Updated November 19, 2020

Museums, galleries, and cultural organizations across the province are currently dealing with a host of challenges stemming from the COVID-19 outbreak. In partnership with Greater Vancouver Professional Theatre Alliance, and BC Alliance for Arts + Culture, the BCMA is working to help quantify the impact that COVID-19 is having on the province’s arts, culture, and heritage sector through an impact survey (found here). This post explores best practices, innovative ideas, and administrative support for cultural organizations as they cope with prolonged closures, remote work and reopening.

New Resources: Guides for Moving Your Site Online, Safely Closing, and Safely Reopening

Until a vaccine or treatment for COVID-19 is developed, it is likely that museums, galleries, and cultural organizations may be required to close and reopen to support public health and safety. To support members during this prolonged period of uncertainty, the BCMA has developed three guides to help museums, galleries, and cultural organizations plan for an uncertain future. In addition to an updated version of the BCMA’s Reopening Guidelines, we have created two new guides to help members access information and support: Guidelines for Moving Your Site Online During COVID-19 and Considerations When Closing Your Site During COVID-19

Reopening Resources

The Government of BC has announced that museums will be able to reopen in mid-May as part of the Province’s Restart Plan. The BCMA has compiled a guide, which has then been reviewed by the Government of British Columbia, to assist museums, galleries, culture centres, and heritage organizations in preparing their sites to be reopened to staff, volunteers, and the public.

BC Government


  • The International Council of Museums have listed reopening considerations and recommendations that can be found here

Provincial Museum Associations

Funding Questions

BC Alliance for Arts and Culture

  • BC Alliance for Arts and Culture has gathered a collection of resources for artists and workers in the art and culture industry.

BC Arts Council

  • The BC Arts Council COVID-19 FAQ
  • NEW Project Assistance: Pivot for Individuals Funding 

BC Tourism Events Program

  • BC Tourism Events Program funding FAQ

Canada Council for the Arts

  • Important Information related to COVID-19 is located on their website
  • The Canada Council for the Arts announced plans to provide approximately $60 million in advance funding.

Canadian Heritage

  • An FAQ for Canadian Heritage grants and contributions recipients related to COVID-19 can be found on their website.

Canadian Museums Association

  • The CMA is seeking the federal government’s financial support for the museum sector during the response to COVID-19. Information on their advocacy efforts can be found here and with an update here.
  • The CMA has summarized key elements of the Government of Canada’s Economic Response Plan that are available to museums. Details can be found here.

Community Gaming Grants

  • The Community Gaming Grants program reaffirms that their top priority remains the health and safety of British Columbians. They are committed to supporting applicants during these challenging times.
  • The Community Gaming Grants Branch FAQ 

Creative BC

  • Information and COVID-19 updates for the Creative Industries of BC can be found here.

First Peoples’ Cultural Council

  • A message from FPCC about the impacts of COVID-19 on upcoming programs or project completion can be found on their website.
  • “We will continue to open grants, receive applications and final reports, and we are assessing the extension of grant application deadlines on a case-by case basis. We want to support you as best we can, so if you have any questions about your ability to complete a grant application or final report, please contact program staff by email. Staff contacts are listed on each program page of the website.”

Vancouver Foundation

  • For updates on the Vancouver Foundation’s response to COVID-19 and changes to grant deadlines and reporting, visit their blog.
  • Grant payments and donations will continue to be processed and their staff will be available by phone and email.

HR Questions

Employment Insurance

  • Service Canada is ready to support Canadians affected by COVID-19 and placed in quarantine, with the following support actions:
    • The one-week waiting period for EI sickness benefits will be waived for new claimants who are quarantined so they can be paid for the first week of their claim
    • Establishing a new dedicated toll-free phone number to support enquiries related to waiving the EI sickness benefits waiting period
    • Priority EI application processing for EI sickness claims for clients under quarantine
    • People claiming EI sickness benefits due to quarantine will not have to provide a medical certificate
    • People who cannot complete their claim for EI sickness benefits due to quarantine may apply later and have their EI claim backdated to cover the period of delay
    • Applying for Employment Insurance Benefit assistance document 
  • The Canadian government has proposed legislation to establish the Canada Emergency Response Benefit. This taxable benefit would provide $2,000 a month for up to four months for workers who lose their income as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Learn more on their website
  • NEW Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit will provide $500 per week, for up to two weeks (available in two one-week periods), effective September 27, 2020 until September 25, 2021 for workers who are unable to work because they contracted COVID-19, self-isolated for reasons related to COVID-19, or have underlying conditions, are undergoing treatments or have contracted other sicknesses that will make them more susceptible to COVID-19.

Workplace Advice for Employers 

Government Support

  • The Government of Canada is taking immediate, significant and decisive action to help Canadians facing hardship as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak. Learn more about their Economic Response Plan here
  • The Government of Canada is taking action to strong action to support Canadian businesses. Information can be found here
  • Additional support has been announced to aid businesses impacted by COVID-19. Information can be found here
  • The Government of Canada has announced funding of $500 million to establish a new COVID-19 Emergency Support Fund for Cultural, Heritage and Sport Organizations. Information about this support can be found here
  • The Province of British Columbia has declared a state of emergency to support response to COVID-19. Information for both employees and employers can be found here.
  • The Province of British Columbia has released information on their COVID-19 Action plan, more information can be found here and here
  • Navigating Government Support Information Guide
  • NEW BC Recover Benefit. The BC Recovery Benefit is a one-time direct deposit payment for eligible families, single parents or individuals. 

General Resources for Not-for-Profit Organizations

Digital Resources for Organizations

General Resources

Provincial Resources:

Federal Resources: 

Statements from Provincial and Territorial Museum Associations:

For best practices exploring personal preparedness, preparing for public gatherings, collections/facilities care, and human resources & business continuity planning, the Ontario Museums Association and the American Alliance of Museums have both created significant compilations of existing resources.

Leadership through Crisis: 

  • Resources on innovation, change and adaptability can be found here
  • Coronavirus: Wisdom from a Social Justice Lens podcast
  • Information on the COVID-19 impact on the visitor attractions sector and guidance on how to move forward can be found here
  • Handling Nonprofit Staff Cuts under COVID-19 article
  • LEAN Canada – Leadership Emergency Arts Network Information for Organizations
  • Valuable Webinar:

Mental Health Resources


We will keep collecting resources and will stay in touch with our partners in the sector and beyond. Check back on our website and keep an eye on our social media channels for additional and updated information.