On August 8th, The Toronto Sketch Comedy Festival presented a virtual webinar that offered comedians an overview of The Canada Council for the Arts and its programs supporting artists. Canada Council Program Officer Matthew Tiffin shared practical advice for comedians in stand-up, improv and sketch comedy to help navigate Canada Council’s artist profile process, and access funding through the Explore & Create program.

We have taken the information and spread it out below for you!

What can apply for? Get your Artist Profile

Your Artist Profile is:

Your entry point into the Canada Council’s application process:

  • You can’t apply without an Artist Profile
  • Your Artist Profile(s) determines what grants you’re allowed to apply for

Each Artist Profile is determined by specific eligibility criteria

What can apply for? Applicant Types


Group / Collective


Who can apply? Organization

To be eligible, you must:

  • be incorporated as a not-for-profit
  • be in operation for at least two years
  • have a history of at least two public presentations/productions
  • employ professional artists and pay professional artist fees


What can you apply for? Grant Programs

“I want to make and

produce art.”

“I want to share my art across Canada and the world.”

“I want to support artists and the arts sector.”

Creating, Knowing & Sharing is a comprehensive funding program developed by and for Indigenous people, and is based on an Indigenous-centred framework.

Research & Creation

Grants to support creative research, development and the creation of new works.

Concept to Realization

Grants to support activities that result in completed works that are shown/presented to the public.

Professional Development for Artists

Supports the career growth of artists and groups by encouraging participation in a wide range of development opportunities.

Circulation & Touring

Grants to tour and circulate works domestically or internationally.


Grants to travel within Canada or abroad to network, collaborate and build profile.

Public Outreach

(Arts Across Canada)

Grants to support activities that contribute to public appreciation of arts in Canada.

Sector Innovation & Development

Grants to support activities that strengthen the arts sector.

Literary Publishing

Project/core grants to support the activities of Canadian literary magazine or book publishers.

Support Organizations / National Arts Service Organizations

Core grants to support the services and activities of specialized / national arts service organizations.

Professional Development for Arts Professionals

Supports the career growth of Canadian arts professionals by encouraging knowledge-sharing and participation in a wide range of development opportunities. You can apply for: mentorships, internships, specialized training.

How and When to Apply?

Organizations not receiving core funding may submit 3 project grant applications per year (between March 1 – February 28).

Most project grants can be submitted at any time. However, most competitions have cut-off dates. Depending on when you submit, that determines when you get your results.

For more info on cut-off dates and result dates: https://canadacouncil.ca/funding/grants/deadlines

Application Assistance and Access Support

Individuals who are Deaf or who have disabilities, including those living with mental illness, and require accommodation at any stage of the application process may be eligible for additional assistance.

Peer Assessment

The majority of Council’s funding decisions are based on the recommendations from peer assessment committees.

These committees :

  • are composed of artists and arts professionals from all over Canada who have the expertise required to assess applications
  • review and assess applications and make recommendations for funding using the published criteria to assess and score the applications

Peer assessment reflects Canada’s population by representing Indigenous and culturally diverse communities, the Deaf and disability communities, all regions, and a balance of gender, age and official languages.

Assessment Process

  • Committee members assess all applications based on the assessment criteria.
  • Historical and current cultural contexts as well as barriers faced by designated priority groups when assessing and scoring applications.


Equity Priorities

  • Application assistance;
  • First Nations, Inuit and Métis individuals, groups and organizations: Creating, Knowing and Sharing;
  • Supplementary funds contributing towards the cost of disability-related supports and services needed to carry out activities funded : Access Support;
  • Support to increase access to diversified markets and audiences for Official Language Minority Communities (OLMCs): Market Access Strategy for Official Language Minority Communities (OLMCs) Fund.
  • Support towards building capacity and improving the arts sector for organizations and cultural connectors from culturally diverse, Deaf and disability, official language minority, and Indigenous communities: Sector Innovation and Development.

Professional Stand-Up, Improv and Sketch Comedy Artists

  • Professional stand-up, improv and sketch comedy arts do not have a dedicated field of practice at the Canada Council for the Arts. However, the Council understands that a broad definition of theatre or literature can include forms practiced by stand-up, improv and sketch comedy artists such as improvisational theatre or solo creation. The Council also recognizes that many stand-ups, improv and sketch comedy artists have professional training and experience as theatre artists or literary writers.
  • Applicants from the stand-up, improv and sketch comedy arts communities who respond to current eligibility criteria in theatre or literary arts are welcome to register for a profile at any time through the Council’s Application portal: https://apply.canadacouncil.ca/. Support is available for assistance with registration in the portal and to navigate the programs.
  • Applications will be evaluated based on the published assessment criteria of each component.

Tips for stand-up, improv and sketch comedy artists when applying to the Canada Council

  • The Council encourages stand-up, improv and sketch comedy artists who are applying for the first-time to explore their eligibility to the New and Early Career Artists profile, which has more accessible eligibility criteria and give access to three components in the Explore and Create program.

  • When applying, instead of focusing on the potential commercial success of the work, focus on creative development, risk-taking, artistic innovation, pushing boundaries and reaching new audiences.
  • Stand-up, improv and sketch comedy artists who satisfy the theatre or literary arts profile can also self-nominate to participate in the Council’s peer assessment process through the Council’s Application portal: https://apply.canadacouncil.ca/. Stand-up, improv and sketch comedy artists, whether they intend to apply to the Council or not, are encouraged to submit their candidacy.

The Canada Council welcomes feedback on the experience of applicants with the granting process at any time.

Contact Us

We strongly recommend that you contact a program officer prior to preparing and submitting your application. Depending on the kind of activity you are looking to support, here are some relevant email addresses:

General inquiries:

Supporting Artistic Practice:

Creating, Knowing & Sharing: