We have created this resource to help build a shared understanding of our frequently used terms. We recognize that language use, definitions and vocabulary change over time; as such, this is a living document that will evolve and change as we do. We encourage you to get in touch with us at BCArtsCouncil@gov.bc.ca with suggestions about improvements.

BC Arts Council’s equity policy framework, along with additional sources, helped inform these definitions, many related to priority areas of
Extending Foundations. While definitions and terms provided here may help clarify language use and understanding, please refer to program guidelines for full eligibility criteria for all programs.

These definitions are specific to use within BC Arts Council programs and services.


The ability to obtain and use a service such as a grant, program, or activity.


The ability for all to make use of information, enter and participate fully in various environments and activities.


Individual or organization submitting a request for funding.


A form filled out by the applicant to provide requested information to apply for funding through a specific program. Additional materials such as portfolio documentation, support materials, etc. may also be required as part of an application.

Arts and Culture Organization

Registered non-profit organizations and community service co-operatives with a dedicated arts and cultural mandate and offering public arts and cultural programming; professional book publishers; and arts and cultural organizations embedded within local governments or post-secondary institutions with independent advisory/governance structures.

Associated Grant

The original grant that is tied to a request for supplementary or affiliated funding programs such as Access Support.

Capital Region

Municipalities of the Capital Regional District excluding Sooke, Metchosin, the Gulf Islands, or the Juan de Fuca electoral area.


Unincorporated, groups, ensembles, or collectives of three or more individual professional artists or cultural practitioners that have the creation and/or presentation of artistic and curatorial projects as their primary activity.

Community Arts Organizations

Community Arts Organizations are non-profit:

  • Community arts councils;
  • Community driven, generally non-professional, volunteer-managed arts and culture organizations; or
  • Community-based arts and cultural centres, whose primary purpose is community centered engagement and access to the arts.

Community Arts Organizations offer a range of programming focused on enriching a specified community through a variety of arts disciplines and experiences, using a grassroots approach to providing wider service to the community beyond their membership. Although generally community-led, community arts organizations may also engage and collaborate with professional artists, arts and cultural practitioners, arts administrators, Elders or Knowledge Keepers.

Deaf (taken from Canada Council for the Arts)

People with hearing loss, or who are hard-of-hearing, oral-deaf, deaf-blind or late-deafened, many of whom identify as Culturally Deaf – sharing distinct sign languages, traditions, histories and values. Deaf with a capital “D” represents a range of experiences from being culturally Deaf to having hearing loss, and using multiple forms of oral and visual communication. Sign languages are regionally and culturally specific with unique syntax and grammar, distinct from written and spoken languages. Individuals may identify as having a disability rather than being culturally Deaf.

Designated Priority Groups

The BC Arts Council has identified designated priority groups based on commitments made through New Foundations: Strategic Pan for the BC Arts Council 2018 – 2022 and funding gaps identified through recent evaluations. Designated priority groups define eligibility for priority mechanisms within BC Arts Council programs and processes.

Disability (taken from Accessible BC Act)

An inability to participate fully and equally in society as a result of the interaction of an impairment and a barrier. This could be any physical, sensory, mental, intellectual or cognitive impairment, whether permanent, temporary or episodic.


The expression and recognition of a multiplicity of shared or individual traits and characteristics such as cultures, disabilities, ethnicities, experiences, expressions, gender identities and gender expressions, languages, nationalities, origins perspectives, or sexual orientations.


Equity is both a principle and a process.

As a principle, equity values the inherent dignity and irremovable equal rights of all people while conscious that not every person has or experiences comparable access to resources and opportunities.

As a process, equity involves continuous action to improve existing conditions so that all people can fully participate in society. Actions may include implementing specific measures to remove barriers, revising laws and policies, changing environments, and requiring respectful behavior to guide relations between people.

Equitable processes may mean treating people differently to achieve fairness and equal access, including providing appropriate supports.

Equity-Deserving Groups

Groups who work for equal rights, social justice, and reparation in response to collective experience of systemic and attitudinal discrimination based on age, ethnicity, disability, economic status, gender, nationality, race, sexual orientation, and transgender status, etc.

Field of Practice

A general field of artistic or cultural activity or discipline.

Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FOIPPA)

BC’s Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act sets out the access and privacy rights of individuals. FOIPPA establishes an individual’s right to access records, including one’s own personal information. It also sets out the terms under which a public organization can collect, use, and disclose the personal information of individuals.

Grant Management System (GMS)

The online Grant Management System (GMS) is a cloud-based platform that supports grant applications, communications, peer assessment, and results.

Greater Vancouver 

Municipalities of Metro Vancouver Regional District excluding Bowen Island.


The act of creating environments in which any individual or group can be and feel welcomed, respected, represented, supported, and valued to fully participate.

Mandatory Employment Related Costs (MERCs) (Canada)

MERCs is a Federal term that means all payments that the Employer is required by law to make in respect of Participants including, but not restricted to, those required for Employment Insurance premiums, Canada Pension Plan contributions, vacation pay, Workers’ Compensation Premiums or equivalent liability insurance (if applicable), Health Services Fund and Employer Health Tax where applicable.

Operating Assistance

Funding available to support the general operations of arts and cultural organizations.

Project Assistance

Funding available primarily to assist organizations, collectives or individuals with the development of discrete, time-limited activities. These grants are to assist the organization or individuals to advance artistic, professional or organizational development, create or develop artistic or cultural works, and/or deliver programs or services.


The type of cause, activity or support the organization or collective will promote. For registered societies, the purpose becomes part of an organization’s constitution and needs to comply with the Societies Act.

Organizations are required to provide a statement of their primary purpose(s) as part of their profile in the online grants management system.

Regional Areas

For the purposes of BC Arts Council grants and funding priorities, regional areas are considered as those outside of the capital region and greater Vancouver. (See above)