COVID-19 February 12 Update


 TORONTO, February 12, 2021 - 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.

CERB Eligibility, Gross vs Net Income

Responding to significant public pressure, the Canadian government has agreed that individuals who applied for CERB using gross income figures to qualify for the $5,000 minimum income requirement do NOT have to repay their CERB benefit. Anyone who already repaid this benefit will be reimbursed. See Prime Minister Trudeau's statement: "I know that some people found the information on the net income and gross income requirements for CERB eligibility confusing. I want to clarify this issue. For people who accessed CERB based on their gross income instead of their net income, as long as you meet the other eligibility criteria, you will not have to return those CERB payments."

Healthy Communities Initiative: 

The Canada Healthy Communities Initiative (CHCI) is providing up to $31 million to support communities as they adapt spaces and services to respond to immediate and ongoing needs arising from COVID-19. The initiative is supporting projects under three main themes: Creating safe and vibrant public spaces; Improving mobility options; Digital solutions. The first deadline is 5:00 pm March 9, 2021.

Highly Affected Sectors Credit Availability Program:

Low interest loans for amounts from $25,000 to $1,000,000 are now available for businesses that have been hardest hit by the pandemic, including tourism, hospitality and arts and culture. The federal government’s Highly Affected Sectors Credit Availability Program (HASCAP) is now accepting applications. 

Ontario Small Business Support Grant:

Arts organizations including charities and non-profits with fewer than 100 employees may now apply for the new Ontario Small Business Support Grant, which helps small businesses that had to close or significantly restrict services under the Provincewide Shutdown effective December 26, 2020. Grants are from $10,000 to $20,000.

Ontario's New Skills Development Fund

Applications are now open for the Ontario government's new two-year $115 million Skills Development Fund. The fund is open to non-profit organizations and designed to support projects that will help relieve pandemic-induced barriers to hiring, training and retaining workers while preparing for the province's economic recovery. The deadline for receipt of applications is February 28 at 11:59pm.

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 5 million people. Through its ongoing funding of over $23 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 |