COVID-19 April 9 Update

TORONTO, April 9, 2020 - Toronto Arts Council is committed to providing accurate and up to date information for the arts community throughout the COVID-19 emergency response period. See here for updated COVID-19 web pages and all prior TAC releases and assembled resources.

Recent Updates:

A Live Zoom Webinar hosted by the City of Toronto Arts & Culture Services and Toronto Arts Council was held April 7, attended by 300 members of the arts community. The session was moderated by Nova Bhattacharya, (Past President, Toronto Arts Council), and short presentations offered by Pat Tobin (Director, Arts and Culture Services) and Claire Hopkinson (Director & CEO, Toronto Arts Council). ASL interpretation was provided by David Kolenda. Remarks were followed by a question and answer period.

The full transcript and an archived video of the webinar can be found on our website.
TAC Grants Update: Toronto Arts Council will accelerate grant payments to annual and mult-year funding recipients. Recognizing the financial strain many organizations are facing, these accelerated payments are intended to help sustain ongoing and future cash flows during the COVID-19 crisis. Please contact your grant program manager if you have questions.

Emergency Funding Support:

Artist applications to TOArtist COVID-19 Response Fund Now Suspended: Since the launch of the TOArtist COVID-19 Response Fund on March 26, 2020, we have received an unprecedented number of applications for support. To date, over 1,900 artists have opened applications and 1,200 have submitted requests. Total funds raised in donations to the response fund are $736,276, enough to support approximately 850 artists. In an effort to manage expectations, Toronto Arts Council has suspended the intake of new applications to the Fund, while allowing completion of any opened requests.

Toronto Arts Foundation continues to appeal for donations to the Fund so that as many artists as possible can receive the support they urgently need. 

Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB): The application portal is now open. Benefit will be $2,000 per month for wage earners, as well as contract workers and self-employed individuals who would not otherwise be eligible for Employment Insurance (EI). Watch for updates next week - the government is going to announce an adjustment allowing some level of ongoing self-employment income.

CBC Creative Relief Fund will support innovative original projects with compelling perspectives and unique voices that also reflect contemporary Canada. Canadian creators can apply immediately starting today, April 9, until 11:59 pm ET on Friday, April 24, and eligible applicants will be notified of their project’s status starting on May 8.

Arts Management Tools:

Canada Summer Jobs program: Yesterday, the federal government announced temporary changes to the program that will help employers hire summer staff and provide young Canadians access to the jobs they need during this unprecedented time, including:

  • an increase to the wage subsidy, so that private and public sector employers can also receive up to 100 per cent of the provincial or territorial minimum hourly wage for each employee
  • an extension to the end date for employment to February 28, 2021
  • allowing employers to hire staff on a part-time basis

Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS): Although this program, which offers a 75% wage subsidy to employers, is not yet open for applications, Owais Lightwala of Why Not Theatre has created and offered for distribution this wage subsidy calculator to assist organizations trying to determine the amount of subsidy they might expect to receive. Thanks Owais!

Contact TAC: Please note that TAC staff will remain available to answer your questions and provide updated information throughout the outbreak. Please contact us any time.

Other resources: Please see the TAC COVID-19 Updates pages for links and resources including statements from Canada Council for the Arts and Ontario Arts Council.

About Toronto Arts Council
Toronto Arts Council (TAC) is the City of Toronto’s funding body for artists and arts organizations. Since 1974, TAC has played a major role in the city’s cultural industries by supporting a very broad range of artistic activity. From the emerging artist to the most established, from celebrated institutions to arts that challenge convention, TAC is typically the first funder to offer support. Today, TAC grants lead to exhibitions, performances, readings and workshops seen annually by over 9.5 million people. Through its ongoing funding of over $18 million annually, TAC cultivates a rich engagement between artists and audiences. It is proud to reflect Toronto’s vibrancy through the diversity of the artists, arts communities and audiences that it serves. For more about Toronto Arts Council, visit

Contact Information
For information, please contact Susan Wright, Deputy Director: 416-392-6802 x 211 |