Finance Minister Bill Morneau unveiled the new Liberal Government’s first budget yesterday, March 22nd, and in it the federal government made good on a number of campaign promises related to arts funding. In total, the Liberal Government committed $1.9 billion in new funding over five years to arts and culture programs and institutions.
In the 269-page budget, the government committed to investing an additional $675 million in the CBC/Radio-Canada over the next five years “to modernize and revitalize CBC/Radio Canada in the digital era.” This is divided into $75 million this coming fiscal year and $150 million in each of the next four years.
The Canada Council for the Arts also received a major infusion of funding, with government committing an additional $40 million to the Council’s budget this year, which is below the $90 million promised during the campaign for this year, but there are incremental increases each following year up to $180 million in 2020-21. This equals $550 million in total new funding for the Canada Council for the Arts.
In a statement released after the budget announcement, the Canada Council for the Arts called the new funding a “once-in-a-generation reinvestment” and a “resounding acknowledgment that arts and culture function today as a robust social infrastructure in Canada.”
“The doubling of the Canada Council’s budget is an incredible vote of confidence in the capacities of the arts to invigorate our economy and support social cohesion. The Canada Council, along with the remarkable artists and organizations we support, is ready and anxious to responsibly deliver results that will benefit millions of Canadians,” says Simon Brault, director and CEO of the Canada Council.
The Canada Cultural Spaces Fund will receive $168.2 million over two years to help regional arts groups and festivals with construction, renovations, and repairs.
The National Arts Centre in Ottawa will also be getting an additional $114.9 million to renovate the building’s performance spaces and an additional $35 million will be spent promoting Canada’s cultural industries abroad.
More information on the budget can be found at www.budget.gc.ca/2016/home-accueil-en.html.