(First time applicants, and those requiring further information or assistance with the application, should contact OCAF staff prior to submitting a stage 1 application. Organization must start the application process approximately eight months prior to an event. OCAF has a two-stage application process which ensures that organizations do not dedicate significant time, effort and resources to an ineligible project.  Please refer to “Important Dates” for a current list of stage 2 application deadlines).

The eligibility criteria are as broad and flexible as possible to ensure active participation by organizations of all sizes. The following eligibility criteria apply:

  • The applicant organization must be an incorporated Ontario-based, not-for-profit and/or charitable professional arts, heritage or cultural organization or an Ontario municipality or municipal agency that is undertaking a major project in the arts or heritage sector. The organization must have been in existence for at least one year.
  • Eligible organizations must be in compliance with the legal financial reporting requirements under the Canada Corporations Act or the Corporations Act of Ontario, depending on their incorporation jurisdiction. Please refer to either the Industry Canada website or Ontario’s Ministry of Consumer Services website for more information.

To be eligible, projects must meet all of the following criteria:

  • The project must be distinct from ongoing programming or activity (this can be either a new event or a significant expansion or enhancement to existing programming)
  • The project must represent the single largest new programming initiative in the applicant’s business plan for that year
  • The project must run for a fixed or limited period of time
  • The project must have a marketing plan targeting new tourists to the community
  • The project must anticipate that at least 10% of the project total revenues are secured from the private sector AND at least 40% of total revenues are achieved through the project’s earned revenue
  • The project must demonstrate clearly the capability of repayment to OCAF and with an aim to generate a surplus for the applicant
  • The Board typically considers projects with total attendance figures of at least 1,000 in rural areas and 10,000 in large urban centres. Special consideration will be given to projects with attendance between 7,500 and 10,000 in large urban centres or between 750 and 1,000 in rural and northern areas if there is a strong case for tourism potential.

The OCAF Board understands that some of the biggest tourist draws are free or low admission festivals and events and will consider applications which do not meet the 40% earned revenue criteria.  These applications must demonstrate that earned revenue combined with private sector revenue represents at least 50% of total revenue.

It is recommended that organizations start the application process at least eight months prior to the event.

Applicants may receive OCAF support no more than once every two years.

Please refer to the OCAF Program Guide for detailed eligibility criteria.


“Since March 2020, the board of the Ontario Cultural Attractions Fund
has taken a number of steps to ensure openness and flexibility
for applying organizations during COVID-19. Guided by values of
resilience and renewal, OCAF believes it can play an important role to
help the cultural tourism sector transition through this pandemic period
to recovery once the public feels comfortable participating in live
events once again. To accomplish this, we have reviewed a number of
the Fund’s criteria and have integrated greater flexibility into the
application and repayment process. We continue to review our
requirements in light of the challenges facing the sector and will
consider new definitions of attendance to include virtual participation
until the in-person attendance returns to appropriate levels.
These changes to the guidelines may be temporary or subject to
change as circumstances evolve; we will ensure you are fully
informed of further changes and requirements along the way. In the
meantime, staff are always available to discuss your specific situation
and make recommendations to the board, if appropriate.”