The Ontario Music Fund (OMF)

The Government of Ontario
Key objectives of the measure:

Launched in 2013, the Ontario Music Fund (OMF) was the first comprehensive business development program to support all segments of the Ontario music industry, including live presenters. The key objective of the OMF is to strengthen and stimulate growth in Ontario’s music companies and support the province’s growing music sector. The Fund is designed to drive activity and investment and to support Ontario’s music companies and organizations in expanding their economic and cultural footprints within Canada and around the world. The OMF replaced the former Music Fund and Export Fund of the Ontario Media Development Corporation.

The goals of the OMF are to:

  • Increase music production activity in Ontario;
  • Strengthen and develop the support structures and systems that contribute to economic and cultural growth;
  • Increase opportunities for new/emerging Canadian artists;
  • Create opportunities for emerging artists/small music companies; and
  • Support Ontario’s musical diversity, particularly with respect to music from culturally diverse, Aboriginal and Franco-Ontarian communities.
Scope of the measure:
Nature of the measure:
Main feature of the measure:

The Ontario Music Fund (OMF) aims to address investment gaps at key phases of company and industry development cycles. It provides matching financial support through four program streams to music companies (record labels, music publishers, music managers, artist entrepreneurs, music promoters, music presenters, and booking agents), and to music industry trade, service, event and training organizations. The Fund is structured to address the entire value chain of the music sector and to complement other support programs. Extensive consultations and partnerships with industry trade organizations were carried out in developing the program.

The four streams are: Music Industry Development, Music Company Development, Live Music, and Music Futures.

- The Music Industry Development stream is designed to strengthen and develop the support structures and systems that contribute to economic and cultural growth of the music industry in Ontario by supporting organizations engaging in strategic initiatives with long-term impacts on the growth and sustainability of Ontario’s music industry.

- The Music Company Development stream is intended to provide Ontario-based music companies with funding to support new or expanded business activities, including strategic business and market development, in the form of investments and undertakings.

- The Live Music stream is intended to increase the number and quality of live music experiences enjoyed by residents of and visitors to Ontario at events, festivals and concerts featuring Canadian artists.

- The Music Futures stream specifically creates opportunities for emerging artists and music businesses in Francophone, Aboriginal, and ethnocultural communities, as well as in under-represented musical genres.

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Results expected through the implementation of the measure:

The Ontario Music Fund (OMF) is intended to help the Ontario music industry grow and expand in Canada and across the world. Expected results include an increase in music production activity, company revenues, and market share in Ontario, stronger support structures, increased opportunities for new and emerging Canadian artists and small music companies, as well as greater support of Aboriginal, ethnocultural, and Franco-Ontarian music communities. An increase in tourism attributed to live music performances is also expected.

The OMF is also advancing the Ontario government’s Live Music Strategy by providing support for live performances and touring opportunities, helping to grow audiences – both in Ontario and abroad – for Canadian music developed in Ontario.

Financial resources allocated to implement the measure:

Announced in the 2013 Ontario Budget as a three-year, $45 million grant program, the Ontario Music Fund (OMF) was made permanent in the 2015 Ontario Budget at $15 million annually. For the year 2014, transfer payments made by the OMF were detailed at $14,004,000 CAD.

To date, the OMF has provided approximately $42.2 million to Ontario’s music industry.


Main conclusions of the evaluation of the measure:

Since the program was launched in 2013, three evaluation processes have been undertaken to review aspects of its operation:

  1. The program was reviewed from an operational point of view by the delivery agency, the Ontario Media Development Corporation (OMDC), as part of its regular cycle of program reviews. A third-party consultant was engaged to carry out review activities, which involved a limited level of stakeholder consultations.
  2. In 2016, the program was reviewed for compliance with internal Ontario government accountability directives by an internal audit team. This review focused on administrative effectiveness and compliances with rules for transfer payments.
  3. The ministry and the OMDC evaluated program rules and guidelines in 2015-16 as part of efforts to enhance effectiveness and return on investment, following the government’s decision in 2015 to extend the program beyond its initial three-year run. Stakeholders and industry trade associations were consulted as part of this process.

The program was found to be meeting its goals of stimulating expanded recording and performing activity in Ontario, but opportunities were found to sharpen results reporting and tracking of the return on investment.

The first and third evaluations included direct stakeholders and participants in the program (music companies and organizations through the province).

Indicators used to determine impact:
The evaluations, in part, examined indicators such as:The increase in the number of recordings released by Ontario companies (including both Canadian and foreign artists)The increase in the number of live music performance opportunities presented, and total attendance (audience) for the eventsThe increase in overall revenues for participating companies, and, by proxy, market shareThe increase in the business capacity of the participating independent companies, measured by full time employees, cash flow and probability
Goal(s) of UNESCO's 2005 Convention
Cultural Domain(s)