Artscape knows that COVID-19 is already having a pronounced financial impact on the creative sector. From cancelled performances and festivals to the shuttering and slowdown of storefronts, creatives of all disciplines are going to be facing economic hardships in 2020.

While numerous professional associations have created their own COVID-19 resource guides, Artscape’s compilation focuses on a collection of financial resources and supports to help creatives across all of our communities navigate this situation.

As a first step, start tracking your income losses now.

Granting bodies, advocacy groups and government organizations will want to know exactly how much loss the creative sector will face due to these unprecedented times and, according to the Toronto Arts Council, “any potential compensation to be released following the crisis period will require documentation of impact.”

Do you have a financial resource or support that will be particularly helpful to the arts and culture sector during COVID-19? Email communications@artscape.ca to submit. Last updated: March 20, 2020


Rent Relief and Mortgage Payment Deferrals Resources

Toronto Rent Bank

Eligible households facing eviction may access one-time interest-free loans for overdue rent. Limited funding for Emergency Rental Deposit Loans is available for low-income households requiring first and last month’s rent to move into more affordable/stable housing. Those receiving social assistance or living in a rent-geared-to-income units are not eligible for Rent Bank services. More information here and here.

Akin Collective Rent Relief Fund

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 to provide short term financial aid in unexpected situations or times of financial instability. More information here. 

Red Cross – Community Housing Support 

The Housing Support program provides one-time financial assistance to families or individuals who are living in poverty or at risk of becoming homeless. Canadian Red Cross assistance is based on urgent needs. More information here.

Housing Stability Bank – The Salvation Army (London, ON)

The Housing Stability Bank offers financial assistance to low income Londoners to obtain and retain their housing and offers financial assistance to those at risk of homelessness to remain housed. More information here.

Mortgage Payment Deferrals

Canada’s six big banks jointly announced a plan to allow mortgage payment deferrals up to 6-months to help customers struggling with the financial impacts of COVID-19. It is important to note that deferred mortgage payments are typically added back to the mortgage amount, meaning borrowers are simply postponing — not skipping — payments. Interest on outstanding balances continues to accrue.

The lender is allowing a payment deferral and your mortgage / loan will not be deemed in default. Other possible solutions include allowing borrowers to defer or temporarily reduce payments, stretching out the mortgage term or amortization period, adding missed payments back onto the mortgages and lowering the mortgage rate.

If you are seeking some relief from the financial responsibility of home ownership during this difficult time, call your lender to explore this option further.

Other resources to help you find emergency financial assistance


Food Security Resources

The Stop Community Food Centre’s Food Bank

The Stop Community Food Centre’s Food Bank provides a three-day supply of food, once per month, to individuals and families who live in our catchment area. ID with name and address is required to register. More information here. 

North York Harvest Food Bank – Multiple Locations

More information here. You can also phone the referral line at 416-635-7771 ext. 0 or email info@northyorkharvest.com to determine what food banks are still open and how to gain access

The Scott Mission  – Various Locations

The Scott Mission will be providing pre-packaged groceries and meals at various locations.  More information here.

The 519 Community Centre  – 519 Church Street 

The 519 will be providing free ready-to-go meals 7 days a week on The 519 patio in front of FABARNAK Café from Monday to Friday, 1pm and 4pm and on Saturday and Sunday at 12:30pm.  More information here.

Toronto Council Fire Native Cultural Centre – 439 Dundas Street East

The Toronto Council Fire Native Cultural Centre will be erving meals outside of the building in place of regular drop-in food programming; Call to confirm 416-360-4350. More information here.

Other resources:


Financial Relief for Utilities, Bills and Services

Toronto Hydro Financial Assistance

Apply for a $500 per year credit. More information here.

Internet Providers Waiving Fees

Telecommunication companies including Rogers, Bell and Telus will be waiving any additional usage fees for residential internet customers. TekSavvy also committed to stop charging overage fees until April 5, while Bell and Telus will be waiving overage fees until the end of April. Contact your internet provider for more information.


Financial Assistance, Grants and Emergency Funds

Modest Needs – Grant Application 

Modest Needs’ hallmark grant is the Self-Sufficiency Grant to assist individuals and families who, because they are working and live just above the poverty level, are ineligible for most types of conventional social assistance but who, all the same, are living one or two lost paycheques away from the kind of financial catastrophe that eventually leads to homelessness. More information here.

Glad Day: Emergency Survival Fund for LGBTQ2S artists, performers, tip-based workers

This emergency survival funds supports LGBTQ2S artists, performers, and tip-based workers, as well as helps keep to Glad Day Book Shop open. More information here.

Unison Benevolent Fund for the Canadian music community 

Unison Benevolent Fund is a non-profit, registered charity that provides counselling and emergency relief services to the Canadian music community. We are here to help professional music makers in times of hardship, illness or economic difficulties. More information here.

AFC – the lifeline for Canada’s entertainment industry

Through compassionate and confidential support, we help Canadian entertainment professionals maintain their health, dignity and ability to work. More information here.

Woodcock Fund Grant: Emergency funding to professional Canadian writers in mid-project 

$2000-$10000 (typical) grant for professional writers (min. of 2 books published or equivalent) who are in midst of a book-length project and is facing an unforeseen financial need. More information here.

NABS financial assistance for media, marketing, and communications pros

NABS is a unique charity specifically designed to support the health and well-being of all individuals in the media, marketing, and communications industry in Canada. They offer financial, career and personal counsellingMore information here.

COVID-19 Black Emergency Support Fund

This is an EMERGENCY FUND for Black individuals living in the GTA, who, as a result of the pandemic, have lost income and are at a loss for how to fill their revenue sources, who now have unforeseen childcare costs, folks who have to find the money for children’s food now that schools are closed, artists, freelancers, and gig  gig economy workers who have lost out on gigs, seniors and elders in our communities, disabled folks, folks who are facing daily challenges of capitalism and are living on or near the street. More information here.

The National Arts Centre and Facebook Canada Support for Canadian Performers

The National Arts Centre and Facebook Canada provide $100,000 to support Canadian Performers Impacted by COVID-19. More information here.

Resources for Artists in the COVID-19 Crisis (Largely US)

Largely American, “Resources for Artists in the COVID-19 Crisis” is a list of emergency grants, freelance resources, legal aid, and more compiled by Kickstarter. More information here.


Community Funded Mutual Aid

Canadian Low-Income Artist/Musician Relief Fund

This relief fundraiser seeks to provide support for low-income artists and musicians whose livelihoods are being effected by this pandemic. Whether it’s from cancelled gigs, lost jobs, or a lack of business due to coronavirus scares, our intention for this fund is to collectively raise money in order to provide emergency and preventative resources to those at financial risk until our government puts a solid plan in action to help. More information here.

North American Mutual Aid Fund for LGBTQI+ BIPOC Folks 

This mutual aid fund prioritizes LGBTQI+, non-binary, gender fluid, and gender non-conforming people of colour because we often have less ties to familial support networks, we have historically been simultaneously overlooked and surveilled by welfare state systems, our needs have been surplus to mainstream political formations, and we tend to work in the gig economy. More information here. 

The Dance Plug Canada – Toronto Dancers COVID-19 Relief Fund

This fund is dedicated to the freelance dance artists residing in Toronto who are dealing with tremendous financial losses due to the spread of the Coronavirus COVID-19 and the governments mandated social distancing. As most of you know, dancers in our community are not eligible to apply for Employment Insurance as the majority of them are independent contractors. These funds will be distributed in increments of $250 and will not exceed $1000More information here.


Creative Entrepreneur Supports

BDC New Relief Measures for Qualified Businesses

These new measures aim to alleviate the impact of COVID-19 on business activity and complement services offered by other financial institutions, with whom BDC will continue working. For BDC, eligible businesses needed to be financially viable entities prior to the impact of the coronavirus. More information here.

Flexibility for Businesses Filing Taxes

The Canada Revenue Agency will allow all businesses to defer, until after August 31, 2020, the payment of any income tax amounts that become owing on or after today and before September 2020.  This relief would apply to tax balances due, as well as instalments, under Part I of the Income Tax Act. No interest or penalties will accumulate on these amounts during this period.


Government Programs and Supports

Employment Insurance sickness benefits for COVID-19

Find out if you qualify for employment insurance, if you have a positive case of COVID-19 or if you are experiencing lay-offs: More information here.

Government of Canada Economic Response Plan for COVID-19

Numerous other initiatives announced by the federal government to aid Canadians during the COVID-19 pandemic are forthcoming, including deferred tax payments, Enhanced Canada Child Benefits, interest-free student loans, and more. More information here.

Government of Canada Emergency Care Benefit for self-employed people

The Government of Canada initiated a new Emergency Care Benefit of up to $900 biweekly for up to 15 weeks for self-employed people and others who are not eligible for EI sickness benefitsMore information here.

Tip: Make sure to set up your  “My Accounts” service with CRA now so that it is already active once the application process opens in April for the Emergency Benefits programs.

Canada Revenue Agency – Tax Filing Extensions

For individuals (other than trusts), the return filing due date will be deferred until June 1, 2020.  However, the CRA encourages individuals who expect to receive benefits under the GSTC or the Canada Child Benefit not to delay the filing of their return to ensure their entitlements for the 2020-21 benefit year are properly determined.

For trusts having a taxation year ending on December 31, 2019, the return filing due date will be deferred until May 1, 2020.

Canada Student Loan – 6 month interest-free moratorium

The Government of Canada is instituting a six-month interest-free moratorium on the repayment of Canada Student Loans for all individuals currently in the process of repaying these loans. More information here.


City of Toronto Programs

Toronto Employment & Social Services

Employment & Social Services provides financial benefits through Ontario Works, employment supports and social supports to people living in Toronto. More information here.

City of Toronto Economic Support & Recovery

The focus of the Task Force will be on quickly determining what current supports and stimulus work needs to be done. The City will work with industry partners to identify actions to support businesses, workers, and residents in responding to the economic impact of COVID-19. This Task Force will enable the City to better respond to the evolving challenges with its partners in government, business and non-profits. More information including immediate actions here.

City of Toronto – Utility Bill 30-Day Extension

Residents of the City of Toronto will automatically receive a 30-day extension on their utility bill to help during COVID-19. More information here.

City of Toronto – Property Tax 30-Day Extensions

Even with the 30-day extensions, the City of Toronto is still offering the early payment discount for property tax bills. More information here.


Granting Bodies Information

Canada Council for the Arts

COVID-19 information for CCA grant recipients and the community.

Ontario Arts Council

Information about COVID-19 for OAC grant recipients and the community.

Toronto Arts Council

COVID-19 Updates for TAC grant recipients and the community.


COVID-19 information for the Arts and Culture Sector

Professional Association COVID-19 guides


Stress Management Resources

Finances are just one stress in this period of isolation and quarantine. The COVID-19 is causing high levels of stress and anxiety.

Take care of your mental health, and practice self- and community care in the months to come. Check in on your creative community, who may be feeling lonely or struggling behind closed doors.

We’ve compiled a few resources to help you manage the stress of COVID-10:

Friendly check-ins by phone or email by The 519

As access to community spaces is limited right now, The 519 is offering our communities a friendly phone or email check-in by The 519 staff once a week during Monday to Friday. This service is to check-in on how you are doing, and offer information and updates; it is not personal counselling but a way to combat social isolation. Register using the following online form.

Bounce Back Online: A Self Directed Course (Canadian Mental Health Association)

The Bounce Back Online, a self-directed course from the Canadian Mental Health Association to help people manage low mood, stress, and anxiety. The online version is available for free, no referral neededMore information here.

Work Responsibly

A collection of resources for a healthy and balanced approach to work, covering sleep, anxiety, stress and focus. More information here.

Other helpful stress management resources: