The Canadian government has pledged to invest nearly CAD 1.9 billion (~USD 1.4 billion) in the nation’s arts and culture over the next five years to promote Canadian creativity both at home and abroad. As laid out in the recently released annual budget — the first of newly elected Prime Minister Justin Trudeau — the new measures are sweeping, earmarking funds for the visual arts, radio, film, historic sites, and science and technology.
The Canada Council for the Arts, which will receive nearly 30% of the funds by 2021, lauded the budget announcement as “an unprecedented commitment to Canadian arts and culture.
“This once-in-a-generation reinvestment permeates beyond the walls of the Canada Council,” the organization wrote in a statement. “It is a resounding acknowledgement that arts and culture function today as a robust social infrastructure in Canada.”
The new funds will double the budget of the 59-year-old government organization, which is charged primarily with distributing grants to Canadian artists and supervising many of the nation’s top cultural awards. It will soon release a Strategic Plan that will lay out how it will use the new funds.
— Simon Brault (@simon_brault) March 22, 2016
Most of the new arts and culture budget — just over a third of it — is designated to go towards radio broadcasts through the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation/Radio Canada, which the budget document describes as instrumental to bringing Canadians together. Public cultural spaces will also receive financial aid, with the Canada Cultural Spaces Fund receiving about 9% of the budget over the next two years and national museums about 5.5% over the next five. The National Arts Center, the country’s major performing arts venue, and the National Gallery of Canada will also receive similar amounts through 2018.
“Our cultural industries represent a key sector of our economy and the intersection of art, science and technology offers infinite opportunities to innovate and problem solve,” the document reads. “Investing in the Canadian cultural sector helps to create jobs, strengthens the economy and ensures that the unique Canadian perspective is shared with the world.”