Resources for Canadian freelancers during COVID-19 shutdowns

There is no doubt that the current global pandemic has taken a toll on the media and arts industry. If you’re a freelance writer or artist affected by the COVID-19 shutdowns, here are some resources that can help you during this difficult time.


Woodcock Fund Grant

This grant provides emergency funding to professional Canadian writers mid-project. The Woodcock Fund Grant is meant to provide financial assistance to writers during a crisis. Grants given typically range from $2,000 to $10,000 depending on the individual’s circumstance. Visit their website for eligibility and application requirements.

The Photographer Fund

An online portfolio platform, Format, has started a $25,000 fund for self-employed photographers who have been impacted by COVID-19. They are offering a grant of up to $500 per person. Visit their website to apply.

TOArtist COVID Response Fund

The Toronto Arts Foundation and The Toronto Arts Council are offering financial support for self-employed professional artists who are not eligible for Employee Insurance (EI). Visit their website for eligibility and application requirements. Deadline for the application is 11:59 PM on April 30, 2020.

Canadian Writers’ Emergency Relief Fund

The Writers’ Trust of Canada, The Writer’s Union of Canada and Royal Bank of Canada are providing financial assistance to writers affected by the pandemic. Successful applicants will receive $1,500. Visit the website for eligibility criteria and deadlines.


Canada Council for the Arts

Canada Council for the Arts is Canada’s public arts funder. They invest in artistic excellence through their grants and services aimed towards Canadian artists and arts organizations.

The Canadian Freelance Union

This community focuses on advancing the rights and working conditions for freelancers in the communications and media industries. Union members benefit from personalized contract mediation, comprehensive health insurance and more.

CMG Freelance

CMG Freelance is a branch of the Canadian Media Guild dedicated to workers in Canadian media. The Freelance Branch provides support for freelance members by providing health and insurance benefits, online training, media pass and more.


S’ATTAQ is a labour union for freelancers, run by freelancers. It is a local section of Industrial Workers of the World (IWW), a global cross-industry union fighting for economic democracy and end exploitation in the workplace. S’ATTAQ provides by allocating funds to members in financial need, advising on legal issues and more.

Foundation Award for Outstanding Achievement

Though the 2020 Call for Entries has closed, we are still accepting submissions for the prestigious Outstanding Achievement Award. Since 1990, this award has recognized an individual’s innovation and creativity through contributions to the magazine industry.

Who’s eligible?

The award is open to nearly everyone in the industry—circulation experts, editors, marketing, sales and promotion professionals, publishers, creators, designers, production managers. Please note that it cannot be given posthumously. 

What do I need to enter?

  • A letter of nomination, including a brief bio of the nominee and a summary of their career achievements.
  • At least two (2) supporting letters from other individuals in the Canadian magazine industry or colleagues of the nominee.

There is no cost to nominate someone for the OA award. Simply send your submissions to

Visit our website to view a list of previous OA winners. Recent winners include: Linda Spalding, Joyce Byrne, Penny Caldwell, Kim Pittaway, Michael Fox, and Kim Jernigan. 

Click here to download a PDF of everything you need to know about the award. 

Good luck to everyone who is nominated!

Final Call for Entries

final call for entries graphic

The early bird deadline has passed, but you still have until January 22nd at midnight ET to get your entries in for the 43rd annual National Magazine Awards. This year, there are 29 categories, recognizing the best of what Canada’s creators have to offer. Categories range from Personal Journalism to Lifestyle Photography, with discounts available to Freelancers and Small Magazines

The submission process can be completed online, and questions (if you have them) can be sent to

Ready to start the submission process? Click here!

Our sister program, the Digital Publishing Awards, is also accepting entries up until January 23rd. Individual creators who win gold receive a $500 cash prize, and submissions can be completed online.

Early Bird Deadline for the 43rd Annual National Magazine Awards

National Magazine Awards Early Bird Deadline Reminder.

Early birds, you’re almost out of time! Get your entries in by January 15, 2020 to save on entry fees. Regular rates will then resume, until the final submissions deadline on January 22, 2020.

So, ready to get started? Follow these six, simple steps to submit an entry:

  1. Review the Categories, Rules, FAQ
  2. Register online at
  3. Enter the details of each submission
  4. Upload a PDF of each submission
  5. Pay the required entry fees 
  6. Courier hard copies (if required)

You can also download our handy 2020 NMA Submissions Guide, for full details on the award categories.

Freelancer Support Fund & Small Magazine Rebate

Here are the full details on the Freelancer Support Fund and the Small magazine Rebate. Gold winners in writing and visual award categories will receive a $1000 cash prize, while our year-long national publicity efforts aim to promote all finalists and winners.

The NMA team is always happy to answer your questions and assist with the submissions process. Shoot an email to, or give us a call at 416-939-6200.

Looking for digital categories? Visit for our roster of categories and submissions requirements. Submissions to the DPAs are open until January 23rd, 2020.

If you’re a B2B publication eager to have your magazine’s excellence recognized, head on over to for program details. The final submissions deadline for the NMA: B2B program is January 17, 2020.

We look forward to receiving your entries!

Call for Entries: 43rd Annual National Magazine Awards

Submissions for the 43rd annual NMAs are now open! Canadian content creators and magazines are eligible to submit entries across 29 various categories, with Gold winners in Written & Visual categories, receiving a $1000 cash prize. 

To save on fees, get your entries in by the early bird deadline of January 15th. The final submissions deadline is January 22nd. 

Freelancer Support Fund

Our Freelancer Support Fund allows for independent writers and creators to buy one entry and get one free. Note that the fund applies to two entries for Writing and Visual Awards only. 

Small Magazine Rebate

We’re offering the second entry free to magazines whose annual revenue is $200,000 or less. The rebate operates on a “first come, first serve” basis, so apply early to ensure your magazine gets its free entry!

How to Submit

  1. Review the Categories and Rules
  2. Register online at
  3. Enter the details of each submission
  4. Upload a PDF of each submission and a JPG of the front page
  5. Pay the required entry fees
  6. Courier hard copies (if required)


January 15: NMA Early Bird Deadline
January 18: NMA Final Deadline 

Note that the deadline to nominate a colleague for the Foundation Award for Outstanding Achievement is March 2nd, 2020. Please direct all applications to

Digital Publishing Awards

Canadian digital publishers and creators are invited to enter the 5th annual Digital Publishing Awards competition, starting December 9th, 2019. For 2020, there’s one brand new category—Best Feature Article. Full details on the categories and submission requirements are here

National Magazine Awards: B2B

Got some excellent business-to-business content from 2019? Enter it in the 2nd annual National Magazine Awards: B2B. There’s a $500 cash prize for winners in creator-focused categories, and there are 19 categories to choose from. Submissions open tomorrow, December 3rd, 2019


We’ll be announcing details on the gala in the spring. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook for updates. 

Ready to Submit?

Click here to visit our online submissions portal.