Arts and Culture promises in the Federal Budget

By DJ Kelly January 28, 2009

Want to know what the new Federal budget has to say about Arts and Culture? Here’s it is in their words.

My take? Sounds pretty good, but its awfully short on details – as these things are wont to be.

Culture and Sport

Culture reflects who we are as a nation, how we see ourselves within our country, and how we appear to the world. Day-to-day, Canadians experience the essence of this rich and diverse country through the imagery and words of its artists, through works which demonstrate the best of talent. While resilient in many ways, the cultural sector is plainly also vulnerable to economic shocks. The Government wants to help ensure as much stability as possible for the sector at a time when the sector is facing difficult challenges.

Budget 2009 provides over $335 million in support for culture and the arts—recognizing the importance of our artistic institutions and the role they play in Canadians’ lives.

Cultural Infrastructure

The Government recognizes the importance of economic stimulus through infrastructure investments in a number of targeted sectors, and the cultural sector is no exception.

As part of the overall stimulus package, Budget 2009 will provide a targeted, two-year fund of $60 million to support infrastructure-related costs for local and community cultural and heritage institutions such as local theatres, small museums, and libraries. Examples include the Toronto Public Library revitalization project, Toronto’s Famous PEOPLE Players, la Maison du Festival de Jazz in Montréal and the Confederation Centre of the Arts in Charlottetown. This support will be provided through Canadian Heritage programming.

Canada Prizes for the Arts and Creativity

The Canada Prizes for the Arts and Creativity will bring the world’s best new artists from a vast array of art forms to Canada to compete for the title of most promising new artist and for significant cash awards. These artists will be publicly adjudicated by a distinguished panel of established artists in each discipline. To add a dynamic social value to the project, Canada Prizes will also develop media-based curriculum guides for schools across Canada to enhance knowledge about the arts.

Budget 2009 will provide $25 million for an endowment to support the creation of international awards to recognize excellence in dance, music, art and dramatic arts.

National Arts Training Contribution Program

Budget 2009 will provide an additional $20 million over the next two years and $13 million per year thereafter to the National Arts Training Contribution Program, which supports the highest calibre artistic institutions in Canada in training artists for professional careers. This funding will help ensure that training opportunities for Canada’s next generation of artists will continue through many of Canada’s top institutions such as the National Ballet School, the Royal Conservatory of Music, the Banff Centre and the École nationale du cirque.

Community Newspapers and Magazines

Canadians continue to look to local magazines and publications to see reflections of themselves and their communities. Budget 2009 will continue this tradition by providing $30 million over the next two years to support continued access to Canadian magazines and community newspapers.

Specifically, funding will contribute to a revitalized, streamlined program that provides aid to publishers. It will also contribute to diverse Canadian content by supporting business innovation for print and online magazines, in an ever-changing industry. This support will help ensure that Canadians in all parts of the country have affordable and reliable access to Canadian culture.

Canada New Media Fund

The Canada New Media Fund, administered by Canadian Heritage, encourages the production of Canadian interactive digital cultural content, and fosters the development, production, and marketing/distribution of original, interactive or online Canadian cultural new media works.

In recognition of the contribution of new media to Canadian culture, Budget 2009 confirms funding of $28.6 million over the next two years to the Canada New Media Fund, and $14.3 million annually thereafter.

Canadian Television Fund

Recognizing the importance of the production and broadcasting of high-quality, distinctively Canadian television programs, Budget 2009 provides the Canadian Television Fund with $200 million in funding over the next two years.


All Canadians are proud that the 2010 Winter Olympic Games will be hosted in Vancouver and Whistler. To date, the Government of Canada has provided significant financial support to the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Games by investing over $650 million toward the event. The Government has also made significant investments in support of excellence, enhancing summer and winter Olympic and Paralympic athletes.

The Government also recognizes the importance of sports participation by Canadians with an intellectual disability. In recognition of their work, funding for Special Olympics Canada will be increased to $1.5 million for 2009–10.


The tourism industry encompasses many service sectors and is an important source of employment in many regions of Canada. While the Canadian tourism industry remains strong, it is facing key challenges due to the international economic downturn and competition from other destinations. To stimulate the growth of tourism and help bring Canada to the forefront of the minds of travellers, both here and abroad, Budget 2009 provides:

  • $40 million to the Canadian Tourism Commission over two years, including $20 million for domestic advertising and $20 million for new activities in priority international markets. This funding will support additional promotional activities, such as for the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games.
  • $100 million over two years for marquee festivals and events such as jazz and other music festivals that draw a significant number of tourists.

An additional $12 million per year in 2011–12 and 2012–13 is being provided to support the development of infrastructure that will promote cruise ship tourism along the Saint Lawrence and Saguenay Rivers for attractions such as the Centre d’expérience glaciaire in Baie-Comeau.

National parks and historic sites contribute to tourism in 465 communities in every province and territory through direct spending, visitor spending and spin-off economic activity. Budget 2009 provides $75 million on a cash basis over two years for improvements and enhancements to Parks Canada’s visitor facilities, such as campgrounds and visitor centres.

Budget 2009 also provides an additional $75 million on a cash basis to Parks Canada for upgrades to national historic sites, including a number of sites connected with the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812, as well as for national historic places owned by not-for-profit groups that receive support through Parks Canada’s National Historic Sites Cost-Sharing Program.

The Government currently supports the tourism sector through a number of programs and services. There is a need and opportunity to bring greater coherence to these activities. To improve the effectiveness of the Government’s support in this area, the Minister of State for Small Business and Tourism, will lead the development of a National Tourism Strategy that will guide future investments.

2008–09 2009–10 2010–11 Total
Culture and sport
Cultural infrastructure 30 30 60
Canada Prizes for the Arts and Creativity 25 25
National Arts Training Contribution Program 7 13 20
Community newspapers and magazines 15 15 30
Canadian Television Fund 100 100 200
Canadian Tourism Commission 20 20 40
Marquee Festivals 50 50 100