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Arts Funding Program

Information Sessions – September 18 and 19, 2018

The City of Ottawa’s Arts and Heritage Development Unit is hosting drop-in information sessions and open houses to answer questions about our 2019 cultural funding and awards programs, public art program and cultural development and initiatives (CDI) programs and projects.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Richmond Room and Colonel By Room, City Hall, 110 Laurier Avenue West
2 pm – 6 pm Drop-in one-on-one sessions
5:15 pm Presentation (FR)
6:15 pm Presentation (EN)

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Richmond Room and Councillors’ Lounge, City Hall, 110 Laurier Avenue West
2 pm – 6 pm Drop in one-on-one sessions
5:15 pm Presentation (EN)
6:15 pm Presentation (FR)

Please join us at any time and bring your questions, ideas and concerns, or send them to us in advance at For those who are unable to attend, presentation materials will be available after the sessions.

Cultural Funding Support Section values

The Cultural Funding Support Section (CFSS) assists independent, local, not-for-profit organizations, as well as professional artists and heritage professionals in the presentation of arts and heritage events and activities that reflect a broad representation of communities within Ottawa.

The City of Ottawa supports cultural activity that is inclusive of Ottawa’s diverse community, including people from a diversity of ancestries, abilities, ages, countries of origin, cultures, genders, incomes, languages, races and sexual orientations.

The City of Ottawa encourages submissions from First Nations, Inuit and Métis people, racialized people, persons with disabilities and members of the LGBTQ+ communities

The City of Ottawa is built on unceded Algonquin Anishinabe territory. The Cultural Funding Support Section honours the Algonquin Anishinabe Nation as host nation. 

The Cultural Funding Support Section is committed to supporting cultural activities that respond to the Calls to Action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

The City of Ottawa recognizes both official languages as having the same rights, status and privileges, and therefore accepts applications in both English and French.

Program Guidelines - Project Funding

Program Objectives

  • To spark and support the creation, production, presentation, exhibition, and dissemination of the literary, performing, visual and media arts, and independent film and video within Ottawa’s bilingual and culturally diverse community.
  • To support the educational, training and service organizations that foster the development of the arts in Ottawa.
  • To support local professional artists of all disciplines and backgrounds.
  • To support community-based artistic activities that develop local arts audiences and communities.

Funding Priorities

In addition to the evaluated merit of submitted proposals, the Cultural Funding Support Section will look at prioritizing applications from the following equity seeking communities:

  • Algonquin Host Nation
  • First Nations, Inuit and Métis
  • Francophones
  • Racialized people

Additional Equity Consideration will be given to the following:

  • Deaf people and persons with disabilities
  • LGBTQ+
  • Rural residents
  • Youth


First-time applicants are encouraged to contact the Cultural Funding Officer responsible for their discipline to ensure their organization or collective meets eligibility requirements.

An Eligible Organization must:

  • be not-for-profit
  • be based in Ottawa, Kitigan Zibi or Pikwakanagan and serve the local community
  • have an active Ottawa-based Board of Directors or Steering Committee (minimum 3 members)

And one of the following:

  • be an incorporated organization with an arts mandate
  • be a non-incorporated professional artists collective
  • be a non-arts organization (including a First Nation, Inuit, or Métis organization) that is proposing a project with an arts goal to be produced in partnership with a non-profit professional art organization or professional artist(s)

For a more detailed description of eligible organizations see Annex 1-Definitions of Eligible Organizations and Professional Artists.

What is Eligible

Activities that:

  • demonstrate significant support for local Ottawa artists
  • are managed and/or sponsored by members of the Ottawa artistic community
  • enhance the City’s quality of life, with activities being conducted in Ottawa, Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg First Nation Community or Algonquins of Pikwakanagan First Nation Community
  • are accessible and of interest to the public
  • significantly involve participation of the local cultural community
  • are singular in scope and must occur within a specific period of time

Who is NOT Eligible

  • government agencies and for-profit organizations
  • organizations whose activities come under the jurisdiction of other levels or departments of government (school boards, hospitals, universities, social services, military programs, business improvement associations, etc.)
  • political parties
  • organizations that receive operating funding from the Cultural Funding Support Section
  • organizations with accumulated deficits greater than 10% of total revenue, OR accumulated surpluses (excluding capital assets) greater than 100% of total revenue

An organization may only apply for ONE project at a time within this program, and must submit a final report before reapplying. In cases where a previous project will only be completed after the current deadline date, organizations agree to complete the project and submit an approved Final Report by the time funding results are announced (June 2019). Subsequent applications to this program will not be considered until the Final Report has been submitted and approved.

What is NOT Eligible

  • fundraising projects and initiatives
  • self-promotional / marketing activities
  • commercial ventures, art sales, competitions
  • projects involving the manufacture and distribution of product in multiple copies
  • activities funded by an operating grant from any City program
  • projects where participation is conditional upon partaking in the religious activities of the organization
  • activities that are solely intended for the membership of an organization
  • capital purposes (i.e., purchase of land, equipment, facilities, etc.)
  • projects that have been completed on or before the application deadline date
  • projects that do not include sources of revenue other than the City’s contribution
  • an organization’s full season of programming
  • projects submitted by managers, consultants or agents

City of Ottawa employees or elected representatives may not apply for individual cultural funding or awards.

City of Ottawa staff from the following Branches may not hold a key position within an organization requesting cultural funding from the City: Community, Recreation & Cultural Programs; Business and Technical Support Services; and Archives.  Exception: where staff participation has been approved as one of the duties of their position.

City of Ottawa staff are required to act in compliance with the City of Ottawa Employee Code of Conduct and all applicable laws and regulations. For further inquiries, please contact your Cultural Funding Officer.

Types of Funds

Literary Arts Fund

Supports production, presentation, dissemination and other professional activities that contribute to the development of the literary arts in Ottawa. Aimed at professional presenters of written and oral literary artists, and book and magazine publishers.

Performing Arts Fund

Supports creation, production, presentation, dissemination and other professional activities related to the performing arts in Ottawa. Aimed at professional choirs, bands, orchestras, ensembles, theatre companies, dance companies, presenters, opera and musical theatre groups, and includes dance, music and theatre.

Visual Arts / Media Arts / Independent Film and Video Fund

Supports activities that contribute to the development of visual and media arts, and film and video in Ottawa. Supports exhibition, collective distribution of independent film and video works and the production of contemporary visual or media arts.  Aimed at professional artist-run centres and public galleries, film and video production co-operatives, and professional artists’ and curatorial collectives.

Arts Events & Arts Festivals Fund

Supports arts organizations in the production and presentation of artistic programming for local festivals and/or events that celebrate and highlight artistic disciplines including literary, performing, visual and media arts, or independent film and video.

Arts Training & Arts Education Fund

Supports professional arts organizations with a mandate to provide arts training and/or arts education (including community arts). Open to all artistic disciplines. Groups must employ professional artists, instructors or educators and must pay professional fees.

  • Arts Training provides professional instruction for the development of artistic skills.
  • Arts Education provides opportunities to learn about the arts through direct exposure to, and/or participation in, professional artistic practices.

Arts Services & Arts Venues Fund

Supports the umbrella activities of professional arts service associations and of venues dedicated to the presentation of the arts in Ottawa.  Aimed at:

  • Professional arts service organizations - associations of individual artists or arts organizations that carry out a broad range of functions such as cooperative promotions, marketing, administration, advocacy, networking, information dissemination and professional development.
  • Professional arts venues - arts facilities that provide access to artists and arts groups and carry out other related services for the performing, visual, media, film and video, and/or literary arts in Ottawa.

Amateur Arts Fund

Supports community-based artistic activities that provide opportunities to local residents to participate in the arts. Aimed at supporting performance, exhibition, collective art making, and other community-based arts activities and includes music, theatre, literary arts, dance, visual and media arts, film and video, and multidisciplinary events. 

Categories of Funding

Entry to the Program and movement between funding categories must be approved by the Cultural Funding Support Section.

Project Funding

Project Funding is available to collectives and not-for-profit organizations with an arts mandate. A project proposed by a non-arts group will be considered, provided that it has an arts focus and is produced in partnership with a professional arts organization, collective or professional artist(s). 

Projects are to be carried out within a specific timeframe and consist of a single activity. The activity must possess strong artistic merit, as determined by the assessment committee, and produce an impact on the community and the discipline. The budget must include sources of revenue other than the City’s contribution. Project grants in recent competitions rarely exceeded $10,000. Receipt of a project grant in previous years does not guarantee subsequent funding.

Annual Operating Funding

Annual Operating Funding is available to established, incorporated as not-for-profit arts organizations that have been in existence for at least two years, possess an arts mandate and have a minimum two year history of providing regularly-scheduled artistic programming to the community throughout the year. Recognition for excellence in their artistic discipline and financial stability must be demonstrated. Arts organizations must receive at least two project funding allocations before being considered for operating funding.

Three Year Operating Funding

Three year Operating Funding is available to established, incorporated as not-for-profit arts organizations that have been in existence for at least four years.  Applicants must have received Annual Operating funding through the City of Ottawa’s Arts Funding Program for at least one year, have an arts mandate, be recognized for excellence in their artistic discipline, provide annual programming to the community, demonstrate long-range financial stability and be able to articulate their long-term artistic visioning and planning. 

Assessment Criteria

Peer assessors will use the following assessment criteria to evaluate your request for funding. Applicants are assessed based upon their respective mandates, type of funding requested, size and scope, and according to the criteria outlined below:

Artistic Merit

  • Fulfillment of mandate
  • Artistic direction, goals and objectives
  • Qualified artistic leadership
  • Maintenance of high artistic standards and practices
  • Requisite skills and means to achieve results
  • Innovation within artistic discipline

Community Impact

  • Support to local artists and community
  • Impact on artistic discipline
  • Responsiveness to members and audiences
  • Strength of partnerships
  • Community involvement (audience participation, volunteer support, etc.)

Organizational Effectiveness

  • Planning and evaluation
  • Governance, leadership structure and participation of the Board/Steering Committee
  • Fiscal responsibility and realistic budgeting
  • Initiative in fundraising
  • Demonstrated need for financial support
  • Appropriate and effective marketing and promotion

Application Process

Applicants must complete the Application Form and attach all required documentation.

If you are a first-time applicant, you may wish to speak to a Cultural Funding Officer to ensure that you are eligible for this program, and to discuss the application process.

If municipal funding was previously received from the City of Ottawa, an Activity Report detailing how the funds were used must be attached, if not already sent. 

Failure to provide an Activity Report approved by the City of Ottawa Cultural Funding Support Section may result in ineligibility for subsequent City of Ottawa funding.

Vulnerable Sector Policy

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:


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.

Support Material

All applicants must submit support material which will be reviewed by the evaluation committee. It plays an important 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.

In the application materials you will find information on what to submit as support material and how to submit it.

Please do not send originals. The Cultural Funding Support Section does not have the facilities for their proper care and storage. The City of Ottawa retains printed materials such as program books, brochures and critical reviews. The applicant agrees that the City of Ottawa is not responsible for loss or damage, however caused, to support material.

If you wish to have support material returned, please enclose a self-addressed envelope with the required postage.  Applicants may also arrange to pick up support material by contacting the Cultural Funding Support Section at or 613-580-2424 ext. 29404.

How Funding Decisions Are Made

Peer Assessment Principles

The Cultural Funding Support Section uses a peer assessment model in the evaluation process that involves professionals who are active within their cultural community. Evaluators and 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. 

Key principles of assessment committee composition strive 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 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 the funding priority, decides whether to award funding, 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.

Allocation of Funding

An applicant’s success in obtaining funding depends upon the 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.

Prior to the assessment meetings, assessors receive a copy of the Conflict of Interest and Confidentiality Policy with a form for declaring conflicts. All assessors must complete this form and submit it prior to the assessment 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:

  • is employed by or is a member of the Board of Directors of an applicant organization
  • 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

Confidentiality of Information

Information provided on the application form, or as 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

Assessors and committee members are required to treat both the contents of the applications and the deliberations of the committee as confidential.  At the end of the assessment meeting, committee members turn in their copies of the 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 months 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, including changes in budget, leadership, organizational structure and programming, 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.

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. 

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.

Deadline for Application

  • Monday, January 14, 2019 at 4 p.m.

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

City of Ottawa
Arts Funding Program
Creation and Production Fund for Professional Artists
Cultural Funding Support Section (26-49)
100 Constellation Drive, 9th Floor West
Ottawa, ON K2G 6J8

The package must be received by 4 p.m. on the deadline date, or must be postmarked for that day. If delivering in person, please ensure to obtain a receipt.

Late or incomplete applications will not be considered.

Application Forms & Contact Information

2019 Application Forms

Please read the Program Guidelines above before completing your application.

  • Arts Funding Program - Project Funding : 2019 Application Form will be available soon
  • Terms and Conditions

Please note: fillable PDF forms may no longer be completed through web browsers such as Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Microsoft Edge and others. Please first download the form onto your computer and open it with Adobe Acrobat Reader to complete. Any information added to the form through the web browser will be lost when the form is downloaded to your computer.

If you wish to apply in the Annual Operating or Three-Year Operating category, please contact the Cultural Funding Officer listed below.

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.

Please note: fillable PDF forms may no longer be completed through web browsers such as Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Microsoft Edge and others. Please first download the form onto your computer and open it with Adobe Acrobat Reader to complete. Any information added to the form through the web browser will be lost when the form is downloaded to your computer.

Contact Us

Program inquires

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

English Literary Arts
English Theatre
French Theatre
Amateur Arts

Marlène Barré
613-580-2424 ext. 28517

French Literary Arts
Arts Services & Arts Venues

Anik Després
613-580-2424 ext. 27208

Independent Film and Video
Visual Arts 

Arts Training & Arts Education (Multidisciplinary organizations)
Marie-Christine Feraud
613-580-2424 ext. 23915

Arts Training & Arts Education (Music organizations)
Amateur Arts 

Adrija McVicar
613-580-2424 ext. 23231

General inquiries

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

613-580-2424, ext. 29404

Direct Deposit Information

Please be advised that over the next year, the City of Ottawa’s Financial Services Unit will be 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 and send to Financial Services mailing address as indicated.

For all inquiries, please contact Financial Services Unit:
Peggy Li
613-580-2424, ext. 13910

Henry Wang
613-580-2424, ext. 23747