Ontario Cultural Attractions Fund (OCAF)

The Ontario Cultural Attractions Fund (OCAF) was established in 1999. It has three aims: (1) to increase cultural tourism by providing investments to assist Ontario organizations to develop, promote and present one- off or first time events, or a significant expansion of existing activity, which are designed to attract new tourists and visitors to cultural events; (2) increase the earned revenue capability of the applicant organization; and (3) support events that foster economic growth and contribute to job creation.

OCAF achieves this by providing up front working capital directed towards the applicant’s marketing and promotional costs, with the investment taking the form of a partially repayable loan.

OCAF board decisions are informed by sound economic analysis and measurable results.

How To Apply

Application forms are available in MS Word and Adobe PDF.

First time applicants, and those requiring further information or assistance with the application, should contact OCAF staff prior to submitting a stage 1 application. It is recommended that organizations start the application process approximately nine months (or earlier) prior to the event.

OCAF has a two-stage application process which ensures that organizations do not dedicate significant time, effort and resources to an ineligible project.  Please refer to the OCAF website for a current list of stage 2 application deadlines.

Stage 1 requires the applicant to complete a three-page form with basic information about the proposed project and target market. This application is reviewed by program staff.  If the project meets the general eligibility criteria, applicants will be provided with the Stage 2 application form.

The Stage 2 application requires the development of a detailed business case that includes a marketing plan, attendance and revenue projections and an analysis of the benefits of the project for the community. Stage 2 applications are reviewed by the OCAF board once staff has done a preliminary assessment.


The eligibility criteria are as broad and flexible as possible to ensure active participation by organizations of all sizes. The following eligibility criteria apply:

  • The applicant organization must be an incorporated Ontario-based, not-for-profit and/or charitable professional arts, heritage or cultural organization or an Ontario municipality or municipal agency that is undertaking a major project in the arts or heritage sector. The organization must have been in existence for at least one year

  • Eligible organizations must be in compliance with the legal financial reporting requirements under the Canada Corporations Act or the Corporations Act of Ontario, depending on their incorporation jurisdiction. Please refer to either the Industry Canada website or Ontario’s Ministry of Consumer Services website for more information.

To be eligible, projects must meet all of the following criteria:

  • The project must be distinct from ongoing programming or activity (this can be either a new event or a significant expansion or enhancement to existing programming)

  • The project must represent the single largest new programming initiative in the applicant’s business plan for that year

  • The project must run for a fixed or limited period of time

  • The project must have a marketing plan targeting new tourists to the community

  • The project must anticipate that at least 10% of the project total revenues are secured from the private sector AND at least 40% of total revenues are achieved through the project’s earned revenue

  • The project must demonstrate clearly the capability of repayment to OCAF and with an aim to generate a surplus for the applicant

  • The Board typically considers projects with total attendance figures of at least 1,000 in rural areas and 10,000 in large urban centres. Special consideration will be given to projects with attendance between 7,500 and 10,000 in large urban centres or between 750 and 1,000 in rural and northern areas if there is a strong case for tourism potential.

The OCAF Board understands that some of the biggest tourist draws are free or low admission festivals and events and will consider applications which do not meet the 40% earned revenue criteria.  These applications must demonstrate that earned revenue combined with private sector revenue represents at least 50% of total revenue.

Important Dates:

  • Sept 13th 2019

  • Nov 1st 2019

  • Jan 10th 2020

  • Feb 28th 2020

  • May 1st 2020

  • May 29th 2020

PROGRAM GUIDE The OCAF Program Guide provides all relevant criteria about the application process. Please download and consult the OCAF Program Guide before you complete your application. Printed copies are available upon request.

STAGE 1 APPLICATION FORM The Ontario Cultural Attractions Fund Stage 1 application form is available in MS Word and Adobe PDF formats.

STAGE 2 APPLICATION FORM Stage 2 application forms are furnished to organizations once a Stage 1 application has been reviewed by OCAF staff.


Program Information BookletOCAF At A Glance Brochure

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