ONmuseums: OMA Advocates for Museums at the Standing Committee

Jul 09, 2020
Need to Know
OMA Presents on Culture and Heritage to the Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs

On June 26, Paul Robertson, OMA President and Marie Lalonde, OMA Executive Director, presented to the Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs. They highlighted that Ontario's museums can play a key role in recovery, contributing to both economic and social bottom lines.

As the Ontario government responds to COVID-19, the OMA has been communicating the important work of the government to the museum sector. We all recognize the burdens presented during these challenging times and appreciate all of the government’s efforts to support the culture sector. The OMA looks forward to continuing discussions with the Government of Ontario to help with the essential stabilization of Ontario museums so they can continue to serve their communities across the province.

"This pandemic exacerbated the critical, ongoing underfunding of museums as a vital community resource. The early distribution of operating funds to 166 eligible museums out of the 700 in Ontario is appreciated; but affects fewer than 24% of Ontario museums. 

Even now, three months into the pandemic, no provincial emergency funding is available to Ontario’s museums. Non-profit Museums currently are not eligible for the fed dev Regional Recovery Relief Fund, nor for the Ontario Arts Council funding. And the welcome significant investments in tourism do not affect museums operating budgets.

Municipal museums are also excluded from federal relief programs and will also face increased competition for funding within hard-hit municipalities." 

They emphasized the affect COVID-19 has had on the museum sector and brought forward the following recommendations:
  • Ontario Museums Relief Funding to address the immediate and significant impact of loss of revenue
  • Property tax exemption for all museums applied consistently across the province
  • Update to the Community Museum Operating Grant (CMOG) program and funding
  • Revision of funding programs to eliminate or reduce the matching funding requirements
  • Creation of incentives and tax credits inclusive of museums to encourage private-sector donations
  • Digital Response Funding to allow Ontario museums to produce engaging and accessible online content based on their existing high-quality museum work
"Museums and archives are the keepers of our community memories -- COVID-19 is a unique moment in our history. Museums have been proactive in pursuing, collecting and presenting community memories tangible and intangible for this generation and those to come. This only happens with adequate and ongoing financial resources." - Paul Robertson

In the end, the OMA echoed the statement of Minister MacLeod the previous day. When the world is ready to come back to Ontario, museums need to be ready to welcome them.
Ontario Not-for-Profit Corporations Act (ONCA) Proclamation Set for Fall 2020

In anticipation of the Ontario Not-for-Profit Corporations Act (ONCA) being proclaimed this fall, ONN has shared seven key legislative amendments with the Ontario government to consider as part of its proclamation. These are the critical amendments needed to the now ten-year-old legislation that would make the implementation of ONCA much clearer and consistent for the 58,000 nonprofits serving their communities in Ontario.

Read more HERE.

Read the ONN letters to Government and Consumer Services Minister Lisa Thompson HERE and HERE.

Emergency Funding Update

On July 7, the government released the "Final Components of Phase 2 of the COVID-19 Emergency Support Fund for Cultural, Heritage and Sport Organizations." This final component helps address some of the gaps that have been identified by the industry across Canada since the fund was first implemented. 

The news release notes that when the first component of Phase 2 was released on June 18, "it included $53 million in support to organizations with heritage collections through the emergency component of the Museums Assistance Program." It adds that "details on the application process for small community museums will be available very soon."

There is no confirmation on the possibility that the Museums Assistance Program would be extended to small community museums with smaller budgets that are seasonal, dependent on volunteers, that may not reopen this summer. The government may consider adjusting the sliding scale to be able to provide grants below $5,000 that are proportional to those budgets.

To read more, click HERE.

Register with the Canada Student Service Grant (CSSG)

On June 25th the CSSG launched the CSSG and it's the website I Want to Help, through which post-secondary students and recent graduates can find volunteer work. The CSSG will provide these volunteers with a one-time payment of between $1,000 and $5,000 based on the number of hours they serve.

Charities and not-for-profit organizations can register with the I Want to Help platform and connect with student volunteers. Volunteers recruited through the platform may be eligible for the CSSG.  

There are three steps for organizations seeking to recruit volunteers through the CSSG program:

1) Register your organization
2) Create postings for volunteer roles
3) Train and mobilize volunteers

To read more, click HERE or HERE.
To register your organization, click HERE.

Enabling Accessibility Fund – Now Open!
Deadline: July 13, 2020

The Enabling Accessibility Fund (EAF) (Employment and Social Development Canada) provides funding for projects that make communities and workplaces more accessible for persons with disabilities. EAF creates more opportunities for persons with disabilities to:
  • take part in community activities, programs and services
  • access employment
Eligible organizations can apply for up to $100,000 for:
  • small construction, renovation or retrofit of existing spaces to improve accessibility
  • accessible information and communication technologies
Read more and apply HERE.
Reminder: Deadline to Submit a "Quick Pitch"
July 15, 2020

Funding is available for modest to ambitious bilingual online products with interpreted content and an engaging user experience. The application process is competitive but straightforward, with experts on hand to provide feedback on ideas and guide the development of funded projects.

There are three investment streams. The Small investment stream provides a $15,000 investment, and a template, to create a virtual exhibit. The Medium stream provides an investment of $50,000 to $150,000, and the Large stream an investment of $150,000 to $250,000. Both of these streams require institutions to work with the technology provider of their choice.

2020 Call for Proposals Deadlines:

Medium and Large investment streams: October 28, 2020
Small investment stream (Community Stories): November 25, 2020

Read more and apply HERE!
Provincial News
Minister MacLeod Presents to
Standing Committee Finance and Economic Affairs
On Culture and Heritage

On June 25, Lisa MacLeod, Ontario’s Minister of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries (MHSTCI), presented for a second time to the Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs, this time presenting on Culture and Heritage.

"This ministry in all of its parts fuels a spectacular double bottom line – preserving and protecting – and in many ways evolving – our cultural fabric and social impact, while contributing $75 Billion toward the provincial economy." She highlighted "the work that our artists, archeologists, archivists and athletes do in each community across Ontario create jobs and our sense of pride in people and of place" and stated that "these sectors include our community museums, our art galleries, [and] our public libraries."

"We have a quality of life in Ontario that is the envy of the world," she went on to say, "because we have world class organizations like The Thousand Islands Boat Museum in Gananoque, Fort Henry in Kingston, the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto, the Royal Botanical Gardens in Burlington, and the Art Gallery of Algoma in Sault Ste Marie." Advocating for organizations such as these, Minister MacLeod stated, "my Ontario has libraries, museums and art galleries [...] I want to make sure that in 18 months when we get through this crisis that our cultural and sport institutions don’t just survive – they thrive."
Minister MacLeod's Ontario Includes Museums!
Reopening Ontario Tour

Since Ontario entered Phase 2, Minister MacLeod has been travelling around Ontario visiting communities and some of the places important to them, including museums!

To date (July 8, 2020), Minister MacLeod has visited:

  • Art Gallery of Burlington (Oakville and Burlington, click HERE.)
  • Elgin County Museum (London and St. Thomas, click HERE)
  • Fanshawe Pioneer Village (London and St. Thomas, click HERE)
  • Butterfly Conservatory - Niagara Parks (Niagara Falls, click HERE)
  • Royal Ontario Museum (Toronto, click HERE)
  • Brockville Museum (Brockville and Gananoque, click HERE)
  • Thousand Islands Boat Museum (Brockville and Gananoque, click HERE)
Ontario Extends Emergency Orders to July 10
TORONTO, June 27, 2020
The Ontario government has extended all emergency orders currently in force that were made under s.7.0.2 (4) of the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act until July 10, 2020, while removing restrictions that were limiting access to certain sport training facilities. This decision was made in consultation with Ontario's Chief Medical Officer of Health to ensure the safe and gradual reopening of the province on a regional basis can continue as part of Ontario's Framework for Reopening the Province.

Read more HERE.
City of Toronto Releases 

COVID-19 Guidance for Cultural & Heritage Institutions and Attractions

The following recommendations are intended to help operators and staff working at museums, galleries, aquariums, zoos, outdoor heritage institutions (e.g. landmarks, outdoor historic sites, botanical gardens), and other establishments primarily engaged in preserving and exhibiting objects, sites and natural wonders of historical, cultural and educational value to reduce the spread of COVID-19. 

Read more HERE.
OMA Initiatives
Upcoming Webinar: Scenario Planning
July 14, 2020, 10 am to 12 pm
Presented in partnership with the Ontario Association of Art Galleries

In this time of extreme uncertainty, scenario planning offers a methodology for thinking about what might happen so that organizations can prepare for a range of possibilities. Usually, when we plan for the future, we have a pretty good idea of what the world looks like: our purpose, our facility, our collection, our funding, our employees, our visitors are all at least somewhat predictable. The pandemic, social distancing and the resulting economic impacts, and the demands for true social change all require us to set aside those predictions and assumptions.
Judy Wolfe and Karen Wishart of Consulting Matrix will facilitate a small group of sector leaders while other participants observe the process. Observing participants will be able to ask questions of the panelists as they work through the agenda and scenario planning.


Participants will learn how to plan for the long-term under extreme uncertainty and imagine possible futures.

Read More & Register HERE
Webinar Recording Available - "Ask Me Anything" with Sarah Beam-Borg
Recorded July 7, 2020

Co-presented with the Group of Ontario Emerging Museum Professionals

From April 29 - May 20, 2020 the Group of Ontario Emerging Museum Professionals (GOEMP) Committee ran a survey for Ontario’s emerging museum professional (EMP) community focused on identifying the experiences and needs of EMPs during the COVID-19 pandemic. Based on the preliminary results, the Committee immediately created a two-pronged approach to addressing EMP needs at this time centred on Advocacy and Professional Development (PD). One such PD initiative is this “Ask Me Anything” webinar digitally connecting EMPs at home with a highly experienced museum professional who is enthusiastic about sharing their knowledge and expertise.

This session consisted of 3 key components in the style of “Ask Me Anything” format popularized on social media in recent years. “Ask” refers to questions posed by emerging museum professionals in the Ontario community - whether to the OMA during registration for the webinar, to the GOEMP Committee via the blog post announcing this webinar, or directly to our established museum professional guest in real-time during the webinar. “Me” refers to Sarah Beam-Borg, who has generously volunteered to make her rich experience accessible through this platform. “Anything” references any topic that intersects with the museum sector, museum jobs, museum networking, etc… anything that may be of interest to EMPs who would benefit from this information at this stage in their careers!

GOEMP Committee Chair Madeline Smolarz joined Sarah as moderator to keep track of and pose incoming questions on behalf of the EMP community.
Watch the recording HERE!
Colleague Update
Gayle McIntyre Retiring from Fleming College

Gayle McIntyre is retiring on June 30, 2020 after an outstanding career at Fleming College. How does one begin to honour Gayle's contribution to her program, her profession, her students, colleagues and friends?

Gayle is a graduate of the Art Conservation Techniques Program at Fleming College. She went on to spend over 30 years teaching and coordinating two graduate certificate programs.

Gayle McIntyre has made an incredible contribution to the care and continuity of Canadian cultural heritage through her work at Fleming College where she has been a teacher, a leader, and a mentor. Gayle has trained generations of expert practitioners in the fields of museology and conservation. She is single-mindedly focused on ensuring that Fleming students benefit from professional training, which meets existing as well as emerging needs of the field. Under her guidance, both the Cultural Heritage Conservation and Management Program and the Museum Management Curatorship Program have developed into postgraduate programs with national reputations for excellence.

Gayle’s professionalism is matched by her empathy, compassion and respect for her relationships with students, colleagues and peers. She makes sure that each individual student admitted to the Arts and Heritage programs at Fleming receives every support they might need—in good times, and through times that are more challenging.  Faculty who work under her leadership enjoy an inclusive, safe, collaborative team environment, where they are trusted to contribute and encouraged to shine. Gayle also has a strong network amongst other college employees, including life-long friends from the Peterborough community. She has also been a long-standing and staunch advocate for better, more respectful and more just connections between non-Indigenous and Indigenous people.

Gayle’s retirement is well-earned. She has another chapter ahead of her that no doubt will be written with passion, joy, laughter and love. Know that you have made a difference and that your legacy will not be forgotten. From all of us, we thank you and wish you and our family the very best.

In lieu of gifts, Gayle suggested that friends and colleagues might make a donation to:

  • Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at Peterborough Regional Hospital
  • A local foodbank
  • Blood donation at a local blood drive 

Angela Stukator, Dean, Haliburton School of Art + Design and School of General Arts & Sciences

Dr. Amy Barron Appointed Program Co-ordinator
Dr. Amy Barron will be managing the Museum Management and Curatorship Program and the Cultural Heritage Conservation and Management Program at Fleming College.

Amy is well known in the heritage sector. She has been teaching a variety of courses in the Heritage Programs at Fleming College since 2014. Concurrent to holding these teaching contracts, Amy also maintained various positions at community museums, taught (and continues to teach) certificate courses for the Ontario Museum Association, and served on various heritage organizations and related committees. Amy is also a popular public speaker at various conferences and community group events. 

Amy has a PhD in Ancient History and Archaeology from the University of Toronto; a Certificate in Museum Studies from the Ontario Museum Association; a Masters Degree from the University of Toronto in Mesopotamian History and Language; and a Bachelors Degree in History and Art History from the University of Guelph. 
Gale Fewings Retiring as Curator of Hutchison House

Gale Fewings, Curator of Hutchison House Museum for the past 22 years, retired on June 30. "This is a momentous event for the museum on several counts." Hutchison House stated. "Gale has served as Curator for more than half the museum’s existence. Her deep knowledge and wise guidance are responsible for programs and exhibits that have made the museum highly regarded in the community. She will be greatly missed but she has left a solid legacy on which to build. We thank her profoundly for her outstanding work."

Interim Acting Curator Appointed 

"The Board of Directors is pleased to announce the appointment of Erin Panepinto as Acting Curator of Hutchison House Museum for the remainder of 2020. Erin has served as part-time Assistant Curator for the past eleven years. The Board is fortunate to have Erin with her experience, energy and skills to lead the museum through this unprecedented period of disruption and transition."
Out-of-Province News
New Emergency Funding Initiative:
Community Cares Announced to Support the Indigenous Arts Community

OTTAWA, June 30, 2020
The Canada Council for the Arts, the Aboriginal Curatorial Collective, Indigenous Performing Arts Alliance, the Indigenous Screen Office, and the Inuit Art Foundation announced the creation of Community Cares: Emergency Response Fund for First Nations, Inuit and Métis Individuals Working in the Arts, a new time-limited emergency response fund to support First Nations, Inuit and Métis individuals working in the arts and culture sector during the COVID-19 pandemic. Indigenous communities have been disproportionately affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. This is a special fund devised to provide immediate support to Indigenous artists and cultural workers adversely affected by the pandemic.

Read more HERE.