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Heritage Funding Program

Program Guidelines

Applicants to this program are encouraged to submit a draft application prior to the deadline date

Information Sessions: September 18 & 19, 2018

Deadline: Monday, October 29, 2018 at 4 p.m.

Late or incomplete applications will not be considered.

Program Objectives

The Heritage Funding Program supports projects undertaken by individuals or organizations that promote or support:

  • local heritage through education, awareness and appreciation
  • the reclamation, retention, transmittal, development and revitalization of First Nations, Métis and Inuit heritage and culture
  • research or documentation of local history
  • preservation of local heritage assets

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


To be eligible, applicants must demonstrate that they meet the following criteria:


  • 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)
  • 18 years or older
  • Demonstrate knowledge of local history or cultural traditions and practices
  • Demonstrate the ability to meet established professional standards or be a cultural keeper 


  • Based in Ottawa, Kitigan Zibi or Pikwakanagan and serve the local community
  • Not-for-profit status
  • Active Ottawa-based Board of Directors or Steering Committee1
    • ​The majority (51%) of the members of the Board of Directors or Steering Committee must be residents of the City of Ottawa.
    • Exception: In the case of Francophone, Inuit, Métis and First Nations, a Steering Committee or Board of Directors must be comprised of at least 50% of members residing in the Ottawa region.

1Steering Committee – is the core group of voting members who are the legal entity that oversees and monitors all aspects of the project and/or activities within a collective.

And be one of the following:

  • A heritage non-profit organization with a local heritage mandate
  • A First Nation, Inuit or Métis non-profit organization proposing a local heritage project on their respective cultures
  • A non-profit organization or collective that is proposing a local project with a heritage goal to be produced in partnership with a non-profit professional heritage organization, heritage professional(s), community elder, or culture keeper

What is Eligible

Eligible activities must:

  • demonstrate a strong local heritage focus
  • 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
  • be accessible and of interest to the public
  • significantly involve participation of the local cultural community
  • be singular in scope and be completed within a limited time frame, normally one year

Who is NOT eligible:

  • Crown corporations and government agencies
  • For profit organizations / ventures
  • Political parties
  • Organizations that have a service agreement with the City of Ottawa
  • Organizations whose activities come under the jurisdiction of other levels or departments of government (school boards, hospitals, universities, libraries, social services, military programs, business improvement associations, etc.)
  • Project applicants with accumulated deficits greater than 10% of total revenue, OR accumulated surpluses (excluding capital assets) greater than 100% of total revenue

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.

What is NOT eligible:

  • Fundraising projects and initiatives
  • Self-promotion / marketing activities
  • Commercial ventures
  • Projects involving the manufacture and distribution of product in multiple copies
  • Projects that have already been completed on or before the application deadline date
  • Projects that are part of an academic course of study
  • Projects funded as part of an operating grant from any other City program
  • Projects where participation is conditional upon partaking in the religious activities of the organization
  • Capital purposes (i.e. purchase of land, equipment, fixtures or physical facilities, architectural restoration, etc.)
  • Activities that do not include sources of revenue other than the City’s contribution

Types of Project Funding

Applicants may apply for project funding under the following categories:

Heritage Awareness and Education Projects

  1. Projects that promote or support local heritage through education, awareness and appreciation such as:
    1. Heritage events, and historical re-enactments or drama productions
    2. Local and community history books, pamphlets, walking tours
    3. Public lecture series, workshops, seminars
    4. Multi-media and website history initiatives
    5. Local heritage educational programs
    6. Exhibits or interpretive plaques
  2. Projects that provide support for the reclamation, retention, transmittal, development and revitalization of First Nations, Métis and Inuit heritage and culture:
    1. Pow wow, First Nations, Inuit or Métis traditional gatherings and cultural events
    2. Exhibits, workshops, presentations, storytelling of First Nations, Métis or Inuit culture
    3. Initiatives that seek to pass cultural knowledge through traditional practices
    4. Language preservation

Research and Documentation Projects

  1. Projects that research or document local history such as:
    1. New research projects into Ottawa’s history (e.g. histories of significant local individuals, communities, industries, faith communities, etc.)
    2. Photo-documentation of collections
    3. Documentation of heritage buildings, streetscapes, landscapes, and gardens
    4. Compilation of inventories of heritage assets
    5. Oral history projects
  2. Book Proposals. Regarding proposed book-length publications, please note the following:
    1. Priority will be given to original research that is appropriately sourced
    2. The Canadian Journal of History Style Guide should be used as the standard in preparing the manuscript for publication
    3. Collaboration with accredited historical researchers will be considered an advantage

Preservation/Conservation Projects

Individuals are not eligible to apply for preservation/conservation projects.

  1. Projects that preserve local heritage assets through:
    1. Archaeological digs
    2. Heritage gardening projects
    3. Conservation assessments
    4. Use of appropriate storage equipment and supplies
    5. Preservation of local artifacts
    6. Specialized treatments for paper or artifact collections

Heritage Grant Program for Building Restoration

Grants from the City's Planning and Infrastructure Portfolio are available to assist owners of heritage buildings with restoration work. For more information: 613-580-2424 ext.13474

Categories of Funding

If you with to apply to a category different from one in which you have previously applied, please consult a Cultural Funding Officer to discuss eligibility criteria.

Changes in funding categories must be approved by the Cultural Funding Support Section.

Project Funding

Project Funding is available to individuals, groups and not-for-profit organizations. A project proposed by a non-heritage group will be considered, provided that it has a heritage focus and is produced in partnership with a professional heritage organization, collective, heritage professional(s), community elder or culture keeper. Projects are to be carried out within a specific timeframe and consist of either a single activity or a series of activities. Activities must possess strong heritage 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 organizations that have been in existence for at least two years, possess a heritage mandate and have a minimum two-year history of providing regularly-scheduled heritage programming to the community throughout the year. Recognition for excellence in the heritage field and financial stability must be demonstrated. Heritage organizations must receive at least two consecutive Heritage Funding project allocations before being considered for operating funding.

Availability of City of Ottawa funding is subject to City Council approval of the 2019 budget.

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:

Heritage Merit

  • Solid project proposal with achievable goals and objectives
  • Direction of activities by, or guidance available from, accredited heritage professionals, community elders or culture keepers
  • Valid and valuable local heritage subject matter
  • Meets established professional standards or touches upon authentic traditional knowledge
  • Demonstrates innovation

Community Impact

  • Measurable, clear benefits to the community
  • Support of the Ottawa-based heritage community or community of interest
  • Creation of, or contribution to, a lasting legacy
  • Strength of partnerships (if applicable)


  • Effective planning, follow-up, and evaluation
  • Requisite ability and means to achieve established goals
  • History of partnering with other organizations and sectors
  • Relevant experience and track record of accomplishments
  • Demonstrates need for City funding
  • Fiscal responsibility and realistic budgeting
  • Initiative in generating alternate sources of revenue

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.  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. Support material is reviewed by the evaluation committee.  It plays an important role in the assessment of the application. 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 only 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 your 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 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 heritage 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.

Organizations that do not submit a report by the deadline could see an impact to their standing in the program.

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, October 29, 2018 at 4 p.m.

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

City of Ottawa
Heritage Funding Program
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.

Late or incomplete applications will not be considered.

Application Forms & Contact Information

2019 Application Form

Please read the Program Guidelines above before completing your application.

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 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 to 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.

Contacts us

Program inquires

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

Anik Després
Cultural Funding Officer
613-580-2424, ext. 27208

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 [ PDF - 664 KB ] 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