The Country Music Association of Ontario (CMAO) is a not-for-profit organization incorporated without share capital under the Corporations Act (Ontario) on March 25, 2010. Prior to being incorporated, the CMAO was operated as an unincorporated not-for-profit entity, formed in 2008.


CMAOntario’s mission is three-fold:

  1. To ignite the creative spirit and support the development of emerging Ontario country artists;
  2. To advance the public’s appreciation of the arts by providing free or highly affordable, high-quality live music events for the benefit of communities at large.
  3. To provide relief in communities to people and families experiencing poverty by providing financial support to local charities including local food banks; to provide free tickets to groups of individuals living with specialized needs contributing to the overall relief and well-being of the lives of individuals.

CMAOntario is a not-for-profit member-based organization, governed by a volunteer, unpaid Board of Directors.  The Association was incorporated without share capital under the Corporations Act (Ontario) on March 25, 2010, and prior to being incorporated, the CMAOntario operated as an unincorporated not-for-profit entity formed in 2008.

In today's competitive marketplace, having a strong infrastructure and support system is crucial for Ontario country artists to thrive, especially given the overwhelming dominance of U.S. artists in the country music genre. By providing these opportunities, the CMAOntario is helping artists improve their skills, gain exposure, and compete at a higher level.

In addition to advancing arts & culture in Ontario, we are committed to supporting local charitable initiatives. Through our events, we strive to not only entertain, but also, to make a positive impact on the lives of those in need.

Our team works with local stakeholders to adapt our strategies, based on the evolving needs of each community.

This ensures we effectively allocate our resources and efforts, providing a sustainable and transformative impact and aligning with the community's values and culture.

A portion of the proceeds from each event is donated to a local charity that alleviates the effects of living in poverty and disadvantage, such as food banks, community kitchens and community living organizations. Additionally, the CMAOntario contributes annually to the Unison Benevolent Fund.

We believe that music has the power to bring people together, inspire creativity, and foster a sense of belonging. By organizing affordable live music events, we aim to make these experiences accessible to all, regardless of their age or financial situation. We create a space where everyone feels welcome and can enjoy the magic of live music and CMAOntario maximizes its platform to make a difference.

We invite all to join us in our aim to support Ontario country music creators, build vibrant communities, and make a positive impact on the lives of individuals. Together, we create opportunities for everyone to live a better life in a more inclusive and thriving community where music and charitable efforts go hand in hand.


CMAOntario believes in the power of music to effect positive change. By presenting affordable multi-artist shows in both concentrated population centres and underserved Ontario communities, we make live music accessible to all.

And by attracting audiences from both within and beyond the communities, we stimulate visitor spending, contribute to the local economy, and create opportunities for businesses to thrive, while generating revenues to assist local charities.

We also recognize the importance of co-promoting Ontario francophone country artists along with anglophone artists. By doing so, we can expand the audience for both and create a more diverse and inclusive music community.

Networking opportunities between artists and industry leaders are crucial for career development. We work to facilitate these connections and provide comprehensive career development programs, utilizing industry leaders. Our goal is to make these programs affordable and accessible to all artists, ensuring that they have the tools and knowledge to succeed in the industry.

Preserving and enriching Ontario's country music heritage is another important objective. We acknowledge and promote legacy country artists, engaging both mature and contemporary country fans. By offering affordable admission to these events, we expose a wider audience to Ontario's rich country music heritage.

We are committed to promoting cultural diversity, gender equality, and inclusivity in all our opportunities and initiatives. We believe that everyone should have equal access to the camaraderie, benefits, and opportunities that the country music community offers.

Finally, through our Awards show, we aim to recognize and amplify the achievements of Ontario country artists, songwriters, producers, broadcasting professionals, and music industry leaders. By celebrating their successes, we hope to inspire and encourage further advancement and excellence.

All these initiatives help foster growth, collaboration and innovation - not only within the membership, but also within the broader music community. This approach contributes to the overall development and success of the country music scene in Ontario, benefitting artists, industry professionals, charities and of course, the communities we serve.

The ongoing successful careers of artists like The Reklaws, Tim Hicks, Robyn Ottolini, James Barker Band, Josh Ross, Meghan Patrick, Jason Blaine, Jason McCoy, Genevieve Fisher, Nate Haller, Owen Riegling, Jade Eagleson and many more, are a testament to the impact of CMAOntario’s dedicated efforts in supporting their careers.

With the guidance of our Board of Directors and the dedication of our team, we are confident in our ability to achieve these goals and leave an enduring impact on Ontario's communities.


The CMAOntario is committed to creating a culturally sensitive environment for our stakeholders that is diverse, inclusive, and promotes positivity.

As an association, our goal is to treat all members, contractors, consultants, and suppliers fairly and equally, regardless of their Age, Disability, Sex, Sexual Orientation, Ethnicity, Religion/Belief, Gender Reassignment, Marriage or Civil Partnership, and Pregnancy/Maternity.

Advancing gender equity, diversity and inclusion benefits both the Association and its stakeholders and by reflecting the growing diversity in our community, we encourage stronger engagement from our stakeholders and the community we serve.

We promote civility, integrity, and respect among our stakeholders as we strive to provide access and relevant opportunities for all of our members wherever we possess the means to assist them.


CMAOntario is committed to a diverse, inclusive, and equitable environment where all Board members (whether elected or appointed), staff, volunteers, and members feel respected and valued regardless of gender, age, race, ethnicity, national origin, sexual orientation or identity, disability, education, or any other social or cultural identification.

We are committed to being non-discriminatory and providing equal opportunities for employment, volunteering, and advancement in all areas of our work.

The Board of Directors of CMAOntario believes in the benefits that diversity offers, and it recognizes that a range of perspectives makes prudent business sense. Having a Board composed of men and women with a multitude of skills, experience, backgrounds and perspectives means:

  • competitive advantage;
    • robust understanding of opportunities, issues and risks;
    • inclusion of different concepts, ideas, and relationships; 
    • enhanced decision-making and dialogue; and 
    • heightened capacity for oversight of the organization, its relevance and governance.

Our Board’s philosophy and goals to provide informed leadership for diversity, inclusion, and equity include:
• We strive to see diversity, inclusion, and equity in connection with our vision and mission for the benefit of those we serve.
• We aim to recognize and address inequities in our policies, programs, and services.
• We will update and document progress on our diversity, equity, and inclusion practices.
• We commit to investigating underlying assumptions that oppose or challenge our diversity policy.
• We commit to being transparent about diversity in all our interactions.
• We will dedicate our time and resources to expanding greater diversity within our Board and leadership positions.
• We commit to leading with respect and tolerance and we encourage all employees and volunteers to express this in their work within our organization.

All Board appointments will collectively reflect the diverse nature of the business environment in which the organization operates and be made on merit, in the context of the skills, experience, independence and knowledge which the Board deems to be effective.

The Board is committed to ensuring gender diversity and to diligently act to effect change.


Diversity of thought is enhanced through intentional effort. CMAOntario will be intentional in ensuring diversity.

Credibility is enhanced through the Board and its leadership diversity. CMAOntario will pursue a well-rounded, diverse, and credible approach to ensuring Board and leadership diversity.

Legitimacy is enhanced through respected, experienced, senior leaders. To ensure the diversity strategy of the organization is viewed as a legitimate process, all appointments will be driven by merit.

Visibility is enhanced through the promotion of broad and common goals. Visibility enhances reputation. Gender diversity and inclusion imperatives are prominent on today’s public stage and across industries. Going public with a Board diversity strategy is a helpful step in holding ourselves accountable, setting an example, and providing thoughtful leadership in the industry.

Accessibility is enhanced through a powerful collective voice. We will balance the intent of this policy with our need to be a powerful voice for diversity in all of its forms.


To achieve its diversity aspirations, the Board will: 
• Ensure the board’s composition considers the balance of skills, experience, knowledge, perspectives, independence and characteristics in alignment with the strategic needs of CMAOntario and the environment in which it operates. 

  • Identify suitable candidates for appointment to the Board considering credentialed candidates against objective criteria, and with due regard for the benefits of diversity on the team.
  • Maintain an ongoing list of potential candidates. The list will strive to include a balanced proportion of genders. Whenever the list is not gender balanced, for each cycle of Board recruitment, CMAOntario will not rely on the list but will search beyond it to achieve balance.
  • The CMAOntario recognizes that the presence of any one culture or identification does not guarantee integrity any more than the absence of any one culture or identification undermines integrity.


Review: Annually by the Board



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