Minister’s statement on COVID-19 support for arts and culture sector

March 27 2020

“COVID-19 and the need for physical distancing has had a significant impact on everyone, including those in the arts sector. Arts organizations right away responded to the orders, direction and recommendations from the provincial health officer, showing great leadership by cancelling events, performances and festivals to protect people’s health. We understand this has had a significant impact on artists, their families and arts organizations.

“My colleague Bob D’Eith, MLA for Maple Ridge-Mission, and I have been in regular contact with arts and culture leaders to understand their initial needs during this pandemic.

“To support the people and organizations in the arts sector, we have developed a $3-million Arts and Culture Resilience Supplement to be administered by the BC Arts Council. Operating and eligible project clients will receive a supplement of up to $15,000 in early April to help them pay their bills.

“Starting in April 2020, the BC Arts Council will provide operating clients a 50% advance on 2020-21 funding to help with their cash flow. We are also extending application deadlines, relaxing reporting requirements and allowing organizations to use funding to cover immediate needs like rent and utilities.

“These actions build on our government’s COVID-19 Action Plan. The new BC Emergency Benefit for Workers allows people in the arts sector, who have had their income affected by the COVID-19 outbreak, to apply for a one-time payment of $1,000. Our government’s financial support plan includes several actions that arts organizations are eligible for, such as delaying tax filing and payment deadlines.

“This is a first, but very necessary, step. These measures are what we can do right away within the existing BC Arts Council budget to help arts organizations during the pandemic. We will have more to announce regarding additional supports for the sector in the weeks ahead.”

Learn More:

Provincial support for the COVID-19 pandemic:

Supports for B.C.’s small businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic:

The BC Arts Council’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic:

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