COVID-19 Guide

Can I get help from The AFC?

The AFC supports entertainment industry professionals working in TV and film, music, theatre, and dance. The AFC can provide short-term emergency financial assistance for essential household bills and costs that cannot otherwise be paid. 

This assistance is based on immediate financial need. Our goal is to help the largest possible number of applicants with their most critical needs.

Right now, we are focusing on making sure that people stay stable and basic needs are met for the next 2-3 weeks. At this time, we cannot consider requests for payments that are due more than one month in advance.

The AFC does not provide compensation for lost earnings.

To receive financial assistance, you need to:

  • Be professionally eligible;
  • Demonstrate immediate financial need;
  • Pursue all other avenues of support;
  • Provide the required documentation.

Am I professionally eligible?

You are professionally eligible if you:

  • Are working age and have earned the majority of your income from entertainment industry work in 2019

OR

  • Are over 65 and have earned the majority of your income from the industry over your working life

If you do not meet these guidelines exactly, we still encourage you to apply. We are aiming to help as many people as possible during this crisis. 

Do I meet the guidelines for immediate financial need?

  • Do you have enough money in the bank to meet your basic needs for the next 4-8 weeks? If no, The AFC may be able to help.
  • If you have enough money in the bank for two months of living expenses, we ask you not to apply at this time. Your request will be deferred to avoid overloading our system.
  • Are you unable to meet your basic needs because other resources like EI, government benefits, and pensions are not available or insufficient? If yes, The AFC may be able to help.
  • Do you currently have a specific need (like medical costs or a dental emergency) that would leave you unable to meet your basic needs for the next month? If yes, The AFC may be able to help.

What are basic needs?

Basic needs include rent or mortgage payments, food, utilities, phone bill, car payments, car and home insurance, or medical expenses.

How much money can I get?

  • The dollar amount will depend on your immediate basic needs and your monthly expenses.
  • It is common for people to receive only part of their request.
  • Smaller requests (under $1,500) will be processed faster; however, if you need more, we encourage you to ask for what you need. 

Can I apply more than once? 

  • You will be advised when your application is reviewed.
  • If you reapply, we will ask you to report on all measures you have taken to access other resources and to defer or reduce payments since your last application. 

What “other avenues of support” are there?

We are asking those who are able to pursue all possible sources of support. Please make sure to go through this process before contacting The AFC:

  1. Did you check if you may be eligible for government assistance, like EI, welfare, or emergency support benefits?
  2. Did you contact your creditors (your utility company, phone/internet provider, etc.) to find out whether payments can be postponed, paid in installments, reduced, or cancelled outright?
  3. If you rent a house or apartment, did you ask your landlord about giving you an extension on your next rent payment?
  4. If you have a mortgage, have you contacted your bank about options for payment deferrals? 
  5. Did you contact your employers/engagers to find out whether you will receive any pay for cancelled/postponed contracts?
  6. Did you check with your union to find out whether your dues payment deadline can be extended or dues can be temporarily reduced?
  7. Did you explore any other sources of household income, including emergency loans from family members, child tax and other benefits, etc.?

Note: The AFC does not require that everyone accesses their RRSPs or uses their credit card before applying, although these resources may form part of a plan for weathering this crisis.

What documentation will I be required to provide?

  • Required: Bank statement – recent overview of accounts and balances (screenshot is fine)
  • Required: Documentation of professional eligibility – resume, IMDB link, day count 
  • Required: Lease agreement if requesting rent; proof of mortgage payments if requesting mortgage assistance
  • May be required: Documentation of other costs you are requesting (utility bills, phone bill, medical bills)
  • We do not require a doctor’s note with your application. If a doctor’s note is required, we will contact you. 

How long will this take?

We are working at full speed to make the application process faster and simpler for everyone. The current estimated time for a decision is 3 weeks.

We may email or call you in the interim to review any information that is unclear.

If assistance is approved, we will call or email you with your decision. Payments will be made directly to your creditors using direct bill payments or EFTs whenever possible, within the next week.

To reduce your wait time, please ensure that you:

  1. Can show that you have explored the other avenues of support listed above, and
  2. Submit an application form completed to the best of your ability, along with supporting documents.
  3. Submit a copy of a void cheque or direct deposit form, so that we can quickly send you help if your application is approved.  

Where do I find the application form?

You can download The AFC’s application form here: Emergency Financial Aid Application.

Aide financière d’urgence – COVID-19

 

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