The Canadian Conference of the Arts, the Canadian Arts Coalition and the Saskatchewan Arts Alliance are pleased to release the analysis of the 2015 Federal Budget which examines federal funding for the arts and culture sector for the 2015-2016 fiscal year. The broad conclusion of this analysis is that while this pre-election budget does not contain any major changes to cultural funding by Ottawa, arts and culture do not figure amongst the political priorities of the government.
For the first time since 2012, funding levels remained relatively steady compared to last fiscal year. The funding cuts announced in 2012 were fully rolled out in 2014-2015 and continue to have an impact on the sector, most notably in the audiovisual sector. Budget 2015, however, saw no major cuts and the total expenditures for the Department of Canadian Heritage and other federal cultural agencies and crown corporations remain within a 1.4% variance of the previous year’s expenditures.
Although funding to the Canada Council for the Arts has been protected and made permanent, on a per capita basis, funding to the Council has declined by 8.3% over the last decade in spite of the sector’s calls for increases. What funds the Council has are being stretched further and further, as the Council increased its support to international market access and now undertakes a transformation in its funding model.
Where the government does invest in activities related to culture and the arts, it is often in connection with other priorities, like celebrating the 150th Anniversary of Confederation in 2017 and commemorating Canada’s military history. Total funding thus far for the 150th celebrations totals $470.5 million, including the $110.5 million in capital funding to the National Arts Centre. However, the arts are far from front and centre in the government’s plans for the anniversary celebrations, and the scope and extent of funding available is far less robust than for the Centennial in 1967.
“It is disappointing to see that our pleas that a balanced budget in 2015 would lead to increased investments in culture were ignored. It is imperative that arts and cultural organizations continue to urge the government to reinvest and make new investments in the sector” said Kathleen Sharpe, president of the Canadian Conference of the Arts. “The federal electoral campaign is a propitious time to advocate for support for the cultural sector and see which party will commit to it,” noted Kate Cornell, Co-Chair of the Canadian Arts Coalition.
Read the full analysis:
For more information, contact:
Canadian Conference of the Arts
Canadian Arts Coalition