On Tuesday, January 20, the Canada Council for the Arts broadcast its Annual Public Meeting, the centrepiece of which was the speech given by Director and CEO Simon Brault. As expected, the speech delivered news of significant change at the Canada Council. While details are still in development and will be announced later this year, the general plan includes a massive consolidation, from 142 current grant programs (governed by 108 policies), to fewer than 10 large programs.
Brault described an enormous and comprehensive process. “The initial phase of this vast plan to rework and reconfigure our grants programs and to set up a new computerized system for managing our relationship with our clients began four months ago, and it should take at least another eighteen months of hard work before it is finished,” said Brault. “But this first phase will culminate in nothing less than an entirely new funding model that will steer the course of the Canada Council and influence the practice and outreach of the arts both in our communities and on the international scene for years to come.”
Acknowledging the likely apprehension of many current clients of the Canada Council, Brault offered reassurance about the objectives of the change process. “The current distribution of funding envelopes by arts disciplines and specialized areas of intervention (publishing, Aboriginal arts, equity, etc.) will be the starting point for the new funding model. Nobody will lose any funding because of this new model. The intention is not to modify the actual allocations of funding or to destabilize arts organizations. It is to create a new baseline to fund Council's priorities with new investments by the government.”
The full text of Simon Brault’s speech is posted on the Canada Council website.