COVID-19 information for AFA stakeholders

 Visit for updates and information on actions the government is taking to protect Albertans and prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus.​

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Arts sector support

The AFA recognizes that it continues to be an extremely difficult time for artists and arts organizations in our province, and we remain committed to supporting members of Alberta’s arts community who have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

During this difficult time, we encourage fair compensation and reasonable accommodations be provided for individual artists and cultural workers whose contracts and gigs are being postponed or cancelled. It is important to recognize that an artist’s income can be irregular at the best of times, and it is anticipated that the response to COVID-19 will likely be a prolonged undertaking.

Working with our partners

The health and well-bring of Alberta artists and arts organizations and the public as a whole is of primary importance to the AFA. The AFA remains in close contact with our federal and municipal partners, to share information and discuss options.

As an agency of the Government of Alberta, the AFA supports and adhere to the advice and direction provided by the Government of Alberta with regard to the COVID-19 crisis and any additional actions that may be taken to support Alberta’s arts sector.

New: Targeted health measures temporarily in place

Effective November 13, the Alberta government is implementing new targeted measures to protect the health system and limit the spread of COVID-19. These measures include a two-week (November 13-27) ban on group performance activity, including singing, dancing and theatre.

This ban is mandatory and applies to Edmonton and surrounding areas, Calgary and surrounding areas, Grande Prairie, Lethbridge, Fort McMurray, and Red Deer. See the map of affected areas.

The ban does not apply to professional performance venues, as they already have additional public health measures in place to limit the risk of exposure. Visit our News feed for more information.

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Frequently Asked Questions

AFA funding

The AFA Board of Directors has approved its 2020-21 spending plan based on the AFA’s current provincial allocation of $26.9 million. The AFA is using existing programs to be as responsive to the COVID-19 pandemic as possible.

The AFA will be maintaining existing commitments and/or maintaining 2019-20 funding levels for most operating clients this year. Sustaining the viability of AFA operational clients as much as possible is key to ensuring recovery for Alberta’s arts sector after the crisis has passed. The AFA will be disbursing grant allocations in installments to the majority of its operating grant recipients in 2020-21.

The AFA recognizes we must be flexible to manage this time of uncertainty while still strategically investing our resources to minimize impacts to the organizations and individuals who rely on AFA funding.

If you have any additional general questions about AFA funding or support not covered below, please email Immediate questions or concerns regarding a pending or existing grant should be directed to your current grant consultant.

What programs have been changed/impacted in the AFA's 2020-21 spending plan?

Programs that have been adjusted in our current spending plan are:

  • Discipline-specific project grant applications from the March 1, 2020 deadline were deferred to September 1, 2020, and funding allocated for the March 1 deadline was also moved to September 1. To support artists whose grant applications were withdrawn from the March 2020 deadline, the AFA Board approved a one-time, temporary change to individual artist funding opportunities to accommodate resubmission of applications.
  • Grant programs that primarily support travel have been suspended with any current applications withdrawn due to the unviable nature of these activities due to the COVID-19 pandemic. These include:
  • Summer Schools project grants have been cancelled for this year due to the unviable nature of this programming due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Organizations: Art Projects and Indigenous Arts Projects for Organizations programs are being reviewed and are both suspended until further notice.

Should additional AFA programs be affected this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic or additional fiscal pressures, updates will be provided on this page.

Has funding for Individual Project Grants been reduced?

No, individual project funding for the March deadline was not eliminated. Funds were reassigned to the September intake to ensure individual project funding remains stable and consistent as a whole for this year.

Our organization receives operational funding from the AFA. Will the COVID-19 pandemic negatively affect our grant amount in 2020-21?

At this time, AFA will be maintaining existing commitments and/or maintaining 2019-20 funding levels for most operating clients this year as much as possible. Grant amounts may be adjusted in the event that the AFA budget is significantly decreased in 2020-21 or in successive fiscal years due to COVID-19 or other extenuating circumstances.

AFA will be receiving its annual allocation in installments and therefore we will be required to disburse grant allocations in installments to the majority of our operating grant programs as well. In order for AFA to manage its cash flow for the 2020-21 fiscal year, we have little flexibility over the timing or amounts of clients’ installment payments.

Will the COVID-19 pandemic negatively affect our operational grant amount future years?

The AFA will develop an approach to addressing the calculation of organizations’ eligible grant requests for future funding for those affected by COVID-19, including reduced programming and/or fund generation.

The AFA encourages all arts organizations that receive AFA operational funding to share information with us about current and anticipated impacts to your operations. Please email your grant program consultant for more information. (If you are unsure who that is, email

Will our organization be required to pay back our current operating grant due to us not being able to carry out regular programming?

No, organizations will not be required to pay back existing operating grants already received. Future grants will be addressed as noted above.

Will the AFA give extensions to grant reporting due dates?

The AFA will contact clients when changes are made to a reporting due date for operating programs directly.

If you have an open project grant, and you wish to request an extension to the final report due date, you must submit a request in writing for approval by the AFA. Please email your request to your grant program consultant. (If you are unsure who that is, email

Is AFA making other changes to grant programs in response to COVID-19?

The AFA has updated its guidelines to expand eligibility for activities supported by the Arts Presenting Project Funding opportunity. Artist fees for live-streamed events presented on March 12, 2020 and forward are now eligible for reimbursement.

Arts Presenting grants only support live presentations, which means organizations may only submit the initial live-streamed presentation for reimbursement of artists’ fees. Costs associated with repeated or ongoing presentation of the initial event will not be eligible for reimbursement. Pre-recorded events will also not be eligible for consideration through this program.

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AFA Art Collection

Will AFA continue to support the Travelling Exhibition (TREX) program? 

AFA will continue to support the TREX program in 2020-21.

Is the AFA Art Collection still lending artwork at this time?

Artwork loans programs, previously on pause due to the public health quarantine period, are gradually returning to service under current health guidelines. Staff are in the process of resuming all art placement activity and addressing outstanding requests for the time being to comply with social distancing efforts recommended by Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer.

If you need artwork removed, AFA staff will reach out at such time when it is safe to do so. If the artwork is not in a safe or secure location, email so that staff may contact you to discuss making arrangements to have the artwork collected in a safe manner.

Is there staff available to care for artworks in the AFA Art Collection?

Yes. Staff check in daily to ensure that it is operating at optimum effectiveness for the safe care of the artworks.

How can I access the AFA Art Collection now?

The AFA Art Collection can be viewed online, at any time, through the AFA Virtual Museum. We encourage Albertans to browse through thousands of digital images of nearly every artwork in the collection.

In addition, the AFA has four curated exhibitions available for viewing on Google Arts & Culture.

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Useful links 


Alberta is currently in Stage 2 of its relaunch strategy. Stage 2 allows additional businesses and services to reopen and resume operations as of June 12 with physical distancing requirements and other public health guidelines in place. Learn more about Alberta's relaunch strategy.

The government has launch the Alberta Biz Connect platform to help businesses and non-profits affected by COVID-19 begin to reopen and resume operations safely. This includes publishing and continuously updating general and sector specific guidance documents that can help you comply with public health requirements to reduce the risk of COVID-19 among staff, audiences, patrons, and customers.

COVID-19 supports for Albertans – The government provides a list of services available for Albertans to get help, including a list of financial supports available.

Alberta emergency financial assistance – If you are facing an unexpected emergency, visit this page to learn more about applying for emergency financial assistance.


Government of Canada COVID-19 information – Learn more about COVID-19 in Canada and the Government of Canada’s response.

Canadian Heritage response to COVID-19 – The Government of Canada is taking immediate action to provide support measures and financial relief for the culture, heritage and sport sectors. Learn more about what measures are available.

Canada Council for the Arts information related to COVID-19 – Information and updates on how the coronavirus outbreak is affecting Canada Council's programs and services, and its response.


City of Calgary's Response to Coronavirus – Learn more about supports available and the city’s ongoing response to the pandemic.

City of Edmonton: Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) – Learn more about supports available and the city’s ongoing response to the pandemic.

  • Edmonton Arts Council COVID-19 FAQs – Information and updates on how the coronavirus outbreak is affecting Edmonton Art Council's programs and services, and its response.


If your venue is available for COVID19 help, please enter your information into this national Google document.

View metric categories to consider on COVID19 impacts. If you have metrics categories you suggest to be added to this national document please email

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Beware of online COVID-19 scams

Cyber security incidents involving malware and fraudulent activities including identity theft are being reported across Alberta in the wake of COVID-19.

Cybercriminals are sending emails and setting up fake websites designed to trick people into clicking links that install malicious software on their computers or capture credentials and other personal information.

  • Please exercise caution when clicking on links or providing personal information to people/organizations that request that information, unsolicited.
  • Some online resources that appear to offer help or information related to COVID-19 might actually install malware on a computer system to disrupt regular operations or steal personal information that is stored in a user’s browser.
    • For example, phishing emails claiming to be from trusted organizations are using COVID-19 in the subject line, with malicious links in the email that can damage a computer system or expose personal information.
    • Such emails could be claiming to offer links to new information or to buy surgical masks or sanitizers.
  • Please conduct your own research by relying on trusted sources of information, starting with

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