Applications for the 2021 Creative Co-Location Facilities Property Tax Subclass Designation that supports live music venues closed on March 15.

The Creative Co-Location Facilities Property Tax Subclass supports the sustainability and growth of creative enterprises and live music venues in Toronto. By incentivizing creative collaboration, arts accessibility and local live music, the Tax Subclass allows hubs of creative activity to thrive in the city.

Properties must be designated as a Creative Co-Location Facility by the City of Toronto to be included under the property tax subclass. A property may apply for inclusion in the Creative Co-Location Facilities Property Tax Subclass in one of the following categories:

  • Tenant-Based Operating Model
  • Membership-Based Co-Working Model
  • Live Music Venues

Creative enterprises are entities that produce cultural goods or services as defined by the Canadian Framework for Cultural Statistics.

For more information about the program, please view the pre-recorded Information Session.

A qualifying property must have as tenants creative enterprises that are charged a below market rent, that produce cultural goods and/or provide cultural services.

Eligible Creative Enterprises for Tenant-based Operating Model

Not-for-Profit or For-Profit

  • Heritage and libraries
    • Archives
    • Libraries
    • Cultural heritage
    • Natural heritage
  • Live performance
    • Performing arts
    • Festivals and celebrations
  • Visual and applied arts
    • Original visual art
    • Art reproductions
    • Photography
    • Crafts

Not-for-Profit Only

  • Written and published works
    • Books
    • Periodicals
    • Newspapers
    • Other published works
  • Audio-visual and interactive media
    • Film and video
    • Broadcasting
    • Interactive media
  • Sound recording
    • Sound recording
    • Music publishing

Qualifying Property Criteria for Tenant-based Operating Model

Minimum scale/physical space

The property must consist of a physical building (i.e. not a virtual network) with a minimum net rentable area of 10,000 square feet, or minimum net rentable area of 5,000 square feet where the property is owned by the City of Toronto or notwithstanding, houses more than 40 separate tenants that meet the definition of ‘Creative Enterprises’.

Multiple tenants

The property must have a minimum of five distinct, full-time tenants that meet the definition of “Creative Enterprises”.

Below average market rent

The qualifying property must have creative enterprises as tenants that produce cultural goods or provide cultural services that are charged below average market rent. Below average market rent is at least 30 per cent lower than the average market net rent for a similar space in the same classification of property as defined by BOMA standards and in the same neighbourhood.

A membership based co-working facility is a type of work space where self-employed individuals or small enterprises (the members) use a shared office or other physical work environment on a membership basis as opposed to a lease arrangement. A membership fee is the fee paid by said members to a building operator to access the space and any shared resources/services offered as a benefit of membership.

Eligible Creative Enterprises for Tenant-based Operating Model

Not-for-Profit or For-Profit

  • Heritage and libraries
    • Archives
    • Libraries
    • Cultural heritage
    • Natural heritage
  • Live performance
    • Performing arts
    • Festivals and celebrations
  • Visual and applied arts
    • Original visual art
    • Art reproductions
    • Photography
    • Crafts
    • Architecture
    • Design
  • Written and published works
    • Books
    • Periodicals
    • Newspapers
    • Other published works
  • Audio-visual and interactive media
    • Film and video
    • Broadcasting
    • Interactive media
  • Sound recording
    • Sound recording
    • Music publishing

Qualifying Property Criteria for Membership-based Co-working Model

A co-working facility is a type of work space where self-employed individuals or small enterprises (the member) use a shared office or other physical work environment on a membership basis rather than a lease arrangement. A membership fee is the fee paid by said members to a building operator to access the space and any shared resources/services offered as a benefit of membership. A Qualifying Property is a property in which all of the following criteria are met:

Minimum scale/physical space

The property must consist of a physical building (i.e. not a virtual network) with a minimum work and common space area of 5,000 square feet.

Managed by incorporated not-for-profit organization

The property is managed by a building operator who is a not-for-profit organization incorporated under the laws of the Province of Ontario or the Government of Canada, with a functioning board of directors and a stated mandate to provide access to space and/or professional development services for the creative sector. The not-for-profit organization must have been incorporated for at least one (1) full year prior to making an application for designation of its space under the Subclass.

Concentration of creative enterprises

A minimum of 75 per cent of members must be creative enterprises.

Eligible portions of property

Portions of the property that are accessible by members, including work space and common areas, are eligible for designation under the Subclass. Portions of the property occupied by the building operator for non-commercial activity are eligible for designation under the Subclass, up to a maximum of 10 per cent of the total square footage of the property. Other portions of the property that are used for purposes other than co-working space and/or are not accessible by members are not eligible.

The expansion of the Creative Co-Location Facilities Property Tax Subclasses to include live music venues was initiated in 2020 as part of the City’s COVID-19 recovery efforts and is consistent with City Council directives to promote Toronto as a city that values music and musicians.

Qualifying Property Criteria for Live Music Venues

A Live Music Venue is a venue at which Live Music Performances occur. A Live Music Performance is a performance by individual musical artists or groups of musical artists of original or non-original (cover) musical works on instruments, vocally or on equipment conventionally used to perform jazz, rock, folk, classical, R and B, hip hop, global, experimental, and other genres of music, and includes performances by electronic musical artists and DJs using digital equipment, software, or turntables to create musical performances for an audience, but excludes the simple playback of recorded music without a creative role being played by the DJ.

A qualifying property must meet all of the following criteria to be eligible under the Creative Co-Location Facilities Property Tax Subclasses.

Venue infrastructure

The Live Music Venue must have a minimum of four amenities or types of equipment listed below:

  • fixed stage or stage area
  • sound booth or desk with sound board
  • artist dressing room
  • window, booth, or established point where tickets or cover charges are collected
  • audio equipment (amplified PA system with microphones and/or backline)
  • performance or stage lighting

Bookings and compensation

Given Live Music Venues have since March 2020 been closed or severely restricted due to COVID-19, applicants must be able to demonstrate:

  • Live music was presented for a minimum of 144 days in 2019, or in the case(s) due to venues being closed by emergency orders as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic present live music 40 per cent of all operating days within 2020 up to and including March 15, 2020.
  • Artists were compensated for performances in 2019 (through a percentage of bar sales or door cover, or as agreed via a formal or informal contract), and were not be charged for the use of the stage or equipment.

Please note, confirmation of bookings can be provided in the form of a copy of the venue’s booking calendar for 2019 or for the operating days within 2020 up to and including March 15, 2020, or of the venue’s archived 2019 online schedule.

Employment

The Live Music Venue must have employed in 2019 regular venue staff or contract workers to fulfil a minimum of two of the roles listed below connected with the venue’s live music programming (note that one staff position may fulfil more than one role):

  • venue booker
  • event promoter
  • audio technician
  • stage manager
  • door person/venue security

Length of operations

The Live Music Venue must have been in operation as a Live Music Venue for a minimum of six months prior to applying for inclusion in the Creative Co-Location Facilities Property Tax Subclasses.

Maximum capacity

The Live Music Venue must have a maximum capacity of no more than 1,500 persons as defined by occupant load, in the eligible portions of the Live Music Venue.

For new applicants only, note that digital photographs of each floor of a Live Music Venue is required.

The property as a whole must meet the requirements of a qualifying property.

The portion of the qualifying property that is eligible for inclusion in the Creative Co-location Facilities property tax subclass is assessed, once the property is deemed eligible.

If they meet all the criteria, qualifying properties are then officially re-classified into the subclass via bylaw enacted by Toronto City Council. A re-assessed tax bill is issued by Municipal Property Assessment Corporation (MPAC).

Financial assistance from government programs may have tax implications for your business; it is recommended that advice be obtained from a qualified tax professional before applying.

Applications for 2021 closed on March 15.

For application related questions, please contact culturetaxclass@toronto.ca.