Get involved. Nominate!

Nominations for the Governor General's Performing Arts Awards are made by members of the general public.

The deadline for nominations for the 2021 Awards is December 16, 2019.


The Governor General's Performing Arts Awards celebrate achievement in all forms of the performing arts in Canada, including Dance, Theatre, Popular Music (i.e.: Jazz, Rock, Folk), Classical Music, and Film/Broadcasting (film, radio and television). The Award for Lifetime Achievement is granted to established Canadian artists who have made a marked contribution to the performing arts in Canada, and in some cases, internationally, and who have developed a significant body of work.

Please note that each nomination is viable for three years (meaning it is presented to the juries for three cycles). If the nomination is not successful after this time, the Foundation will be directly in touch with you about making a renewal. We are happy to accept updated nominations during the three-year period should your candidate experience a major achievement in that time.

Notice: after a review it has been determined that the categories of “film” and “broadcasting” should be combined into one category. A new name for this category will be developed, which we hope will captures all aspects of screens, streaming, radio and television broadcasting and film. In the meantime, it will be called “Broadcasting and Film”. We have also left the definition of “broadcasting” as it pertains to these Awards in the “Frequently Asked Questions” below.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Award for Lifetime Artistic Achievement?

The Governor General’s Performing Arts Award for Lifetime Artistic Achievement is given to established Canadian artists who have made a marked contribution to the performing arts in Canada, and in some cases, internationally, and have developed a significant body of work.

The awards are conferred in the following five categories:

  • Broadcasting / Film
  • Classical Music
  • Dance
  • Popular Music
  • Theatre

Each recipient receives a cash award of $25,000 provided by the Canada Council for the Arts and a commemorative medallion provided by the Royal Canadian Mint.

Who can be nominated for Lifetime Artistic Achievement Awards?

Professional artists who are Canadian citizens or permanent residents of Canada and who have achieved a major, influential body of work can be nominated. The Foundation defines a professional artist as someone who has specialized training in the field (not necessarily obtained in academic institutions), who is recognized as such by his or her peers (artists working in the same artistic discipline), and who has a history of public presentation.

Tip: Visit the Award Recipients page to get an overview of those who have been honoured in the past. This is a good guideline to determine whether your favourite artist is eligible.

Members of the boards of the following organizations are NOT eligible to receive an award in any year during which they are actively serving on the board:

  • The Governor General’s Performing Arts Awards Foundation
  • The National Arts Centre
  • The National Arts Centre Foundation
  • The Canada Council for the Arts
  • The National Film Board of Canada

Note: Candidates may not themselves apply for the Awards; they must be nominated.

How do you define “broadcasting” in the performing arts?

As indicated above, the categories of broadcasting and film have been combined into one category encompassing all types of screens and broadcast. As such, the term "broadcasting" is still appropriate in the context of the Awards.

The Governor General's Performing Arts Awards are dedicated to celebrating Canadians who have changed the face of the performing arts in Canada or abroad. The principal assessment criterion for the Lifetime Artistic Achievement Award is the quality, extent and originality of the contribution by the nominee(s) to the performing arts in Canada, or through shining a spotlight on Canadian talent abroad.

In the category of Broadcasting / Film, candidates for the Governor General's Performing Arts Awards can be actors, producers, TV personalities, producers, directors and those in the boradcasting distribution sector.

The award is not intended for news anchors or news correspondents.

Examples may be found in the past recipients in this category:

  • Andrew Alexander
    Theatre, film and television producer
  • Janette Bertrand
    Journalist, writer, host, actor, playwright

  • Dave Broadfoot
    Writer, actor, producer, director

  • Clémence DesRochers
    Writer, broadcaster, singer, monologist

  • Max Ferguson
    On-air host

  • Denise Filiatrault
    Actor, director

  • Michael J. Fox
    Actor, writer, producer and humanitarian
  • Peter Gzowski
    Writer, interviewer/host, journalist/reporter
  • Tom Jackson
    Actor, singer-songwriter, producer and humanitarian
  • Jacques Languirand
    Host, writer

  • Eugene Levy
    Actor, writer

  • Lorne Michaels
    Writer, broadcaster, producer

  • Dominique Michel
    Actor, host

  • Royal Canadian Air Farce
    Actors, writers

  • William Shatner
    Actor, director, producer, writer, spokesman and philanthropist
  • Martin Short
    Actor, writer and producer
  • Mark Starowicz
    Journalist, producer

  • Mary Walsh
    Writer, comedian, director and political satirist
  • Moses Znaimer
    Producer, director, specialty channel pioneer
     

What is the Ramon John Hnatyshyn Award for Voluntarism in the Performing Arts?

The award for voluntarism in the performing arts is given to an individual or group to recognize an outstanding contribution in service to the performing arts, made without direct or indirect financial or other compensation. For the purposes of the Awards, voluntarism has many facets, and may include one or more of the points below:

  • Providing personal, selfless involvement and expertise over a substantial period of time, while displaying passionate love for and support of the performing arts in settings that may be large or small, rural or urban
  • Being a role model and inspiration in voluntarism
  • Displaying generosity and/or providing sustained financial support in the service of a community, a company or various arts initiatives
The prize consists of a specially commissioned artwork created by a Canadian artist and a commemorative medallion provided by the Royal Canadian Mint.

Who can be nominated for the Ramon John Hnatyshyn Award?

Recipients of the Ramon John Hnatyshyn Award must be Canadian citizens or permanent residents of Canada and their contribution made in the service of the Canadian community.

Voluntarism is defined as:

  • giving personal time and expertise;
  • displaying generosity; or
  • establishing a history of financial support in the service of a community, without direct or indirect financial or other compensation for the service.

Tip: Visit Award Recipients to get an overview of those who have been honoured in the past. This is a good guideline to determine whether your favourite volunteer is eligible.

Members of the boards of the following organizations are NOT eligible to receive an award in any year during which they are actively serving on the board:

  • The Governor General’s Performing Arts Awards Foundation
  • The National Arts Centre
  • The National Arts Centre Foundation
  • The Canada Council for the Arts
  • The National Film Board of Canada 

Note: Candidates may not themselves apply for the Awards; they must be nominated.

Who can submit a nomination?

Anyone can make a nomination. We are delighted to receive nominations from engaged Canadians who enjoy and take an interest in Canada's performing arts.

How do I make a nomination?

A complete nomination must be submitted to the Foundation by completing the online form, by mail, email or fax. If submitting your nomination by email, please forward all required documents as attachments with your cover message. A complete nomination package consists of three parts:

  1. The nomination form. You must fully complete the proper nomination form and include it in your package. If you do not have contact information for the nominee, please leave the line blank.

  2. The supporting statement. OPTIONAL. You may provide a description of why you are nominating this individual or group.

  3. The biography. Please provide biographical details about the nominee. Materials sourced online are acceptable. Sample biography.

Additional letters of support are not required and will not be submitted to the juries.

Submissions provided in both official languages (English and French) are greatly appreciated.

Important to note: Incomplete nominations will not be submitted for consideration. Materials must not be bound (e.g., stapled, Cerlox or spiral bound) to ensure ease of copying. Please note that the Foundation will not return any submitted materials.

All Award nomination documentation submitted becomes the property of the Foundation and, except for personal information protected by the Privacy Act, may be used in any publicity or promotion accompanying the Awards.

How many people can I nominate?

You may submit multiple nominations. A complete package must be prepared for each nomination.

How are the nominees selected?

All eligible nominations will be reviewed by peer assessment juries selected each year by the Governor General's Performing Arts Awards Foundation.

The juries are composed of experienced performing arts professionals—performing artists, managers, impresarios, directors, teachers, critics, producers, and other appropriate peers—selected by the Foundation for their expertise in each discipline. Members are also chosen to ensure fair representation of the two official languages, gender and the various regions and cultures of Canada, as well as the various disciplines and artistic practices within the performing arts.

Each jury makes recommendations for the final selection of the recipients. The Board of Directors of the Governor General's Performing Arts Awards Foundation makes the final selection of the recipients. All decisions of the Board are final.

What are the criteria for selection of the recipients?

Juries and Foundation Board members will have the following points in mind when reviewing the nominations for Lifetime Artistic Achievement Awards:

  • The excellence of the nominee's work, covering all aspects of artistic quality, creativity, innovation, and technical mastery.
  • The quality of the candidate’s contribution to the development of the performing arts in Canada and to the cultural life of Canada or to bringing Canadian artistic excellence to the attention of communities abroad.

The principal criterion for assessing nominations for the Ramon John Hnatyshyn Award for Voluntarism in the Performing Arts is:

  • The quality and scope of the voluntary contribution made by the nominee(s) to the performing arts in Canada over an extended period.

How are the recipients notified?

The Foundation contacts the recipients privately to confirm their acceptance. The names of the recipients are kept strictly confidential until the official announcement in the spring.

The recipients are required to participate fully in all Award activities, including ceremonies, receptions, and other related events, and to make themselves available to the media for interviews.

Recipients must allow photographs and public information about themselves to be used in promoting the Awards and in other Foundation/ National Arts Centre promotional initiatives. Portraits of the recipients may be displayed at the National Arts Centre and elsewhere.

How are the recipients recognized and celebrated?

The names of the recipients are first revealed at an announcement event. Recipients are honoured first through the announcement event at which their selection is revealed to the media and the general public. They are also honoured throughout a special Gala Awards weekend, held in the spring. See Celebrations for details.