COVID-19 Resources for Artists and Cultural Workers

Here you will find a list of resources for arts and culture workers whose gigs and incomes have been impacted by Covid-19 related cancellations.

The City, in collaboration with Toronto Public Health, has created resources to help the art and culture sector reopen safely. The resources include sector-specific guidelines such as COVID-19 Guidance for Indoor & Outdoor Events as well as a supplemental webinar. Additional resources are available on the City's website at For any additional questions, please contact

Mental Health Resources

  • Toronto Distress Centre: (416) 408–4357
  • Canada Suicide Prevention Service: 1-833-456-4566
  • Kids Help Phone: 1-800-668-6868
  • Gerstein Crisis Centre: 416-929-5200
  • Assaulted Women’s Helpline: 416-863-0511 Text: #SAFE (#7233)
  • 911 Emergency Services
  • CAMH Emergency Dept. Self-referrals 416-535-8501, press 2.

Funding Resources for Artists

  • CRA backtracks on message to artists, says grant money counts as income to qualify for emergency benefits

  • Resources for the Arts and Learning sector during the COVID-19 pandemic as compiled by Canadian Network for Arts and Learning. This page has numerous general sources, as well as fund relief links for Toronto-based artists including: Glad Day Book Shop Emergency Survival Fund for LGBTQ2S artists, performers, tip-based workers and Glad Day, Akin Rent Relief Fund available to Akin artists and creatives with anonymous, one time emergency grants of $150-$300; Toronto Arts Council COVID-19 Updates Includes workplace resources, resources for artists and arts organizations, and a listing of emergency funding initiatives; and Toronto Dancers COVID-19 Relief Fund GoFundMe campaign dedicated to freelance dance artists in Toronto.

  • Resources for those in need of financial aid, food, mental health and more: a community-created document

  • Navigating COVID-19: Resources for Creatives and Creative Entrepreneurs by Artscape has resources for Rent Relief and Mortgage Payment Deferral Resources, Food Security Resources, Financial Relief for Utilities, Bills and Services, Financial Assistance, Grants and Emergency Funds, Community Funded Mutual Aid, Creative Entrepreneur Supports, Federal Government Programs and Supports, Province of Ontario Government Programs and Supports, City of Toronto Programs, Granting Bodies Information, COVID-19 information for the Arts and Culture Sector, and Stress Management Resources.

  • Important Information related to COVID-19 by Canada Council for the Arts details COVID-19: Current information and FAQs, Canada Council operations, Financial impact, Government support measures, Artists abroad, Access to Employment Insurance, Other possible measures, Suspension of funding for public events and travel-related activities, Other travel-related questions, Event cancellations, Core funded organizations, Grant applications and assessments, Cancellation and reimbursement of grants, and Useful Links

  • Toronto East Quadrant Local Immigration Partnership’s (TEQLIP) Programs and Updates for Newcomers related to COVID-19 includes links to COVID-19 prevention, care, essential services, financial assistance, how to talk to a doctor from home, and more.

  • A list compiled by the Canadian Network for Arts and Learing (CNAL)

  • Here's where Canadian artists and freelancers can find help during COVID-19 shutdowns by CBC Arts

  • A plain language guide to federal benefits for all sector.

  • Eligible musicians in Ontario can apply to perform through MusicTogether, and will be evaluated on a first-come, first-serve basis for the opportunity to apply for $1,000 in emergency relief funding, play a livestream show to engage your fans, and earn new ones, and/or monetize your audience through a merch business.

  • As part of the initiative, CBC/Radio-Canada and the Canada Council for the Arts have teamed up for the creation of Digital Originals, a new $1 million fund to help artists, groups and arts organizations pivot their work to online audiences during the COVID-19 pandemic. Creators can apply for a maximum of $5000 in funding per project, a selection of which will be curated and digitally showcased by CBC/Radio-Canada and receive an additional $1000 grant supplement. Artists can apply with a brand-new work or adapt their work for online sharing.

  • The David Seguin Memorial Award promotes accessibility in the arts by providing support to artists with disabilities. The DSMA Special Initiative in Response to COVID-19 will use 2020’s award to provide immediate support to artists with disabilities through $100 micro-grants to artists with disabilities in order to help them cover basic living expenses, such as rent and groceries.

  • Artscape Atelier launched more than $100,000 in paid opportunities for artists during COVID-19.

  • New guidelines have been released to ensure artists are paid appropriately during the COVID-19 crisis. The recommendations from Canadian Artists’ Representation (CARFAC) include how to proceed if an artist was scheduled to give a talk that was cancelled; if a presenting institution is closed with artwork installed; if a gallery wishes to extend the dates of an installed exhibition that was forced to close early; if an artist has a contract for a future exhibition but production is not yet complete; and if artwork is reproduced digitally. Learn more here.

  • The Akin Rent Relief Fund has been established in collaboration with Rania El Mugammar to provide current Akin artists and creatives with anonymous, one-time emergency grants towards their studio rent at Akin. The goal of the Akin Rent Relief Fund is to provide short term financial aid in unexpected situations or times of financial instability. The fund has now officially launched for Akin members. 

  • Toronto Dancers COVID-19 Relief Fund: To assist Toronto dancers in handling the repercussions of the COVID-19 crisis, The Dance Plug Canada is creating a relief fund dedicated to the professional dance artists residing in Toronto.

  • Modest Needs Grants provides short-term financial assistance to individuals and families in temporary crisis who, because they are working and live just above the poverty level, are ineligible for most types of conventional social assistance.

  • Financial Support and Resources :Federal, provincial and municipal government financial supports: 
  1. Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) program
  2. Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) program
  3. Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy (CERS)
  4. Support for Indigenous Businesses
  5. Business Credit Availability Program 
  6. Regional Relief and Recovery Fund (RRRF) 

For one-on-one help with applications for any of these programs contact the BusinessTO Support Centre.



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​Arts Activities for Famillies 




Data Collection & Sharing

  • CARFAC: What do you need to create and share art during the COVID-19 pandemic?
  • Ontario Association of Art Galleries: COVID-19 Crisis Response Impact Report Update
  • Arts Pond: COVID19 Response is a collaborative task force bringing together arts, culture, and heritage leaders and organizations in Canada to develop and implement shared strategies that respond to and evaluate the impacts of COVID-19 across regional and disciplinary silos. Express your interest in being involved by filling out the COVID19 Response Intake Form.

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