Toronto Dancers COVID-19 Relief Fund


On March 11th, 2020 The World Health Organization declared COVID-19 as a global health pandemic. The City of Toronto and its surrounding areas benefit a great deal from many of its artists.  Yet, many artists (including dancers) are most vulnerable to the repercussions of COVID-19. As most professional dancers are considered to be self-employed and independent contractors, they are ineligible for some of the government support income programs. As such, dancers need to continue to be creative with how they generate income during this very vulnerable time. 

To assist Toronto dancers in handling the repercussions of the COVID-19 crisis, The Dance Plug Canada is creating a relief fund dedicated to the professional dance artists residing in Toronto. This Fund will allocate up to $1000 (in increments of $250) to the self-employed, individual dance artists residing in the Greater Toronto Area whose creative work and income have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. We recognize the adverse impacts that the cancellation of performances and productions, the closure of venues, and the loss of teaching opportunities have on the freelance workers that make up the majority of professional dance artists in Toronto.


This emergency relief fund exists for the vulnerable artists in the Toronto arts and culture sector, specifically, dance artists who are self-employed and are NOT eligible for government support programs like Employee Insurance (EI) and the Canada Emergency Relief Benefit (CERB), recently announced on March 25th, 2020.

If you are eligible for Employment Insurance Benefits through any other employer, or have alternative options to access bridge funding, please do not apply for these relief funds. This includes the recently announced Canada Emergency Relief Benefit (CERB). The objective of this fund is to assist as many self-employed dance artists as possible – including the most vulnerable workers in the creative sector. The fewer demands there are for this fund, the more able we will be to distribute to those truly in need.

Applicants must declare that all the information provided in the application is factual.  If you apply, you may be called upon to offer further verification.

All applicants must:

- Be a self-employed professional dance artist. We are defining this as someone who has developed skills through training or practice, is recognized by artists working in the same artistic tradition, has a history of public presentation or publication, seeks payment for their work and actively practices their art. The majority of your income must come from dance

- Have a permanent physical address within the Greater Toronto Area and be able to provide proof of residency, e.g.. a government-issued form of identification, or other proof of residence. We are defining the Greater Toronto Area as the City of Toronto, York Region, Halton Region, Peel Region and Durham Region. 

- Be a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident of Canada or have an application pending for permanent resident status and, if requested, be able to provide documentation to verify this.

- Provide documentation of lost revenue, such as contracts, offer letters and notices of cancellations. Materials should include the agreed-upon or expected payment or fee. Documentation may be formal contracts or less formal communication such as emails, texts, or messages, providing the details of the job are explicitly stated. 

If you are uncertain if you qualify for EI or the CERB, please contact Service Canada or the Canada Revenue Agency.


An application form to apply for funds will be available on Friday, April 3rd, 2020. Applicants are encouraged to thoroughly read and understand the eligibility criteria before submitting the application. If you are not sure if you are eligible after reading these guidelines, please contact us at [email redacted]. Please allow up to 72 hours for a response as we are expecting a high volume of contacts to our organization.

Applications will be accepted between April 18th and at 11:59pm on April 30th. A link to access the application form will be posted on April 18th.


The fund will be open to dance artists who demonstrate lost income due to the cancellation of events, programs, workshops, classes, private lessons, and dance studio closures. At this time, we are not accepting any applications where artists have lost income due to the postponement of events. Any out-of-pocket expenses related to dance (ie. travel expenses for any residencies, tours, meetings and contract work) that have been canceled will also be considered. You can combine these documents into one application, however, please keep in mind that we can only allocate up to $1000.

You are required to submit an application including the following support documents:

1.         Proof of residency: Please attach proof of residency in the City of Toronto (Driver's Licence, Hydro Bill, Cell Phone Bill etc.)
2.         Professional resume or webpage link
3.         Employment contract(s), agreement(s), or other evidence of scheduled work. If you incurred out-of-pocket travel expenses for any residencies, tours, meetings and contract work, please include this documentation as well.
4.         Proof of cancellation (this can be through text message, e-mail)


Applications will be processed and assessed by The Dance Plug Canada staff.  With COVID-19 having a major impact on our sector, this fund may be in high demand. Therefore, we encourage those who are eligible and in need of assistance to apply as soon as possible starting on April 18th. Our goal is to provide support and relief to as many artists as possible with the amount of funds we have available.

You may be required to submit further documentation to appease your application process. Priority for funding will be given to artists who have lost income for work scheduled in the Greater Toronto Area. If you have applied for emergency relief funds from other sources (ie. Employment Insurance, the Canada Emergency Relief Benefit or other funds from organizations) and find out you have been successful, we ask that you withdraw your request here so funds can go to another dance artist in need. 


We are a community-based media & news organization with a focus on advocation for dancers who primarily work in the commercial and urban sectors. The organization has been live for about a year and a half and we have grown exponentially through Social Media and through our podcast, Unplugged. Our mandate is to expand the reach of our network in hopes that it will provide more opportunities to the dancers in our city. We share and provide advertising to various dance artists in the city who teach workshops, host events or town halls to name a few.
Our podcast, unplugged, just released our 38th episode with over 25,000+ listens and downloads so far across 38 countries around the world. We are currently listed as one of the Top 50 Podcasts in Canada under Performing Arts with goals to reach the Top 10 list over the next few months. Our main focus on the show is to provide stories of life experiences and usable knowledge for today’s generation of dancers. 

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Roy Urbanozo
York, ON

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