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Information for applicants

Online portal

In 2021, the Cultural Funding Support Unit (CFSU) transitioned to a paperless online system to manage the funding process including applications and reports. This online portal is hosted by Momentive (formerly SurveyMonkey Apply). Any information entered in the online portal, even in draft form, can be viewed by CFSU staff.

All applications, support material and subsequent 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 accommodations for accessibility, please contact infoculture@ottawa.ca

How to apply using the online portal

Currently, the online portal is optimized for Chrome, and we advise that users utilize this browser if possible.  All other browsers except for Internet Explorer are supported.  Due to Internet Explorer no longer being supported by Microsoft, users on this browser may experience difficulties given the outdated software.

  1. Visit https://ottawaculture.smapply.ca/ to create an online profile.
  2. On the landing page, select “register” in the top right corner.
  3. Then select organization (if you are applying on behalf of an organization) or individual (if you are applying for yourself). If both apply to you, please register twice. Complete the form, then select “create account.”
  4. You will receive an email to the address you provided. Make sure you validate your email. Select “confirm email address.”

You will now have access to the online portal to apply to our funding programs.

If you have questions about the online portal, contact: infoculture@ottawa.ca

Information sessions

All meetings will be held via Microsoft Teams. To join, follow the meeting link for the information session you wish to attend OR dial 613-319-1080 and enter the conference ID that corresponds with your session.

Online portal

The Cultural Funding Support Unit is offering information sessions on how to apply using this new tool.

Arts funding program

Project funding

Learn more about Project funding.

Operating funding

Learn more about Annual and Multi-year operating funding.

Funding priorities

Following the peer-assessed evaluation of submitted proposals, the CFSU will look at prioritizing applications from the following Indigenous and equity-seeking communities:

  • 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
  • Refugees / Immigrants / Newcomers
  • 2SLGBTQIA
  • 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.

Application process and policies

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: infoculture@ottawa.ca

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

Insurance

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.

Summary report

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.

Reporting

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 infoculture@ottawa.ca

Without a report approved by the CFSU, the applicant will be deemed ineligible for subsequent funding.

To obtain a reporting form, please contact infoculture@ottawa.ca 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.

Financials

Financial statements

You will have to submit your organization’s most recent approved financial statements. A financial statement includes a statement of financial position and provides a report of the organization’s most recently completed fiscal year.

  • If municipal support was less than $24,999, an approved treasurer’s report is required. A treasurer’s report is an unaudited financial report of the organization’s previous year’s activities. The report is prepared from accounting records by an elected board member, usually the treasurer, and must include, at minimum, a statement of financial position (assets and liabilities) and a statement of income and expenses.
  • If past funding was between $25,000 and $49,999 an approved review engagement report is required. A review engagement report is the unaudited review of the financial statements of an organization by an independent accountant.
  • If you received past funding from the City of $50,000 or more, an approved audited financial statement is required. An audited statement is an accounting document that is reviewed and verified by a licensed public accountant.

Surpluses/Deficits

Funding received from the Cultural Funding Program may not be used to increase an accumulated surplus or to offset an accumulated deficit.

Capital assets will not be included in the calculation of an accumulated surplus or deficit.

Definitions:

A surplus is the revenue remaining within an organization’s budget that is in excess of the organization’s expenditures in any one fiscal year. If an operating surplus is carried to the next year, it falls into the category of accumulated surplus.

An accumulated surplus refers to the long-term accumulation of funds whose use is at the discretion of the organization.

A deficit is an excess of liabilities over assets or expenditures over revenue.

An accumulated deficit is a long-term negative earnings balance.

Statement of reserves (accumulated surplus)

Applicants carrying an accumulated surplus greater than 50% of total operating revenue must submit a Statement of Reserves (including targets and timeline) for the use of the surplus.

Definitions:

Unrestricted reserves are funds that have not been restricted by the organization and whose use is therefore at the discretion of the Board of Directors of the organization.

Internally restricted reserves are funds which have not been restricted by the organization, but have been directed for a special purpose by the Board of Directors. The board has the discretion to remove the restrictions, if it so chooses, which makes the funds accessible to the organization.

Restricted reserves are funds which have been restricted by the organization, and over which the Board of the organization has no discretion.

Deficit reduction plan (accumulated deficit)

Applicants carrying an accumulated deficit greater than 10% of total operating revenue and exceeding $3,000 must submit a realistic deficit reduction plan. This plan must include targets, timelines, roles and responsibilities. The deficit reduction plan must be approved by the CFSU.

Deficit reduction progress reports

The City of Ottawa CFSU requires organizations to report on their progress in meeting their deficit reduction targets. A progress report is due three months after an application for funding is submitted. Depending on the severity of an organization’s deficit, progress reports may be required as frequently as quarterly. The release of funding to an organization may be contingent on approval of deficit reduction progress reports by the CFSU. Any conditions governing the release of funding will be included in the result notification informing successful applicants of funding.

How to submit support material

Applicants must submit support material which will be reviewed by the evaluation committee. It plays an essential role in the assessment of the application as it gives the evaluators an indication of the merit of the work proposed and provides documentation of past and proposed activities.

Examples of support material: promotional material, program brochures, media coverage, photos, annual reports and publications, video or audio recordings or links to web pages or social media.

You must submit support material via the CFSU’s online portal by uploading the files directly or by inputting the URLs. Different programs have different requirements, so please check them carefully.

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 infoculture@ottawa.ca

For all submissions:

  • File names cannot contain any special characters including accents, commas or hyphens. Please rename all files in plain text. Provide a brief description of the content.
  • Jurors have limited time to review support material. The total time allotted to review all audio and video files cannot exceed 7 minutes per application. Please select your material with this time constraint in mind. Provide cue times as part of your description.
  • QuickTime files are not accepted (.mov or .aiff) .
  • Test all electronic materials to ensure readability and quality.

Acknowledgement of the City’s support

As a recipient of funding through the Cultural Funding Support Unit, your organization has agreed to acknowledge the financial support[1] of the City of Ottawa in initiatives that will benefit from your receipt of funds. The guidelines for acknowledgement of support are as follows:

Web

By placing the City of Ottawa logo in the relevant section of your organization’s website.

Print materials

By making a written acknowledgement using the following formulation:[Name] gratefully acknowledges the financial support of the City of Ottawa. or;

by reproducing the City of Ottawa logo to appear in the acknowledgement section of the following:

  • publicity materials (posters, flyers, postcards)
  • press materials (press releases, press kits)

Verbal announcements

By mentioning support verbally in:

  • public announcements and presentations
  • press conferences
  • speeches

Logo

The City of Ottawa logo is available in electronic format from the Cultural Funding Support Section. Please contact: infoculture@ottawa.ca

[1] Please note: Financial support received from the City of Ottawa is a municipal grant; and is NOT considered a sponsorship.

Direct deposit information

Please be advised that the City of Ottawa’s Financial Services Unit is moving to the use of an automated Direct Deposit system solely in providing all payments, including Cultural Funding allocations.

If you have not already registered your organization’s banking information, please complete the Direct Deposit Form. PDF opens in a new tab or window and mail it with a physical original voided cheque or a physical original encoded deposit slip, or a physical original letter from the vendor's bank to the following address:

City of Ottawa
Accounts Payable, PO Box 3426 Stn D
Ottawa ON K1P 0B9

No photocopies will be accepted. Questions may be directed to Accounts Payable at 613.580.2424 extension 27888 or by email to vendormaster@ottawa.ca mailbox.