Application Process

Can I submit an application for two different projects?

No, you can apply for only one project at a time. If approved you may not return to the program for two years. If denied, you may return to OCAF for an eligible event at any time.

How are the decisions made?

OCAF staff assess applications and make recommendations to the OCAF Board of Directors. All investment decisions are made by the Board and applicants are notified immediately following the Board meeting. The decision might be an outright approval of all or part of the amount requested, an approval with conditions, a deferral pending further information, or a denial. If the latter, applicants can reapply to the program with another eligible project without waiting the requisite two-year period.

How much can I ask for?

Request levels are covered in detail in the OCAF Program Guide and are governed by a series of financial benchmarks and assessment factors developed by the Board. The broad formula is: (a) events with expenses of over $1 million can apply for one-third of project expenses; (b) events with expenses between $100,000 and $1 million can apply for half of the project expenses; and (c) events with expenses of under $100,000 eligible for two-thirds of project expenses. However, other factors must be taken into consideration including repayment level, projected attendance, historical precedent, and risks associated with the type of the event under consideration.

If I’ve already received funding, when can I submit another application?

You have two options:

  1. you may return after two years understanding that the repayment maximums increase by 10% in each category; or
  2. you may return in three years.
Is there a formal appeal process?

While OCAF does not have a formal appeal process, the nature of the preparation and development of the application provides a flexible approach. If the timing of the event allows, the Board will, where warranted, reconsider an organization’s proposal.

What makes a successful application?

After analysis of the projects supported to date, OCAF Board and staff have identified certain success indicators and benchmarks which guide the Board in its deliberations.
Priority will be placed on those applications that demonstrate the intention and the potential to attract tourists from outside of Ontario. The Board typically considers only projects with total attendance figures of at least 1,000 in rural areas and 10,000 in large urban centres. The Board reviews the level of investment requested relative to the number of attendees. In general, the Board supports projects for which the OCAF investment is not more than $5.00 per attendee. Successful applications usually show a close correlation between the size of the marketing budget and the OCAF investment. Priority is placed on investment in projects demonstrating the maximum repayment potential.


Are municipalities eligible to apply?

Yes, OCAF encourages municipalities that manage museums, festivals, art galleries and other cultural activities to apply for new or expanded events. OCAF has also provided support through economic development agencies of municipal government.

My organization is less than a year old and we aren’t incorporated yet. Can we apply?

Unfortunately no. As part of the risk management exercise that OCAF uses to assess projects we must be confident that an organization has the expertise to mount a new event successfully. If an organization is not incorporated for a year we encourage the producers to establish partnerships with other, more established organizations that may agree to apply to OCAF on behalf of the joint project.

When should I apply? What are the deadlines?

It is important to begin the application process at least six months in advance of the project taking place. While the application process can be as brief as one month, the lead time is necessary to promote and market the event adequately and successfully. The deadlines posted on this website are for Stage 2 applications. Stage 1 applications may be submitted at any time, keeping in mind the six month lead time.

Who and what is eligible for funding?

Please see Eligibility section.

Funding and Loan Repayment

Does OCAF have geographic funding quotas?

The OCAF Board takes its provincial mandate very seriously and results show that, to date, the Fund has supported projects in 135 Ontario communities. While the agreement with the Ministry of Culture does not require geographic spending quotas, OCAF’s internal planning process sets annual targets for all areas of the province. Staff works to develop initiatives in areas underserved by the program.

How does the repayment formula work?

The maximum repayment levels range from 30% to 50% of the OCAF investment and depend on the size of your organization and where it’s located. The OCAF Program Guide outlines the formula in detail and provides helpful tables to assist you.

If I’m approved for funding, how long does it take to get the cheque?

Organizations receiving OCAF investment are required to execute a legal agreement with the Ontario Cultural Attractions Fund Corporation that sets out terms and repayment requirements. In some cases, conditions must be satisfied before the agreement can be prepared. The signing of the contract will trigger the funding. Once all conditions are satisfied and the agreement is signed, funds can flow immediately, generally within less than a week.

What if our event isn’t successful and we aren’t able to repay the Fund?

OCAF shares the risk with you. While the OCAF Board will not forgive the repayment outlined in the legal contract, if the event has generated earned revenue, OCAF may consider an alternate repayment plan.

General Fund Information

How is the OCAF Board appointed?

The Ontario Cultural Attractions Fund Corporation is a not for profit organization set up at the request of the Province of Ontario, specifically to manage the Fund. OCAF operates under a Memorandum of Understanding and reports quarterly through the Ontario Ministry of Culture. This agreement requires that the Chair of the Ontario Arts Council and the Chair of the Ontario Heritage Trust (formerly Foundation) be members of the OCAF board to ensure a broad representation of the cultural sector. All other members, including the Chair, are appointed by the membership. Terms are for one year and are renewable.

Is OCAF a granting program, like the Ontario Arts Council?

No, in fact, it is unlike any other funding program in Canada. The support is provided through a combination of loan and grant and is intended to help cultural organizations and events attract tourists and strengthen earned revenue capacity. Given the emphasis on financial management and marketing, decisions are made directly by the OCAF Board, rather than through peer panels or juries.

When was OCAF set up? How long is the Fund supposed to last?

OCAF was set up in 1998, launched in 1999 and was originally expected to last five to seven years. It is now expected to last through the 2020-2021 fiscal year, thanks to a three year commitment from the provincial government.

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