After Quebec, it’s Ottawa’s turn to unveil its budget. Canadian Heritage, which funds the country’s cultural institutions, will have a budget of $1.94 billion for 2023-2024. Museums will continue to benefit from federal largesse, while the Canada Council for the Arts will benefit from an envelope of 364 million.
Canadian Heritage’s annual budget, while large on the face of it, is down $240 million from last year. Nevertheless, Minister Pablo Rodriguez will have an envelope large enough to finance some of the country’s flagship museums (208 million), Telefilm Canada (151.9 million), Library and Archives of Canada (203.8 million ) and the NFB (66.4 million), among others.
Festivals and events can breathe. The 2023 federal budget will provide $108 million over three years to regional development agencies “to help communities, small businesses and non-profit organizations develop local projects and events.”
“The fact that this announcement is made in connection with the new federal strategy for the growth of tourism suggests that finally greater support could be granted to Canadian festivals and events under economic and tourism criteria, so that they are developing,” said Martin Roy, president of the Major International Events Group (REMI), in a press release.
Canadian Heritage will also have a budget of $14 million over two years, starting in 2024-2025, to support the Building Communities Through Arts and Heritage program. Another program that festivals will be able to benefit from.
“This investment of $7 million per year has been added to the budget base for five years and could otherwise have disappeared as of April 1, 2024,” said Martin Roy in a press release.
Patrick Kearney, president of the Grouping of independent regional artistic festivals (REFRAIN), also said he was relieved to see the government invest these sums. “However, it is hoped that there will be other announcements or new programs for independent festivals, because there is still an increase in fees since 2019, he wrote. We think of the workforce and the revival of the post-pandemic cultural sector. »
Budget 2023 also proposes to provide $50 million over three years to Destination Canada to attract world-class conferences and events. A budget item that could benefit festivals.
The Canada Media Fund (CMF), intended among other things for producers and screenwriters to broadcast Canadian content at home and abroad, will receive $40 million over two years starting in 2023-2024.
A measure welcomed by the Quebec Association of Media Production (AQPM), which however considers this funding insufficient to compensate for the underfunding of Quebec television production in the French-speaking market. The AQPM estimates that its share should represent 40% of the CMF envelope.
The president and CEO of the AQPM, Hélène Messier, indicated in a press release that “the budget for French-language programs represents only a quarter of that of drama series or English-language children’s programs. In addition, the labor shortage and the exorbitant increase in production costs make it difficult to sustain the situation of Quebec producers who want to continue delivering quality content. In the current situation, any addition to the CMF budget is a welcome addition if it is intended primarily to increase the funding of each production and not the quantity of programs produced. »
The Canada Music Fund, with an annual budget of $35 million, is down from past years and below industry expectations. The Association of Music Publishing Professionals (APEM) also issued a press release in the evening to deplore the fact that “the sums available are insufficient and that a significant part of the financing is not guaranteed after March 31. 2024”.
“Contributions from broadcasters to the development of Canadian music are declining, new contributions from online broadcasters are slow to materialize because C-11 is still not adopted, all this after a pandemic that has weakened the sector. In this context, we would have liked the announcements to meet the needs,” wrote Jérôme Payette, director general of APEM. APEM calls for funding of 50 million annually.
Flagship museums get a big slice of the pie. Among them, the Canadian Museum of History (73 million), the National Gallery of Canada (45.8 million), the Canadian Museum of Science and Technology (29.9 million), the Canadian Museum of nature ($27.7 million) and the Canadian Museum for Human Rights ($25.4 million).
Finally, the Société Radio-Canada, whose expenses do not seem to have been accounted for with those of Canadian Heritage, will receive almost identical funding to that of last year, at $1.28 billion for 2023-2024.