TOArtist COVID Response Fund


The TOArtist COVID Response Fund is currently suspended, pending processing of applications already opened or submitted. If you have an open application, we encourage you to submit it as quickly as possible.

To date, 1900 applications have been opened and are being reviewed.  The first batch of results will be sent before April 10. Donations continue to be accepted into the TOArtist COVID Response Fund program to support the unprecedented volume of applications.

Beginning April 6, the Canada Emergency Response Benefit CERB is accepting applications.  This benefit will provide ongoing support in the amount of $2,000 per month for those with no income.  Please see here for information about CERB

Links to this and other emergency funding resources are available on TAC's COVID-19 Emergency Funding Support pages 

For other COVID-19 links and information visit our COVID-19 pages

Click ‚Äč here to SIGN UP to receive regular COVID-19 bulletins from Toronto Arts Council.


If you have an application started for the TOARtist Covid-19 Response Fund, you may still complete it, go here for applications in progress

For questions about the TOArtist COVID-19 Response Fund, contact TAC Program Manager Kevin Reigh or Rupal Shah: 
Kevin Reigh: kevin[at]torontoartscouncil[dot]org, 416-392-6802 x 227
Rupal Shah: rupal[at]torontoartscouncil[dot]org, 416.392.6802 x209

The TOArtist COVID-19 Response Fund is powered by donations.  Please forward this link to anyone who might be able to donate and help the fund reach more artists.


Toronto benefits socially, culturally, and economically from the collective output of its artists.  Yet, many artists are particularly vulnerable to the impacts of COVID-19.  As self-employed professionals outside the reach of many government income support programs, artists have specific needs.

To assist Toronto artists in dealing with the impacts of the COVID-19 crisis, Toronto Arts Foundation and Toronto Arts Council are introducing the TOArtist COVID Response Fund. The Fund will allocate up to $1000 to self-employed, individual artists resident in Toronto whose creative work and income have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. We recognize the adverse impacts that the cancellation of performances and productions, the closure of venues, and the loss of teaching opportunities have on the freelance workers that make up the majority of professional artists in Toronto.


This emergency relief fund exists for vulnerable artists in the Toronto arts and culture sector, specifically, artists who are self-employed and are NOT eligible for Employee Insurance (EI). 

If you are eligible for Employment Insurance Benefits through any other employer, or have alternative options to access bridge funding, please do not apply for these relief funds. The objective of this fund is to assist as many self-employed artists as possible – including the most vulnerable workers in the creative sector. The fewer demands there are for this fund, the more able we will be to distribute to those truly in need.

Applicants must declare that all the information provided in the application is factual.  If you apply, you may be called upon to offer further verification.

All applicants must:

  • Be a self-employed professional artist/arts professional. This is defined as someone who has developed skills through training or practice, is recognized by artists working in the same artistic tradition, has a history of public presentation or publication, seeks payment for their work and actively practises their art. Short breaks in artistic work history are acceptable.
  • Have a permanent physical address within the City of Toronto and be able to provide proof of residency, e.g.. government issued form of identification, or other proof of residence (see criteria below).
  • Be a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident of Canada, or approved refugee claimant, or have an application pending for permanent resident status and, if requested, be able to provide documentation to verify this.
  • Provide documentation of lost revenue, such as contracts, offer letters and notices of cancellations. Materials should include the agreed upon or expected payment or fee. Documentation may be formal contracts or less formal communication such as emails, texts, or messages, providing the details of the performance agreement are explicitly stated.  

If you are eligible for Employment Insurance (EI) benefits, then you are NOT eligible for the Toronto Artist Response Fund. If you are uncertain if you qualify for EI, please contact Service Canada (



The TOArtist COVID Response Fund will open on Monday March 23, 2020 for artists who have lost income as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic on March 11, 2020. The first intake of this fund will accept applications to replace lost revenues from March 12, 2020 to April 30, 2020. Applicants are encouraged to thoroughly read and understand the eligibility criteria before submitting the application. If you are not sure if you are eligible after reading these guidelines, please contact the staff listed below before submitting the application.

Applicants are required to register and submit their application through Toronto Arts Council Grants Online at

Applications will be accepted any time between March 23 and 11:59pm on April 30.  Applications will be processed in the order in which they are received. You will receive a confirmation email when your application is submitted. Check your spam/junk mail folder if it doesn’t arrive in your in-box.



The fund will be open to artists in all disciplines who demonstrate:


  • Lost income due to cancellation of events or programs
  • Lost income due to cancellation of reading, speaking, panels
  • Lost income due to cancelled workshops, classes, etc.
  • Lost income for teaching artists due to school closures and cancelled private lessons
  • Lost income due to cancellation of recording sessions

*Note:  Lost income due to postponement of events/programs is not eligible at this time.

REIMBURSEMENT for out of pocket Travel Expenses related to Artistic Practice that have been cancelled:

  • Artist residencies
  • Touring
  • Attending conferences or meetings that have been cancelled

Multiple contracts (for example, a combination of cancelled performances and cancelled teaching gigs) may be bundled into one application. However, the total amount requested in one application cannot exceed $1,000.

You are required to submit an application including the following support documents:

1.         Proof of residency: Please attach proof of residency in the City of Toronto (Driver's Licence, Hydro Bill, Property Tax Bill, etc.)

2.         Professional resume or webpage link

3.         Employment contract, agreement, or other evidence of scheduled work; or please attach evidence of out of pocket expenses for residencies, touring, and conferences

4.         Proof of cancellation



Applications will be processed and assessed by Toronto Arts Council staff.  Given the sizable impact of COVID-19 on the arts and culture sector this fund will be in high demand. Therefore, we encourage those who are eligible and in need of assistance to apply as soon as possible. Our goal is to provide support and relief to as many artists as possible with available funds.

To satisfy the assessment of your application, you may be required to submit further documentation. Priority for funding will be given to artists who have lost income for work scheduled in Toronto, but lost income for opportunities outside Toronto will be considered. The administration of this funding program will be coordinated with other funding efforts offering artists relief from COVID-19 impacts to avoid duplication of efforts and to ensure the funds reach those demonstrating the greatest need. If you have applied for emergency relief funds from other sources and find out you have been successful, we ask that you withdraw your request here so funds can go to another artist in need. 

DIRECT-DEPOSIT PAYMENT: Toronto Arts Council has moved to electronic payments. If your application is approved, you will be required to enter the bank account information of the claim recipient that corresponds to the Applicant Name on your Notification Letter. Bank information is submitted as a Notification Letter requirement.

Note: Receipt of support from the TOArtist COVID Response Fund does not affect any individual's eligibility to apply to TAC grants.

For further information on this program contact TAC Program Manager Kevin Reigh or Rupal Shah:

Kevin Reigh                                                   
416-392-6802 x 227                                       

Rupal Shah
416.392.6802 x209