How cultural funding decisions are made
Peer assessment principles
The CFSU uses a peer assessment model in the evaluation process that involves professionals who are active within their cultural community. These outside assessors are selected for their recognized expertise within specific fields of related work. Committee members represent the community they are assessing but not any particular group or institution and have an awareness of a broad range of artistic, heritage and/or cultural activity as well as an appreciation of the diversity of the local cultural community.
When forming assessment committees, CFSU strives to create a balanced representation of diversity of content, program and discipline expertise, as well as fair representation of official languages, gender, geographic areas and culture-specific communities.
Peer assessment is a nationally accepted best practice, credible to the arts, heritage, and cultural communities, and has been approved by City Council.
How 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 also encouraged to recommend qualified individuals. I If you are interested in participating as a juror or would like to refer someone, please visit the Interested in becoming a juror? webpage for more information. You can also fill out the Juror application form or send a résumé to: email@example.com
Peer assessment process
Assessment committees are convened to evaluate funding submissions according to the assessment criteria. Committee members first review the funding applications independently, then meet as a committee to review the applications and support material together. For each application, the committee establishes the funding priority, and makes funding recommendations. If required, external assessments in specialized areas beyond the range of a particular committee’s expertise are solicited and taken into consideration. All results are final.
Terms and conditions
All of our funding programs include Terms and Conditions governing the allocation and use of funding. Please read them carefully. By signing the application form, applicants agree to abide by the terms and conditions.
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.
All funding is subject to the approval of the annual City budget by Ottawa City Council.
The amount requested is not necessarily the amount awarded.
Meeting all eligibility requirements of the program does not guarantee funding.
Conflict of interest
Since the purpose of the peer assessment model is to select qualified and knowledgeable assessors from the local arts, heritage and/or cultural community, these individuals may have relationships with one or more applicants that could lead to a conflict of interest. Under the City’s guidelines, an actual or perceived conflict must be declared.
Before participating, potential jurors and independent assessors receive a copy of the Conflict of Interest and Confidentiality Policy and must declareanyconflicts. All jurors and independent assessors must make this declaration before participating on the assessment committee. In a case where a conflict is declared, measures are taken to ensure theintegrity and impartiality of the peer assessment process.
Conflict of Interest Provisions
Jurors and independent assessors must declare a conflict of interest in the following situations:
- If they are employed by or are a member of the Board of Directors of an applicant organization
- If they have financial interest in the success or failure of an applicant's program or project
- If they have an interest based on the fact that an applicant's program or project involves a spouse/live-in partner or an immediate family member
- If they have a personal interest in specific applications other than what is normally expected of interested members of the cultural community or
- If, for any other reason, they are unable to objectively assess an application
Confidentiality of information
Information provided on the application form and/or support material, may be made available to City of Ottawa staff and assessors. Personal information contained therein shall be dealt with on a confidential basis pursuant to the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act.
Jurors and independent assessors are required to treat both the contents of the applications and the deliberations of the committee as confidential. A juror or independent assessor shall not copy, distribute, or grant access to another person, to any of the material included in the funding applications. At the end of the assessment meeting, jurors and independent assessors no longer have access to the application materials and must dispose of any application materials they have in their possession.
Grant writing assistance
Cultural Funding Officers are available to help you prepare your grant application in the following ways:
- Discuss eligibility of your activities, requirements of the program and answer any questions about the application and evaluation process.
- Review a draft version of your application prior to the deadline. Applications in progress can be reviewed at any time up until two weeks prior to the deadline.
- Provide peer assessment committee feedback on a previous application. For confidentiality reasons, we may only provide feedback directly to the applicant.
Additional information for applicants
Vulnerable sector policy
If your proposed project includes persons from the vulnerable sector, please contact your Cultural Funding Officer; in certain situations, the CFSU may request additional information such as sample contracts or release forms.
Organizations are morally and legally required under the Duty of Care concept to do everything reasonable to care for and protect their staff and participants. As such, not-for-profit organizations and collectives are required to have a Vulnerable Sector Policy in place that identifies the risks related to vulnerable persons and outlines procedures to ensure program quality and protection of vulnerable participants (this may include volunteer/staff screening procedures, police record checks, operational procedures, etc.).
Section 6.3 of the Criminal Records Act defines a vulnerable person as a person who, because of his or her age, a disability or other circumstances, whether temporary or permanent, (a) is in a position of dependency on others; or (b) is otherwise at a greater risk than the general population of being harmed by a person in a position of trust or authority towards them. This includes children, youth, senior citizens, people living in poverty, people experiencing homelessness, people with physical, developmental, social, emotional, or other disabilities, as well as people who are victims of crime or harm.
For more information on Police Record Checks, please contact the Ottawa Police Service.
Understand the law on workplace violence and harassment
It is your organization’s responsibility to ensure compliance with current legislation. Information about the Sexual Violence and Harassment Action Plan Act (Supporting Survivors and Challenging Sexual Violence and Harassment), 2016, S.O. 2016, c. 2 - Bill 132 can be found here: https://www.ontario.ca/laws/statute/s16002
The Terms and Conditions for this program specify that an organization must have insurance coverage that complies with the City’s Insurance Service requirements.
These requirements stipulate that an organization must have comprehensive general liability insurance, and is subject to limits of not less than five million dollars ($5,000,000) inclusive per occurrence for bodily injury, death and damage to property including loss of use thereof. The comprehensive general liability insurance policies must name the City of Ottawa as an additional insured.
For more information regarding insurance, please read the attached Terms and Conditions.
Cultural funding results
All applicants will receive notification from the CFSU informing them of the results. We aim to provide results to all applicants within six months of the application deadline. We cannot share results over the phone.
All results are final. There is no appeal of peer assessors’ decisions regarding the merit of your proposed activities or the peer assessment committee’s recommendation of a funding amount. The CFSU 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.
In the case of individuals, artistic feedback will not be provided.
Every year, the CFSU 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 awarded funding
Release of funds
If you are awarded funding, your notification will contain the approved funding amount as well as conditions governing the release of funds and the Terms and Conditions document. Payment from the City’s Financial Services will follow.
Use of funds
Funds shall be used only for the purposes outlined in the original application. Any changes to the project scale or activities, including changes in budget, leadership, organizational structure and programming, must be reported in writing and receive approval from the CFSU.
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 CFSU either:
- following completion of the funded activities; or
- twelve months after receipt of the funds; or
- at the time of subsequent application to the program
All reports must be submitted through the online portal. Exceptions include: funding programs that are not currently live on the portal and reports submitted for funding received prior to the 2022 cycle.
Should you require accessibility accommodations, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Without a report approved by the CFSU, the applicant will be deemed ineligible for subsequent funding.
To obtain a reporting form, please contact email@example.com 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 sent to all successful applicants.
Letter of welcome from the Mayor
If your organization wishes to request a Letter of Welcome from the Mayor to be included in your event program and/or brochure, please contact the Communications Officer, Mayor Support Service Unit, at 613-580-2424 ext. 28868.
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.