Updated for 2021 – The 44th annual National Magazine Awards competition is open to Canadian print and digital magazines and to Canadian citizens or Permanent Residents (landed immigrants) whose work has appeared in them during the 2020 calendar year.

For this competition, the NMAF’s guiding principle for magazine publishing is that the publication—whether print or digital—must:

  • Self-describe as a magazine;
  • Have a permanent editorial staff in Canada;
  • Be published in English or French or a combination of both;
  • Be editorial in nature (that is, it must have and submit a clear editorial mandate);
  • Be the product of an editorial process.

The NMAF reserves the right for its judges to decide whether a publication qualifies as a magazine.

All submissions must satisfy the following rules:

1. Eligible content for the 2020 awards year:

  • Original work which appears in a 2020 issue;
  • Original work which appears in the December 2020-January 2021 issue of a bi-monthly magazine is eligible;
  • A single issue dated January or Winter 2020 is eligible, even if it appeared on newsstands prior to January 2020;
  • Submissions from digital magazines must be original work that was first published during the 2020 calendar year.  

 NOT Eligible for the 2020 awards year:

  • Original work which appears in the December 2019-January 2020 issue of a bi-monthly magazine;
  • Original work which appears in the December 2019-March 2020 issue of a quarterly magazine;
  • A single issue dated January or Winter 2021* (even if it appears on the newsstand in 2020) is NOT eligible for submission.

*In the case of a split issue dated Fall/Winter 2020, magazines may choose to enter the content for the 2020 awards year, OR the 2021 awards year, but not both.

2. The NMAF requires that all submitters disclose sponsored content on the entry form. Sponsored content is defined as editorial content financially supported by an external sponsor, but produced independently from that sponsor. Sponsored content is eligible for awards, provided that the submitter affirms that no third party exerted an influence on or played a role in the editorial process (including but not limited to research, reporting, writing, content and image creation, editing). The NMAF entrusts its juries with the final decision as to whether sponsored content should be considered for an award.

3. Awards are intended for Canadian content creators and as such:

  • Awards for illustrations are limited to Canadian illustrators and are open only to work commissioned by the magazine.
  • Awards for photography are limited to Canadian photographers. Note: Previously published photos and/or stock photography will be ruled inadmissible except in the Editorial category of Cover Grand Prix.
  • Awards for art direction are open to Canadian art directors and their staff or freelance associates.
  • Awards for writing and visual are open to Canadian staff or freelance contributors.
  • Awards for editorial categories are open to Canadian editors, art directors and freelance contributors.

4. Excerpts, serializations or condensations from books or books in progress are inadmissible -except when the writer’s/photographer’s work originated as a print or digital publication assignment and was primarily financed by the publication and edited as the publication’s own copy.

5. Work entered as Fiction is not eligible for entry in other categories.

6. Except where stated, there is no limit on the number of entries submitted per category. Finalists will be proportionate to the number of entries submitted in a category up to a maximum of ten finalists.

7. No entries will be returned.

8. All submissions must be accompanied by permission, not for sale or profit, to use the entries of finalists in the Awards presentation program, blog, website and social media, and to include any winning entry in perpetuity in the Award Archive(s) on the Foundation’s website. The Foundation reserves the right to use the entries of finalists in the Awards presentation program/exhibit/digital book/website but not for sale or profit.

9. Entries that do not conform to the rules or fit category definitions may be disqualified without notice. Entry fees for disqualified or withdrawn submissions will not be refunded.

10. The NMAF reserves the right to cancel any category that does not receive enough submissions to provide a legitimate competition, or any category in which the jury decides no entry is of sufficient quality to merit a National Magazine Award. In this case entry fees will be refunded to the submitters.

11. The decision of the judges will be final.

12. For the categories listed below, entries will be accepted through all three of the National Media Awards Foundation’s programs (Digital Publishing Awards, National Magazine Awards, and National Magazine Awards: B2B). All entries will be evaluated by a single panel of judges, and winners will be announced across all three programs. Categories include:

  • Best Editorial Newsletter
  • Best Podcast: News and Politics
  • Best Podcast: Arts and Culture
  • Best Online Video: Short
  • Best Online Video: Feature
  • Best Online Video: Mini-Doc