March 31 Update: COVID-19 and Ontario Museums

Mar 31, 2020

March 31 Update
COVID-19 and Ontario Museums

In this eNews Alert you will find:
  1. an Action Plan from the Honourable Lisa MacLeod
  2. Update on the 75% Federal Wage Subsidy
  3. Canada Council for the Arts to Release $60 million in Core Grants
  4. An OMA Survey on the Impacts of COVID-19
  5. New Resources on the OMA dedicated COVID-19 webpage
The health and safety of our visitors, communities, and staff are a priority for our institutions. The OMA encourages all to exercise caution and act in alignment with the recommendations of public health and government authorities. 

The OMA is in touch with stakeholders to support our members, and will provide updates regularly as the situation progresses.

Please contact us with questions at
Action Plan from Minister of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries
Following a tele-townhall on March 26, the Honourable Lisa MacLeod, Minister of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries provided a 10-point action plan for her Ministry moving forward: 

I announced some changes we are making to respond to the challenges our industries and sectors are facing.

1.    I’ve re-purposed the Tourism Development Fund to the Tourism Development and Recovery Fund and increased the fund from $500,000 to $1.5 Million

2.    I’m working with industry partners on an online marketplace and town centre for all Ontarians to access concerts, art, digital gallery and museum tours and attraction pre-purchases. I’ve made an initial investment of $150,000 to match community contributions to give musicians a platform to perform concerts from the safety of their homes. 

3.    Destination Ontario is actively working on a marketing program that will let the world know that when they are ready to travel and when we are a safe environment to accept them back, we will be ready. 

4.    Our government will be allowing all licensed restaurants, bars and pubs to sell and deliver unopened alcohol at their establishments.

5.    We have provided lists of Hotels to MOH, MOLTC and MCCSS to be used in the event hospitals, LTC's, VAW Centres need capacity due to social distancing. Yesterday’s economic statement earmarked $341 Million if this is required. 

6.    For our film and TV industry we are revising regulations so we can allow contract and freelance workers to receive Ontario’s three refundable film and TV tax credits while at the same time working to streamline the time it takes to complete them. 

7.    For our emerging artists, we are retooling our $7 Million Ontario Music Fund to get more money into their hands immediately during this crisis.

8.    As we know the Olympics have been postponed and many of our sport hosting events have been cancelled. Each year we invest $10 Million into our athletes through Quest for Gold and Sport Hosting events. Despite these postponements and cancellations this money will still be available. 

9.   Celebrate, OAC, OCAF or Trillium Grant will flow even if events are forced to cancel. We will invest almost $200 Million in 2020.

10. Local libraries, community museums and our governments agencies and attractions will see their money flow very quickly so when it is safe to do so, they can open their doors again to the public

Guest speakers on the tele-townhall included Beth Potter, President & CEO of the Tourism Industry Association of Ontario (TIAO) and Josh Basseches, Director & CEO of the Royal Ontario Museum. 
Federal 75% Wage Subsidy
Prime Minister Confirms Eligibility of Charities and Non-Profits for Wage Subsidies
More Details to be Announced
What is currently known, courtesy of Young Associates:
  • Any organization, large or small, that has had a 30% reduction in revenue because of COVID-19 will qualify
  • Charity and Non-Profits qualify (it is unclear if the same revenue reduction rate apply or if there will be a separate qualification for charity and non-profits)
  • There is a cap on the 75%: it will cover 75% of the first $58,700 of employment income per employee
  • Organizations can qualify whether they are open or closed, but they must have employees on payroll
  • There is no cap on the number of employees that can be paid
  • This is based on a trust that organizations will not take advantage of the system and serious consequences will be imposed on those that do
Read more from the Globe & Mail HERE.
Canada Council for the Arts 
$60 million in Advance Funding for the Arts Sector
The Canada Council for the Arts announced plans to provide approximately $60 million in advance funding, the equivalent of 35% of annual grants held by over 1,100 core funded organizations,  by May 4. 

Read more HERE. 
OMA Survey
OMA Survey for Ontario Museums on the Impact of COVID-19
As part of the Ontario Museum Association’s role to represent the province’s museum sector to governments and funders, we have developed a short survey to collect up-to-date and sector-specific information on the impacts of COVID-19 for Ontario’s museums. We are asking for your assistance to provide this information so that we can advocate on your behalf.

We reviewed other heritage, tourism, and culture surveys; and will be collaborating with other organizations to share results of all of our work. 

Respond to the Survey HERE. 

COVID Resources and Responses from Other Associations

  • Imagine Canada - COVID-19 and the Canadian Nonprofit Sector HERE
  • Heritage BC - A Compendium of Tips and Information for Governance, Management and NFP Operations HERE

Digital Outreach During Closures:

  • Cuseum - 4 Ways Museums Can Successfully Leverage Digital Content and Channels during Coronavirus (COVID-19) HERE
Government Resources regarding
  • Ontario Ministry of Health dedicated website (updated twice daily): HERE 
    • General COVID-19 Information Sheets (available in multiple languages)HERE
  • Public Health OntarioHERE 
  • Health CanadaHERE
Your local or regional government or health unit websites can also provide credible local information. 
The OMA has prepared a dedicated webpage of COVID-19 communications and resources, updated as new information and resources become available.

Read more HERE.

Please also consult the Resources section of the OMA website HERE. 
We're Here to Help!

For all questions or inquiries please contact the OMA: or call 416-348-8672 / 1-866-662-8672.

Marie G. Lalonde
Executive Director