As the BC Alliance reported in its newsletter, the Toronto Alliance for the Performing Arts (TAPA) recently issued an open letter to the Canada Council for the Arts, with a list of seven recommendations for greater equity of access and funding outcomes. You can download the letter, along with an Excel spreadsheet of funding allocations to various demographics, here.
On April 3, the Canada Council issued a response, which reads, in part:
“[W]e share your desire to ensure that Toronto artists and arts organizations benefit fully from the Canada Council’s funding programs. We believe this is possible, particularly through the actions we are planning and undertaking in collaboration with municipal and provincial partners. Indeed, we are fully committed to this work, and are pleased to see early positive signs of change. […]
“The Council’s investments align with our longstanding commitment to the principle of equity. In the context of the doubling of our budget between 2016 and 2021, the Council is using targeted strategic funds for specific equity-seeking groups – namely artists and organizations representing artists who are Deaf and disabled artists, culturally diverse, and official language minority communities. These are used to ensure that our funding reaches groups that face systemic biases or discrimination in the wider society. As one of the most diverse cities in the country, Toronto-based artists benefit from these kinds of strategic measures. In 2017-18, 29 culturally diverse and Deaf and disability arts organizations in Toronto received $3.0M in core (ongoing, operational) funding, an investment that will continue over the next several years, helping these organizations to scale up their impact in their communities, locally, nationally and internationally. […]
“It will take time to change historic trends. The Council is working very closely with the Ontario Arts Council, City of Toronto, Toronto Arts Council and other partners to develop outreach activities to encourage more and high quality applications from Toronto and Ontario. We see great opportunities, particularly for next generation and culturally diverse artists, as well as for those individuals and organizations interested in exploring the potential of technology to expand the reach of their artistic creations. Canada Council staff will be in Toronto, this coming June, both in the downtown and outlying communities to conduct outreach and training sessions on how to apply for our funding programs. This effort, in partnership with Torontobased arts funders is a follow-up to an outreach tour we undertook in the fall, and represents the Council’s ongoing commitment to building capacity in Toronto and Ontario.
We appreciate your interest and engagement in building awareness of the Council’s funding programs and opportunities, and we look forward to continuing to work with our partners in Ontario. We invite you to support our efforts, and encourage your membership to also continue your advocacy for strong support for the arts at all levels in the province.”
You can read the Canada Council’s full response here.