COVID-19 Cultural Impact Critical Assistance grants

Key dates

Application Status
Expression of interest deadline (stage 1) Closed
Application deadline (stage 2, where applicable) Closed

The COVID-19 Cultural Impact Critical Assistance (CICA) grants provide one-time funding to assist Vancouver based non-profit arts and cultural organizations negatively impacted by COVID-19.

Funding can support continuity or adaptation of operations, programs, services, and re-opening or restart planning and implementation. For cultural spaces, funding is intended to support timely critical cultural space projects that address urgent life safety issues, equity, accessibility, COVID-19 pandemic restart and recovery, and sector resilience.

In most situations, $25,000 will be the maximum grant. There may be some exceptions for applications contributing to more than one program priority. No one application request can exceed $75,000.

This program is not intended to support creative development or production of artistic projects.


This program advances key directions of Culture|Shift: Blanketing the City in Arts and Culture, Vancouver’s new culture plan.

The program will prioritize groups who have played and continue to play a critical role in the city’s cultural and economic vitality, and who have been most impacted by COVID-19. These groups who, through their mission, programs, services, operations, administration, leadership, and space, contribute to one or more of the following:


Eligible non-profit arts, cultural, or creative organizations can be receiving ongoing or occasional City funding support, or may be submitting a first-time request for support.

To make a submission to be considered for support, the organization must:

  • Be an arts and culture non-profit society or community service co-op legally registered and in good standing with BC Registries Services, a local First Nations Band Council, or a registered charity with the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA)
  • Be located or have an active presence and deliver programs and services within Vancouver or if led by Musqueam, Squamish, or Tsleil-Waututh Nation members – held in their unceded traditional homelands
  • Have commitments to a respectful, equitable, and accommodating workplace as demonstrated through Human Resources values, principles, practices, and policies
  • Provide equitable access to programs and services to a broad diverse public
  • Contribute to the cultural diversity of Vancouver and the unceded homelands of the Musqueam, Squamish or Tsleil-Waututh peoples and align with key directions of Culture|Shift

Other eligibility requirements may apply for those who advance to the next stage to apply for support (example: how long an organization has been registered, location of the project, facility tenure). 

Ineligible organizations and activity include:

  • Organizations that do not have an arts and/or cultural mandate
  • Core artistic training
  • Pre-COVID-19 (March 2020) deficits
  • Other City of Vancouver departments and branches

How to apply

The expression of interest (EOI) submission is to understand how an investment of funds to your organization would support priority needs of the sector towards recovery. It is the first step in the process for consideration as follows:

Make sure you're eligible

Read through general eligibility criteria above, and for Cultural Spaces and Theatre Rental support, read our information guides:

First time applicants 

If your group has not previously applied for support from Cultural Services, contact staff to confirm eligibility, and to be registered in the online system by emailing

Returning applicants

If your group has previously applied for support from Cultural Services and are registered in the online system, login and apply.

EOI submission deadline is November 4, 2020. 

Next steps

EOI submissions will be reviewed by a staff committee to determine if they will be considered for funding or not. 

If your organization is being considered for funding, you will receive an email with instructions for the next stage. This may be to:

  • Submit an application to a specific stream or funding area (deadline to submit is November 18, 2020)
  • Provide additional information

Assessment criteria and process

EOI submissions will be assessed according to the program purpose and priorities. Due to the anticipated volume of requests there will be no opportunity for staff to reconsider any submissions.

Assessment criteria for the EOI submissions:

  • Degree to which COVID-19 has had a deep impact on the organization and the sector it serves
  • Investment further contributes to the sustainability of priority groups and key goals of Culture|Shift
  • Request is feasible in terms of timeline and there is a strong need for funding

Watch the Greater Vancouver Professional Theatre Alliance information session