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Equity and inclusion in the arts fund (EIAF)

Review of the Diversity in the arts fund program

With the guidance of the Cultural Funding Support Unit’s (CFSU) Equity and Inclusion Committee (EIC), the Diversity in the Arts Fund is being relaunched under a new program name, now called the Equity and Inclusion Fund in the Arts (EIAF).

The relaunched program is designed to offer:

  • clearer objectives
  • easier access to municipal funds
  • questions and assessment criteria that are more reflective of Indigenous and equity-seeking applicants

Information Sessions

To know more about the re-visioned program, you can participate in a virtual CFSU information session. Visit Information Sessions to see a full list of dates.

EIAF - Program Information

Indigenous and Equity-Seeking Communities invited to apply to this program

This program aims to empower Indigenous and Equity-Seeking Communities (ESC) that have historically faced barriers to accessing support. These communities include:

  • Algonquin Anishinabe Host Nation
  • First Nations
  • Inuit
  • Métis
  • IBPOC (Indigenous, Black, People of Color)
  • People with Visible and Invisible Disabilities
  • Non-Ambulatory Persons
  • D/deaf people
  • Refugee/Immigrants/Newcomers
  • People Living in Poverty
  • Rural Residents
  • Francophones
  • Seniors/Older Adults
  • Women+
  • Youth

The City of Ottawa recognizes that people identify themselves in many ways. Terms used to self-identify are continually evolving. People can change their identities or the ways they want to identify over time. With this understanding, the CFSU uses terms recommended by community members through various consultations.

Aim of the new Equity and inclusion in the arts fund program

Reduce barriers and advance artistic expression within equity-seeking communities by providing opportunities for:

Encourage and inspire self-expression by Ottawa's diverse artists and communities to support artistic growth, engagement and leadership.

Capacity Building
Support inclusive knowledge-sharing between communities that builds resources and services for equity-seeking communities and artists.

Visibility and Celebration
Provide opportunities to share, highlight and celebrate diverse arts practices.

Land Acknowledgement

The Cultural Funding Support Unit (CFSU) acknowledges that Ottawa is built on un-ceded territory of the Algonquin Anishinabe Nation.

The peoples of the Algonquin Anishinabe Nation have lived on this territory for millennia. Their culture and presence have nurtured and continue to nurture this land.

The CFSU would like to honour the peoples and land of the Algonquin Anishinabe Nation.

The CFSU would also like to honour all First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples, their elders, their ancestors and their valuable past and present contributions to this land.

EIAF - Types of funding available

Choosing the right type of funding for your project

Which of these statements best fits what you are looking for?

I am an individual who wants to do a project.
Learn more about the two categories of project funding:

I work for an organization that has a project to propose.
Learn more about project funding:

I work for an organization that has received funding from the CFSU but is looking for annual operating funding:

I am an individual who wants to be involved in consultation, outreach and being a mentor for the community.

EIAF - Is this the right program for me?

Project Funding that advances self-expression, capacity building, visibility and celebration

Project funding is available to both individuals and organizations.

Before starting an application, here are a few things you need to know:

Individual applicants must:

  • identify with an Indigenous or equity-seeking community 
  • be 18 years or older
  • be a resident of the city of Ottawa, Algonquins of Pikwakanagan First Nation or Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg First Nation or be Algonquin Anishinabe and live within 150 km radius of Ottawa
  • be a professional artist, cultural arts worker, community connector, or be an elder or cultural keeper recognized by their peers

As an organization you must:

  • be not-for-profit
  • mandated in either the arts and/or represent/celebrate an Indigenous or equity-seeking community 
  • have your office/mailing address within the limits of the city of Ottawa, Algonquins of Pikwakanagan First Nation or Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg First Nation
  • have a minimum of 3 members living in the city of Ottawa, Algonquins of Pikwakanagan First Nation or Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg First Nation, that either sits on the Board of Directors or makes up the Collective
  • have at least 50% of your Board of Directors committee, or of your Collective, that reside within the Ottawa region
  • receive payment in the name of your collective if not an incorporated entity
  • and if a collective, must be professional artists, cultural arts workers, community connectors, elders or cultural keepers recognized by their peers

What can affect your eligibility to this program?

  • If you, or your organization has an overdue final report to this program
  • If you submit more than one funding application to this program
  • If you are an active member of the Equity and Inclusion committee
  • If you, or a board/collective member are a City of Ottawa employee or an elected representative
  • If your organization already receives operating funding through any program administered by the CFSU
  • If your organization has an accumulated surplus greater than 100% of its total revenue which exceeds $3,000 (excluding capital assets)
  • If your organization has an accumulated deficit greater than 50% of its total revenue which exceeds $3,000 (excluding capital assets)

The following organizations are not eligible to apply:

  • crown corporations and government agencies
  • political parties
  • organizations whose activities come under the jurisdiction of other levels or departments of government (school boards, hospitals, universities, military programs, business improvement associations, etc.)

Examples of projects that meet the aim of this program

This program is meant to be flexible and fund different types of activities that relate to the arts. If you have questions about eligibility you can contact Marie-Christine Feraud, the Cultural Funding Officer for this program.

We cannot list all eligible projects, but here are some examples:

Creation projects:

  • Traditional crafts, dance, storytelling, music, or any type of artistic practices that are part of your cultural heritage
  • Contemporary and interdisciplinary arts practices that speak to diverse perspectives
  • Purchases of materials necessary to create or produce work

Arts education/training/mentorship projects:

  • Arts workshop to teach youth about artistic practices linked to their cultural heritage
  • Professional training for artists working with new technologies
  • Mentorship by an elder to share traditional arts practices/crafts

Arts Events/Special celebrations:

  • Artistic programming within cultural heritage celebrations or gatherings
  • Community art projects or community showcases
  • Performances, exhibitions, film screenings and book readings


  • Mentorship for emerging artists to assist in their professional development
  • Support for disability artists to create and/or perform works
  • Networking event

Projects that will not be accepted to this program

You cannot apply with a project that:

  • promotes hate
  • appropriates another culture
  • has already been funded through another CFSU program
  • raises funds or creates initiatives to benefit a third party
  • involves the manufacture and distribution of a product in multiple copies
  • is completed on or before the application deadline date
  • makes participation conditional to taking part in religious activities
  • is part of an academic course of study
  • is a capital expense (i.e., purchase of land, facilities, etc.)

EIAF - Application process

How can we help you reach your goal?

Grant writing assistance

The Cultural Funding Support Unit (CFSU) can:

  • answer your questions about eligibility
  • review a draft of your application answers
  • help with your submission
  • provide financial aid to applicants requiring accessibility support

The CFSU will need advance notice to provide any personalized assistance. Contact Marie-Christine Feraud as soon as possible to discuss options available.

To know more about the re-visioned program, you can participate in a virtual CFSU information session. Visit Information Sessions to see a full list of dates.

Application process

  • Applicants must read and abide by the Information for applicants.
  • Applicants must read and abide by the Terms and conditions.
  • Applicants must complete the application form and attach all required documentation.
  • Applications must be submitted through the online portal by 4 pm on the deadline date.
  • Applicants must submit support material.

Your Cultural Funding Officer can provide additional information regarding this program, your eligibility, and the application process.

Allocation of funding

An applicant’s success in obtaining funding depends upon the peer assessment committee’s final evaluation and the funding available within the program.

Availability of City of Ottawa funding is subject to the approval of the annual City budget by Ottawa City Council.

The amount requested is not necessarily the amount awarded.

Direct deposit

Funding recipients are encouraged to apply for Direct deposit.

EIAF - Seed award

The Seed award provides micro-grants 2 times a year to individual applicants.

To find out if the Seed award is a good fit for you go to: Seed award

EIAF - Grow grant

The Grow grant provides project funding for individuals and organizations.

To find out if the Grow grant is a good fit for you, go to: Grow grant

Equity and inclusion committee

The Equity and Inclusion Committee (EIC) was established in 2019 to assist the CFSU in reviewing the Diversity in the Arts Fund program. Initial work centered on providing the CFSU with 7 recommendations that would ensure increased accessibility to cultural funding to Indigenous and equity-seeking communities (ESC) residing in the limits of the city of Ottawa, Algonquins of Pikwakanagan First Nation or Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg First Nation.

The EIC used these recommendations to begin the review process of the Diversity in the Arts Fund, and in 2021 assisted in the launch of the re-visioned programmed now called the Equity and Inclusion in the Arts Fund.

The Equity and Inclusion Committee’s ongoing work

The EIC will be maintained as an integral component of the Equity and Inclusion in the Arts Fund.

In 2022, the EIC will aim to:

  • further develop the Equity and Inclusion in the Arts Fund
  • provide essential guidance to the CFSU
  • participate in the peer assessment process
  • look at opportunities to provide mentorship within the cultural arts community

Interested in being part of the change?

The CFSU will be accepting applications from community members to be a part of the 2022 Equity and Inclusion Committee.

To apply, visit the CFSU's online portal and select the Equity and Inclusion in the Arts Fund.

The deadline to apply for the 2022 committee is Wednesday, November 10, 2021.

Please note that if you are participating as a committee member you will not be eligible to apply to the Equity and Inclusion in the Arts Fund during your tenure.

Equity and inclusion committee recommendations

The CFSU Equity and Inclusion Committee (EIC) submitted the following recommendations to the City of Ottawa’s Cultural Funding Support Section to increase accessibility to cultural funding for equity-seeking communities (ESC).

1. Decolonization

Develop an inclusive process throughout program development, implementation and funding allocation to ensure active and full participation of all communities (self-determination).

A redefinition and reclamation of arts, histories, heritage and culture to ensure that all cultural expressions are reflected and valued (Intent and mission).

Support ongoing culturally-sensitive conversations/gatherings to ensure awareness of ESC realities as they relate to City’s policies and programs (awareness training).

2. Reimagining funding processes

Redefine funding process and programs to remove barriers to ensure access for ESC including online support, supplementary funds for accessibility expenses, translation services, technical assistance, plain language review, program re-design and relevant funding streams.

Developing a new holistic funding model based on a collaborative and community-based approach.

Re-defining the process of values as it relates to application merit, assessment criteria and program eligibility.

3. Capacity building

Maintaining targeted funding programs that provide operating and project grants to ESC applicants.

Establish and support mentorship opportunities to assist ESC applicants.

Supporting community leaders to host events/gatherings that celebrate and share successes of ESC funding applicants through promotional, venue and production support.

Promote collaboration and information sharing within ESC by engaging community leaders to act as ambassadors.

Hire City of Ottawa staff that is reflective of equity-seeking communities.

4. Community engagement

Hiring cultural ambassadors who represent ESC to engage with their communities to promote funding opportunities, implement programs and encourage and support applications.

Commitment to follow the 5 steps of the community engagement continuum to empower ESC: inform, consult, involve, collaborate, and empower.

5. Investment

Maintaining targeted funding programs that provide operating and project grants to ESC applicants.

Dedicate a sustainable funding envelope for ESC applicants.

Provide funding to cover eligible costs related to access to space and living expenses.

6. Space

Development of a framework where affordable and safe spaces across the City are made accessible to equity-seeking artists and cultural workers. The spaces selected should be physically, geographically (rural and suburban), financially affordable, and provide a safe and unbiased culturally appropriate place for creation, production and presentation.

Spaces that are not traditionally used by artists be re-purposed to become more inclusive for ESC, with incentives for business, investors, and various stakeholders to share their space with artists.

Ensure that City-owned spaces have established policies that allow access to equity-seeking artists and cultural workers.

7. Portal

In addition to offline support and engagement, fund an online portal to centralize resources, tools, best practices, and celebrate past recipients’ success stories. This portal will be a platform to connect applicants with mentors, elders, past recipients and other experts.

Develop an online granting process.