Advocacy

The Ontario Museum Association works with its members to ensure a relevant and sustainable museum sector for the benefit of Ontario residents and our global community. For any advocacy-related questions, please reach out to OMA Executive Director Sandy Chan at [email protected].  

An advocacy-focused newsletter is sent to members on the 2nd Thursday of each month. 

Advocacy Directory

 

Advocacy Resources 

Funding Opportunities 

COVID-19 and Ontario Museums 

Current Advocacy Initiatives 

International Museum Day and May is Musum Month

OMA Recomendations to Ontario's Budget 2023

Bill 23 Heritage Act changes - OMA's submission

On Museum Eligibility for Community Building Fund Capital Stream

OMA Submission for Federal Budget 2022

A Call to Invest Fully in Ontario Museums

Exhibiting Resilience: Empowering Ontario’s community museums for strategic recovery

OMA Responds to MHSTCI White Paper

Advocacy Resources

The documents below have been developed by the OMA to assist Ontario museums in communicating their impacts. For any further assistance, please do not hesitate to contact the OMA. 

An image of the document "Museums and Rural Communities"

An image of the document "Ontario's Museums and Action Plan"

An image of the document "Museums and Your Municipality"

An image of the document "Ontario Museums Vital Tourism Assets"

 

 


 

 

 

 

Funding Opportunities 

OMA members can refer to the full list of the regularly updated funding opportunities and their due dates on OMA’s Current Funding Opportunities page.


COVID-19 and Ontario Museums

 

For information on Human Resources and Business Continuity Planning in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, please reference the COVID Resource page.

 


Current Advocacy Initiatives 

OMA Recommendations to
Ontario's Budget 2024

The Ontario Museum Association has prepared a Submission to Ontario's 2024 Budget. The OMA makes four recommendations for targeted provincial support, so that museums can strengthen their service to communities across Ontario.

The OMA's recommendations are:

1. 10 million in support for community museums to reach 300 communities across the province.
2. 10 million in support of a digital response fund to strengthen and build digital infrastructure in community museums across the province. 
3. 10 million in support of an infrastructure recovery fund to support community museums to build crucial infrastructure and capacity in the context of the pandemic and rising costs.
4. Consistent property tax exemption.

Read the OMA's Budget Submission HERE
 
OMA's 2024 Budget Submission
Call to Action
Recommend Support for Museums in
Ontario's 2024 Budget

Members can support the OMA's Recommendations by:
Engaging your MPP
 
International Museum Day and May is Museum Month

 

Celebrated annually since 2000, May is Museum Month/Mai, Mois des Musées is a program of the Ontario Museum Association and recognized by Ontario’s 700+ museums, galleries, and heritage sites. May is Museum Month promotes Ontario’s heritage and cultural assets, which demonstrate consistent economic and social return on investment, making our communities vibrant and vital places to live, work, visit and invest.

May is Museum Month/Mai, Mois des Musées, also provides an opportunity to recognize the vital role museums play in helping to achieve recovery and rebuilding across Ontario. Despite the ongoing challenges of the pandemic, museums have exhibited resilience and delivered valuable engagement, serving their communities where possible.

Learn more HERE.

May is Museum Month coincides with International Museum Day on May 18th, a worldwide initiative of the International Council of Museums (ICOM), which represents a unique moment for the international museum community. On this day, participating museums plan creative events and activities related to the International Museum Day theme, engage with their public and highlight the importance of the role of museums as institutions that serve society and its development.

The objective of International Museum Day is to raise awareness on the fact that, “museums are an important means of cultural exchange, enrichment of cultures and development of mutual understanding, cooperation and peace among peoples.”

The Ontario Museum Association has made Ontario's Budget 2023 recommendations for our museum sector in a submission to the Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs. OMA's priority solutions ensure opportunity to empower museums to play a critical role in pandemic recovery and continue to be community assets for education, employment, economic development, tourism and social vitality:
  1. A Digital Response Fund (valued at $10 Million over three years)—to strengthen, reach and support economic and social benefits across Ontario
  2. Increased support for community museums by $10 Million per year to reach 300 communities across the province—towards stabilizing operations and local recovery and growth
  3. Property Tax Exemption—all museums need a consistent property tax exemption, as educational, non-profit organizations, and community assets
  4. Infrastructure Recovery Fund—$10 Million—to build capacity post-COVID
Read OMA's submission HERE.
Make your voices heard!
  • Step One: Find the contact information of your MPP HERE
  • Step Two: Download OMA's pre-written member letter to your MPP HERE. Read through, and fill out the highlighted sections:
    • Your company logo
    • Date of the letter
    • Name of your MPP
    • Your name and role
    • Name of Institution/organization
    • Riding/community
    • How these recommendations could make a difference for your museum
  • Step Three: Email your letter to your MPP! Use our pre-written email to make it easier (see below).
Download the Template Letter
Example Email to MPP:

Dear MPP (Last Name),

I am writing to share a 2023 Budget consultation submission prepared by the Ontario Museum Association in support of Ontario's museum sector. This submission expresses our sector position which stands ready to work with the provincial government as a partner in rebuilding and reconnecting Ontario.

Museums demonstrate consistent economic and social return on investment, enhancing their benefit and value for communities across the province. Our recommendations for the 2023 budget ensure opportunity to empower museums to play a critical role in pandemic recovery and continue to be essential community assets for economic, educational, and social vitality.

Sincerely,
[EMAIL SIGNATURE OR NAME AND COMPANY LOGO]
Bill 23 Heritage Act changes
OMA's submission
 
The OMA calls on the Ministry of Citizenship and Multiculturalism and the government for legislation that ensures Ontario’s irreplaceable heritage is protected. The OMA calls to maintain all possible protections for heritage assets, including through the Ontario Heritage Act, and calls for support of heritage designation with broad applicability for the stewardship of valuable heritage assets and museums across the province. The OMA discourages proposed changes to existing protections (listing and designation under the Ontario Heritage Act and the Standards and Guidelines for Heritage Properties) as these changes may put at risk museums and the important places that are part of the heritage of diverse communities across Ontario.
Read the OMA's Submission
Background
On October 25, 2022, the Honourable Steve Clark, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, introduced Bill 23, the More Homes Built Faster Act, 2022. In his address to the Legislature, he stated that the report of the Ontario Housing Affordability Task Force serves as the Province’s “long-term housing road map for the future.”

Bill 23 would alter multiple pieces of Provincial legislation, including the Ontario Heritage Act, Conservation Authorities Act and Planning Act and Development Charges Act, among others.
 


In March 2021, as part of the Ontario Museum Association's (OMA) response to the Ministry of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries' (MHSTCI) Reconnecting Ontarians: Re-emerging as a global leader White Paper, the OMA further recommended that museums be included in the Community Building Fund (CBF) with “eligibility for infrastructure funding in stream 2, especially to increase accessibility and capacity to welcome tourists.”

Following the August 19 announcement of the CBF Capital Stream, the OMA and members again noted that the current Capital stream of the Community Building fund excludes museums from receiving funding to make necessary improvements, while sport and recreation facilities are deemed eligible for this community infrastructure funding.

The OMA expressed the need for museum eligibility for the CBF Capital Stream to the Honourable Lisa MacLeod, Minister of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries and the Honourable Kinga Surma, Minister of Infrastructure. Beyond the Trillium-administered CBF, this may also require additional and dedicated capital funding for museums.


Read the OMA's Letter to Minister MacLeod and Minister Surma HERE
Read more about the Community Building Fund - Capital stream HERE
Read the OMA's full Response to the MHSTCI Reconnecting Ontarians White Paper HERE.

Canada’s museum and heritage leaders urge federal parties to make sector a priority

The Ontario Museum Association and 10 other provincial and territorial museums associations, representing over 2,000 museum and heritage institutions, partnered with the Canadian Museums Association (CMA) to call on federal political parties to commit to updating Canada’s 30-year-old national museum policy.

The OMA and its national, provincial and territorial counterparts issued an open 2021 election letter to all party leaders that describes the unique role of museums in today’s Canada. The letter states that the pandemic brought to light the economic fragility of the sector and that a new long-term partnership with the Government of Canada is needed to put the sector on a more sustainable footing.

Read the Open 2021 Election Letter HERE
Read more from the Canadian Museums Association HERE
 
 
As part of the consultation process for Canada's Federal Budget 2022, the OMA submitted six recommendations echoing calls made by the Canadian Museums Association:
  1. That through the 2022 Federal Budget, the government continues to prioritize an investment of resources toward the review of the national museum policy;
  2. That the 2022 Federal Budget extends and increases funding support for museums to reopen;
  3. That the 2022 Federal Budget increases funding to Canada’s museums towards $60 million annually;
  4. That the government fund initiatives for digital transformation in museums; 
  5. That the government expand the Endowment Incentives of the Canada Cultural Investment Fund to include museums and heritage organizations; and
  6. That the Federal Budget includes sufficient financial resources to recognize the tremendous benefits of museums to the economy and society.
Read the full Submission HERE. 
Open Letter
A Call to Invest Fully in Ontario Museums

 

The OMA is asking members to share the Open Letter with their MPPs, their community members, and media. Download a copy of the Open Letter HERE.

Tip: Share the letter with your board members and volunteers for them to also share!
  1. Download a Template Letter for your MPP HERE
  2. Find your MPP's contact information HERE. 
  3. cc: Premier Ford ([email protected]), Minister MacLeod ([email protected]) and the OMA ([email protected]) on your emails
Social Media
  1. Download our image for Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram HERE
  2. Use the example message below.
  3. Tag @museumsontario and also use #onpoli in your posts
"Ontario museums call for government investment so they can survive the pandemic and fully contribute to the province’s recovery for the benefit of all Ontarians.
 
Read the Open Letter here: http://bit.ly/OMA-Open-Letter

OMA Advocacy on Reopening Regulations

The OMA has communicated with the Minister of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries and shared members concerns, as well as two recommendations for the Regulations:
  1. Allow the operation of outdoor guided tours by museums and historic sites in Step 1 of the Roadmap to Reopen, in alignment with restrictions on outdoor “In-person teaching and instruction” with observed health and safety protocols and physical distancing
  2. Allow indoor museums to open in Step 2, alongside other public venues like libraries, also institutions with collections, and non-essential retail, based on the ability of museums to maintain appropriate distancing and health protocols.
The OMA letter also references that in summer 2020, museums that were able to reopen successfully implemented protocols that kept their staff and visitors safe. 

Read the OMA letter HERE.
 
 

OMA Releases White Paper
 
Download the white paper "Exhibiting Resilience" HERE. 
 
The Ontario Museum Association (OMA) is pleased to share Exhibiting Resilience: Empowering Ontario’s community museums for strategic recovery. This white paper brings together specific findings and expertise from across Ontario’s museum community. Drawing on surveys of OMA members both before and during the pandemic, as well as information from the Ministry of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries, Canadian Heritage, and other key stakeholders, the OMA has created a profile of the state of the sector and its needs as we continue the work of Ontario’s Museums’ 2025: Strategic Vision and Action Plan

Exhibiting Resilience makes three specific recommendations to the Ontario Government. The first is for an Ontario Museum Relief Fund, valued at $8.5 million, which would support museums as they continue to navigate the revenue losses and increased operating costs brought on by COVID-19. The second recommendation is for a Digital Response Fund, valued at $10 million over three years. While the need for modernized digital strategies is particularly urgent in the time of remote work, learning, and tourism, an investment in the digital transformation of Ontario’s museums will ensure equitable access to the research, stories, and benefits that museums have to offer for years to come. Looking ahead to the long-term future of the sector, the OMA also recommends that the Government of Ontario renew the Ontario museum funding model. Raising the level of annual operating support for community museums will empower local museums to realize their mandates and serve their communities at their full potential. The OMA recommends an initial increase in sustainable operating funding for community museums to a total of $15 million annually.

Exhibiting Resilience will serve as a resource and a reference for the museum sector and the provincial government to work together to modernize the support systems for Ontario’s museums, so they continue to be essential community assets for economic, educational, cultural, and social vitality. The Ontario Museum Association stands ready to work with and on behalf of its members, and in partnership with the Government of Ontario, to develop and implement the above recommendations towards recovery. We are grateful to our members and sector partners who support us in our work to keep Ontario’s museums vibrant, inspiring, and impactful. 
 
Download the white paper "Exhibiting Resilience" HERE. 
 
Engage your MPP:
  1. Download a template letter HERE
  2. Find your MPP's contact information HERE
  3. Attach a copy Exhibiting Resilience from HERE.
  4. cc: Minister MacLeod ([email protected]
  5. cc: the OMA ([email protected]) on your email

 

OMA Responds to MHSTCI White Paper
Reconnecting Ontarians: Re-Emerging as a Global Leader

With the assistance of OMA members and the approval of OMA Council, the OMA has provided feedback to the Ministry of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries' White Paper Reconnecting Ontarians: Re-Emerging as a Global Leader. The OMA's response to MHSTCI expresses how, with effective support, museums can be a key asset for the province during the period of recovery and 'hyperlocal' tourism. 

Read Ontario Museum Association Response: Including museums in MHSTCI strategies HERE.

 
The OMA's feedback to MHSTCI also addresses each of the Ministry's 15 Action Items, and how museums can play a key role in achieving the outlined goals of the plan. 

As the province looks to build and support hyperlocal tourism, offer tourism trails, and develop a globally competitive, year-round set of tourism products, museums’ expertise and role as tourism infrastructure are key assets. Museums are experts in creating authentic, unique experiences in their local areas through connections to historic collections and stories, to community partners, and to the distinctive qualities of the places around them. Supporting and empowering these existing tourism assets is essential to achieving the Ministry’s goals.

The OMA carried out substantial research on the state of the Ontario museum sector, including successful funding models, and stands ready to work in partnership with MHSTCI to strengthen museums’ contribution towards economic development & tourism, employment, education, and community engagement. 

Read Ontario Museum Association Response: Including museums in MHSTCI strategies HERE.
 
Sudbury Council votes to retain curator position at City museums

Proposed budget cuts to the City of Greater Sudbury Museums, and the elimination of a curator position, prompted recent sectoral action. The Ontario Museum Association, the Ontario Historical Society (OHS) and the Group of Ontario Emerging Museum Professionals (GOEMP) all spoke out about the value of museums and curatorial positions for communities. 

It was announced March 3, 2021 that the City Council voted to reinstate the funding for the curator position. 

Read the OMA's Letter to Sudbury's Mayor and Councillors HERE. 
 
 
OMA Recommendations to Ontario's Budget 2021
Three recommendations to provide immediate support to Ontario's museums and empower them for long-term recovery

Echoing the context and recommendations provided in the OMA's document Exhibiting Resilience: Empowering Ontario's community museums for strategic recovery, and aligned with the government's efforts towards recovery as outlined in the Ministry of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries' White Paper Reconnecting Ontarians: Re-emerging as a Global Leader, the OMA brings forward recommendations to address the impacts of the pandemic for the province's museums. 

The OMA brings forward three recommendations for Ontario's 2021 Budget:
  1. An Ontario Museum Relief Fund of $8.5million
  2. A Digital Response Fund of $10million over three years, and 
  3. A Renewed Museum Funding Model of operating funding to a total of $15million annually
Read the OMA's 2021 Ontario Budget submission HERE
 
 
OMA Recommendations to Canada's Federal Budget 2021

The OMA has also prepared a submission of recommendations to the federal government for consideration in advance of the upcoming federal budget.

The OMA recommends:
1: That through the 2021 Federal Budget, the government continues to prioritize an investment of resources toward the review of the national museum policy;
2: That the 2021 Federal Budget extends and increases emergency support to museums;
3: That the 2021 Federal Budget increases funding to Canada’s museums to at least $60 million annually;
4:  That the government fund initiatives for digital transformation in museums; 
5: That the government expand the Endowment Incentives of the Canada Cultural Investment Fund to include heritage organizations including museums; and
6: That the Federal Budget includes sufficient financial resources to recognize the tremendous benefits of museums to the economy and society.

Read the OMA's submission for Canada's 2021 Federal Budget HERE

The OMA fully supports and reiterates the recommendations of the Canadian Museums Association. 

Before February 19, 2021, members can make recommendations to the federal government by visiting the Let's talk Budget 2021 website to fill out a questionnaire or upload their own submission HERE.
 

OMA Recommendations to Ontario's Fall Budget 2020

Three recommendations to address the impact of the pandemic on Ontario’s museums

On September 25, OMA ED Marie Lalonde joined other stakeholders in presenting at a Fall 2020 Budget Consultation to Minister of Finance Rod Phillips, Minister MacLeod, and Finance PA MPP Stan Cho. Building on the OMA's previous recommendations as member of Minister MacLeod's Festivals, Events, and Local Community Attractions Panel, and two presentations to the Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs on both Tourism and Culture, the OMA brings forward three recommendations for Ontario's Fall 2020 Budget: 
 
1.    An Ontario Museum Relief Fund of $8.5million
2.    A Digital Response Fund of $10million over three years, and a 
3.    A Renewed Funding Model of operating funding to a total of $15million annually


Read the full 500-word submission HERE.
 
 

Submission to the Federal Budget 2021

On August 7th the OMA submitted five recommendations to the federal government to be taken into consideration in advance of the upcoming federal budget. The OMA fully supports and reiterates the recommendations of the Canadian Museums Association. 

The OMA recommends:
  • That the 2021 Federal Budget extends and increases emergency support to museums;
  • That through the 2021 Federal Budget the government continues to prioritize an investment of resources toward the review of the national museum policy;
  • That the Federal Budget increases funding to Canada's museum to at least $60 million annually;
  • That the government fund initiatives for digital transformation in museums; and
  • That the government expands the Endowment Incentives and Limited Support components of the Canada Cultural Investment Fund to include heritage organizations including museums. 



COVID-19 and Ontario Museums: 2nd Survey

Infographic of the findings of the OMA's second COVID-19 Impact Survey

Key Findings Infographic

The OMA's 2nd COVID-19 Impact Survey collected 150 responses from museums across the province between August 14 and September 4, 2020; capturing the impacts of COVID-19 to the end of July 2020 and the state of museums at the time of their response. 

Thank you to all respondents!

Some key findings:

  • 22% of museums do not anticipate reopening to visitors in 2020

  • The Average length of closure for museums was 127 days (1/3 of a year)

  • Average revenue losses were estimated at 75% compared to 2019

Download an Infographic of Key Findings HERE. 

Read the Key Findings from the OMA's first COVID-19 Survey HERE. 



OMA COVID-19 Impact Survey

Key Findings

The OMA's COVID-19 Impact Survey collected essential information from March 20 to April 1 on the effects of the global pandemic, presenting a snapshot in time. 

Some key findings include:

  • 68% have delayed or cancelled seasonal hiring

  • 63% of respondents will lose all revenue for April 2020

  • 67% report potential for further job losses

Read a message from OMA Executive Director Marie Lalonde HERE.

Read the full Key Findings HERE.

Download an infographic HERE.



Please see the link below for collected information and resources regarding the novel coronavirus and its impacts for Ontario museums. These resources are not to be taken as legal advice or a definitive answer for any particular museum, but rather as a guide for preparedness for the field. We encourage members to consult relevant policies & legislation. 

The OMA has written a letter to Ministers MacLeod, Phillips, and McNaughton to request serious consideration and support of museums during this critical time in response to COVID-19. The OMA made the following recommendations:

1. An Ontario Museums Relief Fund

2.  A Digital Response Fund

3. Early (first quarter) distribution of Ontario funding for museums and heritage organizations (Community Museum Operating Grants, Heritage Organization Development Grants, and Provincial Heritage Organization Grants)

4. Expanded employment program and income support measures, and facilitated access to these programs are top concerns for all Ontarians, including Ontario's museums.

Read the Letter HERE. 

Support the OMA's recommendations by sending a letter to your local MPP:

Download a template letter HERE.

Find your MPP's contact information HERE.

 

Support for Ontario Museums in 2020 Budget

The Ontario Museum Association has recommended two areas for funding to the Ministry of Finance and the Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs in advance of Ontario’s 2020 budget.

The two recommended areas for funding are:
  • Create Jobs for Young People in Growing Sectors 
  • Develop Digital Access & Engagement for Rural Communities
Read the full Submission HERE.

Museum staff, volunteers, and board members can support the OMA’s Submission in two key ways:
 

For more news about Advocacy, see the Advocacy editions of the OMA eNewsletter, ONmuseums, on the second Thursday of each month. ONmuseums is an OMA Member Benefit; to learn about membership, click here!

COVID-19 Resources for Ontario Museums HERE