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June 28, 2017

Many of you have heard the news shared by Ontario’s Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport, Eleanor McMahon, signaling increased funding to the Ontario Arts Council’s $60 million dollar annual budget. I’m very pleased to report that OAC will receive a $5 million increase in 2017-18. Here are the details on how organizations that receive OAC operating grants will benefit from these new funds.

Step 1: An across-the-board increase

The OAC will provide a 3.5 per cent across-the-board increase to all organizations that were assessed at C or higher in their 2016-17 OAC operating grant assessment.

Step 2: Working towards a funding minimum

Over the past few months, we have been examining the mix of public, private and earned revenues for organizations that receive OAC operating funding, and moving towards an appropriate level of OAC support as a percentage of overall revenues within the constraints of available funding.

At present, some organizations receive an OAC operating grant that represents as little as 0.5 per cent of total revenues. Others, for a variety of reasons, receive operating grants that represent a higher percentage of total revenues. As a result of OAC’s funding increase, highly-assessed organizations (assessed at B or higher in 2016-17) whose grants represent less than 4.5 per cent of revenues, will receive an additional increase to bring their base funding up to 4.5 per cent of revenues, subject to a cap of $40,000. This will be based on organizations’ 2016-17 grants (including the 3.5 per cent across-the-board increase) as a percentage of 2014-15 revenues – which is the most recent year for which OAC has financial actuals for all funded organizations.

Step 3: Larger assessment-based increases

In 2017-18, highly-assessed organizations which are in Year 1 of multi-year funding or apply to the Annual funding stream will be eligible for a larger increase to their operating grants of up to:
  • 5 per cent for organizations assessed at B
  • 10 per cent for organizations assessed at B+
  • 15 per cent for organizations assessed at A

Increased budgets for some OAC Project programs

In addition to the above increases to OAC operating grants, several OAC project programs that have a high number of applicants and a particularly low percentage of funded applicants will have their budgets increased by 10 to 15 per cent. We are also increasing the budget for OAC’s Touring Projects program by 20 per cent.

In making these decisions we have been guided by OAC’s strategic plan, Vital Arts and Public Value, and have done our best to balance a wide range of pressures, while addressing some of the most pressing needs.

I hope you will agree that this is very welcome news indeed, and we are grateful to the government of Ontario for its increased investment in the Ontario Arts Council.

If you have any questions, please let us know.


Peter Caldwell
Director & CEO

For more than 50 years, the Ontario Arts Council has played a vital role in promoting and assisting the development of the arts for the enjoyment and benefit of Ontarians. In 2016-17, OAC funded 1,657 individual artists and 1,098 organizations in 212 communities across Ontario for a total of $50.8 million.


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Toronto, ON M4W 3M5

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The Ontario Arts Council is an agency of the Government of Ontario.