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Youth in Culture Pilot Program

Program Guidelines

For individuals aged 18 to 30 pursuing a career in the arts, cultural and heritage sectors.

Youth in Culture Committee 

From 2015 to 2018, the City of Ottawa's Youth in Culture Committee (YCC) provided insight into professional development issues facing youth, including the gaps and needs related to training initiatives to pursue careers within the arts, culture or heritage sectors.

In the development of this funding program, the goal of the YCC was to nurture and empower youth living in Ottawa and Algonquin Anishinabe youth living in the Ottawa area; to help youth overcome traditional barriers to funding and prioritize needs; to create more space for the voices of marginalized youth; and to provide direct funding to eligible individuals to support their development in becoming arts, culture and heritage professionals.

Program Objectives

First time grant applicants are strongly encouraged to submit their projects.

  • To support cultural development of youth aged 18-30 towards professional careers in arts, heritage or culture
  • To empower youth to identify needs and gaps in their career development, and to support initiatives that lead to or benefit the applicant’s career in arts, heritage or culture
  • To provide direct funding to eligible applicants (youth aged 18-30)
  • To support activities that address the priorities identified in the Renewed Action Plan for Arts, Heritage and Culture in Ottawa (2013 - 2018).

The City of Ottawa supports cultural activity that is inclusive of Ottawa’s diverse community in areas such as gender, official language, ethnicity and disability. Applications from members of the First Nations, Inuit and Métis communities as well as submissions from applicants that reflect Ottawa’s diversity are welcome and encouraged. The City of Ottawa recognizes both official languages as having the same rights, status and privileges.

The City will provide funding to successful projects to a maximum of $1,000.

Who is Eligible to Apply

  • The applicant must be between the ages of 18 and 30
  • The applicant must be an Ottawa resident, or be Algonquin Anishinabe and living within 150 km radius of Ottawa (those who do not have a status card must include a letter of acknowledgement from their Band Council)
  • Applicants may receive up to a maximum of three grants through this program

City of Ottawa employees or elected representatives are not eligible to apply. City of Ottawa staff are required to act in compliance with the City of Ottawa Employee Code and all applicable laws and regulations. For further inquiries, please contact a Cultural Funding Officer listed at the end of this document.

City staff reserves the right to ask for proof of age and residency. Applicants who do not produce this information upon request will be deemed ineligible.

What is Eligible

You must demonstrate that the proposed project furthers your professional career in the arts, heritage or cultural sectors.

This program is intended to provide you with an artist fee and/or cover project expenses relating to:

  • Creation & Production: Research, creation, production, and presentation projects relating to arts, heritage, or culture
  • Training: masterclasses, workshops, residencies and other training opportunities in the arts, heritage, cultural festival or agricultural fair sectors (including administration and/or management training)
  • Mentorship: opportunities for youth to work with mentors within the arts, heritage, festivals and fairs sectors. Mentors include established cultural workers, professional artists, or elders/knowledge keepers

Examples of eligible projects

Creation Projects:

  • To complete a series of paintings
  • To produce a play
  • To conduct genealogy and/or historical research
  • To create your traditional dance regalia

Training Projects

  • To cover expenses, including travel, related to taking a masterclass
  • To provide you with an artist/administrator fee during an unpaid internship with an arts, heritage, or cultural organization (including festivals)
  • To take a course in a First Nations, Inuit, or Metis language

Mentorship Projects:

  • To receive mentorship from an elder in beadwork
  • To workshop with an established storyteller
  • To work with a recognized knowledge keeper on a language preservation project

Meeting all eligibility requirements of the program does not guarantee funding. Recipients of Youth in Culture Pilot Program funding for a previous project must have completed the project and submitted a Final Report before reapplying. Subsequent applications will not be considered until the Final Report has been approved.

Who is NOT Eligible

  • Organizations, including collectives
  • Individuals who have received three or more grants from this program

What is NOT Eligible

  • Projects that are not related to the arts, culture or heritage sectors
  • Commercial initiatives, sales and commissions
  • Projects that have been completed prior to the application deadline date 
  • Projects that are part of your school, college or university’s curriculum
  • Fundraising initiatives
  • Projects paid for entirely through other sources
  • Projects that are eligible for funding under the City of Ottawa’s Creation and Production Fund for Professional Artists (for more information visit

We encourage all applicants to contact the Cultural Funding Officer to discuss eligibility requirements, their proposed project, or the application process.

Marlène Barré
613-580-2424 ext. 28517

Assessment Criteria

Applications are assessed according to the specific criteria listed below.


  • Relevance of the proposed project as it relates to the applicant’s previous cultural experiences
  • Strength of the goals and objectives within the proposed project
  • Clear intent to pursue a career in arts, heritage or culture


  • Benefit to the applicant’s career development in arts, heritage or culture

Effective Planning:

  • Realistic goals and appropriate planning
  • Effective and appropriate budgeting

Application Process

Applicants must complete the Application Form and ensure that Section A is signed (with original signature), answer all questions, and attach all required documentation. Please keep these guidelines close by for easy reference while completing your application.

Application Format

The questions in the Application Form may be answered in writing, by audio recording, or by audio-visual recording.

Submissions in writing:

  • Do not use staples, binders or separators in your submission. Paper clips are acceptable.
  • Please provide all text material on single-sided 8½ x 11 white paper.
  • You are only required to submit one copy of your submission. All application materials are photocopied for the assessment committee.

Audio and/or Visual recordings:

  • The quality of your recording will not be assessed. However, recordings must be clear and intelligible.
  • Submit one copy of your video or audio recording in electronic format on USB key.
  • Please note that total running time cannot exceed 7 minutes.
  • We still require that section A of the application form be submitted and signed.

Check the deadline dates carefully.

How Funding Decisions Are Made

Peer Assessment Principles

The Cultural Funding Support Section uses a peer assessment model in the evaluation process that involves individuals who are active within their cultural community. Committee members represent the community they are assessing and have an awareness of challenges facing youth who wish to pursue a career in the arts, heritage, or cultural sectors, as well as an appreciation of the diversity of the local cultural community.

Key principles of the committee composition include balanced representation of artistic practice, heritage specialization, and festival/fair expertise as well as fair representation of official languages, gender, geographic areas, and culture-specific communities.

How Jurors and Assessors are Chosen

Cultural Funding Officers are responsible for the selection of peer assessors and are continually researching and adding names of qualified individuals to the juror database. Members of the cultural community are encouraged to recommend qualified individuals.  If you are interested in participating as an assessor or would like to refer someone, please send a résumé to our mailing address or by email to

Peer Assessment Process

Assessment committees are convened to evaluate funding submissions.  Each committee consists of three members who assess applications according to the publicly-stated assessment criteria. Individual evaluators first review the funding applications independently. The members then meet as a committee to review the applications and support material together. For each application the committee establishes a funding priority. Funding is awarded based on priority status (ranking order) and the funds available. All results are final.

In order to ensure the inclusion of those most at risk of exclusion from accessing funds, requests from members of the following groups are considered as a priority:

  • Algonquin Host Nations 
  • First Nations, Inuit and Métis
  • Francophones
  • Immigrants / refugees / newcomers
  • Deaf people, and persons with disabilities
  • Persons living in poverty / homeless people
  • Persons with low literacy
  • Racialized people
  • Rural residents
  • Women

Please be advised that artistic feedback will not be provided to the applicant.

Allocation of Funding

An applicant’s success in obtaining funding depends upon the committee’s final evaluation and the funding available within the program. All funding is subject to the approval of the annual City budget by Ottawa City Council.

Meeting all eligibility requirements of the program does not guarantee funding.  

Conflict of Interest and Confidentiality

All assessors must read and complete the Conflict of Interest and Confidentiality Policy form prior to the committee meeting.  In a case where a conflict is declared, the assessor in conflict abstains from any discussion related to the application in question.

Situations of potential conflict are if an assessor:

  • has financial interest in the success or failure of an applicant’s project
  • has an interest based on the fact that an applicant's project involves a spouse/live-in partner or an immediate family member
  • has a personal interest in specific applications other than what is normally expected of interested members of the cultural community
  • for any other reason, is unable to objectively assess an application

Personal information provided on the application form shall be dealt with on a confidential basis pursuant to the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act.

Assessors and committee members are required to treat both the contents of applications and the deliberations of the committee as confidential. At the end of the assessment meeting, committee members turn in their copies of application materials for shredding.

If You Are Awarded Funding

Release of Funds

If you are awarded funding, you will receive a letter from the Cultural Funding Support Section informing you of the amount. The letter will include the conditions governing the release of funds and the Terms and Conditions document, which describes conditions attached to the use of these funds. A payment from the City’s Financial Services will follow. The Cultural Funding Support Section aims to provide results to all applicants within six weeks of the application deadline. 

Use of Funds

Funds shall be used only for the purposes outlined in the original application.  Any changes to the project scale or activities must be reported in writing to and receive approval from the Cultural Funding Support Section.

Please read the Terms and Conditions document for more information on the use of funds.  


All funding recipients are required to submit a final report detailing how they used the funding awarded to them.  This report must be submitted to and approved by the Cultural Funding Support Section either following completion of the funded activities, twelve months after receipt of the funds, or at the time of subsequent application to the program, whichever is soonest.

For projects that have not yet been completed or have been delayed, an interim report is required.

Failure to provide the required report may result in ineligibility for subsequent City of Ottawa funding.

To obtain a reporting form, please contact or call 613-580-2424 ext. 29404.

Acknowledgement of Support

Funding recipients are required to acknowledge the support of the City of Ottawa as indicated within the official Acknowledgement of Support document which will be mailed to all successful applicants.    

Summary Report

At the end of the year, the Cultural Funding Support Section publishes a summary of funding results on the City of Ottawa’s website listing the names of all funding recipients and assessors: Until this list is published, the names of successful applicants and assessors will not be revealed. The identity of unsuccessful applicants remains confidential.

If You Are Not Awarded Funding

Try again! If you do not receive funding you are encouraged to try again.  The program’s limited envelope cannot fund all applicants, regardless of their merit. 

All results are final. There is no appeal of assessors’ decisions regarding the merit of your organization’s proposed project or the assessment committee’s recommendation of an award amount. The Cultural Funding Support Section allows for reconsideration, but only in cases where a review of the application and the committee’s deliberations reveals evidence that the application was not assessed according to the publicly-stated procedure and assessment criteria.

Deadlines for Application

  • March 18, 2019
  • September 16, 2019

One complete copy of the application must be mailed or delivered to:

City of Ottawa
Cultural Funding Support Section (01-49)
Youth in Culture Pilot Program
100 Constellation Drive, 9th Floor West
Ottawa, ON   K2G 6J8

The package must be received by 4 p.m. on the deadline date.

Applications received after a deadline date will be considered for the following deadline.  The Cultural Funding Support Section aims to provide results to all applicants of this program within eight (8) weeks of the application deadline.

Application Forms & Contact Information

Please note: Before you fill in the form, download it onto your computer and open it with Adobe Acrobat Reader. Any information added to the form through the web browser will not be printable or saved.

Activity Report on Previous Funding

If funding was previously received from the City of Ottawa, an activity report detailing how the funds were used must be submitted at the completion of the project, or attached with a subsequent application. Applicants who fail to provide an activity report on previous funding will NOT be eligible to apply for subsequent City of Ottawa funding.

Youth in Culture Pilot Program Report form [ PDF - 166 KB ]

Please note: Before you fill in the form, download it onto your computer and open it with Adobe Acrobat Reader. Any information added to the form through the web browser will not be printable or saved.

Contact Us

Program Inquiries

For specific information on your submission, or to discuss eligibility, contact:

Marlène Barré
613-580-2424 ext. 28517

General inquiries

For general information or to request an application form, contact:

613-580-2424, ext. 29404