The Canadian Arts Coalition (CAC) – a united national movement of artists, cultural workers, business leaders, and volunteers – was disappointed to learn that the Canada Council for the Arts was not considered one of the government’s priorities in Budget 2015. After participating in the pre-budget consultations, the CAC was hopeful that its recommendation to increase the operating budget of the Canada Council would be adopted. Unfortunately, the Canada Council’s funding was unchanged in the 2015 Budget.
“This lack of investment in the Canada Council for the Arts reflects a short-sightedness on the part of the government.” commented CAC spokesperson, Kate Cornell of the Canadian Dance Assembly.
The Canada Council is a well respected, efficiently run, national arm’s-length agency that fosters and promotes the creation and enjoyment of the arts for all Canadians. The Council plays an important role in supporting artists, creation and dissemination. The Canada Council’s programs support a tremendous range of jobs within the cultural sector: artists, book publishers, general managers, stage managers, set and lighting designers, sound engineers, filmmakers, bookkeepers, and numerous other creative and administrative workers benefit from the trickle down effects of the Government’s investments through the Canada Council. Since 1990, the number of arts organizations supported by the Canada Council has increased by 65% – a response to the growing and diversifying engagement in creative and cultural experiences by Canadians across the country.
Budget 2015 did allot $210 million over four years to celebrations for Canada’s 150. The arts sector is encouraged by this investment, but awaits the details to see if professional artists and arts organizations will be eligible to apply for this new funding.
The arts and cultural sector represents 4% of Canada’s labour force, which makes it an engine of Canada’s economy. Given that many Canadian artists and cultural workers are self-employed small-business owners, it is clear that these jobs are essential to the prosperity of thousands of families across the country. The Canadian Arts Coalition will continue to consult with the federal government to assert the importance of its sector.