COVID-19 information for AFA stakeholders

 Visit 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 are being 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 response to COVID-19 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's Open for Summer reopening plan

Alberta has announced a three stage plan to ease public health restrictions based on vaccinations and hospitalization rates. Stage 2 begins on June 10, 2021.

Learn more about the plan.

Beginning on June 10:

  • Indoor recreation, entertainment and other settings (rec centres, arenas, casinos, cinemas, theatres, museums, galleries, libraries, etc.) – open at 1/3 of fire code occupancy
  • Gyms, fitness and dance studios – open for solo and drop-in activities and indoor fitness classes with 3 metre distancing
  • Youth activities (day camps, overnight camps) – resume with restrictions
  • Outdoor public gatherings (concerts/festivals) – up to 150 people
  • Outdoor fixed seating facilities (grandstands) – 1/3 seated capacity
  • Work from home order is lifted but still recommended
  • Distancing and masking requirements remain in effect

Stage 3 will begin two weeks after 70 per cent of Albertans, ages 12 and over, have received at least one dose, and hospitalizations are below 500 and declining. Expected to be effective in late June or early July.

​​The AFA encourages its stakeholders to consult with measures and restrictions outlined at Alberta Health may update policies and protocols listed on this page without notifying the AFA. 

Detailed guidance for performing arts has been released by the Government of Alberta and is available to download here: Guidance for Performing Arts (current as of April 27, 2021).

  • Please note this document does not account for restrictions on activities announced in May 2021, and may need to be updated to align with Alberta's Open for Summer plan. 

Back to top

Frequently Asked Questions

AFA funding

On February 25, the Alberta government announced details of its 2021-22 budget. The AFA’s 2021-22 budget allocation is $25.6 million.

While the AFA allocation for this year has been announced, it is important to note that spending decisions for AFA programs have not been made at this time. The next step is for the AFA Board of Directors to engage with the arts sector and develop and approve a 2021-22 spending plan based on our annual allocation. Once the plan is approved, we will communicate our funding approach to the community.

The AFA recognizes we must be flexible to manage this time of uncertainty while still strategically investing our resources to minimize impacts to the organizations and individuals who rely on AFA funding.

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

What programs will be impacted by the reduction to the AFA’s allocation?

No spending decisions about AFA programs have been made at this time. The AFA Board of Directors will develop and approve a 2021-22 spending plan based on our annual allocation. Once the plan is approved, we will communicate our funding approach to the community.

In the meantime, programs that were changed/impacted in the 2020-21 spending plan will remain in effect until further notice.

What programs were changed/impacted in the AFA's 2020-21 spending plan?

Programs that were adjusted in our 2020-21 spending plan include:

Will Individual Artist Project grants be deferred again in 2021?

While program decisions for 2021-22 have not yet been made, the AFA accepted applications for Individual Artist Project grants for the March 1, 2021 deadline as in previous years. 

The decision to defer funding in March 2020 was not related to the AFA’s budget allocation last year, but rather a response to the sudden arrival of COVID-19 in Alberta.

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 will develop an approach to addressing the calculation of organizations’ eligible grant requests for future funding for those affected by COVID-19, including reduced programming and/or fund generation.

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

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?

Programs decisions, including how grant payments will need to be made this year, have not yet been determined. The AFA Board of Directors will develop and approve a 2021-22 spending plan based on our annual allocation. Once the plan is approved, we will communicate our funding approach to the community.

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

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.

Back to top

AFA Art Collection

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

Programs decisions have not yet been made. The AFA Board of Directors will develop and approve a 2021-22 spending plan based on our annual allocation. Once the plan is approved, we will communicate our funding approach to the community.

Is the AFA Art Collection still lending artwork at this time?

Artwork loans programs, previously on pause due to the public health quarantine period, have returned to limited service under current health guidelines. Staff has resumed limited art placement activity and is addressing outstanding requests for the time being to comply with physical distancing efforts recommended by Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer.

If you need artwork removed, AFA staff will reach out at such time when it is safe to do so. If the artwork is not in a safe or secure location, email so that staff may contact you to discuss making arrangements to have the artwork collected in a safe manner.

Is there staff available to care for artworks in the AFA Art Collection?

Yes. Staff check in daily to ensure that it is operating at optimum effectiveness for the safe care of the artworks.

How can I access the AFA Art Collection now?

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.

Back to top

Useful links 


Alberta is currently in Step 2 of its "A Path Forward" restrictions easement plan. In this plan, public health measures will be eased in steps based on hospitalization benchmarks. Moving between steps will happen at least 3 weeks apart to assess the impact on cases.

The government has launched the Alberta Biz Connect platform to help businesses and non-profits affected by COVID-19 begin to reopen and resume operations safely. This includes publishing and continuously updating general and sector specific guidance documents that can help you comply with public health requirements to reduce the risk of COVID-19 among staff, audiences, patrons, and customers.

  • View all guidance documents.
  • Guidance documents should be used in context of current restrictions in place according to "A Path Forward".
  • If you have questions about the guidance documents, or if you are unsure which documents apply to your organization, please email and we can help answer your questions.

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.


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.


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.

  • Edmonton Arts Council COVID-19 FAQs – Information and updates on how the coronavirus outbreak is affecting Edmonton Art Council's programs and services, and its response.


If your venue is available for COVID19 help, please enter your information into this national Google document.

View metric categories to consider on COVID19 impacts. If you have metrics categories you suggest to be added to this national document please email

Back to top

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

Back to top