City of Toronto Support for Musicians and Artists in Response to COVID-19

As the Chair of the Toronto Music Advisory Committee, I have been working with our City of Toronto Music Office to ensure that we are supporting our artists and live music venues in dealing with the profound economic impacts of COVID-19. 

Last week we shared that the Toronto Arts Council and the Toronto Arts Foundation have established a new TOArtist COVID Response Fund for grants up to $1,000. The Fund will allocate up to $1000 to self-employed, individual artists resident in Toronto whose creative work and income have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. We recognize the adverse impacts that the cancellation of performances and productions, the closure of venues, and the loss of teaching opportunities have on the freelance workers that make up the majority of professional artists in Toronto. To read more about eligibility criteria, and to apply, please visit

Earlier this week, on the advice of Toronto's Medical Officer of Health, the City announced the cancellation of all City-led mass participation events, festivals, conferences and cultural programs, and all City permits for mass participation events through June 30.

Physical distancing is of critical importance in slowing the spread of COVID-19, and the City urges event organizers to follow the Toronto Medical Officer of Health’s recommendations when reviewing their event plans for the upcoming months.

The end date for the cancellation period will be reviewed every two weeks, and may be extended beyond June 30 in consultation with our Medical Officer of Health. The City will not be in a position to issue new permits until there is further direction on mass gatherings.

We understand the challenges that this news brings for many of our city's beloved music events, such as NXNE which has been rescheduled to August. We are committed to working with event organizers to mitigate the impacts of these cancellations and to determine potential future dates once this public health crisis is contained and economic recovery efforts are underway.

To contact the 
City of Toronto Music Office, click here.

Other resources:

Government of Canada Benefits 

  • Emergency Support Benefit to provide support to workers who are not eligible for EI and who are facing unemployment. Accessible through Canada Revenue Agency's website.
  • Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB). This taxable benefit will provide $2,000 a month for up to four months for workers who lose their income as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The CERB applies to wage earners, as well as contract workers and self-employed individuals who would not otherwise be eligible for Employment Insurance (EI).

Live Streaming Grants and Events 

  • #CanadaPerforms: Opportunity for performing artists from any discipline to apply for $1000 grants for live streamed performances, through the NAC and Facebook Canada.
  • The Social Distancing Festival: A place to celebrate the work of artists who have had events cancelled due to social distancing measures