About PAL Ottawa
We reward the artists who delight us with our applause, and often assume that success in the arts brings financial security. But very few members of the arts community arrive at the end of their career with an adequate pension and other resources. That’s why we created PAL Ottawa: to provide affordable housing and a support system to arts workers 55+ in need.
PAL Ottawa is a vital resource—a lifeline—for artists and arts workers in all disciplines who, due to age, low income and, in some cases, disability, struggle to maintain a decent style of life in their senior years. past age 55.
Canada’s Capital Region has been described as the Festival Capital of Canada for its many artistic celebrations. We are a national centre of creative expression, supporting our region’s vibrant economic growth. Many of the artists who have entertained and enthralled us for so many years have attained celebrity in their lives…but because of the ups and downs of their profession, some arrive at the end of a long career without an adequate pension or other resources that enable them to live in dignity and to continue engaging creatively with the community.
A non-profit, charitable organization founded in November 2012, PAL Ottawa works to provide or help connect members of the Capital Region’s professional arts community with essentials such as affordable housing, personal care services, and links to the local arts community so they can live, not in isolation, need and fear, but in dignity within a caring community.
PAL Ottawa is the 8th Chapter of PAL Canada, a national network begun in the late ‘80s that has so far resulted in the creation of affordable housing facilities for artists in Toronto, Vancouver and Stratford.
To provide seniors in the Capital who work(ed) in the arts sector with affordable housing and personal support in a creative, caring community.
Seniors residing in the Capital who work(ed) in the arts sector are assured of access to affordable housing and personal support in a creative, caring community – so they can continue to live, create and inspire.
Who We Serve
PAL Ottawa is a not-for-profit charity. Its Mission is to provide senior members of the Capital Region’s arts community with essentials such as affordable housing, personal support and links to the local arts community – so they can live, not in isolation and need and fear, but in dignity within a caring community, and:
- Retain their independence and well-being
- Maintain their creative energy
- Remain connected to the artistic community
PAL Ottawa serves senior members of the arts community age 55+ across artistic disciplines, including theatre, dance, music, visual, literary and media arts. Artists enrich our community with their work, making Ottawa a lively and engaging city. Most of these artists and arts workers have lived on a below-average income all of their working lives. The average income for full-time arts workers was identified as $17,137 in the Cultural HR Study in 2010 by the Cultural Human Resources Council. Through PAL, the community gives back to them, ensuring they receive the assistance and fellowship they need to live free of want and isolation and are able to continue to contribute.
Statistics Canada 2016 Census shows that there are 23,400 Arts Workers in Ottawa. Yet, these workers are vulnerable – especially as they age. Statistics Canada 2016 Census shows a typical Ontario creative or performing artist had employment income of $17,300, an amount 56% lower than the median of all workers ($39,000). This is below the poverty line. And, with 50% being self-employed, there is little safety-net from unemployment or for retirement. There are 5,400 artists in Ottawa, and these actors, dancers, musicians, visual, literary and spoken word creators worry about how to put a roof over their heads.
Supporting Cast: Our Personal Assistance Program
Our personal assistance program, Supporting Cast, helps senior members of the arts community to retain their independence while maintaining residence in their current home. Our Supporting Cast volunteers are trained to assist those in need with the tasks of daily living. The services offered include companionship, errands, transportation, and connecting artists to community agencies, health care providers and the wider arts community. Supporting Cast also provides programs that support and educate arts workers in areas of concern such as financial planning. In addition, we are extending our own network to be able to connect artists to the advice, support, and alternatives they seek regarding their current living arrangements.