Questions and Answers on COVID-19 for Literary Programming

Last Update: June 1st, 2020

Question 1

Is the Frankfurt  Book  Fair (FBM) still happening this year following the COVID-19 pandemic and  with  all the international events being cancelled right now?  

As the health and safety of all Canadians are of the utmost importance, we are working closely with the Government of Canada and our German partners to assess possible scenarios for Canada’s presence as the Guest of Honour country at the 2020 Frankfurt Book Fair. It is our goal to ensure that the end result of our efforts will lead to increased profitability and export capacity for the publishing industry and for Canadian creative and cultural industries involved in the project. 

Based on the information provided by the organizers of the fair, the Frankfurter Buchmesse, the event will take place from 14 to 18 October 2020 in a modified format. The German publishers and booksellers association (Börsenverein des Deutschen Buchhandels) and the Frankfurter Buchmesse are exploring the use of online platforms to stage key events, such as rights negotiations, matchmaking, presentation of new titles, socio-political discussions, etc. 

The Government of Canada respects the Frankfurter Buchmesse’s decision to modify the format of the 2020 Frankfurt Book Fair, as announced by the organization on May 27th. The government remains committed to supporting the FBM in this endeavour. However, in regards to Canada’s Guest of Honour role, the Government of Canada hopes it will be postponed to 2021 and in light of that, discussions are ongoing with the next three Guests of Honour countries: Spain, Slovenia and Italy.

Once a joint decision has been made between the Frankfurter Buchmesse and the Department of Canadian Heritage and its partners, detailed information on plans for our Guest of Honour presence will be communicated.

Given the international public health restrictions and requirements as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and the FBM’s aspirations to offer virtual activities this year, the Government of Canada has decided to not move forward with the construction of a Pavilion in 2020. In the event this situation changes, we will keep you well informed. For official current information on COVID-19, please visit this link

Question 2

Will the authors/illustrators of the 2020 literary delegation be included in the virtual plans for this year’s Frankfurt Book Fair? 

Rest assured that we are exploring engaging ways to include your participation for October 2020 and that you will be among the first to be informed once we have finalized the details concerning Canada’s presence as Guest of Honour.   

At this time, we ask that you refrain from making travel arrangements or modifying existing arrangements made as a result of receiving funding for this initiative.  

The Government of Canada respects the Frankfurter Buchmesse’s decision to modify the format of the 2020 Frankfurt Book Fair, as announced by the organization on May 27th. The government remains committed to supporting the FBM in this endeavour. However, in regards to Canada’s Guest of Honour role, the Government of Canada hopes it will be postponed to 2021 and in light of that, discussions are ongoing with the next three Guests of Honour countries: Spain, Slovenia and Italy.

Once a joint decision has been made between the Frankfurter Buchmesse and the Department of Canadian Heritage and its partners, detailed information on plans for our Guest of Honour presence will be communicated.

Question 3

Does that mean that some authors and illustrators would be asked to travel to Germany?  

At this time, travel restrictions both in Germany and Canada are still in place. The Government of Canada’s priority is to ensure the health and safety of people across Canada and around the world.  We continue to monitor the COVID-19 pandemic situation and future decisions on travel will be based on the advice of public health experts.

With that in mind, our presence as the Guest of Honour country at the 2020 Frankfurt Book Fair will be focused on virtual activities to promote the sales of Canadian-translated publications in the German market.

At this time, we ask that you refrain from making travel arrangements or modifying existing arrangements made as a result of receiving funding for this initiative. 

Question 4

Does that mean that the authors and illustrators who signed a contract to participate at FBM 2020 will have to return the financial support they received? 

The Government of Canada respects the Frankfurter Buchmesse’s decision to modify the format of the 2020 Frankfurt Book Fair, as announced by the organization on May 27th. The government remains committed to supporting the FBM in this endeavour. However, in regards to Canada’s Guest of Honour role, the Government of Canada hopes it will be postponed to 2021 and in light of that, discussions are ongoing with the next three Guests of Honour countries: Spain, Slovenia and Italy.

Once a decision on Canada’ Guest of Honour plans has been made, our first priority will be to work with the Canada Council for the Artson a revised reimbursement process. We will be sure to communicate the details and next steps to you as soon as we can. Rest assured, our priority is to find a simple solution.

Question 5

Will there be Canadian collective stands in Frankfurt this year?

Questions concerning Canadian collective stands should be directed to:

  • Québec Édition ( Karine Vachon, Directrice à l’international, vachon@anel.qc.ca, Tel : 514 216-0016);
  • Livres Canada Books (Francois Charette, Executive Director, fcharette@livrescanadabooks.com Tel: 819 962-3726 ).

Question 6

I was supposed to participate in an event related to Canada’s Guest of Honour presence this spring but it was cancelled. I was asked to keep a record of the travel expenses I have accumulated using the financial support I received from the Canada Council for the Arts (CCA) before everything was put on hold. What should I do now?

On March 16th, the Canada Council for the Arts stopped processing and issuing travel reimbursements related to Canada’s Guest of Honour presence. Once a decision on Canada’ Guest of Honour plans has been made, our first priority will be to work with the CCA on a revised reimbursement process. We will be sure to communicate the details and next steps as soon as we can.

Question 7

If Canada’s Guest of Honour presence is postponed to 2021, does this mean the authors and illustrators who were invited to be part of the 2020 literary delegation will be guaranteed an invitation for 2021?

We will be in a better position to communicate this information to you once a decision on Canada’ Guest of Honour plans has been made. At this time, it is our intention that the invitations that were sent to the 2020 literary delegation will be extended to 2021.

Question 8

I have received an invitation to attend a festival/event/activity related to Canada as the Guest of Honour at the FBM 2020. I have received financial support from the Canada Council for the Arts . Should I book my travel (ex.: Booking flights, hotel reservations)?  

No. As of Friday, March 13, 2020, a non-essential travel advisory outside of Canada was issued by the government and remains in effect. Even though our activities are still moving forward as planned for the FBM in October 2020, until further notice, we are asking you to hold off from making any travel arrangements and to wait to hear back from us before doing so. To monitor information regarding the travel notices concerning COVID-19, please follow this link.  

From March 16 until July 31, 2020, no travel compensation will be processed or issued. For those who have already incurred expenses or are in the process of being reimbursed, we are asking you to keep your receipts and make note of your expenses and await news from us before moving forward. Until further notice, we are asking you to hold off from making any travel arrangements and to wait to hear back from us before doing so. 

Once a decision on Canada’ Guest of Honour plans has been made, our first priority will be to work with the Canada Council for the Arts on a revised reimbursement process. We will be sure to communicate the details and next steps to you as soon as we can. Rest assured, our priority is to find a simple solution.

Question 9

I have received an invitation to attend a festival/event/activity related to Canada  as the Guest of Honour at the 2020 Frankfurt Book Fair but I have not yet received any financial support from the Canada Council  for  the Arts. Should I book my travel anyway (ex.: Booking flights, hotel reservations)?  

Until further notice, we are asking you to hold off from making any travel arrangements and to wait to hear back from us before doing so. From March 16 until July 31, 2020, no travel compensation will be processed or issued. For those who have already incurred expenses, please notify us immediately.  

Once a decision on Canada’ Guest of Honour plans has been made, our first priority will be to work with the Canada Council for the Arts on a revised reimbursement process. We will be sure to communicate the details and next steps to you as soon as we can. Rest assured, our priority is to find a simple solution.

Question 10

I have received financial support from the Canada Council  for  the Arts  for my travel expenses for an upcoming literary event in Europe but haven’t yet booked my travel arrangements. Can I use the financial support given to me to pay for my travel/cancellation insurance? 

At this time, we ask that you refrain from making travel arrangements or modifying existing arrangements made as a result of receiving funding for this initiative.  

Once a decision on Canada’ Guest of Honour plans has been made, our first priority will be to work with the Canada Council for the Arts on a revised reimbursement process. We will be sure to communicate the details and next steps to you as soon as we can. Rest assured, our priority is to find a simple solution.

Question 11

I have received financial support to travel or tour for an event that has been cancelled. I cannot be reimbursed for some or all of my expenses. Will I have to pay back the financial support I received from the Canada Council for the Arts? 

Once a decision on Canada’ Guest of Honour plans has been made, our first priority will be to work with the Canada Council for the Arts on a revised reimbursement process. We will make sure to communicate the details and next steps to you as soon as we can. Rest assured, our priority is to find a simple solution. 


For information on updates regarding the Canada Council for the Arts financial support programs excluding the literary programming at the FBM2020, please visit the following website: COVID-19: Info update.