Operating Assistance: Book Publishers provides funding to assist the general operations of established, professional B.C.-based, Canadian-owned book publishers committed to developing and promoting Canadian writers through publishing works of literary, artistic, or cultural importance for the general public.

The Operating Assistance program supports organizations’ operations over a funding cycle of two years. All applicants must meet the specific eligibility requirements within these guidelines.

Who Can Apply

If your organization does not meet the eligibility criteria your application will not be forwarded for assessment. To be eligible, an organization must be:

  • A professional book publisher based and registered and in good standing in B.C. as a non-profit society for at least one year;


  • a B.C.-based, Canadian-owned book publisher that is a legally registered company in B.C.;


  • a book publisher led by an Indigenous (First Nations, Métis, Inuit) community organization or Indigenous government in B.C., for at least one fiscal year prior to application, with a community-based board of management that sets editorial policies;


  • a professional book publisher operated by an accredited post-secondary institution in B.C. with an independent advisory board that sets editorial and other policies for programs and services undertaken;


  • Engage professionals in artistic, editorial, curatorial, administrative, or project leadership;
  • Fairly compensate artists, arts and cultural practitioners, technicians, Elders, and Knowledge Keepers. Compensation must align with community contexts and industry standards within the field of practice, including adhering to international intellectual property rights standards and cultural ownership protocols;
  • Adhere to the Criminal Records Review Act which requires that people who work with or may have unsupervised access to children or vulnerable adults must undergo a criminal record check by the Criminal Records Review Program;
  • Have its head office, general office, editorial office, general operations, and management based in B.C. for at least one fiscal year prior to application;
  • In the case of legally registered companies, be managed and financially controlled by B.C. residents who own at least 75% of the company;
  • Have operated in B.C. for a minimum of one year with book publishing as the primary (and not peripheral or occasional) business, with the publication of original titles as the focus;
  • Maintain full control of the editorial process and have editorial independence from any other company. Where affiliations exist, publishers must be able to demonstrate separate editorial departments, budgets, and financial statements for each book publishing operation;
  • Have at least four eligible titles in print, have published at least two eligible titles in the previous year, and be committed to an ongoing program of publishing eligible titles;
  • Issue royalty statements on a regular basis and fulfill all contractual obligations to writers, illustrators, translators, and other copyright licensors. Publishers owing payments as of the submission deadline may not be eligible for funding; and
  • Have received at least one Project Assistance grant from the BC Arts Council within the past seven years. Grant programs that fulfill this eligibility criteria include Professional Project Assistance; Arts-Based Community Development; and Arts Impact Grants. Grant programs that do not fulfill this eligibility criteria include, but are not limited to: Pivot Program; Arts Infrastructure; Resilience Supplements; Community Arts Festivals; Project Assistance: Community Arts Organizations; Touring; Early Career Development; Youth Engagement; or Co-op Placement.

In addition to the above eligibility criteria, organizations should have stability in current operations, both administratively and financially. Stability would be demonstrated through:

  • Having at least one staff person (part-time or full-time) that maintains consistency in operations and programming;
  • Ongoing and diverse sources of revenues outside of BC Arts Council programs;
  • Ability to plan programming and activities up to two years into the future; and
  • The capacity to compile annual financial and statistical information.

An eligible book must:

  • Be an original title or first edition (i.e., no reprints) in cloth, paper, or digital format;
  • Be a work of literary, artistic, or cultural importance in the genres of fiction; poetry; drama; literary and arts criticism; autobiography, biography, memoir, and essays; comics and graphic novels; works for children and young adults; and creative and literary works of history, politics, social issues, science, travel, etc.;
  • Be written and/or illustrated by Canadian citizens or permanent residents of Canada;
  • Contain at least 50% Canadian-authored or -illustrated content;
  • Be published for a trade market readership and be accessible to a general reading audience and not exclusively intended for a specialized audience, including academic or professional;
  • Have a contract with the author and/or illustrator for an industry-standard royalty agreement or fee in lieu of royalties;
  • Include primarily original material or make a significant contribution to arts and culture with previously sourced material;
  • Have content that is entirely within the publisher’s editorial control and not under the control of another financial stakeholder;
  • Be a minimum of 48 printed pages, or in the case of illustrated children’s books, 24 pages;
  • Be free of advertising other than for the publisher’s or author’s own material;
  • Have a print run of more than 350 copies; and
  • For Canadian-authored works translated into English, French, or Indigenous languages, in addition to the criteria above, the translator must be a Canadian citizen or permanent resident of Canada.

Confirmation of eligibility and intention to apply should be established with a Program Advisor prior to submitting an application. Ineligible applications will not be forwarded for assessment.

How to Apply

The submission deadline is September 15, 2022, no later than 11:59 p.m. The BC Arts Council office hours are 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday to Friday.

Submit your application through the Grant Management System. Ensure that all information (including address verification) and documentation in your organization’s online profile is up to date before submitting an application.

New applicants must register and create a profile in the online system. Once the registration request is submitted, it may take up to four business days to process your request. BC Arts Council will email you once your registration is processed and you are able to access grant applications.

Ensure the email address is on your safe senders list and check your spam folders.

Applicants can submit a portion of their application by way of an audio or video recording. See instructions within the application on this option.

Program Guidelines

Program Guidelines (PDF)

Application Preview (Word)

Program FAQ (PDF)