Equity and Access

What we’re doing to foster an equitable and accessible culture

A line of people stand on stage, looking out to audience members
At International Festival of Authors, author Dionne Brand introduces the contributors to The Unpublished City, launched through the Toronto Lit Up Program.


As the City of Toronto’s funding body for Toronto artists and organizations, Toronto Arts Council is committed to ensuring that our services remain equitable and accessible.
 

Equity Framework

Over the years, Toronto Arts Council has played an active role in promoting equity and inclusion in the arts. In 2017, we formalized our position and updated our practices with the release of the Toronto Arts Council Equity Framework.*

Key improvements to our services following the release of the Framework include:

  • Identified Equity Priority Groups, which include Persons of Colour, Deaf Persons, Persons with Disabilities and Persons Living with Mental Illness, Indigenous Artists and 2SLGBTQIAP Artists;
  • Created a Voluntary Self-Identification Form for all applications so that we can track who is applying, identify gaps and ensure that grants are awarded in an equitable manner;
  • Implemented an Equity Priority Policy to ensure that artists that self-identify as belonging to one of Toronto Arts Council’s equity priority groups have greater access to TAC funds; and
  • Formed an Equity Steering Committee to review equity goals and ensure implementation.


Increasing access and participation through targeted programs

In addition to our Equity Priority Groups, TAC is committed to increase access and participation by artists working outside of the downtown core, newcomer and refugee artists and young and emerging artists. To achieve this, TAC developed several programs and partnerships:


Services and funds for Deaf artists and artists with disabilities

TAC offers two opportunities to aid Deaf artists and artists with disabilities who may need additional assistance or funds to produce their work:

  • TAC Accessibility Grants for projects involving Deaf artists and artists with disabilities. Available to individuals/ collectives applying to TAC Project Grant Programs.
  • Application Accessibility Support for applicants who are Deaf or have a disability and need support to complete their grant applications. Up to $500 is available per eligible applicant per year to cover the costs of assistance from Service Providers.

TAC will provide additional services to Deaf artists and artists with disabilities, such as ASL translation during meetings with Program Managers, if notified one month in advance.

 

External resources

Persons who are Deaf or have a disability, or those seeking additional information or resources about accessibility and the arts may be interested in these external services and/ or publications.

  • AODA Guidelines. Standards and reporting deadlines for complying with the accessibility requirements of Ontario. 
  • Ontario Disability Support Program and Arts Grants. Arts grants are now exempt as income and assets in both the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) and Ontario Works (OW). 
  • Accessibility Toolkit. A guide to making art spaces accessible, published by Applied Research & Innovation and the School of Media Studies at Humber College and Tangled Arts + Disability. 
  • Deaf Artists & Theatres Toolkit (DAAT). A comprehensive free online resource to advance the level of engagement and collaboration between theatre organizations and the Deaf community, including artists and audiences, produced by Cahoots Theatre.  
  • Accessibility Ontario. A training and development organization that helps nonprofits and businesses in Ontario to understand and comply with the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act. 
  • Access Visual Art. An online listing that provides up-to-date and reliable information about the physical accessibility features of art venues in Ontario. 

 

*As equity is a continuous process, the Equity Framework is a “living” document that will be regularly updated. TAC will conduct an annual internal equity review to track progress and identify ongoing challenges to various areas of operations including application and adjudication processes, employment, governance, communications and outreach and organizational culture.