2015 Forum Freelance Fund Rules


1. There are three streams of Forum funding for freelancers. Stream C has different criteria. They can be found here. To be eligible for a safety training bursary, in stream A or stream B an applicant must be a Canadian citizen, a permanent resident of Canada or be able to demonstrate a substantial body of recent work abroad for Canadian media.

2. Applicants in streams A and B must demonstrate either:
a) that they have been working as freelancers for a minimum period of 18 months prior to their application; or b) that they have letters from at least two Canadian media organizations or international media organizations with bureau presence in Canada confirming the commissioning of freelance contributions.

3. Application in streams A and B is open to all journalists who meet the criteria in item 2 above, including reporters, producers, video and audio operators, photographers and fixers. 

4. Applicants must choose and indicate in their application which stream one they are applying for. Applicants for bursaries in stream c who also meet the requirements for streams A and B may apply in either stream a or stream b as well as in stream C, but no applicant will receive more than one bursary in the same year.

5. Applicants selecting stream A will contend for bursaries of up to $2,500 to attend courses provided commercially by any one of the approved course providers listed at the time on the Forum’s website. Typically a bursary might cover between 50% and 70% of the cost of fees, travel and accommodation, but this proportion is not guaranteed. Within two months of notification, successful applicants must secure a place on the course of their choice with one of the approved course providers. The course must begin within 9 months of the applicant’s selection. 

6. Applicants selecting stream B will contend for bursaries of up to $1,000 to attend a special 3-day course for freelancers at Columbia Journalism School, in New York, held twice a year in October and April. This course has significantly lower fees. Successful applicants must also be accepted by Columbia.  

7. Application in stream C is open to journalists or documentary filmmakers of any nationality, without restriction as in rules 1 through 3. Applicants will contend for named bursaries of up to $3,000, to be used to attend approved courses offered in either stream A or stream C. Applications will be judged by the specific criteria set out for the particular award. In the case of the Portenier Human Rights Bursary, those criteria are set out in appendix 1.

8. Successful applicants in all streams must deal directly with course suppliers to secure their place. They may also be required to submit proof of course enrollment, and to provide proof of completion and full receipts within 14 days of the completion of the course. Any portion of the bursary relating to course fees will be paid directly to the course provider. Any excess and any other costs above the total amount of the bursary must be met from the applicant's own resources. 

9.  Where a bursary-holder fails to pay the balance (if any) of the course fee to the course provider in advance of course commencement, in the manner the course provider stipulates, the whole bursary may be annulled. 

10. Bursaries from the Forum Freelance Fund may be applied to course fees, travel and accommodation costs. The Forum Freelance Fund may set a maximum for travel and accommodation costs in its sole discretion on a case-by-case basis. 

11. Applicants in steams A and B are required to fill out the application form, submit evidence of relevant freelance work, provide two references from Canadian media or international media with bureau presence in Canada if required under rule 2 and write approximately 250 words outlining their case for consideration. Priority may be given to those with specific assignments in hostile environments or whose work frequently takes them to such places. 

12. Applicants in stream C are required to fill out the application form and write approximately 500 words outlining their case for consideration. 

13. An independent adjudication panel will determine the appropriate amount of any bursary, up to the maximums described in rules 5 and 6 respectively. Bursaries are awarded at the discretion of the adjudication panel and all decisions, including determinations of freelance status, are final. 

14. Successful applicants will be required to sign an agreement including an indemnity recognizing that safety training is provided in good faith and that neither the Forum, its officers, directors or agents nor any of the sponsors, their officers, directors or agents will be liable for damages relating to incidents during the training or consequent to that training. 

15. Applications may be submitted in English or French, but applicants may be required to demonstrate that they have adequate understanding of the language of instruction, which for all courses currently approved is English.

16. Applicants in any stream may benefit as well from a bursary from The Rory Peck Trust. Forum Freelance Fund will highlight potential candidates to the Trust, which will then make its own decisions. Bursaries from the Trust can be combined with the support from the Forum Freelance Fund, but the Trust may restrict the type of expenses against which its bursaries may be applied.

Updated May 15, 2015

You can also check out our eligibility chart.