On February 27, the 2018 federal budget was released accompanied by a speech from Minister of Finance Bill Morneau. Key focuses of the document, entitled Equality + Growth — A Strong Middle Class, include gender equality, Indigenous communities, and the opioid crisis.
Points of specific interest to the arts, culture and heritage communities include:
Support of Indigenous History and Heritage
"The Government has committed to implementing the 94 Calls to Action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada. Call to Action 79 calls for historical commemoration activities, and recognition and acknowledgement of the contributions that Indigenous Peoples have made to Canada’s history. In response to this call, Budget 2018 proposes to provide $23.9 million over five years, starting in 2018–19, to Parks Canada to integrate Indigenous views, history and heritage into the national parks, marine conservation areas and historic sites managed by that agency." (pp. 137)
Supporting Canada's Official Languages
"The Government proposes to provide $400.0 million in new funding over five years, starting in 2018–19, with $88.4 million per year ongoing, in support of the Action Plan for Official Languages 2018-2023. Key measures will be implemented by Canadian Heritage, Employment and Social Development Canada, Health Canada, the Public Health Agency of Canada, Statistics Canada, and Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada and will include funding for:
• Community organizations to ensure that they are able to continue to provide important services for individuals in their communities, to welcome newcomers, and to foster early childhood development.
• Cultural, artistic and heritage activities, including community theatre, art workshops, and activities showcasing local heritage or history.
• French- and English-language minority community radio stations and newspapers.
• Development of an interactive application to make it easy for Canadians to learn English or French as a second language.
• Improved access to services for English-speaking communities of Quebec in their official language.
• The recruitment and retention of teachers who teach French and English as a second language.
• Minority official language schools, $20 million for a variety of early learning and child care initiatives." (pp. 182)
Investing in Canadian Content
"With Canadians increasingly watching content online, contributions from the broadcasting sector to the Canada Media Fund have started to decrease in step with their declining revenues. To address this issue, the Government has committed to increase its contribution in order to maintain the level of funding in the Canada Media Fund.
The Government proposes to provide $172 million over five years, starting in 2018–19, with $42.5 million per year ongoing, to maintain the level of funding in the Canada Media Fund at the 2016–17 level. While the actual Government contributions will fluctuate depending on the broadcasting sector revenues, this approach will provide a stable source of funding to develop Canadian content and support good jobs, including for our writers, producers, directors, actors and crews." (pp. 183)
In addition to the above mentioned initiatives, the budget also includes a new partnership between Library and Archives Canada and the Ottawa Public Library (pp. 185) and new funding for the Canadian Museum for Human Rights (pp. 185).
To see the full budget, click here.