$500M in Federal government COVID-19 aid headed for arts and sports sectors

COVID-19-5

Canada's arts, sports and cultural sectors are getting $500 million of federal support through Heritage Canada to help ease the financial impacts caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Heritage Minister Steven Guilbeault outlined the basics of the plan at a Friday press conference, saying he would be working with the sectors to ``fine tune'' the specifics of how the money would be doled out to groups that include industry non-profits, national sports organizations, television production houses, music associations and media organizations.

The minister said the arts and sports sectors comprise ``independent workers'' who weren't necessarily recognized into the broader emergency wage subsidy.

``The programs that we've already announced weren't tailored for them, and didn't take into account the specific nature of the arts and culture and sporting sectors,'' he added.

Guilbeault said the funds would be administered by Canadian Heritage with the support of partners, such as the Canada Council for the Arts.

Earlier Friday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the government recognizes that many artists are facing financial difficulties.

``We need our artists to continue to make us dream, particularly in dark times,'' he added.

The federal government also plans to mark Canada Day with virtual celebrations in place of the traditional gathering on Parliament Hill.

``Together in a virtual environment we will celebrate our strength and resilience, as well as our values,'' Guilbeault said.