Mark Your Calendars: 2021 FMO Conference Dates Announced!

The 2021 FMO Award Weekend and Conference will be held online. Save the following dates in your calendars: 
2021 FMO Award Weekend – Sept.25 – 26, 2021
2021 FMO Virtual Conference – Sept.27 – Oct.1, 2021

Stay tuned to this website, and subscribe to The FMO Newsletter for all the latest information!

Applications Open: 2021 FMO Awards and 2021 Online Showcases!

Folk Music Ontario is pleased to announce that our 2021 Award and Online Showcasing applications are now open!

PLEASE NOTE: Those who applied for a showcase at our cancelled 2020 conference can choose to move their application to 2021. You will still need to apply, but there will be no registration application fee as long as you are applying with the same material.

Application Deadline: Monday, May 31, 2021

2021 FMO Awards – More Info and Applications
2021 Online Showcasing – More Info and Applications

Update from FMO and FMC

Update from FMO and FMC

In 2019 information was collected through an online survey and at the Folk Music Ontario (FMO) Conference, a Town Hall was held after FMO’s Annual General Meeting to discuss the potential of a merger between Folk Music Ontario and Folk Music Canada (FMC). This discussion was based around the idea of creating a unified national arts organization for the folk community. At the beginning, both Folk Alliance International and the Canadian Folk Music Awards were involved in the meetings and discussions and will continue to be part of the process alongside a number of other organizations and stakeholders.

Based on your feedback from the town hall and online survey, FMO and FMC have formally started the consultation process with Art of Festivals. It was recommended that FMO and FMC merge to become a unified national arts service organization for the folk music sector in Canada. To keep the process moving forward, a change committee composed of Alka Sharma, Amie Therrien and Cassidy Houston from Folk Music Ontario and Julie Fowler, Karrnnel Sawitsky and Valerie Denn from Folk Music Canada has been assembled.

In addition to working with the Art of Festivals, we will be reaching out to you, the membership and the music industry, for feedback and discussion. We are committed to the principles of inclusion, diversity, equity and access and will instill a process to include a robust conversation about what a new national organization needs to look like to truly serve our entire Canadian folk community, including those who may not have been part of these organizations in the past. .

In the meantime, if you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to both Executive Directors of each organization. Their contact information is below.

Alka Sharma, Executive Director, Folk Music Ontario

Karrnnel Sawitsky, Executive Director, Folk Music Canada

2020 FMO Awards Weekend!

The Folk Music Ontario Awards are presented annually at the Folk Music Ontario Conference. Winners perform at the Awards Showcase and are recognized at the Awards Brunch. As the 2020 Conference could not happen in person, Folk Music Ontario is pleased to present the awards ceremony and showcases online!

The 2020 Awards could not have happened without the help from our partners: Bandzoogle, The Ontario Arts Council, ACTRA-RACS and Stakeholder Research Associates!

Click here to view all the 2020 Award Winners!

2020 Folk Music Ontario Awards Ceremony – Hosted by Preetam Sengupta
Friday, October 23, 2020 – 7:00pm EST – via Zoom!
RSVP required!
To secure your place, please send an email to!

2020 Folk Music Ontario Awards Showcases – Hosted by Magoo
Saturday, October 24, 2020 – 3:00pm EST – via YouTube!
NO RSVP required! Simply visit our Youtube page to join the fun!
Click here to visit our Youtube page now!

SOCAN Songwriting Masterclass: An interactive workshop on the process of songwriting

SOCAN Songwriting Masterclass: An interactive workshop on the process of songwriting
click here for more info!
Tuesday, October 13, 2020 – 2:00-3:30pm EST via ZOOM

RSVP required! Send a note to!

Presented by SOCAN and Folk Music Ontario

The global pandemic has had far-reaching effects for performing artists. Direct consequences of this include loss of gigs and revenue, but what about the less obvious effects?

Songwriting, like any creative pursuit, can be arduous in the best of times. And while isolation has given artists much more time to write, many are struggling with a dry creative well. In an age where performances and creative gatherings are limited, how can artists stay motivated and inspired to create?

Join Juno Award winning artist William Prince and SOCAN A&R Rep Aidan D’Aoust for an open and engaging discussion on the process of songwriting. You’ll hear best practices, tips for motivation, and first-hand experience from one of Canada’s most well-respected songwriters.

Blackout Tuesday

Click here for some resources which you can access to learn more about anti-racism and what can be done. We will also be posting this under the resources tab on the website.

Folk Music Ontario is looking forward to working together in the future to help effect positive change in the community beyond this one day of action.

Call for Nominations: Folk Music Ontario Board of Directors

Folk Music Ontario (FMO) is now seeking individuals to stand as candidates in the 2020 election of its Board of Directors. Directors will be elected by electronic ballot (or acclaimed) ahead of this year’s Annual General Meeting (date TBD) with terms concluding with the 2023 AGM.

Continued folk organization amalgamation discussions and complications caused by the COVID-19 pandemic present a challenging yet exciting time in the history of FMO. We require a dedicated board to support staff in guiding the organization forward as we continue to support the growth and development of the folk music community and industry.

Nominees are required to read our “What to Expect If You’re Elected” document to better understand the responsibilities of board members.

It is preferred that people use the ONLINE NOMINATIONS FORM, especially during the current COVID-19 pandemic, but if an alternative is required, please contact

Please submit nomination forms by 11:59PM on Friday, July 24th. We thank all our members for their continued support of the organization, and hope some of you will step forward to help guide FMO to a brighter future.

If you have any additional questions or wish to further discuss your interest in running, please contact Preetam Sengupta (FMO Nominations Committee Chair) at

Folk Music Ontario invites self-nominations from all qualified individuals. We welcome submissions from women, people with disabilities, people of colour, Indigenous people, and those of any sexual orientation or gender identity.

FMO 2020 – Message from the Board


For the past 33 years, Folk Music Ontario (FMO) has proudly hosted an annual conference that brings together
our wonderful folk community to celebrate, to learn, to connect, and of course to hear some great music!
Based on direction from healthcare professionals and government officials, it is with heavy hearts that we
announce that the annual FMO conference will not take place in 2020. Please know this decision has not been
made lightly. After consideration of current information and much discussion, this was determined to be the
best path forward given the circumstances we all find ourselves in.

With the current health and safety challenges of large public gatherings, travel concerns, as well as lost income
being experienced by many, we knew it would be difficult, if not impossible, to deliver the kind of conference
that we all expect, while still respecting the wellbeing of the community.

While we won’t be able to meet in person this fall, rest assured that we are working on alternative ways to keep
us connected. We will use this opportunity to strengthen our programming and develop new opportunities to
further support the growth and development of the folk music community and industry. Watch your inbox and
our social media accounts for announcements.

For those who have already purchased a registration for the 2020 conference, you will soon be receiving an
email with information on how to request a full refund, carry your registration over to the next edition of the
conference, or donate your registration fee (or a portion of your fee) to the Friends of Folk campaign.

Thank you to everyone who submitted applications. Even if we can’t do it in person, we will find ways to
celebrate our 2020 award winners regardless. As for showcase applications, we want to thank Bandzoogle for
their generous support in covering the application fees. We are currently working out how to best provide
opportunities for our showcasing artists to support their career growth and to help share their music. Details to

Thank you for being a supportive, understanding, creative, and resilient community! We look forward to being
together again in 2021. Until then, stay safe, healthy and take care of one another.

On behalf of the staff and Board of Directors of Folk Music Ontario,

Alka Sharma
Executive Director

Preetam Sengupta

Amie Therrien

Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy Details Released

Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy Details Released

April 1, 2020 – Read the full Press Release Here

This afternoon, Finance Minister Bill Morneau, along with his colleagues the Minister of Small Business, Export Promotion and International Trade Mary Ng and Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry Navdeep Bains, outlined further details on the newly enhanced Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy Program. The initial announcement of the program was made by the Prime Minister on Monday.

Eligibility details announced today included:
•Eligible employers who suffer a drop in gross revenues of at least 30 per cent in March, April or May, when compared to the same month in 2019, would be able to access the subsidy.
•Eligible employers would include employers of all sizes and across all sectors of the economy, with the exception of public sector entities.
•For non-profit organizations and registered charities similarly affected by a loss of revenue, the government will continue to work with the sector to ensure the definition of revenue is appropriate to their circumstances. The government is also considering additional support for non-profits and charities, particularly those involved in the front line response to COVID-19. Further details will be announced in the near term.
•An eligible employer’s entitlement to this wage subsidy will be based entirely on the salary or wages actually paid to employees. All employers would be expected to at least make best efforts to top up salaries to 100% of the maximum wages covered.
Additional details:
•Will apply at rate of 75 per cent of the first $58,700 normally earned by employees – representing a benefit of up to $847 per week. The program will be in place for a 12-week period, from March 15 to June 6, 2020.
•Businesses can apply online for the subsidy program through a CRA portal that will be made available soon (approximately three weeks), with money flowing in approximately six weeks.
•Anyone who chooses to use this money for fraudulent purposes will be subject to severe penalties/sanctions.
•Those organizations that do not qualify for the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy may continue to qualify for the previously announced wage subsidy of 10 per cent of remuneration paid from March 18 to before June 20, up to a maximum subsidy of $1,375 per employee and $25,000 per employer.
•Total cost of the subsidy program will be $71-billion dollars and will help reduce the cost of the Emergency Response Benefit to $24 billion.

In his comments after the announcement, Minister Morneau recognized that there would be businesses that may not be able to demonstrate a 30 per cent drop in revenues from the same time last year (i.e. a start-up business that has just begun making revenue). To that end, he noted that the government is first trying to get the administrative details out for the large majority of businesses across Canada; however, for those that cannot demonstrate that year-over-year revenue drop because of particular situations, they are still working on those details and solutions, which will be released in the near term.

For more information, please see the news release here.

Canada Emergency Response Benefit – Update

Additional details were also provided around the Canada Emergency Response Benefit this morning by Prime Minister Trudeau, namely that the benefit will officially be available as of April 6th at

A reminder, the CERB will support Canadians who have lost their income because of COVID-19 by providing $2,000 a month for up to 4 months. All eligible workers, whether or not they are eligible for Employment Insurance, will apply through a simplified application process. There is no waiting period and direct deposit payments will be delivered into accounts within three business days of applicants being eligible to receive it, and cheques within 10 days.

For more information, please see the news release here.

What to Expect Next

Parliament to be Recalled, Again
The Parliament of Canada will have to be recalled once again to pass legislation for the newly expanded measures as part of the enhanced wage subsidy program. While a specific date has not been provided, senior government officials have indicated that it will likely happen early next week.

There were conflicting views on whether Parliament would have to be recalled in the first place; however, the Conservatives were quick to jump on the government by emphasizing that the new subsidy program did not match the legislation they passed as part of the initial $82-billion recovery package last week.

Expect the same process to unfold as last week: 32 members of parliament from close Ottawa-riding areas will attend along with opposition party leaders. There is perhaps the chance that the Prime Minister himself will make an appearance should public health officials give him the all clear.

Sector Relief Coming
As has been the topic of some conversation for well over a week now, every expectation remains that the government is working on, and will soon be delivering upon, tailored aid packages for the energy sector, tourism and airline industry, and likely the infrastructure sector as well. A reminder that the latter was a large focus of the Harper government’s stimulus plan after the 2008 recession.

The oil and gas package is expected to be released first, with Finance Minister Bill Morneau saying just last week that they were only days away. There have been growing calls for details on the relief package from the sector over the last number of days, with government indicating they wanted to ensure they had the Emergency Wage Subsidy program and Canada Emergency Response Benefit in place before releasing sector-specific relief.

Federal Essential Services and Functions
As provinces and territories across the country continue to release their lists of essential services during the COVID-19 pandemic, all expectations are that the federal government will soon release its own essential services list. It is anticipated that the guidance document will closely align with what the provinces have already released and draw from the 10 critical infrastructure sectors outlined by Public Safety Canada and: Energy and Utilities, Information and Communication Technologies, Finance, Health, Food, Water, Transportation, Safety, Government and Manufacturing.

Our understanding is that this list would be released as guidance for now, on the assumption the federal government does not need to trigger the federal Emergencies Act somewhere down the line.

To read the full release, please click here.

COVID-19 – Information and Resources

News and updates on the COVID-19 pandemic are coming fast. As the Folk and other arts communities come together during this crisis, we hope that you’re keeping safe and informed.

Ontario has called a state of emergency, which has implications for each of our individual, organizational, and festival members. Without the ability to convene, many of us are without income. We have gathered some links and information that hopefully will be helpful during this difficult time.

Please note that although the FMO office is closed, we are working from home. Feel free to reach out to us for questions/help at Phone calls will be more difficult to check during this time. We will be sending out more information via email, as wlel as through our facebook, instagram, and twitter accounts.


Info. on federal COVID-19 Emergency Response Package
General updates – Government of Canada
Crestview Strategies: COVID-10 Data Room
General information – World Health Organization
Information on mass gatherings – Government of Canada
Info. on Ontario state of Emergency and restrictions – Gov. of Ontario
Info. on Canada-U.S. border closure –
Airline cancellation policies – Collected by Forbes

Funding Programs

Info. On Ontario Arts Council Funding
Info. on Canadian Heritage Funding
Info. on Canada Council Funding
Info. on Factor
Info. on funding and event cancellation from Toronto Arts Council

Other Music Organizations

Live-streamed concerts from empty venues: URGNT TRNTO

Info from the Canadian Live Music Association

Bandzoogle blog – How musicians can ask fans for support during the coronavirus pandemic

CAPACOA is asking you to track cancellations affecting the Canadian live performance sector here.

I Lost My Gig Canada is a support group on Facebook for folks from various disciplines in the Gig Economy to gather, listen, and share.

Music Managers Forum Canada has an incredibly thorough resource page that is being constantly updated here.

Toronto Musicians Association has information and resources for financial assistance and bill payment relief here.

Unison Benevolent Fund has information about how they can help here, or you can call 1-855-986-4766 for inquiries to help you deal with the financial or emotional impact of coronavirus.

Worldwide Independent Network has a list of resources for the indie music community across the work here.

Stay safe out there, folk friends!