COVID-19 information for AFA stakeholders

 The AFA will update this page regularly as new information comes available. 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:

The AFA has compiled a list of community supports available to artists, cultural workers, and arts organizations that may be helpful during the COVID-19 pandemic. Visit our COVID-19 Community Supports page for more information. 


  • The AFA Board of Directors has approved its 2020-21 spending plan based on the AFA’s current provincial allocation of $26.9 million. The AFA is using existing programs to be as responsive to the COVID-19 pandemic as possible. AFA is prioritizing support for arts organizations through its operational grant programs. Program impacts can be found under Frequently Asked Questions.

Arts sector support

The AFA recognizes this is 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.

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Frequently Asked Questions

AFA funding

The AFA Board of Directors has approved its 2020-21 spending plan based on the AFA’s current provincial allocation of $26.9 million. The AFA is using existing programs to be as responsive to the COVID-19 pandemic as possible.

The fiscal pressures being applied to government from multiple sources are unprecedented and the government has been clear all available resources must be streamlined to support frontline COVID-19 response efforts and public health. As a result, the AFA will receive its 2020-21 allocation from government in installments throughout the fiscal year. This means the AFA will be required to disburse grant allocations in installments to the majority of its operating grant recipients and, furthermore, some additional AFA grant programs will be affected.

The AFA will be maintaining existing commitments and/or maintaining 2019-20 funding levels for most operating clients this year. Sustaining the viability of AFA operational clients as much as possible is key to ensuring recovery for Alberta’s arts sector after the crisis has passed.

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 have been changed/impacted in the AFA's 2020-21 spending plan?

Programs that have been adjusted in our current spending plan are:

Should additional AFA programs be affected this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic or additional fiscal pressures, updates will be provided on this page.

Our organization receives operational funding from the AFA. Will the COVID-19 pandemic negatively affect our grant amount in 2020-21?

At this time, AFA will be maintaining existing commitments and/or maintaining 2019-20 funding levels for most operating clients this year as much as possible. Grant amounts may be adjusted in the event that the AFA budget is significantly decreased in 2020-21 or in successive fiscal years due to COVID-19 or other extenuating circumstances.

AFA will be receiving its annual allocation in installments and therefore we will be required to disburse grant allocations in installments to the majority of our operating grant programs as well. In order for AFA to manage its cash flow for the 2020-21 fiscal year, we have little flexibility over the timing or amounts of clients’ installment payments.

AFA will be disbursing its first installment payment to most operating clients immediately as a way to provide existing funds to organizations that may be struggling right now.

Will the COVID-19 pandemic negatively affect our operational grant amount 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 programing?

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 give extensions to grant reporting due dates?

The AFA will contact clients when changes are made to a reporting due date for operating programs directly. Changes to program deadlines will be listed below as they are made:

If you have an open project grant, and you wish to request an extension to the final report due date, you must submit a request in writing for approval by the AFA. Please email your request to your grant program consultant. (If you are unsure who that is, email

Will AFA share COVID-19 impact data that it has been collecting?

AFA did not request user consent to share information publically. As such, under Alberta’s Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy (FOIP) Act law, we do not have user consent to share this data.

AFA is using the information provided to analyze statistical information about potential implications of the COVID-19 pandemic on Alberta’s arts sector. This statistical information is not being shared publically or with organizations external to Alberta Culture, Multiculturalism and Status of Women.

We continue to accept information from the Alberta arts community on the impacts from COVID-19 and the response to prevent its spread. Please use this form to tell us how COVID-19 is impacting your practice.

  • If you are an AFA client who has already received a request for information from your grant consultant, you do not need to fill out this form.
  • Please email your completed form to We encourage you to update us as things progress/change, and will continue to accept submissions to support ongoing analysis.

Please note any information provided to the AFA may be shared with the Government of Alberta, and will be subject to the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy (FOIP) Act. It will only be used to compile statistical information about potential implications for Alberta’s arts sector due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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AFA Art Collection

Will AFA continue to support the Travelling Exhibition (TREX) program? If facilities are closed, how is this program continuing to operate?

AFA will continue to support the TREX program in 2020-21. We will continue to work with our TREX providers to support them through Alberta’s phased relaunch plan as facilities begin to reopen to the public.

The majority of artworks that were on tour with TREX are now in safe storage. For artworks that remain on display, while galleries, schools, libraries, and other facilities may be currently closed, these facility closures only affect public traffic, while small complements of staff remain on-site to ensure artwork remains safe and sound.

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

AFA has suspended its artwork loans programs for the time being to comply with social 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, contact Manager, Art Collections 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. The majority of artworks from the collection is stored in a safe and secure location. 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.

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Useful links

Visit our COVID-19 Community Supports page to view a list of arts-specific support programs provided by a variety of community organizations and associations. 


The Government of Alberta released workplace guidance and supports to help businesses and non-profits affected by COVID-19 begin to reopen and resume operations safely. For the arts sector, the following resources are most applicable:

Learn more about Alberta's relaunch strategy.

COVID-19 supports for Albertans – Learn more about immediate financial relief being developed for Alberta’s families and vulnerable populations.

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 – Information for Canadian Heritage grants and contributions recipients related to COVID-19.

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 – The City of Calgary has declared a State of Local Emergency to support the Province of Alberta’s efforts to combat the spread of COVID-19.

City of Edmonton: Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) – the City of Edmonton has declared a State of Local Emergency and is taking immediate action following the direction of Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer of Health.

  • 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

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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

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