Grant Funding for Creatives in Canada (Music, Film & Other)

*this article is for Canadian Creatives

Grant Funding in Canada

There are more challenges than ever today when it comes to obtaining funding for your creative project, be it a literary, visual, or musical one. To get that project off the ground, you’ll need to be creative with your funding sources. Traditional ways to make money have suffered since COVID-19. Live music events, physical sales, and streaming have all dovetailed, with total consumer spending more than 45% lower compared to pre-pandemic levels. There is a growing need for funding for authors, musicians, and other artists.

Enter grants. Grants in Canada are a great way to get the support you need to advance your music career through the creation, recording, and promotion of your music. There are several grant programs available for Canadian musicians that provide financial assistance for music projects. The multitude of grants available for music, literature, and the visual arts is vast. In music, a number of grants focus on emerging musicians. However, there are also grant programs that aim to support bands that are already established as well as help record labels expand their artist rosters.

The process of applying is detailed, and there is a lot of work in the backend to successfully get funding. The administration of grants is, at times, overwhelming. Presentation and form, following the process, and meeting deadlines can often mean getting funding or not. A professional funding application can simply be submitted at the wrong time. Competition is fierce, as it should be.

Deadlines have to be met and all the required documents submitted. Funding comes several months after applying and being awarded funds, so planning ahead is crucial. A lot of time is required to complete the application. Because of the planning aspect, even if you do not receive your first grant, the application process can help you focus and plan your career. Sometimes, you gain feedback from the organization on why your application was denied. This prepares you for future applications.

The truth is, there is both knowledge and a time gap that preclude a successful grant application. We are preparing now for 2024 grants. If you wish to seek serious consideration for grant funding, you should be preparing your 2024 applications well ahead. 

If you have an upcoming music, literary, or film project you wish assistance with in applying for funding, reach out via email at or via WhatsApp at @thebuzzr. Or, DM on social media.

Below is a list of grants categorized by the level of government (or private) funding. Review the links that make sense to you at your current stage of development. Simply put, perhaps it isn’t something you don’t want to add to your list of tasks to do or avoid administrative work. You want to focus on your music or art. Or, you have a full-time job and simply don’t have time to apply for a grant, keep your music going, or have the life balance we all seek.

Exploring Canadian Independent Film Funding Opportunities

Independent films can be a powerful way to tell stories, but they require significant funding. In Canada, there are many sources of independent film funding available, allowing filmmakers to bring their projects to life. This blog post will explore the different types of Canadian independent film funding available and how to access them.

Government Funding for Canadian Independent Films

The Canadian government provides a variety of funding opportunities for independent filmmakers. The Canada Media Fund (CMF) is a public-private partnership that provides financing for independent film and television projects. The CMF offers several programs, including the Canada Feature Film Fund, which provides funding for feature films with a budget of at least $1 million. The CMF also offers the Canada New Media Fund, which provides funding for digital media projects, and the Canada Television Fund, which provides financing for television projects.

Private Funding for Canadian Independent Films

In addition to government funding, independent filmmakers can also access private funding. Private funding can come from a variety of sources, including corporate sponsorships, private investors, and crowdfunding platforms. Private funding can be more difficult to secure than government funding, but it can be a great way to get the resources needed to bring a project to life.

Applying for Canadian Independent Film Funding

Applying for Canadian independent film funding can be a complex process. It is important to research the different types of funding available and determine which is the best fit for your project. Applying for funding also requires a great deal of paperwork, including detailed budgets, scripts, and business plans. It is also important to make sure that the application is filled out correctly and submitted on time. By doing your research and preparing a strong application, filmmakers can increase their chances of securing the funding they need to bring their projects to life.

This is a comprehensive list of grants available in Ontario and Canada for film. Each program has its own eligibility criteria, deadlines, and application process. Some 2023 deadlines have passed, yet I thought it best to include them for future consideration. Each grant process is different, with various eligibility categories and application processes.

Canada Council for the Arts

Explore and Create

Supports research, development, creation, and production.

Ontario Arts Council

Ontario Creates
CYCLE 1: March 16, 2023, 5:00 PM ET
CYCLE 2: July 13, 2023, 5:00 PM ET
CYCLE 3: November 16, 2023, 5:00 PM ET

Funding for documentary films at all budget levels is capped at $150,000. The Film Fund will continue to be a last-in participant in production financing. In order to be considered by the jury, 70% of production financing must be in place at the time of application. To calculate the 70%, you may exclude your Ontario Creates request and any financing under review from other recognized industry funding programs. All financing must be confirmed within four months of the application deadline and in advance of Ontario Creates’ conditional letter of commitment.
NOTE: Full eligibility requirements, including the diversity enhancement, can be found in Ontario Creates Film Fund Production Guidelines. Please read the guidelines completely before beginning your application. 

Bell Fund
Short-Form Digital Series Program
First Deadline: April 3, 2023 (7pm EST)
Second Deadline: September 26, 2023 (7pm EST)

Bell Media & Harold Greenburg Fund

The Norman Jewison Film Program
(This is a scholarship for education, not grants.)
The Norman Jewison Film Program is a full-time, 5 ½ month professional accelerated film program for emerging to mid-level Canadian filmmakers.

Canada Media Fund
(organizations only)

CBC Absolutely Canadian Fund
(documentaries, other requirements)

Cogeco Production Fund
(organizations only)

The Daryl Duke Prize
The Prize is in the total amount of $25,000, to be awarded in two stages, as stipulated in the Rules, for excellence in a screenplay for an unproduced long-form dramatic film telling a fictional story.

Emerging Digital Artists Award (EDAA) (Equitable Bank)
Canada’s first digital art award is designed to foster experimentation in the work of emerging artists and create opportunities for those working in digital media.

Hotdocs Ted Rogers Fund, CrossCurrents Doc Fund
(Feature, Short – BIPOC only)

National Film Board

The Filmmaker Assistance Program (FAP) is designed to help independent filmmakers complete their films and videos by providing technical services and support.

Rogers Group of Funds

Telefilm Canada Micro Budget Production Program (and other categories)

Telus Fund
(organizations only)
Funding is available for fully developed, production-ready proposals to create, launch, promote, and drive reach and engagement leading up to and during the first year of the launch.


Two projects that push funding for short films, in addition to other projects, are Kickstarter and Indiegogo.

Kickstarter has an all-or-nothing funding model, while Indiegogo is more flexible. Kickstarter tends to attract creative projects, while Indiegogo attracts niche projects, particularly in tech. Indiegogo has many bad ratings and reviews
Here are some of the shorts being pushed right now, as an example. Kickstarter films being pushed right now. Reviews for Kickstarter

Creative Disciplines Funding Opportunities (music, Literature, and Art)

National, Private & Other Grants

Provincial Grants (cont.)

Canada Council for the Arts

Explore and Create

Music is among the disciplines eligible for this grant, which supports research, development, creation, and production.

Arts Across Canada

Its purpose is to foster artistic relationships across Canada and help artists showcase their work through touring.

Arts Abroad

Grants under the Arts Abroad program are intended to help bring Canadian arts and culture to international audiences. They provide funding and opportunities for artists to travel and share their work.

Canada Music Fund

Through the Canada Music Fund (CMF), Canadian music artists can connect with audiences worldwide. The CMF has two components: Individual Initiatives, and Collective Initiatives. For the Anglophone market, these components are delivered by the Foundation Assisting Canadian Talent on Recordings (FACTOR), and for the Francophone market, by the Fondation Musicaction (Musicaction).


Providing funding and opportunities for Canadian musicians to produce and promote sound recordings.


Canadian publishing companies, sound recording companies, and national service organizations in the music industry benefit from this grant.


Artist Development

A small subsidy is available for artist development, including recording, touring, video production, and marketing.

Comprehensive Artist

Awarded funds can be used for marketing, recording, or touring by Canadian musicians working on a full-length album.

Comprehensive Music Company

Record labels and other music companies can use this funding program to record, produce, and market full-length albums for artists.

Juried Sound Recording

An industry panel of judges awards this grant to help musicians record and promote full-length albums.

Live Performance

An international and Canadian touring grant designed to support musicians.

Non-FACTOR Funded Sound Recording

The purpose of this grant is to promote and market commercially recorded music that has not previously been funded by FACTOR.

Eligible Music Companies

Supports marketing, promotion, and travel for music companies.


Music video grants for Canadian musicians.

Radio Starmaker Fund

In this private fund, more established artists who have a proven sales track record can receive aid in marketing and touring initiatives, both in Canada and abroad.

SOCAN Foundation (members of SOCAN only)

Musicians and music industry professionals are eligible for the Travel Assistance Program, which is designed to help them tour, showcase their work, attend award ceremonies, and arrange other travel-related activities related to the business of music.

Professional Development Assistance Program: A music career development grant that provides funds for workshops, seminars, and conferences.

Work Commissioning Assistance Grant: This grant provides assistance to Canadian musicians in creating new music.

Provincial Grants

Alberta Music Grants

Alberta Foundation for the Arts (AFA)

Cultural Relations Individual Project Funding:  A grant that financially supports artists who are invited to represent Alberta or Canada. 

Music Individual Project Funding: A grant that provides funding for specific music projects.

Queen’s Golden Jubilee Scholarship for Performing Arts: Funding awarded to a young Albertan performing artist. 

Travel Grant for Individuals and Ensembles: A grant offering funding for groups and ensembles who perform original work outside of Alberta.

British Columbia music grants

British Columbia Arts Council (BCAC) 

Project Assistance – Touring Initiatives: Grant funding for artists based in British Columbia to support touring outside the province. 

Professional Development Project Assistance: This grant funds artists based in British Columbia who engage in special training and education to further their careers. 

Professional Project Assistance – Performing Arts: A grant supporting initiatives for the development, creation, production and/or live performance of classical, experimental, original, traditional, and contemporary music.  

Music BC

Artist Travel Grants: Funding for musicians based in British Columbia who travel to showcase or perform their original music. 

Let’s Hear It Live Micro Grants: Grant funding awarded to BC-based artists who present unique live music experiences throughout British Columbia.

Showcasing Series: Domestic and international performance opportunities and funding awarded to musicians based in British Columbia. 

Manitoba music grants

Manitoba Film & Music

Music Recording Production Fund: Grant money designed to support commercially and culturally relevant music made in the Manitoban music recording industry. 

Music Recording Production Fund For Out-Of-Province Artists: A grant designed to encourage those not from Manitoba to travel there for music industry purposes.

Record Product Marketing Fund: Funds designed to market and promote a completed music recording project.

Recording Artist Touring Support Program: This grant helps Manitoban artists with performing outside of their hometown, both across Canada and internationally. 

Music and Viral Video Fund: A grant designed to help Manitoban artists create engaging and viral video content. 

Manitoba Arts Council

Create: Grant to help emerging and established artists create new work or develop works in progress.

Share: Grant funding is geared towards helping Manitoban artists with touring.

New Brunswick music grants

Music NB 

Emerging Artist: Funding is designed to help emerging artists from New Brunswick further their careers.

Live Performance: A grant that funds NB-based artists who tour domestically and internationally. 

Marketing & Promotion: Grant funding to help NB-based artists and music industry professionals promote their projects. 

Professional Development & Business Travel: Money to help artists and music industry professionals based in New Brunswick attend conferences, showcases, and other music industry events. 

Showcase: Provides funding for showcase opportunities for NB-based artists.

Sound Recording: Grant money designated for recording projects based in New Brunswick. 

New Brunswick Arts Board

Career Development: Funding and opportunities aimed at developing artistic talent in New Brunswick.

Creation: Grant funding awarded to NB-based artists to conduct work or research on an original creative project.

Arts Infrastructure Grants for Emerging Artists: Funding aimed at helping NB creatives purchase equipment for their creative work.

Newfoundland and Labrador music grants


Professional Project Grants Program: Grant funding available to help artists and creative groups work, travel, collaborate, and perform.

Professional Artists’ Travel Fund: This grant funds the travel of artists to perform and showcase their work. 


Professional Development: Grant funding designed to help musicians develop their careers and perform outside of the province.

Artist Development: This grant helps to fund everything from demos to full-length albums, as well as marketing and promotion materials. 

Market Access: A grant designed to help NL artists tour nationally and internationally. 

Nova Scotia music grants

Music Nova Scotia

Artist Development: Grant to help NS-based artists tour, record, market, and showcase their work for one year. 

Ontario music grants

Ontario Arts Council

Music Creation Projects: Money to assist Ontario-based artists at all career stages, working in all music genres and styles, to create original musical works.

Music Production and Presentation Projects: This grant funds Ontario-based artists, groups, and collectives who present original music. 

Ontario Creates

OMF – Music Futures: Funds aimed at developing and supporting musicians in Ontario. 

Toronto Arts Council

Music Annual Operating: A grant that supports musicians and organizations that contribute to Toronto’s culture. 

Music Multi-Year Operating: A grant with funding that spans multiple years that supports musicians and organizations that contribute to Toronto’s culture.

Music Creation and Audio Recording: A grant providing financial assistance to artists for the writing and production of original music. 

Region of Waterloo Arts Fund

An overarching grant aimed at developing artists who live and work in the Waterloo region.

Prince Edward Island music grants

Music PEI

Golden Ticket Program: A grant designed to help develop musicians and groups living and working in Prince Edward Island. 

Taking Care of Business Program: A grant program aimed at helping PEI musicians with the business aspects of their careers.

Quebec music grants

Conseil des arts de Montréal 

Touring: Provides support to Quebec-based artists who showcase their work through touring.

Prizes: Offers support and recognition designed to celebrate outstanding artists from Quebec. 

Initiatives For Emerging Artists: Funding support to help develop new Quebec-based talent. 

Studio Rental: Subsidized community-based studio rentals for artists. 

Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec (CALQ)

Commissioned works and residencies: Funding designed to help artists create, release, and showcase their work.

Professional Development: A grant aimed at helping to further develop artistic professional careers through training, seminars, and conferences. 

Travel: This grant helps fund artists who tour to showcase their work. 

Musicaction (Francophone artists only)

Production d’un album: Provides financial assistance to create an album.

Production et promotion de titres: A grant providing funding for artists to record and promote up to four tracks. 

Soutien à l’émergence: This program helps emerging musicians to develop their career in the music industry.

Commercialisation nationale: Grant funding aimed at helping musicians from Quebec market their work across Canada. 

Commercialisation internationale: This grant helps Quebec-based artists market their music internationally. 

Saskatchewan music grants

Creative Saskatchewan

Sound Recording Grant: Funding for sound recordings by Saskatchewan-based artists, including demos, singles, EPs, and full-length albums.

Tour Support Grant: Aimed at helping artists and bands ready to perform for new audiences nationally and internationally. 

Market Travel Grant: Funding to help musicians with travel costs associated with showcase and festival opportunities. 

Saskatchewan Arts Board

Micro Grants: Small grants aimed at helping artists with emergent needs. 

Independent Artists Program: Grant funding available to help artists pursue their creative work.

Yukon music grants

Yukon Media Development

Yukon Sound Recording Program: A program aimed at providing support and funding to Yukon-based musicians, recording studios, and music companies. 

Yukon Department of Tourism and Culture

Touring Artist Fund: A grant that supports Yukon-based musicians with concert, festival, and showcase opportunities. 

Yukon Government

Touring: Grant money aimed at helping Yukon-based artists tour outside Yukon. 

Record a professional demo: Grant money to help artists record a professional demo.

Record a full-length album: Grant money to help Yukon-based artists record full-length albums. 

About the Author
Shay is a media professional and creative A&R management consultant. Shay owns and operates and other companies. The companies support independent artists of all genres from around the globe. Shay is dynamic and creative, hosts a syndicated radio show, and is a professional writer.