Minister MacLeod on Ontario Museums

Dec 09, 2021
Need to Know
Ontario Extending Pause on Lifting Capacity Limits Where Proof of Vaccination is Required

Read the News Release HERE

Ontario Extending COVID-19 Paid Sick Days
Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development
The Ontario government is extending its Worker Income Protection Benefit program, which was set to expire at the end of December, and allows employees to take a maximum of 3 sick days over the course of the program. The program is now extended until July 31, 2022 to ensure workers do not lose pay if they need to miss work for reasons related to COVID-19. Employees can continue to access this paid leave to get tested, vaccinated, self-isolate, or care for a family member. 

Additionally, the province is extending temporary changes to the Employment Standards Act (ESA) that prevent temporary layoffs of non-unionized employees from becoming unwanted terminations, which can trigger payments and force businesses to close. The ESA also includes unpaid infectious disease emergency leave (IDEL). The measure will now be extended until July 30, 2022.

Read the full News Release HERE
Ontario Passes Working for Workers Act

Read the Government of Ontario's News Release HERE
Read more from the Ontario Nonprofit Network HERE
Advocacy at OMA Annual Conference 2021
Minister Lisa MacLeod

For the second year in a row, the Honourable Lisa MacLeod attended the OMA Annual Conference and provided remarks for the sector and also answered a few questions from OMA Past President Paul Robertson.

At last year’s conference, Minister, we discussed the importance of addressing operating funding for Ontario museums. Today presents an opportunity for an update on these plans for our members and we welcome your comments.

  • “I remain committed to trying to ensure we modernize the operating grants”
    “the province will continue to support you through heritage grants and CMOG and will continue to work over the multi years that we have ahead of us to better refine and enhance the operating grants that we supply to you.”

We are interested in hearing the Ministry’s plans to support the ongoing digital transformation and capacity building for Ontario museums across the province.

  • “It doesn't matter where you're at in the Province of Ontario, really in the world, but you're able to access that content. And so I really do think, from the cultural perspective and the societal perspective, that's important. But also I think it allows us to get our word out to from a tourism perspective, to get people thinking about what they might want to see in person, even if they live a world away when they're planning their trip.”

The OMA has written follow-up correspondence to the Minister to thank her for attending the OMA Conference, and looks forward to continuing its work with the Minister and MHSTCI staff on these and other central issues of interest to Ontario museums for pandemic recovery.

From left to right: Minister MacLeod, Marie Lalonde, and Paul Robertson at the opening of the OMA's Annual Conference 2021.
Talking Change, Taking Charge
Discussion Sessions at #OMAConf2021
Building on the Ontario Museums 2025 Strategic Vision and Action Plan developed with the membership, the OMA has continued its advocacy work during the pandemic including the 2020 publication of the Association’s white paper Exhibiting Resilience: Empowering Ontario’s community museums for strategic recovery

Consistently, the OMA advanced recommendations central to museums’ recovery during the pandemic, and themed discussion sessions at #OMAConf2021 referenced these recommendations. During these sessions, the OMA gathered information and feedback from members shared during the breakouts to guide and inform the work of the OMA moving forward—especially for supporting advocacy work in advance of Ontario’s Budget 2022 and Election 2022. In recognition of the extraordinary circumstances facing the heritage sector this year, and to facilitate participation in discussions on sector priorities and networking for museum professionals across the province, the OMA offered a fully subsidized registration category for Conference 2021. 

In all of the discussions, museum workers expressed how key supports like staffing and operational funding are essential to creating stronger institutions and a stronger sector as we emerge from the pandemic. 
Share your thoughts!

Online whiteboards called Jamboards are available from all of the conference discussions, and we welcome all members' contributions.

Operational Funding Jamboard for the question:
What would the impact be on your museum or your role with an increased investment in operational funding for Ontario community museums?
Operational Funding: OMA Secretary Michael Rikley-Lancaster presented the work of the Modernizing Community Museum Funding Working Group of OMA Council and the OMA’s key advocacy priority to Increase Investment in Ontario Community Museums.

Regarding the poll question "Do you support the OMA's first priority for the Ontario government to “Increase Investment in Ontario Community Museums?”
  • 93% of those polled in the session said yes.

When asked "With additional operating funding, what parts of museum work would you invest in?", the top three choices were:

  • Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Accessibility;
  • Advancing Truth & Reconciliation; and
  • Core Museum Functions.

Agree, disagree? Add your comments to the Jamboard for Operational Funding HERE

Digital Transformation Jamboard for the question:
What barriers are there to achieving your vision?
Digital Transformation: Professor Karen Sinotte hosted the “Museum of the Future: Digital Transformation” discussion session. OMA Award of Excellence winner Christina Sydorko of the Oil Museum of Canada presented on her successful approach to online school programs. Attendees participated in a series of polling questions related to their current status and vision for the digital transformation of their museums, and then worked in smaller groups with volunteer facilitators to discuss four questions and to place their thoughts on the Jamboards.

Read and add your comments to the Jamboard for Digital Transformation HERE.
Workforce Jamboard regarding pre-career support.
Workforce: The “Supporting a Diverse Museum Workforce” discussion session was created to focus on museum workers as individuals navigating their museum careers and doing so in ways that are mindful of all the identities that they bring to their work. Discussion hosts were invited to bring perspectives from individuals at different stages of their careers. Representatives from the University of Toronto's Museum Professionals of Colour, Group of Ontario Emerging Museum Professionals, and Ontario Museum Professionals, as well as Angela Cassie, from the National Gallery of Canada, were invited to be discussion hosts to offer broad representation and to strengthen the OMA’s ties with those groups. The discussion summary from the Supporting a Diverse Museum Workforce conference session will be shared with the OMA’s Professional Development Advisory Committee to support their work.

Read and add your comments to the Jamboard for Supporting a Diverse Museum Workforce HERE.
From left to right: Angela Cassie, Michael Rikley-Lancaster, Madeline Smolarz, and Jingshu Helen Yao at the "Supporting a Diverse Workforce" discussion.
Provincial News
Ontario Passes Working for Workers Act
Ontario Nonprofit Network

Read the Government of Ontario's News Release HERE

from the Ontario Nonprofit Network (ONN)

"The province passed its Working for Workers Act, 2021 on November 30. The most relevant provision for our sector is the “disconnecting from work” policy. Here is what nonprofits need to know.

Nonprofits with 25 or more employees must have a written policy on “disconnecting from work” six months from December 2, 2021. It must be shared with employees within 30 days of being prepared. In the following years, the timeline to determine the number of employees and prepare a policy will be shortened to March 1. This Act applies to employees covered under the Employment Standards Act. The term “disconnecting from work” is defined to mean not engaging in work-related communications, including emails, telephone calls, video calls or the sending or reviewing of other messages, so as to be free from the performance of work. The Act does not dictate the content of employer policies. It will be up to nonprofits how they want to address on-call or non-standard shift workers, flexible work hours, and hybrid/remote work in their policy. We are pleased with another vehicle to achieve #DecentWork in our sector. Employment standards are the backbone of decent work!"

Read the Government of Ontario's News Release HERE
Canadian Automotive Museum ‘Community’ Exhibit Honoured by OMA

The story of how the auto industry shaped the economic and social fabric of Oshawa has earned the Canadian Automotive Museum the Ontario Museum Association’s Award of Excellence in Exhibitions for 2021. The Museum’s exhibition ‘Oshawa’s Automotive Community’ traced the origins, growth, and community impact of Canada’s largest automotive assembly plant, the GM factory located in the city.

The facility had roots that extend to the carriage factories of the 1870s and has defined the city and the surrounding region to the present day. The exhibit was developed during the uncertainty that surrounded the announcement of the closure of the plant (it recently re-opened) at the end of 2019. With the city’s future as an auto manufacturer in doubt, the Museum sought to document this multi-generational story from a community rather than a corporate perspective.

Read more HERE
Watch the video and read about the 2021 OMA Awards of Excellence HERE.
Hamilton Civic Museums Project Earns
Award for Community Engagement

The Ontario Museum Association (OMA) has recognized a unique initiative by the City of Hamilton that has helped to ensure the future of museums in the city for years to come. The project has earned the OMA's distinguished Award of Excellence in Community engagement for its role in helping to steer the city’s museum into a sustainable future.

The Reimagine Our Museums program, developed by Hamilton Civic Museums and consulting firm Civicplan, was launched in 2019 and was a city-wide engagement project that elicited insight from thousands of residents about Hamilton’s museums and their place in the community. The project engaged more than 200 groups, among which included Indigenous groups, educational institutions, LGBTQ+ organizations, conservation and environmental organizations, youth and senior groups.

Read more HERE
Watch the video and read about the 2021 OMA Awards of Excellence HERE.

Muséoparc Vanier Breaks Ground on
New Vanier Sugar Shack

Que les travaux commencent! Le Muséoparc a procédé à la première pelletée de terre pour lancer la reconstruction de la Cabane à sucre Vanier le 3 décembre dernier.  Merci à tous ceux qui étaient présents pour souligner cet événement spécial, dont l'honorable Mona Fortier députée fédérale, la députée provinciale Lucille Collard, le maire Jim Watson et les conseillers municipaux Mathieu Fleury et Rawlson King. Aussi présents, la directrice générale intérimaire Madeleine Meilleur, et le président du Muséoparc Vanier, Dr. Jonathan Paquette (nouveau membre du C.A. de l'AMO). 

Let the work begin! The Vanier Museopark held a groundbreaking ceremony on December 3 to officially launch the construction of the new Vanier Sugar Shack. Thank you to everyone in attendance and made this event extra special, including The Honourable Mona Fortier MP, Lucille Collard MPP, Mayor Jim Watson and city councillors Mathieu Fleury and Rawlson King. Also in attendance are Interim Executive Director Madeleine Meilleur and Museopark Vanier President Dr. Jonathan Paquette (new OMA Council member).

Lucan Area Heritage and Donnelly Museum
Realize Surplus for 2021

The Sun Times

In their annual financial report to council, members of Lucan Area Heritage informed council that they were able to run a small surplus at the Lucan Area Heritage and Donnelly Museum this year. While COVID-19 meant the museum could only be open for six weeks, the museum was able to realize a small profit of $1,786 in 2021.

The museum received a number of donations and grants in 2021, including $15,000 from the municipality. The museum also received a $5,000 Museum Assistance Program COVID Operating Grant. In 2020, it received $10,000 from the same grant, which Hodgins said allowed the museum to remain active behind the scenes and prevented it from experiencing a significant financial loss that year.

Read more HERE
$50,000 to Wallaceburg and District Museum
The Courier Press

The Wallaceburg and District Museum is among eight non-profit organizations within the Lambton-Kent-Middlesex riding receiving nearly $500,000 in support because of financial pressures experienced from COVID-19. The museum in Wallaceburg will receive $50,000. The cash, delivered through Ontario’s Community Building Fund, is designed to help non-profits operate tourism, culture, sport and recreation facilities while also providing programs and services within their communities.

The other organizations include the Canadian Cowgirls ($37,500), Friends of Ye Olde Towne Hall ($13,900), Kee-mo-kee Camp Site of the United Church of Canada ($49,200), Lucan Area Heritage and Donnelly Museum ($33,200), Middlesex Centre Archives ($24,200), and the Royal Canadian Legion Caradoc Br. 251 ($42,300).

Read more HERE
$74,900 to Canadian Bushplane Heritage Centre
The Sudbury Star

The Canadian Bushplane Heritage Centre has received a one-year, $74,900 Community Building Fund grant to focus on growing its online education presence, and the Entomica Insectarium, located in the Canadian Bushplane Heritage Centre received $49,000 from the Fund. At the Heritage Centre, it’s being used to help hire a full-time Educational Assistant, as well as helping with the cost of designing online programs and buying needed technical equipment.

The Entomica Insectarium, located in the Canadian Bushplane Heritage Centre, is directing its $49,900 Community Building Fund toward costs for expanding its online education capabilities. Funds from the grant are being used to help with staffing, as well as purchasing two digital platform licenses and needed technical equipment to produce and deliver online programs.

Read more HERE
Canadian Women in Film Museum Opening
with MPP Piccini and MP Lawrence
Cobourg News Blog

November 12, 2021, saw the grand opening of the new/expanded Museum in Dressler House – it’s now called the Canadian Women in Film Museum and as well as Marie Dressler, features early Canadian women movie stars Mary Pickford and Norma Shearer.  It was conducted on Zoom and featured speeches by Minister David Piccini, Mayor John Henderson, MP Philip Lawrence, Cara Krmpotich Associate Professor of Museum Studies at U of T, Cari Beauchamp of the Mary Pickford Foundation and Darin Barnes collector and Curator for Norma Shearer.

The Honourable Lisa MacLeod, Minister of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries, has not yet visited (she sent a letter instead) but MPP Piccini and MP Lawrence did visit along with major donors. Funding for the Museum has been by private donations as well as Government – Federal, Provincial and Municipal (Cobourg).  The work was organized by the Marie Dressler Foundation.

Read more HERE

Minister David Piccini (right) and Rick Miller (left), President & Chair, Marie Dressler Foundation at the Canadian Women in Film Museum.
Portrait Gallery of Canada Announces
TELUS as Founding Partner

Portrait Gallery of Canada

On November 25, 2021, the Portrait Gallery of Canada (PGC) announced TELUS as its founding partner, supporting the PGC to achieve its goal to share humanizing stories of Canada through portraiture. Through the exhibition of portraits of people from across Canada and from all walks of life, the Portrait Gallery of Canada will showcase stories of the country's history, diversity, achievements, challenges and aspirations for the future.

Through its exhibitions, artist talks, social media engagements, presentations and catalogues, the PGC addresses the complex issues of the day from a variety of voices and celebrates the rich diversity of people who live on these lands. Through TELUS' partnership, the PGC is able to support artists, curators, educators, designers, communicators, translators and others who contribute to the PGC's programs and publications. 

Read more HERE
Call for Submissions:
Middlebrook Prize for Young Canadian Curators

Art Gallery of Guelph

Founded in 2012, the Middlebrook Prize for Young Canadian Curators is awarded annually to an emerging Canadian curator under 30 with the aim to foster social innovation and curatorial excellence in Canada. Hosted and administered by the Art Gallery of Guelph, the winner is selected by a jury of arts leaders and receives a $5,000 honorarium as well as mentorship in the development of an exhibition at the Art Gallery of Guelph.

Submissions will be accepted until Monday, January 24, 2022, at 5 pm. The exhibition will be presented as part of the Art Gallery of Guelph’s fall 2022 season. By supporting and mobilizing Canadian creative talent, the Middlebrook Prize aims to inspire positive social change through creativity in an era of ongoing and unprecedented economic, environmental, social, and cultural upheaval. Proposals should emphasize contemporary Canadian art with attention to audience, community, and social relevance.

Read more HERE
OMA Initiatives
Certificate in Museum Studies Calendar Update

CMS Course: Museums in Historic Buildings (Facilities Management)
Date: March 2-4, 2022
Location: Waterloo Region Museum, Kitchener, ON
Course Director: Marcus Letourneau, Letourneau Heritage Consulting
NEW! Registration Opening Date: Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Read more about Museums in Historic Buildings (Facilities Management) HERE.
Find out more about the Certificate in Museum Studies Program HERE

Questions about the Certificate in Museum Studies Program? Email

Webinar Recording: Ontario Not-for-Profit Corporations Act - Planning the
transition for your museum

with Community Legal Education Ontario
Ontario’s Not-for-profit Corporations Act (ONCA) was proclaimed on October 19th, 2021. Nonprofits will have 3 years to update their bylaws and letters patent to comply with ONCA. This webinar walks through what is new in the ONCA, steps nonprofits need to take to transition to the ONCA, and how CLEO’s free resources can help you create ONCA compliant bylaws from scratch or adapt your current bylaws. To learn more about the ONCA visit

Speaker: Benjamin Miller

View the slides HERE
The webinar recording is now available online HERE
Find more information about the ONCA HERE.
Out-of-Province News
Minister Rodriguez to Invite Arts, Culture
and Heritage Sectors to National
Summit in 2022

Canadian Heritage
The Honourable Pablo Rodriguez, Minister of Canadian Heritage, issued a statement on December 6, 2021, regarding the Government of Canada’s plans to hold a two-day national summit on January 31 and February 1, 2022, with the arts, culture and heritage sectors at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa.

“During the summit, we’ll talk about long-term trends in Canada’s cultural ecosystem and discuss solutions for a sustainable recovery; how to bring back and create new audiences and visitors; the role of digital platforms; and the contribution of our cultural sectors to reconciliation, the fight against climate change, and a more just and inclusive society."
- Minister Rodriguez

Read the full statement HERE
National, Provincial, and Territorial Museums Associations Letter to the Minister

The OMA, in collaboration with fellow National, Provincial, and Territorial museums associations (PTMAs) sent a letter to the Honourable Pablo Rodriguez to congratulate him on his appointment as Minister of Canadian Heritage, and to express interest regarding the announced National Summit in 2022. Iterated in this letter are the various and vast challenges the museum sector has faced these last two years, as well as the critical need for a reimagined and updated national museum policy. The PTMAs are looking forward to connecting with the Minister about partnering with the Government of Canada to move forward, together, for the success of our sector.
Get your training funded by CMA Bursaries
Canadian Museums Association

Is there a conference, webinar or presentation you’d really like to attend, but the price tag is just too steep? Have you found a short-term class that would really boost your skillset? The CMA bursary program is a great way to get financial support for your professional development and can cover up to $1,500 in costs.

Until March 31, 2022, access to this program will be more flexible. Events shorter than one full day are now eligible and the number of recipients that can receive funding for an event has increased (was previously limited to five). 

Read more HERE

Funding Opportunity:
Celebration and Commemoration Program 
Deadline: January 10, 2022

This 1-year funding initiative, available through the Celebration and Commemoration Program, will provide funding to eligible recipients to support initiatives that meet 1 or more of the following requirements:

  • increase opportunities for Canadians to participate in various commemorative activities and celebrations to mark Canada’s emergence from the COVID-19 pandemic;
  • build a sense of pride and belonging to Canada by holding celebratory and commemorative activities that recognize people and achievements in the response to COVID-19; and
  • support the revival of local economies through in person events.

You must meet all eligibility requirements and submit a complete application package by January 10, 2022, to be considered for funding.

Read more HERE

Pandemic Response Grant
Canadian Association for Conservation of Cultural Property
This grant is to provide relief for CAC-ACCR members who have been financially impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic for rent and tuition relief, or other costs incurred by the loss of career opportunities or contracts, cancelled internships, or closures of post-secondary institutions. The applicant must be an individual member of the CAC or the designated representative of an institution with a CAC institutional membership.

The deadline to apply for this grant is December 10, 2021

Read more HERE
Upcoming Funding Deadlines

December 10: Pandemic Response Grant, Canadian Association for Conservation of Cultural Property
December 13: Recovery Funding for Professional Arts Presentation Organizations
December 20: 2022 Platinum Jubilee of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II - Community Projects
December 22: MAP (Access to Heritage, Collections Management, Indigenous Heritage)
December 30: Canada Recovery Hiring Program [Claim period 17]
January 10, 2022: Celebration and Commemoration Program — Reopening Fund
January 12, 2022: Documentary Heritage Communities Program (December 20, 2021 last day to ask questions about your application)
January 14, 2022: Ontario Arts Council Exhibition Assistance
January 21, 2022: Young Canada Works Program
January 28, 2022: Listen, Hear Our Voices, Library and Archives Canada

View more funding opportunities on the OMA website HERE.
Deadline extended: CMA Awards 2022
Canadian Museums Association
There is still time to nominate the best in museums! The 2022 call for nominations for the CMA Awards has been extended one week to December 14, 2021

Read more HERE
Full details including eligibility and nomination instructions are available HERE
Public Engagement in the Arts
Emerging from the COVID-19 Pandemic:
Canadian Analysis and Regional Differences

Hill Strategies Research Inc.
With the goal of enhancing the arts sector’s understanding of engagement behaviours and trends, this report analyzes several Canadian information sources related to public engagement and spending in the arts. This information could help arts organizations enhance their communications and marketing as the country emerges from the pandemic and as arts sector renewal and regeneration take place.

Some key findings from this report include:
  • 49% of pre-pandemic attendees expected to wait before returning to art galleries or museums;
  • many more Canadians planned to reduce (37%) than increase (19%) their spending on entertainment after the pandemic, compared with their pre-pandemic levels;
  • surveys show that many Canadians have missed and are eager to return to arts activities; 
  • for museums and galleries, 90% of pre-pandemic visitors indicated that “controlled access to avoid queues” would have either a somewhat or very positive influence; and
  • Ontarians who recently attended indoor arts activities have felt very comfortable doing so. On a scale from 1 to 5, about 90% of attendees rated their comfort level as either 4 or 5.

Read the full report HERE

International Museum Day 2022:
The Power of Museums
International Council of Museums

2022's International Museum Day will take place on May 18, and the poster has been released. "The Power of Museums" will explore the issues addressed in the upcoming ICOM Conference in Prague, and how museums can make the world a better place. 

Download the poster HERE (automatic .zip download). 

Upcoming OMA Dates
December 20, 2021 - January 3, 2022: OMA office closure
Support Ontario’s Museums by Giving Forward!
As museums across Ontario face the challenges of reopening safely and renewing relationships with your communities, the OMA is here for you now and as we move forward. The OMA successfully advocated for federal emergency support funding through the Museums Assistance Program, the early and streamlined release of Community Museum Operating Grant (CMOG) funds in 2020 and 2021, and for an additional $2 million to support digital activities during pandemic closures. Your support, participation, and membership make our work possible.

Representing the interests of over 700 museums, galleries, and heritage sites across the province, the OMA offers regular webinars and professional development opportunities and resources for pandemic recovery. An OMA membership connects you with our network of over 1000 members, provides you with the tools and resources that support your professional practice, and keeps you informed of breaking news about funding opportunities and policy changes via the ONmuseums weekly newsletter and timely eNews alerts.

If you are already an OMA member, thank you! Please renew your membership when you receive an email reminder.

If you are not yet a member, please consider an individual, institutional, or commercial membership for yourself, your colleagues, or your institution. You can find information about member categories and benefits on our website.

You can make a donation to the OMA on our website or through Canada Helps. Every contribution is giving forward, not giving back, by adding to the collective strength of our sector and investing in a vibrant future for the next generation of museum professionals. You can help us build a more resilient museum sector. 

Thank you for your support!
Donate Now
We're Here to Help!

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

As an organization of provincial scope, the Ontario Museum Association recognizes that its members and community live and work on the lands and territories of Indigenous peoples. Toronto, where the OMA offices are located, is the territory of the Mississaugas of the Credit, Haudenosaunee and the Huron Wendat. We wish to express our gratitude for the resources we are using and pay respect to the rich and ongoing Indigenous history of what is now Ontario and Canada.
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