For Canada’s arts and cultural sector, including orchestras, the federal budget held good news. The increased funding commitment to the Canada Council for the Arts is upheld (though not explicitly mentioned) and there is greater certainty around federal cultural infrastructure programs.
Canada’s cultural industries—from television and film to dance to digital games—are the heartbeat of our communities and an important contributor to Canada’s economy. Collectively, they employ nearly 650,000 Canadians, providing good, well-paying jobs for the middle class, and account for approximately 3 per cent of Canada’s gross domestic product.
More than an economic driver, Canada’s cultural industries reflect the Canadian experience, and share that experience with the world. They showcase Canadians’ creativity and diversity, strengthening our understanding of what it means to be Canadian.
Excerpt from Budget 2017
Funding for Cultural Spaces Canada, a matching program to support relatively small-scale cultural infrastructure investment, was increased $30 million a year to an annual allocation of $60 million a year for ten years, from 2018 onwards.
- You may recall there was a short-term stimulus bump up to this program in last year’s budget that saw an additional $100 million in the program over two years. According to the Budget 2017, that resulted in support to 162 cultural infrastructure projects across the country.
In addition, Finance Minister Morneau announced $1.3 billion over ten years to bilateral federal-provincial-territorial infrastructure agreements for culture and recreation. This type of program holds the potential to support larger scale projects than Cultural Spaces Canada. Details on the roll out of the bilateral agreements remains to be worked out.
In the section focused on the anticipated retooling of broader cultural policy, like the Copyright Act, the budget papers stated that there will be “a new approach” for the creative sector, “one that is focused on the future.” This section also announced a review of the Broadcasting and Telecommunications Act; this could, presumably, include a review of the CBC/Radio Canada.
What you can do
Please write to Finance Minister Bill Morneau, copying Canadian Heritage Minister Mélanie Joly and your MP, telling them you support the Budget, reinforcing your thanks for the increased support to the Canada Council for the Arts.
Find a copy of Orchestras Canada’s letter to Finance Minister Bill Morneau HERE.