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Professional Development Funding
Please note: $7,500 of the available $15,000 in professional development funding for 2013-2014 has been committed to cyclical projects already approved and scheduled. A further $7,500 remains available for member-initiated professional development activities in the current fiscal year. PD funding will be disbursed on a first-come, first-served basis.

Looking to apply?
The specific details about the Professional Development monies and the limitations on how it can be disbursed can be found in Equity’s various policy documents, specifically Ends 4.3 and Executive Limitation #12. Equity encourages members at all stages of their careers to participate in professional development.

Professional development is defined as high-quality professional activities in the genres of theatre, opera and dance, worth at least $15,000 (see note above) per year, to a maximum of 3% of the previous year’s revenues, consistent with members’ expressed needs, and with an emphasis on opportunities which meet at least one of the following criteria:
  • Encourage improvement of existing skills and acquisition of new skills. "Skills" is interpreted in a broad fashion so as to include a range of physical, practical and psychological/emotional tools that are required for a career in live performance.
  • Encourage breaking through stereotypes, typecasting, etc. This could mean an activity that contributes to, promotes or assists in the education, knowledge, consciousness raising or development of tools designed to tackle the problems of non-gender specific and contemporary casting.
  • Encourage artistic exploration, experimentation and risk-taking. This could include those creative activities which seek to push the traditional envelopes of expression such as taking new approaches to work in the existing canon, creating new works with new creative processes, adapting or borrowing techniques from other related artistic fields or otherwise providing challenging ways of approaching the work.
  • Increase member ability to take advantage of work opportunities. This could include the provision of a wide range of professional opportunities that offer some level of access to all of our various types of members across the categories, within the range of their own professional interests and abilities and within the wide range of engagement types that encompass our jurisdiction.
  • Increase member profiles in the community. This could include activities that involve both the individual member and/or the membership as a whole and refers to an increased awareness of or appreciation for the member/membership. As a further definition, this could include activities specifically designed to bring attention to issues of cultural diversity including workshops or panels.
  • Encourage collegiality and strengthen the professional live performance community. This could also mean opportunities where members may share their knowledge, concerns or experiences with each other and other key players in our community for the purpose of exchanging information, seeking solutions, finding answers or increasing awareness around issues of concern to our membership.

    Applications will be assessed on the criteria above and on:
  • the number of Equity members participating;
  • whether other sources of revenue have been investigated;
  • the need in the local community for the project; and
  • the project budget.

    What qualifies?
  • In order to qualify for professional development funding, 75% of the workshop participants must be either Equity members in good standing or fully paid up members of a professional performers association or union (UDA, ACTRA, AFM, CADA etc).
  • An application must demonstrate significant Equity member interest in the project. Equity apprentices and probationary members do not qualify for any subsidy. Funding is restricted to those organizations or members who are currently in good standing with Equity. Equity members' tuition is subsidized on a per member basis.
  • Normally, there is a $3,000 maximum amount of any grant. This is to help ensure that all the funding is not eaten up by one or more large-scale activities. However, we will examine applications that would be of a larger scope.
  • All regions and disciplines must have equitable access to funding.

    What doesn't qualify?
  • Equity does not provide any monies/grants towards a specific production. While there might be a professional development opportunity offered by participating in certain productions, helping with production financing isn’t in Equity’s purview.
  • We do not support an activity to acquire or improve skills outside of our jurisdiction. There are certainly members who are working on developing their own material for whom a workshop on playwriting would be of immense benefit for example. But it is Equity members' money that is being spent and we cannot spend it to train people to work outside our jurisdiction.
  • Funding is not available to help defray the costs of attending a university program or other such educational activity. Equity does not offer individual grants to members, but rather to projects or courses of study that benefit groups of members and are open to members-at-large.

    How do I apply?
    Applications should be as brief as possible and should include:
  • A one page outline describing the professional development project, including a schedule of activities or events, the number of total participants and the number of Equity members anticipated to be participating.
  • An instructor profile and CV.
  • A second page outlining the budget for the project including any revenue from other sources and a description of how the grant funding will be applied.
    Applications should be received in the Equity office no less than 30 days before the activity takes place. That gives the knowledgeable members sufficient time for review and for us to work with the applicant to ensure that the application conforms to all of Equity’s policies. However, we recognize that there might be circumstances where this time frame can’t be met (a teacher becomes available at the last minute, for example) and so we will do our best to review all applications for eligibility as soon as possible.
    Before submitting your application, please ensure that you have included all of the materials cited above. Please contact Lynn McQueen, Communications Director, for more information about professional development services or for questions relating to an application.

    What happens after?
    A final report is required as soon as possible at the completion of each workshop. This report assists Equity in making policy changes, future funding decisions and promoting initiatives to Equity members. Tuition subsidies are only disbursed following receipt of the final report and verification of the Equity members' membership standing.

    The final report should include:
  • a financial reconciliation or final budget;
  • completed feedback forms supplied by Equity;
  • the names of the Equity artists who participated; and
  • a summary of the workshop.

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