Financial Supports for Canadian Musicians during Covid-19

WELSTech PodcastFollow Submitted by Naomi Green

“As governments across Canada and the world increasingly shift their focus to recovery, this data from Abacus underscores the precarious position of the live music ecosystem — an ecosystem upon which artists rely for a significant, and in some cases predominate portion of their livelihood,” said Graham Henderson, President and CEO of Music Canada, a non-profit trade organization representing major record companies in Canada.

The music industry is being hit hard during the pandemic. As musicians rely on live performances for a great deal of their income, isolation and social distancing makes it very difficult to stay afloat at times.

Read more about the financial impacts on musicians here.

There are several avenues for financial aid for musicians during the pandemic. Below is an incomplete list of financial aid for Canadian musicians.

Covid-19 Financial Aid


The Canada Emergency Response Benefit is a great place to start. This benefit provides financial support to those directly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. This benefit requires people who have stopped working because of COVID, and not voluntarily; who have had an income of at least $5,000 in 2019 or in the past 12 months.

Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance

For those who own or rent a business space, this is a program that reduces rent by at least 75% between April and June.


This is the benefit countless students are using throughout Canada. The Canada Emergency Student Benefit provides financial support to post-secondary students and recent post-secondary and high school graduates who are unable to find work due to COVID-19.

National Musician Financial Aid

Canada Music Fund

The Canada Music Fund ensures the diversity, quality, and support of Canadian Music Artists. Those that are eligible include are Canadian artists / artists-entrepreneurs and Canadian music industry professionals.


The Foundation Assisting Canadian Talent on Recordings is a public/private partnership supporting music recording and production in Canada. There are many options for all aspects of the music industry including general artists, music producers, recording engineers, and so much more.

Scholarships, Grants, Bursaries

With the new university semester coming up in a few short months, don’t forget the ways that broke college students got money before the pandemic. These scholarships are meant for post-secondary students pursuing an education or a career in the music industry.

Learn more through your current university or at Canadian Universities, Scholarship Canada.

MusicFest Awards & Scholarships

MusicFest is an educational music festival originally established as the Canadian Stage Band Festival in Toronto. With their partners, MusicFest Canada has developed this program to assist Canada’s young and emerging musicians to achieve their goals. They offer up to $100,000 in individual scholarships.

Canada Council for the Arts

Canada Council for the Arts aims to support the arts throughout Canada including facilitating artistic relationships and networking, showcasing Canadian arts and cultures to a national and international audience.

These grants include Explore and Create, Arts Abroad, Arts Across Canada.

Canada Music Fund

Canada Music Fund emphasizes the diversity and individuality of Canadian arts to showcase them throughout the nation. Their grants include awarding funding to not only produce and promote recordings but to provide financial assistance to Canadian publishing firms, sound recording companies, and music industry national service organizations. 

Radio Starmaker Fund

Although not a fund sent out by the national government, This private fund supports marketing and touring initiatives for Canadian artists within Canada and globally. Typically, this is designed to assist more established artists with proven sales track records.

Provincial Canadian Music Grants


Alberta Foundation for the Arts (AFA)

Within the support of the AFA, the funding focuses on the arts within and highlighting Alberta. There are several funding opportunities including the Cultural Relations Individual Project Funding, Music Individual Project Funding, Queen’s Golden Jubilee Scholarship for Performing Arts, and Travel Grant for Individuals and Ensembles.

British Columbia

British Columbia Arts Council (BCAC) 

Focusing on the province of British Columbia, The BCAC focuses on bringing attention and engagement to the music industry along Canada’s west coast. They provide assistance for individual projects, professional development and professional projects.

Music BC

Music BC brings forward support for BC-based artists who showcase music throughout British Columbia, Canada and internationally. Grants available include Artist Travel Grants, Let’s Hear It Live Micro Grants, and Showcasing Series.


Manitoba Film & Music

The Manitoba Film & Sound Recording Development Corporation, otherwise known as Manitoba Film & Music, is a statutory corporation funded by Manitoba’s Department of Sport, Culture and Heritage.

Their purpose is to support Manitoba’s film and music industries through their objectives, which are to create, stimulate, employ and invest in Manitoba.

Manitoba Arts Council

Established in 1965, the Manitoba Arts Council is a collaboration of artists, organizations, and communities working together to create a vibrant innovative and inclusive Manitoba. They do this by promoting the study, enjoyment, production and performance of the arts.

This council aims to assist artists in creating or developing works as well as helping Manitoba artists to tour.

New Brunswick

Music NB 

Music Musique NB (MNB) is the provincial music industry association aiming to support the province’s music industry and community. Their primary mission is to serve the interests of their members and to support the New Brunswick music industry.

The MNB elevates, promotes and represents New Brunswick’s music community through development, promotion and celebration. MNB provides networks of supports for those in the music industry for musicians, managers, and businesses that are involved in the creation of music within the province of New Brunswick.

New Brunswick Arts Board

The New Brunswick Arts Board is an arts and culture funding agency dedicated to facilitate and promote the industry of art as well as administering funding programs for professional artists in the province.

The art board assists in Career Development such as Funding and opportunities aimed at developing artistic talent. As well as grant funding awarded to NB-based artists to conduct work or research on an original creative project and funding aimed at helping NB creatives purchase equipment for their creative work.

Newfoundland and Labrador music grants


ArtsNL is a non-profit agency created in 1980 by The Arts Council Act to foster and promote the creation and enjoyment of the arts for the benefit of all the province. Newfoundlanders and Labradorians are at the heart of this organization. The Council is governed and supported by a volunteer board of those within and impacted by the arts community.

Annually, ArtsNL receives funding from the Province to support the organization and its variety of programs. It also seeks support from the public and private sectors. It supports a range of artistic genres including dance, film, multi-discipline, music, theatre, visual art, and writing.


MusicNL addresses key concerns within the Newfoundland & Labrador music industry in order to support positive change and innovation by presenting a strong voice to government, business and the community.

Professional Development, Artist Development, and Market Access are the three major grant streams provided by Music Nl. These supports are intended for the local music industry with the result of invigorating music in Newfound land and labrador.

Nova Scotia music grants

Music Nova Scotia

Music Nova Scotia is dedicated to addressing key issues and support gaps affecting the Nova Scotia music industry in order to implement positive change by supporting the various aspects of the province’s music industry.

Music Nova Scotia supports Artist Development with a Grant to help NS-based artists tour, record, market, and showcase their work for one year. The aim of this support is to create and encourage opportunities that will stimulate the growth of the music industry.

Ontario Music Grants

Ontario Arts Council

This arts council is a collective working together to increase awareness locally, nationally and internationally of Ontario produced music as an art form and as a viable industry with a significant impact on the economy.

The financial supports provided by the Ontario Arts Council include Music Creation Projects: Money to assist Ontario-based artists at all career stages, working in all music genres/styles, to create original musical works. The second grant funding available is the Music Production and Presentation Projects: This grant funds Ontario-based artists, groups, and collectives who present original music. 

Ontario Creates

Ontario Creates is an agency of the Ministry of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries. Their aim is to act as a source for information, research and technological development in the cultural media industry provincially, nationally and internationally.

To help Ontario be recognized as a leading global jurisdiction to invest in, create, produce and enjoy original cultural media products. There is funding available through OMF – Music Futures which is Funds aimed at developing and supporting musicians in Ontario. 

Toronto Arts Council

Toronto Arts Council promotes, enhances and leverages investment, jobs, and original content creation within the music industry throughout the province. This encourages creativity and growth within the music industry.

Grants include Music Annual Operating, Music Multi-Year Operating, and Music Creation and Audio Recording.

Region of Waterloo Arts Fund

An overarching music grant aimed at artists within the Waterloo region. This fund contributes to the continued expansion of a business environment in Waterloo hat is advantageous to the growth of the music industry and to the growth of new employment, investment and production opportunities.

Prince Edward Island music grants

Music PEI

Prince Edward Island is a beautiful source of music. Music PEI was founded in 2001 as a non-profit member services organization devoted to advancing careers of musicians on the island.

Music PEI actively promotes, fosters and develops musicians and the music industry on PEI. As well, this Association acts as an advocate for the Island music industry at a national level.

Quebec Music Grants

Conseil des arts de Montréal 

This art council within Montreal is committed to facilitating and supporting innovation, invention and excellence in Quebec’s music industry by stimulating creative production, format innovation and new models of collaboration.

Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec (CALQ)

Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec (CALQ) supports\ creation, experimentation, production and dissemination within Quebec. These include the artistic genres of visual arts, arts and crafts, literature, performing arts, multidisciplinary arts, cinema and video, digital arts and architectural research.


For Francophone artists only, Musication provides supports for emphasizing our two official languages within Canada. Musication aims to broaden the influence of artists, writers, arts organizations and their works in Québec, Canada and internationally.

Funding supports include Production d’un album, Production et promotion de titres, Soutien à l’émergence,Commercialisation nationale, and Commercialisation internationale.

Saskatchewan Music Grants

Creative Saskatchewan

SK Arts provides funding and support to the arts for the benefit of all people in Saskatchewan with funding primarily for provincial musicians. This organization provides grants, support programs, and information services to individuals and groups who impact the arts in Saskatchewan.

Saskatchewan Arts Board

The Saskatchewan Arts Board was established in 1948. It is now operating as SK Arts, the oldest public arts funder in North America. Governed by The Arts Board Act, 1997, we provide grants, programs, and services to ensure that opportunities exist for Saskatchewan residents to experience all art forms.

Yukon Music Grants

Yukon Media Development

Launched in 2001 but renamed in the fall of 2016, this organization is dedicated to supporting the music industry within the Yukon. To support a sustainable and competitive media industry, there are several funds and incentives provided to engage and benefit the media industry within the Yukon.

Yukon Sound Recording Program is the primary funding available. This is A program aimed at providing funding to Yukon-based musicians, recording studios, and music companies. 


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Let me introduce myself. I'm Dylanna fisher, a writer, creator, and visionary. Currently, I'm a journalism student at Grant MacEwan University based in Edmonton, Alberta. I've recently graduated with a journalism major while growing a freelancing writing company on the side, Dylanna Fisher Communications. Ever since I can remember, I've always been fascinated with sharing ideas with people. And that's exactly what I want to do. Check out my work on Switchingstyles.ca and on dylannafisher.com.

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