Feds detail rollout of $500M emergency fund for Culture, Heritage and Sport

The federal government has unveiled more details on how the new COVID-19 Emergency Support Fund for Cultural, Heritage and Sport Organizations will roll out, with relief for the screen industries encompassed in the program’s first phase, and small broadcasters and local news organizations to benefit in its second phase.

“Our artists, creators and young athletes inspire us and help us feel connected even when we’re at home. They’re there for us and we’re going to be there for them,” asserted Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in Friday morning’s federal response update.

Administered by Canadian Heritage, the funding will be divided among select departmental programs and portfolio agencies:

  • Up to $326.8 million will be distributed by Canadian Heritage, of which:
    • $198.3 million will be provided to the beneficiaries of arts and culture funding through existing programs as well as other organizations with demonstrated needs;
    • $72 million for the sport sector;
    • $53 million provided to the heritage sector through the emergency component of the Museums Assistance Program; and,
    • $3.5 million for COVID-related projects under the Digital Citizen Initiative, aimed at combatting the spread of misinformation
  • $55 million will be distributed by Canada Council for the Arts to help arts organizations that support artists.
  • $115.8 million to support the Canadian audiovisual sector, will be distributed by the Canada Media Fund ($88.8 million) and Telefilm Canada ($27 million).

Canadian Heritage says use of the remaining funds will be assessed based on need.

Two-phased approach

The emergency support fund will be initiated in two phases, with the first phase intended to help organizations experiencing significant financial impact as a result of the pandemic.

How the first recipients are identified will be based on a formula-based top-up to existing recipients of the Canada Periodical FundCanada Book FundCanada Music Fund (via FACTOR and Musicaction)Canada Arts Training FundCanada Arts Presentation Fund, Harbourfront Centre Funding Program, and Building Communities Through Arts and Heritage Program.

The Canada Council for the Arts, Telefilm and CMF will distribute funds to their recipients in the first phase, with measures in place to avoid potential duplication of funding. Some Sport Support Program and Athlete Assistance Program recipients, as well as Aboriginal Sport Circle and provincial and territorial Aboriginal Sport Bodies, will also be eligible.

The second phase will provide temporary support for eligible organizations with heritage collections through the Museums Assistance Program, and organizations that don’t receive funding from Canadian Heritage, the Canada Council for the Arts, Telefilm or CMF. That includes small broadcasters, third-language producers, local news organizations, magazines and community newspapers, live music organizations, and non-recipient arts and culture groups.

Eligible recipients will not have to apply for funding, but will be asked to attest to the need for funding to ensure continuity of operations and to safeguard jobs; remain in operation at the time of application and plan to keep doing so in the future; are not receiving funding from multiple sources, like the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) to cover the same costs, and where relevant, will use the funding to support workers, including the self-employed and freelance workers, artists, and creators.

Projected production losses of $2.5B

The Canada Media Fund estimates that between mid-March and June 30, the impact of film and television production shutdowns will result in losses of $2.5B and 177,000 jobs in the screen-based sector.

“These new funds will help companies in Canada’s film, television and interactive digital media sectors keep their doors open and keep their employees on the payroll,” said Christa Dickenson, Executive Director, Telefilm Canada, in a release. “As the administrator of the CMF’s programs and the Canada Feature Film Fund, Telefilm will continue to work effectively and efficiently to ensure that this additional support is disbursed quickly. Now more than ever, the CMF and Telefilm will work hand-in hand to deliver this much-needed relief to our clients and the creative teams and crews they employ.”


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