Canada Council for the Arts announce radical funding model

The Canada Council for the Arts (CCfA) has announced its new funding model, in a programme shift reflecting a ‘commitment to making funding responsive and flexible, and ensuring the focus stays on the art-making’.

The new system reduces the number of available funding streams from an unwieldy 147 different discipline-based programmes to just six non-disciplinary umbrella programmes – namely Arts Across Canada; Arts Abroad; Explore and Create; Engage and Sustain; Renewing Artistic Practice; and Creating, Knowing and Sharing Aboriginal Arts.

Implementation of the much-simplified new funding model will begin in 2017, coinciding with the organisation’s 60th anniversary. The CCfA, which defines itself as an arm’s-length agency of the federal government, says it is introducing the transformation in order to offer artists ‘a simpler, more artist-centred application process; to respond proactively and constructively to current trends and issues in the arts; and to maximise the social, creative and economic impact of the arts in Canada for the benefit of all Canadians’.

The organisation said it will remain ‘committed to core principles of artistic excellence, the distribution of public funds by a process of peer assessment, and to upholding and strengthening Official Languages, as well as its support for Aboriginal arts, ethnic and regional diversity and equity groups including deaf and disabled artists’.

CCfA director and CEO, Simon Brault, added: ‘The ways in which art is created and consumed are changing rapidly. By making our grant structure more open and flexible, we can better meet the ever-evolving needs of Canada’s dynamic arts sector and the Canadians who benefit from it.’

Vice-chair Nathalie Bondil said the new funding model ‘marks the beginning of the CCfA’s broader transformation to breathe new life into our mandate, in time for the Council’s 60th anniversary and Canada’s 150th anniversary. Every citizen must have the opportunity to…experience artworks that have been supported by public funds.’

The CCfA stresses that First Nations, Metis and Inuit artists are also invited to take advantage of all of its other programmes. However, this particular strand will be guided by Aboriginal artists’ values and worldviews, administered by staff of Aboriginal heritage, assessed by Aboriginal arts professionals, and its impacts will be measured and reported on in an Aboriginal cultural and artistic context.