COVID-19 information for AFA stakeholders

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

On this page:

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 have been 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 recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic 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.

Alberta declares state of public health emergency and establishes new measures

Alberta’s government is taking targeted action to protect the health system and stop the spread of COVID-19. On September 15, the government declared a state of public health emergency in response to the rapid rise of cases and hospitalizations from COVID-19.

  • Temporary mandatory health measures will go into effect for schools, restaurants and bars, fitness and sports activities, social gatherings, retail and places of worship, among others.
  • Some restrictions came into effect on September 16, while others begin on September 20. Restrictions will remain in place until government sees a change in trends.
  • Updated health measures are described on Alberta.ca.

Restrictions exemption program

Starting September 20, discretionary businesses and events must either:

  1. Implement the Restrictions Exemption Program requiring proof of vaccination or negative test result to continue operating as usual, or
  2. Follow business capacity and operating restrictions as outlined on Alberta.ca (we have highlighted some applicable restrictions for the arts community below).

Organizations do not need to apply to the program. Audits and enforcement will occur to ensure rules are followed. 

  • Masking requirements will remain in effect even if a location has a restriction exemption program in place with proof of immunization or a negative test.

Additional information about the exemption program is available on on Alberta.ca.

Highlighted restrictions for the arts community

All Albertans are encouraged to review the detailed restrictions on Alberta.ca. We have included below restrictions that are especially applicable to artists and arts organizations below:

  • Masking and physical distancing (2 metres) is required in all indoor public spaces.
  • Indoor youth sports, performance and recreation are permitted to continue.
    • Require masking, distancing and symptom screening when it does not inhibit the activity. For example, masking is not required when doing physical activity.
  • Indoor fitness activities (e.g. dance) require 3 metres distance between participants.
    • Masking is required when not doing the fitness activity (e.g. breaks, etc.).
  • Indoor entertainment and recreation facilities are required to limit occupancy/attendance to 1/3 fire code capacity.
  • Attendance at indoor entertainment and recreation facilities is permitted within capacity limits as long as it includes members of the same household or else an individual who lives alone and their two close contacts.
    • 2 metres between individuals or households; 3 metres for physical activities.
  • Indoor adult physical activity, performance and recreation is limited to one-on-one training and solo activities. No indoor group classes or competitions are permitted.
    • 3 metres between individuals for indoor physical activity.
    • Indoor one-on-one training and individual workouts are allowed as long as distancing is maintained.
    • Participants must mask when not doing performance/physical activity.
    • Outdoor activities can continue with no restrictions.
    • Youth physical activity, performance and special interest groups are able to continue for those 18 and under with appropriate masking and distancing measures in place.

Additional measures and restrictions may also be applicable. ​​The AFA encourages its stakeholders to consult with measures and restrictions outlined at www.alberta.ca/enhanced-public-health-measures.aspx. Alberta Health may update policies and protocols listed on this page without notifying the AFA. 

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Frequently Asked Questions

AFA funding

The Alberta Foundation for the Arts (AFA) Board of Directors has approved its 2021-22 spending plan based on the AFA’s current provincial allocation of $25.6 million.

Our priorities this year are to continue to maintain predictable and stable support for Alberta’s arts organizations, and to provide opportunities for individual artists. We will also continue to maintain the AFA Art Collection, will engage in key research and communications activities, and we will begin to implement its Pluralism policy this year.

Our spending plan was informed by several factors, including our current fiscal environment. Other key elements included:

  • our mission and mandate
  • the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic
  • the anticipated relaunch of the arts sector this year
  • input gathered from AFA clients and stakeholders through engagement meetings held earlier this year
  • sector research and understanding of new support provided by federal agencies

We are committed to continue to engage with our clients and stakeholders to ensure we are as responsive as possible to the community’s needs.

Learn more about the AFA’s stakeholder engagement process and read our What We Heard report.

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

What programs and services have been impacted by the 2021-22 spending plan?

Funding has been maintained as much as possible while needing to manage a slight budget reduction this year. Operational funding and ongoing support for individual artists has been prioritized while ensuring funding is available for other priority work.

Some of the AFA’s programs remain closed to new applications due to the COVID-19 pandemic and associated restrictions:

Has funding for individual artists been reduced?

Our priorities this year are to continue to maintain predictable and stable support for Alberta’s arts organizations, and to provide opportunities for individual artists.

We are maintaining funding levels for individual artist project grants as much as possible while managing the budget reduction we received this year.

Will operating grants for organizations be reduced?

At this time, AFA will be maintaining existing commitments and/or maintaining current 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 2021-22 or in successive fiscal years due to COVID-19 or other extenuating circumstances.

Our organization receives operational funding from the AFA. Will the COVID-19 pandemic negatively affect our grant amount in 2021-22 or future years?

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

Due to the evolving nature of the pandemic, and due to the breadth of organizations that we serve, the AFA is evaluating each funding opportunity separately.

We will communicate any changes to future grant calculations in advance of application intake for those programs, for which those affected years will have an effect.

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 afacontact@gov.ab.ca.)

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 be providing operating grant payments in quarterly installments in 2021-22?

No, the AFA’s intention is to return to regular payment schedules in 2021-22.

Any additional administrative or logistical information related to grant payments will be communicated directly to funding clients.

If you have any questions about your payment, please contact your grant consultant.

Has the AFA made 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 are now eligible for reimbursement.

Arts Presenting grants support only 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.

The federal government has indicated that it may loosen/lift travel restrictions. Will the AFA reinstate programs currently suspended due to travel components?

The AFA is closely monitoring the federal government’s policy on travel restrictions. Should restrictions change and/or be lifted, the AFA will discuss its current approach with its programs that primarily support travel projects.

Until a decision is made, individual artists may choose to submit a proposal through one of the seven discipline-specific Individual Artist Project Grant programs to support a project that includes travel. The next deadline to apply is September 1.

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AFA Art Collection

Will the AFA’s budget reduction impact the AFA Art Collection?

The AFA will continue to maintain the AFA Art Collection, including its programs and services.

How can I access the AFA Art Collection?

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:

The government has launched the Alberta Biz Connect platform to help businesses and non-profits affected by COVID-19 operate safely and support their recovery.

Alberta has published Pivot Online: A Toolkit for Artists and Non-profit Organizations

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.

Federal:

New - on June 28, the federal government announced details of its plan for continued support for arts, culture, heritage and sport sector organizations. Read the news release.

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.

Municipal:

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.

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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 Alberta.ca/covid19.

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