Ontario Provides Significant Financial Support to the Arts Sector

Published on March 02, 2021

Funding will help arts organizations and artists cover losses due to COVID-19


News Release

TORONTO ― The Ontario government is supporting the arts sector with a one-time investment of $25 million to help artists and arts organizations survive the COVID-19 pandemic, remain solvent and prepare for a time when they can fully re-open their facilities, resume full programming and welcome back their visitors and audiences.

Details were provided today by Lisa MacLeod, Minister of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries.

Through the funding, $24 million will be provided to 140 arts organizations, including:

  • 4th Line Theatre, Millbrook
  • Varley Art Gallery, Markham 
  • Hot Docs, Toronto
  • MacLaren Art Centre, Barrie
  • Mariposa Folk Foundation, Orillia
  • Lighthouse Festival Theatre, Port Dover
  • London Arts Council, London
  • Great Canadian Theatre Company, Ottawa

"Arts organizations make an important contribution to our province, providing thousands of jobs for musicians, writers, painters, actors, dancers, stagehands and the many others working behind the scenes," said Minister MacLeod. "They entertain us, but they also play an important role in the mental health and well-being of Ontarians and an equally important role in the province's economic and social recovery. Providing the help they need is a critical part of our plan to support individuals, families and job creators impacted by the virus, while laying the foundation for a strong economic recovery." 

Additionally, $1 million will provide much-needed support directly to artists and creators from across the province. More information on this, including eligibility requirements and application deadlines, will be available soon on the Ontario Arts Council website.

"We are honoured that Minister MacLeod has asked the Ontario Arts Council to administer this special initiative," said OAC Chair Rita Davies. "While the pandemic has hurt so many in this province, we are grateful the government has recognized the arts sector as one of the most severely affected. The announcement today also underscores the essential contribution the arts will provide to the economic and social recovery of Ontario communities."

This initiative is part of the government's 2020 Budget, Ontario's Action Plan: Protect, Support, Recover, the next phase of a comprehensive action plan to respond to the devastating health and economic impacts of COVID-19. 


Quick Facts

  • Ontario's Action Plan sets out a total of $45 billion in support over three years to make available the necessary resources to continue protecting people, deliver critical programs and tax measures to support individuals, families and job creators impacted by the virus, and lay the groundwork for a robust long-term economic recovery for the province.
  • The Ontario Arts Council is an agency of the Ministry of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries that provides grants to Ontario-based individual artists and arts professionals, ad hoc groups/collectives and organizations. Grants support a range of arts activities and disciplines.
  • The Ontario Arts Council offers two types of granting streams: one-time project grants for specific projects, and operating grants to support Ontario-based, not-for-profit arts organizations and for-profit book and magazine publishers.

Quotes

"The impact of this critical investment cannot be overstated - it will allow arts organizations like the TSO to serve Ontarians through music and arts programs that help sustain and strengthen communities. Keeping our 92 member orchestra together throughout the pandemic to share our music when people needed it most was always our priority, and we are immensely grateful to Minister Lisa MacLeod and the government of Ontario for recognizing and celebrating our contribution and service to our province."

- Matthew Loden
Chief Executive Officer of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra

"We are extremely grateful to the Ontario government for being so responsive to our needs. The Stratford Festival had to cancel its entire 2020 season, which was to bring in more than $70 million in revenue, just weeks before opening, and restrictions will continue through this year. This much needed infusion will help us reimagine ourselves this summer and build back for the future. Thank you, Minister MacLeod, for supporting the arts and artists in this province. We desperately need the stability this new funding offers."

- Anita Gaffney
Executive Director of the Stratford Festival

"We cannot overstate the value of this investment by the province into Ontario's Arts and Culture institutions or thank the ministry enough. As one of the Niagara Region's 20 largest employers, and an economic generator that anchors thousands of related tourism jobs for our local wineries, hotels, restaurants and retail shops, The Shaw Festival knows that we, and our colleagues across the province, are deeply and intrinsically linked to the economic success and stability of our communities, as well as their cultural health. Minister MacLeod and her team at the ministry have been beside us every step of the way through the last year and know how deeply we have all been impacted, and have worked tirelessly to support us. From all of us here, thank you and we look forward to welcoming you back to our stages soon!"

- Tim Jennings
Executive Director of the Shaw Festival

"Arts organizations, and the thousands of people who are employed by them, were among the first to be impacted by the pandemic and will be among the last to recover. We are grateful to Minister MacLeod and her team, who have worked tirelessly to ensure that the needs of Ontario’s vibrant arts ecosystem are front and center in the Province’s Covid-19 recovery planning and funding framework. We still have a long road ahead of us, but today’s funding announcement provides a much-needed boost to our efforts."

- Barry Hughson
Executive Director and Co-CEO of the National Ballet of Canada


Additional Resources