Arts Councils and Organizations for Writers

If you are an emerging writer or arts organizer looking for funding to help get your project off the ground, grants can feel imposing at best–and impossible at worst. If your project is still new, we recommend looking into funding at a municipal level–ask or search around to see if your city has something like the Toronto Arts Council, which provides funding to artists and projects based in Toronto that engage the Toronto community. If no municipal funding is available, check out your provincial arts organization for grant opportunities! Many of the websites are comprehensive and helpful, but the grant officers are always open to helping guide you through your first application. You can find the contact information for your program’s officer on the website, generally; or if it’s not there, you can simply call and ask. The officers want to help you write a successful application!

Don’t be afraid to ask for help, whether it’s understanding the guidelines or figuring out how to propose a budget. Check out these top 10 grant-writing tips from the Toronto Arts Council as you hunker down with your next application!

Membership-based organizations often have programs in place that will benefit their members–for instance, here at the League we have three funding programs that organizers can apply to for assistance funding a League member’s reading. Arts organizers and hosts may find it beneficial to check out provincial writers’ organizations as well as national organizations to find out if their funding programs may work into your event planning.


  • The Canada Council for the Arts provides significant funding to established artists and organizations all across Canada. Their literary program offers grants to publishers, writers, and other literary organizers–you can find out all about their writing and publishing grants here. Two key grants are their grants for professional writers, and their spoken word and performance grants. It is important to note than in April 2017, the Canada Council will be rolling out a new funding model. Their website offers a variety of resources to educate and prepare yourself for this transition.
  • The Writers’ Union of Canada‘s (TWUC) members are established writers of any genre or style.
  • The Writers’ Trust of Canada offers some of Canada’s largest literary awards to emerging, mid-career, and established writers in all genres, as well as running Canada’s most sought-after residency and a new fellowship program.
  • PEN Canada is the Canadian Centre of International PEN, the world association of writers. PEN works on behalf of writers who are persecuted by governments for the peaceful exercise of their right to freedom of expression.


  • The Alberta Foundation for the Arts awards grants to individual artists and arts organizers in Alberta. The deadlines for individual artists grants in the Literary Arts program are February 1 and September 1.
  • The BC Arts Council provides funding to artists in BC, with grants, scholarships, and awards. They have a grant for individual writers’ projects with a deadline in the fall, as well as a grant for professional development with three deadlines per year (April 1, August 1, and December 1).
  • The Manitoba Arts Council has a substantial Major Arts Grant available to writers in the province, as well as many other funding and award opportunities for Manitoba writers.
  • Arts New Brunswick offers several innovative funding programs to writers, including a grant for emerging artists and newly-arrived immigrants, and a career development program for established artists. The Writer’s Federation of New Brunswick offers annual book awards and various programs that fulfill its vision of “creating community through words.”
  • ArtsNL, the Newfoundland and Labrador Arts Council, offers a variety of funding to Newfoundland writers, including their Professional Project Grants Program with deadlines in March and September.
  • The Northwest Territories Arts Council has grants available to individual artists in all disciplines, with deadlines in October and February each year.
  • Arts Nova Scotia provides grants to artists and organizers in Nova Scotia, including an individual artists grant with deadlines in May and November.
  • Nunavut has a few organizations for visual arts and storytelling, but not as much for literary arts specifically. A partnership with the Canada Council for the Arts recently made some funding available for northern artists’ travel and professional development expenses. We recommend contacting either the Canada Council or the Government of Nunavut’s Arts Development department to find out more about available funding for writers in Nunavut.
  • The Ontario Arts Council provides individual writers’ grants.
  • PEI Arts Grants offers grants in three streams: creation, dissemination, and professional development grants.
  • In Quebec, the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Quebec offers individual writers’ grants and project grants for Quebecois artists and writers working in English and French.
  • The Saskatchewan Arts Board offers several grants and awards for individual artists.
  • The Yukon provincial government has several funding programs for community arts initiatives–find the outlines of each program on their website, and contact the department for more information on what’s a best fit for you!


  • Every province except Ontario also has at least one provincial writers’ organization that writers can join for networking opportunities and more. Find out more about each province’s literary offerings, including information and links for writers’ organizations, in our “Hitting the Road” blog series.
  • Access Copyright 
  • Public Lending Rights (reimburses writers for library use of their books) – read our comprehensive blog post about recent changes to the program!
  • The Canadian Conference of the Arts represents 200,000 cultural workers, and has some very valuable tax advice–online, you will find a guide to the CCA’s international activities, its national political activities, including submissions on New Media, Finance, and Cultural policy, valuable tax primers for artists and writers, and more
  • CANSCAIP is a national organization that supports children’s authors and illustrators
  • The Canadian Authors Association is for writers of any genre and style at any stage of their career
  • The Professional Writers Association of Canada (PWAC) is home to professional non-fiction writers at various stages of their careers
  • The Book and Periodical Council provides support to writers’ and arts organizations across Canada, as well as organizes Freedom to Read Week and Book Summit each year