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Aid To Publishers – Digital Periodical & Magazine funding – Q&A

For magazine publishers who have never applied to CPF’s Aid To Publishers Program, either the new Digital Periodical or the revised Magazine funding sub-component, or who want information on the latter’s changes.

Please contact CPF at or 1-866-811-0055 (toll-free) if you need further information on the program or eligibility.

Deadline to apply: December 8, 2020.

Digital Periodical – Aid To Publishers sub-component

Overview | Guidelines | Application Form* (pdf) | Acknowledgement of Financial Support

*To fill out the application form, you must download it, then open it in Adobe Acrobat. It will not work in your browser.


For periodicals that were print but are now digital, what are the eligibility requirements?

The periodical needs to meet all eligibility criteria of the digital-only subcomponent at the time of application. They can send in an application for the digital-only subcomponent if they do.

Do they need to have been digital for at least a 12-month period?

No, as long as the periodical has at least completed a 12-month publishing cycle, there is no specification on the format. This includes magazines that were formerly controlled circulation print publications.

Do they need to have had 2 different content changes online to apply or just show their print issues plus original online content? 

The minimum of 2 updates is not a requirement for a complete change of content, but just adding new content or publishing content.


Can you share the formulas by which you calculate who gets how much under this fund? Or is this still to be determined? 

The only indicator in the formula funding for the digital-only component will be the total of eligible expenses. The amount will be determined depending on results for a specific periodical and the number of successful applications. There is no way for the Program to calculate the funding amount in advance.

Is there a cap in this sub-component?

There is currently no cap in the digital-only component. It is still to be determined depending on the number of applications received.


The guidelines state, “maintain a regular publishing schedule in which the majority of editorial content changes at least twice during a 12-month period.”

For online magazines, especially new ones, does this mean the majority of content on their website needs to be changed twice?

For the digital-only component, it is not issues, but updates of content. There is a minimum of two updates needed for the financial year on the application form.

Do new digital periodicals with discrete issues need to produce at least 2 or at least 3 digital issues per year to be eligible? (Referring to the 2 content changes required.)

If a digital-only periodical is published according to a regular publishing schedule, there need to be two issues published for the financial year on the application form.


How will the maximum 70% ad content be ascertained in a digital context, especially for digital magazines on a website? 

There is an attestation to that in the application form, and the program officers will also look at all digital-only periodicals that apply for funding.


How will the 80% Canadian content be calculated for magazines on a website? Would everything on a website be included in this calculation or just the content posted during a particular time period?

There is an attestation for Canadian editorial content on the application form. The Program will also look at the online content when analyzing an application.


If a publisher is Indigenous or from an ethnocultural group, can their publication be considered Indigenous or ethnocultural as well even if it doesn’t focus specifically on those matters?

No, it has to target an Indigenous or ethnocultural audience specifically.


What metrics should be tracked and included in the analytics report?

This has not been determined yet, as the Program is waiting to get all applications in. The reports will be used to confirm the existence of the periodical, and some traffic to it.

Magazine – Aid To Publishers sub-component

Overview | Guidelines | Application Form* (pdf) | Acknowledgement of Financial Support

*To fill out the application form, you must download it, then open it in Adobe Acrobat. It will not work in your browser.

IMPORTANT: if a controlled-circulation magazine sells at least 3,500 copies in a year, it is eligible to apply for funding under this sub-component if it meets all other eligibility criteria.


Is this 3,500 copies total? E.g. a magazine that publishes 12 times a year would only need to have at least 292 paid copies* on average for each issue to be eligible to apply?

Yes, this is correct. The only criterion for paid circulation is now the total number of copies sold during the financial year (minimum 3,500). There is no more criterion for the % of copies sold. (It was 50% before the CPF modernization.)

* Paid copies are defined as subscription copies and single-copy/newsstand copies. Paid subscription copies are added up from each issue for that year to generate the total subscription copies. – Sylvia


How is the funding formula for the Canadian editorial content expenses side calculated?

It is part of the formula that calculates funding, and all eligible expenses are taken into account, with no proration depending on the number of copies sold.


For those magazines that currently do not have paid copies, when can they become eligible if they meet the 3,500 paid copies in future?

The information entered on the application form should be from the financial year ending between April 1, 2019 and March 31, 2020.

Print periodicals need to meet all eligibility criteria for the above financial year, so they would not be eligible to apply for the 2021-2022 funding cycle if they are just now starting to sell copies of the periodical.

As the timing can be a bit tricky, publishers with questions regarding this specific criterion should contact the Program directly to get more information from a program officer.

Both sub-components


Would an owner who’s also an editor be able to include dividends as content expenses?

Yes, if the salary is used for the creation of content or any other listed eligible expense on page 6 of the application form.

Canadian Editorial Content Contributors:

Does the list of contributors need to show their percent contribution toward the 80% CanCon requirement, according to how much they’re paid prorated by how much they contribute to CanCon?

The total does not need to necessarily add up to 100%, but it is a way for the Program to confirm that the periodical contains an average of 80% Canadian editorial content for the financial year on the application form.

The list of contributors is to confirm the average of 80% Canadian editorial content. There is no proration with salary. All eligible expenses in the creation of Canadian editorial content will be counted in the formula.

What content will the program officers look at during the period of analysis to confirm Canadian content?

The attestation signed by the publisher on the average of 80% Canadian editorial content will serve as the first confirmation during the analysis. The list of contributors will help to confirm this, and the officers will look at the online content at the time of the assessment of the file.

Can staff members who do part-editorial, part non-editorial work prorate their salaries/wages? 

Yes, as long as the work reported on the application fits one of the eligible expenses listed on page 6 of the application form.

Can any costs associated with editorial be included or are only the costs currently listed in the form eligible?

(Listed: salaries (full or prorated staff salaries (see above) as well as contributors and contractors such as designers, writers etc.), editorial staff training, purchasing Canadian content rights, accounting, audits.)

Only the listed categories are considered eligible editorial expenses. Note that Canadian editorial content expenses can include those associated with producing audio and video content, as long as they have a corresponding text article.


We’ve been told that periodicals will hear back within 30 weeks (service standards) about their ATP applications. Why does it take so long?

Because it is formula funding, all applications need to be fully assessed before the formula can be run and final amounts for 2021-2022 calculated.

Based on the Aid to Publishers Program answers to questions raised at Allyson McGrane’s Nov. 16 and 17 CPF ATP workshops and from our own perusals of the guidelines and the application form.

– Sylvia Skene, executive director, Magazine Association of BC and Allyson McGrane, Left Right Minds, Nov. 26, 2020.

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