The Incredible Shrinking Investment in Arts and Culture
By Joel Secter
Budget 2014 announces ongoing funding of $105 million per year in support of core arts programs beginning in 2015. This allocation includes
· $25 million for the Canada Council for the Arts
· $30.1 million for the Canada Cultural Investment Fund
· $30 million for the Canada Cultural Spaces Fund
· $18 million for the Canada Arts Presentation Fund
· $1.8 million for the Fathers of Confederation Buildings Trust
While this may seem like a substantial commitment, bear in mind that the Parliamentary budget for the Canada Council for the Arts in 2012 alone was $181 million. In other words, unless the $25 million for the Canada Council for the Arts is to supplement ongoing funding, the national funder of arts and culture has been gutted.
Two other arts programs singled out for support in Budget 2014 are the Canada Book Fund and Canada Music Fund, receiving $9 million per year and $8.8 million per year respectively. The Canada Book Fund helps support access to Canadian-authored books while the Canada Music Fund helps support access to new Canadian music.
Ongoing funding for the Virtual Museum of Canada will be supplemented to bring the total annual investment for this program to $6.2 million. The Virtual Museum of Canada brings together content from Canada’s museums to provide access to virtual exhibitions. Meanwhile, the Online Works of Reference, which provides online content on Canadian culture and history, will receive supplemental funding to bring its total annual investment to $2.1 million.
Finally, through existing programs, Budget 2014 confirms the Government’s support for celebrating Canada’s birthday in 2017.
The balance of the Government’s continued commitment in arts and culture is devoted to sport. Though record level of investment in Canada’s Sport Support Program is laudable, especially during the Olympics, the incredible shrinking investment in arts and culture is not going unnoticed.
**The Following Clarification To This Article Was Posted After the Original’s Publication**
In our Budget 2014 Update yesterday, we reported that the Government of Canada committed $25 million of its core arts spending to the Canada Council of the Arts. There was no mention in Budget 2014 that this allocation was a supplement to the Parliamentary appropriation, which in recent years has been $181 million. Upon further research we can confirm that Budget 2014 makes permanent the $25 million to the Canada Council for the Arts that had previously been renewed from year to year. We also understand that the Council’s Parliamentary appropriation of $181 million remains intact. Just like Pat Kramer in the Incredible Shrinking Woman, the Government’s investment in arts and culture has returned to its original size.