Covid19 Relief Funds

Check out these recently released funding opportunities that might benefit you and your creative space! 

Tourism Relief Fund

The Tourism Relief Fund, administered by Canada’s regional development agencies and Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED), supports tourism businesses and organizations to adapt their operations to meet public health requirements while investing in products and services to facilitate their future growth. With a budget of $500 million over two years (ending March 31, 2023), including $50 million specifically dedicated to Indigenous tourism initiatives and $15 million for national initiatives, this fund will position Canada to be a destination of choice when domestic and international travel is once again safe by:

  • empowering tourism businesses to create new or enhance existing tourism experiences and products to attract more local and domestic visitors
  • helping the sector reposition itself to welcome international visitors by providing the best Canadian tourism experiences we have to offer the world.

Tourism Relief Fund projects will focus on:

  • product development: For example, projects that enhance tourism experiences; help tourism businesses adapt to the “new normal”, to modernize their offerings; and, encourage the adoption of more environmentally sustainable and inclusive practices.
  • destination development: For example, projects that position communities to take advantage of post-pandemic opportunities through strategic planning for medium- to long-term investments, as well as supporting destination development prospects in line with objectives set out in the Federal Tourism Growth Strategy.

Learn More here.

Indigenous People Resilience Fund

The Indigenous Peoples Resilience Fund (IPRF) is built upon the resiliency of, and guided by, Indigenous Peoples to support Indigenous communities through this current public health crisis. This fund is different, guided by Indigenous Peoples from the East, South, West and North. The goal is to provide needed resources as you navigate this stage of the pandemic. The Fund is governed by an Indigenous Advisory Council that approves all governance, resilience fund projects, communications and fund‐raising strategies and recommendations related to the work of fulfilling the purpose of the IPRF.

Applicants who are seeking support are asked to reflect back to their customary way of life of living off the land, using the resources provided by taking only what you need, ensuring resources are left for those who follow you. In this period of COVID19, through this fund, support would be provided to assist as many communities as possible. Support ranges from $5,000 to $30,000. 

This fund is available to:

  • any Indigenous-led organization working to foster resilience in Inuit, Metis and First Nations communities anywhere in Canada

Learn more here. 

Ontario Trillium Foundation Resilient Communities Fund

OTF is investing in projects of eligible non-profit organizations to aid their medium to longer-term recovery efforts, help with their stabilization and build their capacity and resiliency in the aftermath of COVID-19.
This fund is providing a flexible range of activities to address the diverse needs of organizations and to support them where they are at in their recovery and rebuilding.Next Deadline:
December 8, 2021 at 5 PM ET

Term Length:
Maximum 12 months

Amount Awarded (per year):
Minimum $5,000
Maximum $150,000

Learn more here.

Moving into Step 3 for Creative Spaces

Yesterday, it was announced that on Friday, July 16, the province will move into Step 3 of Ontario’s Roadmap to Reopening. Waterloo Region is slated to move to Step 2 on Monday, July 12 – however, it is expected to join the rest of the province in Step 3 on July 16.

Step 3 Highlights for Creative Spaces
Face coverings in indoor public settings and physical distancing requirements remain in place throughout Step 3.

Outdoor social gatherings and organized public events with up to 100 people with limited exceptions are permitted.

Indoor social gatherings and organized public events with up to 25 people are permitted.

Museums, Galleries and Historic Sites
Museums, galleries, historic sites, aquariums, zoos, landmarks, botanical gardens, science centres, casinos/bingo halls, amusement parks, fairs and rural exhibitions, festivals, can operate with capacity limited to not exceed 50 per cent capacity indoors and 75 per cent capacity outdoors.

Concert Venues, Cinemas and Theatres
Concert venues, cinemas, and theatres permitted to operate at:

  • Up to 50 per cent capacity indoors or a maximum limit of 1,000 people for seated events (whichever is less).
  • Up to 75 per cent capacity outdoors or a maximum limit of 5,000 people for unseated events (whichever is less); and up to 75 per cent capacity outdoors or a maximum of 15,000 people for events with fixed seating (whichever is less).

Photography Studios and Services
Photography studios and services can operate indoors and outdoors with restrictions.

Meeting Spaces
Indoor meeting and event spaces permitted to operate with physical distancing and other restrictions still in effect and capacity limited to not exceed 50 per cent capacity or 1,000 people, (whichever is less).

All construction is open.

What happens next?
For Ontario to have most restrictions of Step 3 lifted, the province must:

  • Remain in Step 3 for at least 21 days
  • 80% of Ontarians over the age of 12 must have received one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and 75% have received a second.
  • All public health units must have 70% of their eligible population fully vaccinated.
  • Other key public health and health care indicators must remain stable.

At this point, Step 3 precautions would be lifted, and small safety measures would remain in place, such as passive screening and a safety plan for businesses.

Read the Press Release HERE.
Read the full Guidelines for Step 3 HERE.

Creative Spaces and Step 2 of Ontario’s Roadmap to Reopening 

Creative Spaces and Step 2 of Ontario’s Roadmap to Reopening

Creative Spaces and Step 2 of Ontario’s Roadmap to Reopening 

At midnight on June 30, 2021, the province will move into Step 2 of Ontario’s Roadmap to Reopening. This is hopeful news as arts organizations can look forward to increased audience size for outdoor offerings and a gradual reopening of indoor arts spaces. While most of the province moves ahead to Step 2, Waterloo Region and Porcupine Health Unit will remain in Step 1.

The earliest Ontario can move to Step 3 would be on July 20, twenty-one days following Step 2. Organizations can start planning for this next phase of reopening by reviewing the Reopening Ontario webpage.

Step 2 Highlights for Creative Spaces


  • Maximum 25 people for outdoor gatherings
  • Outdoor events at 25% capacity
  • Outdoor cinemas, performing arts, live music events and attractions at 25% capacity


  • Maximum 5 people for indoor gatherings
  • Space Rentals: Indoor meeting and event spaces closed, with exceptions for certain purposes, including viewings for a potential booking of a future event.

Commercial Film and TV Production

  • Open with no audience, and other restrictions

Performing Arts 

  • Indoor closed, permitted only for the purpose of rehearsing or performing a recorded or broadcasted event – spectators not permitted
  • Outdoor open, including live music, with spectator capacity at 25% and other restrictions


  • Indoor closed
  • Outdoor open with spectator capacity at 25% and other restrictions

Museums and attractions

  • Outdoor waterparks open with 25% capacity and other restrictions
  • Outdoor amusement parks open with 25% capacity and other restrictions, including on rides

Photography studios and services

  • Outdoor and limited indoor open with restrictions

Drive-in and drive through events

  • Open with restrictions


  • All construction open

Read the full Provincial Order for Step 2 Regulations for more details.

ArtsBuild Ontario supports #SupportVisualArtsON and #FairnessForTheArtsON. We continue to advocate for a more equitable recovery pathway for Ontario’s extraordinary arts sector. We call for regulatory fairness for the live performing arts, galleries and museums whose future planning has been impacted by Step 2 in this roadmap. Learn more here.


Thank You and Farewell to ABO’s Departing Interim Executive Director, Diana Moser

Over the past year, Diana Moser has been serving as ArtsBuild Ontario’s (ABO) Interim Executive Director. During her time with ABO, Diana fully embraced this challenge of leading an organization through the uncertainties of COVID-19 and its impact on the arts and culture sector. Regardless of ups and downs, ABO continued to support creative spaces throughout the pandemic with projects such as the Indigenous Creative Spaces ProjectLEARN IT | BUILD IT | MANAGE IT, and the Mapping Northern Creative Spaces Project as well as our core programs such as the Mentoring Network and Asset Planner for the Arts.

In addition, ABO continues its partnership with the City of Kitchener and the Accelerator Centre in operating 44 Gaukel Creative Workspace in Downtown Kitchener. The building has remained open to tenants throughout the pandemic.

Aside from maintaining projects and programs, Ms. Moser brought ABO into the third cohort of Pluralism and Organizational Change, facilitated Cultural Pluralism in the Arts Movement Ontario (CPAMO).  

Diana had the right skillset at the right time – managing unforeseen and unpredictable change. It was a pleasure working with her as she rose to the challenges the year presented. We were so lucky to have her and know that she will be a major asset to the organization that is lucky enough to hire her. Good luck, Diana!  –Kristian Clarke, President, ArtsBuild Ontario 

 Ms. Moser approached this year with a high level of organization and innovation. Wherever her next adventure takes her, any team will greatly benefit from her novel ideas and kind, thoughtful approach to leadership.

 ABO welcomes back our Executive Director, Alex Glass, after 14 months of maternity leave.

Taking PRIDE in Creative Spaces

June 1st marks the beginning of Pride Month, which celebrates the 2SLGBTQIA+ * community. Pride also reminds us all to reflect on the continued fight against discrimination and hate. The origin of Pride stems from the 1969 Stonewall Uprising in New York City. Beginning with a raid on June 28th, 1969 at the Stonewall Inn in Manhattan, over the course of a week thousands gathered at the Stonewall Inn. Protests against the New York City police department by 2SLGBTQIA+ groups lasted for a six day period. Although protests had occurred before, this uprising marked the beginning of a fundamental change in the perception of sexual orientation and gender identity on a broad scale. Many countries now host Pride parades, picnics, parties, workshops, symposia, concerts and other events to reflect on the contributions, achievements, and struggles of 2SLGBTQIA+ people.

ArtsBuild Ontario encourages people to learn about and support 2SLGBTQIA+ spaces and organizations. While we highlight three Toronto-based groups here, we recognize that there are many others across the province and Canada. ArtsBuild Ontario does not discriminate and does not tolerate discrimination, against anyone based on their sexual preference, or gender identity, or mental and/or physical ability, and we strive to represent this commitment in our actions. Support for our 2SLGBTQIA+  colleagues, friends, and family doesn’t end when June does.


ArQuives, 2020

Located in Toronto, the ArQuives is the largest independent 2SLGBTQIA+ archive in the world. This archive documents history in a variety of different ways; textual records, audio visual records, posters, photographs, artifacts and artworks. The ArQuives welcomes contributions on an ongoing basis. This is a safe space for building a lasting repository where members of the 2SLGBTQIA+ can feel accepted, valued, and celebrated.

Donate here. 

Buddies in Bad Times

Buddies in Bad Times Theatre

Buddies in Bad Times is “Toronto’s leading destination for artistically rigorous alternative theatre and a world leader in developing queer voices and stories for the stage”. As the largest and longest-running queer theatre in the world, Buddies supports year-round programming that includes a full season of queer theatre, new works festivals, artist residencies, and intergenerational training and education initiatives. For over 40 years this renowned theatre has welcomed well over one million visitors and premiered over 1,000 works of unique content. 

Donate here. 

Artists Mentoring Youth ( The AMY Project)

This is a Toronto-based organization that is committed providing accessible, affirming performing arts training & creation programs for women and non-binary youth from equity-seeking communities. The AMY Project strives to break down barriers which cause youth to be unable to pursue their artistic passions. Whether social, economic, racial, etc, The AMY Project fights these systemic inequities to foster a safe and creative space. As part of their mandate, they offer “free performing arts training programs serving young women and non-binary youth. AMY breaks down barriers to participation by providing meals and transportation; accessible, queer and trans inclusive and anti-racist environments; one-on-one mentorship”. 

Donate here. 

*We recognize that this acronym does not encompass all sexualities, gender identities and expressions. ArtsBuild Ontario recognizes that there is a wide spectrum and our intention is to be as inclusive as we can.  For more information on terminology, click here.