Big budget boost for Canadian arts council

The Canadian Government has announced a large spending increase in arts and culture, reversing many of the cuts made under the previous administration. Canada Council for the Arts’ budget will double within five years, with an additional CAD40m (€27.4m) for 2016.

Canada’s museums also benefit from the new budget, with CAD33m upfront for immediate repairs and maintenance and a further CAD105m over the next five years. State broadcaster CBC, meanwhile, is the recipient of a CAD675m investment over five years to help modernise the organisation for the digital age.

Canada Council described the budget as a ‘once in a generation reinvestment,’ with director and CEO Simon Brault adding that, ‘The doubling of the Canada Council’s budget is an incredible vote of confidence in the capacities of the arts to invigorate our economy and support social cohesion.’

At present over 671,000 Canadians are employed in arts and culture, which contributes CAD47.7bn to the country’s GDP. CAD35m has also been set aside for Canadian artists’ international touring activities, part of a plan to promote Canada to the world ahead of its 150th anniversary celebrations in 2017.

All of this was in the new budget from Justin Trudeau’s centre-left Liberal Party, which came to power in 2015. The party has reversed budget cuts not only in arts and culture but also in education, has set aside CAD245m to help Syrian refugees and CAD8.4bn for programmes aimed at is Aboriginal population.

Canada Council will soon release its Strategic Plan 2016-2021 that will outline how the new money will be spent.