May 8, 2020

Update: $53 million in emergency funding for museums and heritage organizations

In mid-April the government announced that $500 million in emergency funding would be provided to culture, heritage and sports. Today, the federal government announced further details on how the $500 million will be distributed across these sectors. We have learned that it will be distributed in two phases and that, in the second phase, $53 million will be provided to museums and heritage organizations through the Museums Assistance Program (MAP).

We encourage all members to read the full backgrounder, as well as the FAQ related to this announcement.


  • The breakdown of the funding is as follows: 

    • Up to $326.8 million to be administered by Canadian Heritage and divided among select departmental programs and Portfolio agencies as well as key delivery organizations. Specifically:  
      • $198.3 million will be provided to the beneficiaries of arts and culture funding via existing programs as well as other organizations with demonstrated needs; 

      • $72 million will be provided to the sport sector; 

      • $53 million will be provided to the heritage sector via the emergency component of the Museums Assistance Program; and, 

    • $55 million to be distributed by the Canada Council for the Arts; 

    • $3.5 million will be provided for COVID-related projects under the Digital Citizen Initiative. 

    • $115.8 million to support the Canadian audiovisual sector, to be distributed by the Canada Media Fund ($88.8 million) and Telefilm Canada ($27 million). 

  • Grants ranging from $5,000 up to a maximum of $100,000 may be awarded to eligible heritage organisations, and amounts will be calculated based on a sliding scale formula in relation to 2019 expenses . 

  • Eligibility criteria for emergency funding through MAP will differ from those of the regular MAP. For example, museums do not need to have the equivalent of one full-time paid professional staff in order to access the emergency funding program. 

  • Phase 2 , which is the one in support of museums and heritage organizations, is expected to commence only in the coming weeks . Phase 1 meanwhile will be implemented earlier  

  • The CMA has expressed concern about th is delay in getting funding directly to museums. The government has advised that Phase 1, which applies to other industries including the arts, is easier to enact more quickly as it uses an existing client relationship . Phase 2 requires additional work to ensure it is accessible well beyond the organizations that currently rec eiving funding for MAP projects, in an effort to be more inclusive , and to ensure the application and payment process is streamlined . That being said, museums will need to make a submission via an online application process and applications will need to be assessed before museums receive the funding.   

  • We understand this funding will not apply to the national museums.   

  • We are told that heritage organisations that are provincial or territorial Crown corporations will not be eligible, but cultural institutions associated with educational institutions or universities will be eligible. Entities whose level of annual expenses in 2019 exceeded $3 million would not be eligible. 

  • T he f und is designed to com plement the other federal government measures in response to COVID-19 , including the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB), the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) .   

  • The Prime Minister also just announced that the wage subsidy program will be extended beyond June. O rganisations that did not qualify for the CEWS may now be able to access the program as we enter the peak season for visitors. You can apply to the CEWS here . 

We will continue to seek information about the support to museums and emphasize the urgent need for funding. We will keep you posted on developments.  

Meanwhile, we would also encourage you to share your feedback on these developments with us via email: .