Heritage minister unveils COVID-19 events fund for arts and cultural sector

By David Friend, The Canadian Press

TORONTO, S.D. — The Heritage department is committing $40 million to a “COVID-safe events fund” designed to encourage arts and culture plans to move forward in the pandemic.

Heritage Minister Steven Guilbeault’s office says the fund will “help absorb the risk” of holding in-person or virtual events at such an unpredictable time when local health guidelines can change with little notice, forcing postponements or cancellations.

The new fund was outlined as part of $181.5 million in support for the arts and culture sector first mentioned in the Liberal government’s fall economic statement.

The Heritage department says financial support tops out at $100,000 per eligible applicant and can cover up to 100 per cent of a project’s costs. 

At least 50 per cent of the project’s budget must be dedicated to paying artists, art workers and support staff.

Other support measures unveiled include $116.5 million going towards the Canada Council for the Arts, with $50.5 million dedicated to a one-time digital innovation program for virtual works.

The Department of Canadian Heritage will receive $65 million, with the majority for promoting short-term contracting of workers for live arts and music events.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 2, 2021.

David Friend, The Canadian Press

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