The Canadian Conference of the Arts, the Canadian Arts Coalition and the Saskatchewan Arts Alliance have released their annual analysis of the Federal Budget, examining federal funding for the arts and culture sector for the 2016–2017 fiscal year.
The analysis, entitled Budget 2016: Culture and Arts: A New Approach, concludes, in broad terms, that the government’s approach to the arts and culture sector to date is a very positive one, supported with substantial reinvestments and new investments. Five main findings are detailed in the analysis, and the summary of findings listed below appears on the Canadian Arts Coalition's website:
First, the government has signaled a new approach to governance at the federal level. Budget 2016 followed through on many of the objectives of the mandate letter sent to the Minister of Canadian Heritage, made public for the first time.
Second, the government’s support for the arts and cultural sector is grounded in both economic and socio-cultural rationales.
Third, the government places substantial priority on the arts and culture, committing an additional $1.9 billion in funding to the sector over the next five years. This is an unprecedented investment.
Fourth, the government places substantial priority on investing in infrastructure. Budget 2016 announced a plan for $120 billion worth of infrastructure spending over ten years, including $342 already committed to cultural infrastructure.
Fifth, the government is investing substantial resources into celebrations for the 150th Anniversary of Confederation in 2017. The arts are not always explicitly mentioned in the government’s plans, so it will be important for the sector to underscore the important contribution that the arts can play in the celebrations.
“The government’s recognition of the importance of the arts and culture sector is very encouraging. The reinvestment has brought some programs back to the levels where they were prior to recent cuts. That and the increase in the Canada Council’s budget is very welcome news,” said Kathleen Sharpe, president of the Canadian Conference of the Arts.