $100,000 relief fund.
  • I Lost My Gig Canada – A space for arts and other vulnerable freelance and gig workers in Canada and beyond to share stories and resources addressing the impacts of COVID-19. Its full website launches March 20.
  • Canadian Independent Music Association – A list of information and resources put together by CIMA.
  • Save Live Arts – an initiative started by Canadian Actors’ Equity Association (CAEA), Canadian Federation of Musicians (CFM / AFM) and its 25 Locals coast to coast, including Toronto Musicians’ Association (TMA) and the Guilde des musiciens et musiciennes du Québec (GMMQ) in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. “We understand that without government intervention Covid-19 will continue to have a detrimental effect on the social and economic well being of the people and companies in the live arts. We welcome signatures and partnership from any Canadian company or individual working in the live arts.  For more information or to make suggestions for the initiative you can email [email protected] 
  • COVID-19: Measuring Impacts on the Music Industry – CIMA; musicians and members of the Canadian music industry should complete this survey in order to give a fuller picture of how this pandemic is affecting our sector.
  • Program to support Canadian Heritage, from the Canadian Government.
  • Canadian Council for the Arts – Digital Originals. Micro innovation grants.
  • SOCAN’s New Encore! Program will pay music creators for live online concerts, between March 15 this year to March 7 next year, with at least 100 people, 10 songs or compositions.


  • Ontario Arts Council | COVID-19 Information Page
  • Toronto Arts Council | COVID-19 Information Page
  • Toronto Arts Foundation: This emergency fund is suspended. With thousands of artists suddenly without work in the wake of COVID-19, Toronto Arts Foundation is partnering with Toronto Arts Council to help provide immediate short-term relief. They launched the TOArtist COVID Response Fund. The Fund is an emergency support program that will help Toronto artists who have lost performance income as a result of COVID-19. 100% of all funds donated will go directly to artists, including musicians, actors, writers, dancers, and visual artists — all of whom face potentially devastating financial strains due to loss of income from cancelled events and performances. Over 10,000 artists have lost their source of income, many of whom do not qualify for EI as they are self-employed, and many of whom make less than $30,000 per year – far below Toronto’s cost of living. Toronto’s artists need your help. Please consider making a donation to the fund: https://torontoartsfoundation.org/toartistresponse
  • Emergency Survival Fund for LGBTQ2S artists, performers, tip-based workers – Administered by Glad Day Bookshop in Toronto, this fund will help cover emergency aid and paid work for LGBTQ2S artists, performers and tip-based workers.
  • COVID-19 Black Emergency Support Fund – Black Lives Matter Toronto is launching a fundraising campaign to support the GTA black community through one time stipends of $125 or $250 to Black people through an online application process.
  • Low-Income Artist & Musician Relief Fund is currently fundraising to support artists in the Greater Montreal and Greater Toronto regions. When funds are available they will look to support artists in other regions. The application for funding and fund dispersment will be available on April 22, 2020

British Columbia

  • https://www.allianceforarts.com/covid-19 – A great compiled list of resources related to COVID-19 (novel coronavirus), sorted into different categories.
  • https://www.vancouverfoundation.ca/covid19 – A collaborative, community response deploying resources to local charities at the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Actsafe — Health and safety association supporting British Columbia’s arts and entertainment industries.
  • BC Arts Council’s Arts and Culture Resilience Supplement – The Arts and Culture Resilience Supplement is part of the BC Arts Council’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Organizations who have received at least one BC Arts Council project assistance grant in the past three years within eligible programs (see below for a complete list) can apply for a one-time grant of up to $5000.


  • Soutien à/de la communauté culturelle québécoise – COVID-19— A  Facebook group aimed at informing cultural workers, self-employed workers and artists on the measures in place for future government actions for financial support.
  • Low-Income Artist & Musician Relief Fund is currently fundraising to support artists in the Greater Montreal and Greater Toronto regions. When funds are available they will look to support artists in other regions. The application for funding and fund dispersment will be available on April 22, 2020


  • Rozsa Foundation –  In response to the current pandemic and its devastating impact on the local arts community, the Rozsa Foundation is introducing two new granting programs, providing $400,000 of additional investment into the arts sector. These one-time programs are intended to both alleviate some of the immediate financial pressures facing arts organizations, while also enabling them to be forward-looking, seeking opportunities to use digital technologies to deliver programming to audiences and using the arts to address specific community needs at this critical time. Applications for both granting programs open on Tuesday, April 14, 2020.
  • Calgary Foundation – The COVID-19 Urgent Charity Needs page is a place for local registered charities and not-for-profits to share current and emerging needs with people who want to help.
  • Calgary Foundation – Pandemic Recovery Program.
  • Calgary Foundation – Resources Page.
  • The Manitoba Gap Protection Program (MGPP) helps small and medium-sized businesses that are facing significant pressures brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. The MGPP provides an interest-free, forgivable $6,000 loan. Loans are available to businesses that fail to qualify for the various federal government assistance programs and wage subsidies created because of COVID-19.
  • New Music Paths, a web series featuring stories about the new musical paths being explored by composers, musicians, and songwriters across Canada and beyond.


  • New Brunswick at home: Paid opportunities for Artists – paid opportunities for musicians to present live music performances via social media.
  • Covid-19 Various Information for artists (New Brunswick)
  • Community Investment Fund (New Brunswick) – The CIF will provide support to local governments and non-profit community based organizations for initiatives such as festivals, national events, volunteer recognition events and community growth initiatives.
  • Music PEI Programs (Prince Edward Island) – The Association acts as an advocate for the Island music industry and a representative at the national table. Music PEI Investment Applications: the next submission deadline is April 30, 2020, at 11:59 pm AT.

Federal and Provincial Resources 

for individuals and businesses


The CERB  will be available for anyone who has lost their jobs — full time, contract or self-employed workers. All Canadians who have ceased working due to COVID-19, whether they are EI-eligible or not, are eligible to receive the CERB to ensure they have timely access to the income support they need.

The portal for accessing the CERB is available since early April and you can learn more about the proposed CERB here.

Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB): Eligibility criteria for CERB have changed. It is now possible for applicants to earn up to $1,000 of employment income each month, and still qualify for CERB payments. In addition, royalty payments do not need to be included in the $1,000 maximum. This is a huge benefit for self-employed artists, many of whom may have retained some work or receive some royalties which had previously disqualified them for the federal funding program.

Support for workers, considerations for businesses navigating COVID-19 distruptions, Economic Response Plan, guidance for federal employees

The Federal government has prepared a dedicated page regarding benefits and services pertaining to their COVID-19 Response through Employment and Social Development Canada.

  • The Canadian tax deadline for 2019 has been moved to June 1, 2020. Canadians who have filed their taxes already, and owe money, will not have to pay until Septembre 1, 2020
  • Canada’s large banks are working to allow deferral of mortgage payments for six months. More information can be found here

Provincial Resources


  • The province of Ontario has made $200 million in social services relief funding available for emergency assistance for those who are not able to access federal assistance to cover needs such as food costs, rent, medicine and other essential services during this time. Individuals can apply for this assistance online at Ontario.ca/community or through local Ontario Works offices. If you already receive Ontario Works benefits, additional funding could be available to you. You can apply through online applications such as MyBenefits, contacting their Ontario Works caseworker or online at Ontario.ca/community. ODSP recipients are also eligible to receive these benefits and can contact their ODSP caseworker for additional information.
  • Emergency Assistance in Ontario | The Government of Ontario is allowing folks to apply for COVID-19 Emergency Assistance through the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services. There is limited accompanying language at the time I am writing, and you will quickly be directed to the online application for Social Assistance, but please note that increased funds are being made available.
  • We encourage anyone renting, as well as any landlords reading this, to consult your local tenants’ association—among other resources, the FMTA has a form letter that you might consider using for communications with your landlord if you are not able to pay rent.