Pre-Budget Submission of the Canadian Conference of the Arts

August 17, 2009

Pre-Budget Submission
The CCA urges Ottawa to make strategic investments in the creative economy

Just the Facts

On Friday August 14, 2009, the Canadian Conference of the Arts (CCA) filed its written pre-budget submission with the House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance. In it, the CCA calls for the government to tackle three broad priorities within the arts, culture and heritage portfolio: fostering market development for Canadian arts and culture both in Canada and abroad; investing in the creative economy, and securing a future for both cultural infrastructure and for the emerging group of culture professionals.

The complete submission outlines, in detail, the manners in which funding should be allocated and invested. Here is a summary of the CCA’s recommendations:

Recommendation 1:

Investing in market development and cultural diplomacy

The CCA asks the government to add $40 million to the Canada Council for the Arts’ base budget in order to expand its capacity to support market development nationally and internationally for Canadian artists, cultural institutions, and industries.  At the same time, based on evidence put forward by the government itself, the CCA recommends that the arts and culture once again play an important role in supporting Canadian foreign policy and international trade.

Recommendation 2:

Investing in the creative economy and its numbers

  • Increase the base budget of the Canada Council for the Arts by an additional $20 million beginning in 2010-11, with a view to reach $ 300 million by 2014. Allow the Council to keep the $ 9 million identified in the course of the current Strategic Review for its own higher priorities.
  • Dedicate $1 million to Statistics Canada and the Department of Canadian Heritage so the sector has access to necessary cultural statistics.
  • Raise the government’s contribution to the Canada Media Fund to $130 million annually.
  • CBC: add to the Corporation’s base budget the additional $60 million granted annually since 2001 and, as recommended by the Standing Committee on Heritage in February 2008, establish a long-term memorandum of understanding ensuring the public broadcaster receives an appropriation equivalent to at least $40 per capita. Allow the CBC to reallocate the $ 50 million or so identified in the course of the current Strategic Review to its own higher priorities.
  • Extend to Telefilm and the National Film Board similar long-term funding agreements to foster stability and growth. Allow the NFB to reallocate the $ 3 million or so identified in the course of the current Strategic Review to its own higher priorities.
  • Extend the tax credit for films shot in Canada to %25, applicable to full production budgets as recently adopted by the Québec and Ontario governments.


Recommendation 3:

Investing in cultural infrastructure - People and Places

  • Increase the Canada Cultural Spaces Fund to $60 million annually.
  • Dedicate $1.5 million for the next five years to foster the professional development of cultural workers through internships and mentorships.
  • Commit $50 million a year to establish and implement the long-awaited national museums policy.


Tell me more

The CCA provides a rationale for its recommendations which outlines why the arts, culture, and heritage sector represents a worthwhile opportunity for investment, particularly during a time of economic crisis.

Millions of Canadians attend live performances and purchase books, magazines, films, new media products, and sound recording materials each year. Statistics Canada estimates that household expenditures on cultural products continue to grow. The arts and cultural sector is the livelihood for over 650 000 Canadians. Collectively, with direct, indirect, and induced inputs, the cultural sector contributed $84.6 billion to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2007.

This sector is not one of hobbies or recreational pursuits, but is at the forefront of the new creative economy which our country must embrace if it is to maintain its status in the international community. In fact, Statistics Canada has noted that culture employment grew at a much greater rate than the workforce as a whole from 1981 to 2001. During this period, the growth in cultural employment was 81% in Canada, much higher than the 32% growth in the overall labour force during the same period.

Those pursuing careers in the arts and culture sector are dynamic professionals within the Canadian labour market. They are characteristically better educated, boast a high level of self-employment and often work in multiple capacities, within a variety of fields.  The Cultural Careers Council of Ontario claims that “artists may be models for the way we will be working in the future – independent, entrepreneurial, and more reliant on individual networks than conventional organizations.”

Though investing in the cultural sector may seem less concrete than investing in infrastructure, natural resources or manufacturing, it is a sector which is proven to give strong returns on government funds. The cultural sector has the unique ability to put funds to work within a very short period of time, with low administrative costs. The sector continually evolves in order to stabilize its presence within Canada, but also to build robust audiences around the world.

The costs of creating jobs in the arts and culture sector are amongst the lowest compared to other sectors of the economy.  There is a formidable return for every dollar invested in the arts and culture sector. According to the Conference Board of Canada, for every $1 of real value-added GDP produced by Canada’s cultural industries, roughly $1.84 is added to the overall real GDP.  Even more specifically, Hill Strategies notes that the performing arts generate $2.70 in non-governmental revenues for every $1 invested by the government. An additional bonus to this small investment is the employment levels which naturally rise as a result.

In sum, the CCA submits that it is of utmost importance that the federal government develops a long-term vision for its support of the arts and culture sector of the Canadian creative economy, which has suffered from repeated short-term commitments and initiatives over the past five years.

Exhibitions and Events

Subscribe to Réseau art Actuel Newsletter


© Copyright 2018 Réseau Art Actuel
Produced by Propage