Canada is the second largest country in the world (9,970,610 sq. km.), with the majority of its 28 million inhabitants settled within 100 miles along a 6,400 kilometre long border shared with the United States. There are two official languages in Canada, English and French, and no single dominant religion. Canada's cultural heritage is a mosaic, a society originally influenced by the aboriginal peoples, francophone and anglophone populations, which has evolved into a more culturally diverse society.

Canada is composed of 10 provinces and two territories and is a federal state whose legislative powers are divided between two levels of government: federal and provincial. The country is characterized by different regions: Atlantic Canada, Central Canada, the Prairies, the Pacific, and the North. Accordingly, regionalism has been a significant influence in Canada's political history.

Initially, cultural development was carried out on an ad hoc basis by each level of government. Federal support for culture and communications was formally institutionalized following the release of the pivotal Report of the Royal Commission on National Development in the Arts, Letters and Sciences (Massey-Lévesque Report) in 1951, which led to the establishment of the National Library of Canada in 1953 and the creation of the Canada Council in 1957. The Council is a federal arts funding institution which operates at arm's length from the government.

The original constitutional division of powers in 1867 granted the Canadian provinces substantial responsibility in the field of education, which included culture. Consequently, each province has developed its own cultural policy and distinct mechanisms for implementing policy, including ministries for culture, organizations and agencies. Throughout the last 20 years there has been considerable debate concerning the further decentralization of powers, as provinces seek a greater role in the development of Canadian culture.

Traditionally, Canada has embraced an institutional approach to public policy, with much of the regulation and policy development performed by the federal and provincial governments and institutions. Following the 1993 federal government reorganization, the Department of Canadian Heritage has the major responsibility for Canadian culture, with the following departments also playing important roles: Foreign Affairs and International Trade, the Department of Finance, the Department of Immigration and Citizenship, the Department of Human Resources, the Department of Indian and Northern Affairs, and the Department of Industry. This survey of Canadian cultural policies will focus on the responsibilities mandated to the federal Department of Canadian Heritage, which plays the leading role in cultural development at the national level.


In order to promote integration rather than assimilation, Canada's cultural policy has evolved into a continuing search for a distinct cultural and national identity, which recognizes the aboriginal population, linguistic duality, the multicultural composition of its population, regionalism, and the strong influence from the United States.

Constitutionally, Canadian provinces are responsible for education and share responsibility for culture with the federal government. Canada has similar institutions supporting the arts and culture at both the federal and provincial levels. Virtually all the provinces and territories have ministries of culture whose work parallels that of the federal Department of Canadian Heritage in the area of cultural policy programmes. The larger provinces also support somewhat similar cultural agencies, including public broadcasting networks with educational mandates (TV Ontario, Radio-Québec) which complement the federally based Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) and privately owned broadcasters. Furthermore, in provinces where the arm's length principle has been embraced, provincial arts councils have been patterned on the federal Canada Council.

The 1992 Report of the Standing Committee on Culture and Communications: "The Ties that Bind" recommended that the federal government should encourage "integrated policy and planning among all federal government departments with respect to culture and encourage partnerships with other levels of government, the private sector and Canada's cultural community". Currently, the federal government is exploring general principles and objectives for the future direction of a federal cultural policy.

Other trends in the development of a federal cultural policy include multi-year funding strategies for artistic activity, creation of demand-side measures to encourage cultural participation, development of high levels of voluntarism and philanthropy, training and professional development in the arts, and increased cooperation between provincial and federal governments and agencies.


2.1 Public and semi-public bodies

National level

The former federal Department of Communications was responsible for the administration and development of cultural policies, legislation and regulation at the national level. In June 1993, several government departments were consolidated to create the new Department of Canadian Heritage. The department combines responsibilities for art, cultural industries, broadcasting, heritage, museums, amateur sports, multiculturalism, national parks and national historic sites, human rights, voluntary action, Aboriginal cultures and languages, official languages, state ceremony activities, and the promotion of Canadian identity.

The Department of Canadian Heritage is responsible to Parliament for all of the following independent federal agencies: the Canada Council, the National Film Board, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, the National Arts Centre, Telefilm Canada, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission, the National Library, the National Capital Commission, the National Battlefields Commission, the National Museums [ the National Museum of Science and Technology (including the National Aviation Museum), the Canadian Museum of Nature, the Canadian Museum of Civilization (including the Canadian War Museum), the National Gallery of Canada (including the Canadian Museum of Contemporary Photography) ], and the National Archives. This portfolio accounts for the greatest share of the current federal cultural expenditure, which totalled $2.9 billion in 1991-92.

The Canada Council was created by the Canada Council Act in 1957 "to foster and promote the study and enjoyment of, and the production of works in, the arts". The Council has an annual budget of approximately $107 million (1993-94) and provides grants and services to professional artists, producers and arts organizations.

The Council also maintains the secretariat for the Canadian Commission for UNESCO and administers many awards including the Killam Program of scholarly awards and prizes. The Canadian Commission for UNESCO coordinates UNESCO programme activities in Canada, encourages Canadian participation in UNESCO activities, provides advice to Foreign Affairs on all UNESCO matters, and assists the Canada Council in its international programmes.

The Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada offers fellowships and grants to individuals to assist in developing research and resources in the social sciences and humanities. The Council is a Crown Corporation which reports to Parliament through the Department of Industry.

Provincial level

Culture is a shared responsibility between provincial and federal governments. In the 1970s, with the proceeds from the sale of lottery tickets, a number of provinces established ministries of culture as the vehicle for more direct provincial and municipal intervention. Provincial governments have traditionally been active in the heritage sector, developing strong legislation, policies and programmes. In 1991-92, provincial cultural expenditures totalled $1.9 billion, with the majority of funding distributed to heritage activities and libraries.

Priorities for culture vary considerably amongst the provinces. For example, Ontario, Quebec and British Columbia are centres for the cultural industries and the arts. Quebec is the only province that has increased the levels of funding for culture, strengthened the role and mandate of its ministry of culture, and created the new Conseil des arts et des lettres despite the recent economic recession.

A number of mechanisms have been created in Canada to facilitate the development of cooperative funding projects in the area of culture and to exchange information among the federal and the 10 provincial and two territorial governments.

Conferences of Ministers - The annual meeting of Ministers responsible for culture and historical resources is one of the most productive mechanisms for federal/provincial collaboration in culture.

Economic Regional Development Agreements - Bilateral regional economic development agreements in the field of culture have been used, for instance, to improve or construct major cultural facilities in the cities of Montreal, Toronto and Winnipeg.

Federal/Provincial/Municipal Committees - Cooperation in cultural areas is also facilitated by committees such as the Interprovincial Council of Cultural Directors or the Interprovincial Heritage Advisory Committee.

Local level

While municipalities do not have formal jurisdiction over culture, provincial legislation encourages local support for the arts through municipal by-laws to complement federal and provincial initiatives. Municipalities are encouraged through programmes such as Arts in the Cities to develop cultural policies to enhance local identity, attract new visitors to local cultural institutions through tourism strategies, and to promote artist exchange and cooperation amongst regions. In 1991-92, municipal cultural expenditures totalled approximately $1.2 million, with funding priorities given to libraries, museums, public archives, historic sites, and the performing arts.

2.2 Facilities and institutions



3.1 Financing of cultural activities

Culture is a dynamic economic sector which directly and indirectly contributes to the national economy. Statistics Canada estimates that the direct economic impact of the arts and cultural sector was $14.2 billion in 1990-91, or 2.3 per cent of the gross domestic product.

Public support for the arts and culture in Canada stems from all levels of government, as well as from private and corporate contributions. A large number of government departments and agencies provide substantial amounts of financial aid to the cultural industries, institutions and individual artists, particularly since the Centennial celebrations in 1967. Over the years there have been significant disparities among the provinces in both the growth of support and the distribution of the total cultural budget.

In 1991-1992, governments at all levels spent a total of $6 billion on culture ($2.9 billion federally, $1.9 billion provincially, and $1.2 billion at the municipal level). There is a concentration of federal cultural expenditure in Quebec and Ontario, where the majority of federal cultural departments and agencies are located.

Eighty-six per cent of federal spending is allocated to the operating and capital budgets of federal cultural departments and agencies, including the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, the National Museums, and Historic Sites. The remaining 14 per cent is allocated in the form of grants and contributions to the cultural industries, institutions, organizations, and individual artists.

Two-thirds of provincial and territorial government expenditure on culture is allocated to libraries and heritage activities. In 1991-92, of the $1.2 billion in municipal cultural expenditures, 80 per cent was allocated to libraries.

The Department of Canadian Heritage operates the Cultural Initiatives Program (CIP), which was designed to help Canadian non-profit, incorporated, professional arts and heritage organizations undertake arts and heritage activities. The program's mandate is to improve management practices, establish and improve cultural equipment and infrastructure, and increase the availability of cultural products for Canadians. The contributions made by the program are allocated by the Department through three program components with a budget of $13.2 million (1992-93): Management Assistance, Capital Assistance, Festivals and Special Events.

Indirect/Direct Support for Artists at the Federal Level

Policies in direct support of artists emerged following the passage of the Canadian Copyright Act in 1924. However, it was the Massey-Lévesque Report in 1951, which, among a host of recommendations, urged the creation of a general arts education system and a "Canada Council" responsible for the arts, letters, humanities and social sciences, whose purpose was to promote "Canada to Canadians". This report laid the foundation for the development of cultural policy in Canada. Furthermore, in 1982, the Report of the Federal Cultural Policy Review Committee, commonly known as the Applebaum-Hébert Report, made specific recommendations concerning the livelihood of artists.

Following the 1986 investigation of the Siren-Gélinas Task Force on the Status of the Artist, the process towards the development of policies on the economic and social status of the artist began. In 1992, the federal government enacted the Status of the Artist legislation, which was brought into effect in 1993. This legislation provides a legal framework under federal jurisdiction for the conduct of professional relations between producers and self-employed artists. Two new mechanisms were created under the legislation: the Canadian Council on the Status of the Artist, which provides advice to the Minister of Canadian Heritage and conducts research on issues such as taxation, artists' access to social benefits, and bankruptcies in the cultural sector; and the Canadian Artists and Producers Professional Relations Tribunal, which is a part of the legal framework contained in the Act.

In order to encourage private sector and individual support to national arts service organizations and individual artists, amendments were made to the Income Tax Act in 1991. Most Canadian arts organizations (performing arts companies, public galleries, museums) are "not for profit" and, indeed, qualify as charitable organizations for tax purposes. This means that private donors can claim a tax credit on their donations (to a maximum of 20 per cent of the taxpayer's income during a given year).

During the last decade, arts organizations have relied increasingly on tax-deductible private support. Performing arts organizations, which derived 12 per cent of their revenues from donations and sponsorship in 1981, now receive almost 16 per cent of their budgets from that source (1991). Several small tax changes were also introduced in 1991, along with the Status of the Artist legislation, to improve the fiscal situation of artists and arts organizations. The tax treatment of donations of works of art to the State or to designated institutions by visual artists has been more generous. Employed artists are now allowed up to $1000 in employment-related tax deductions, in recognition of the fact that they, unlike most wage earners, incur professional expenses that are not covered by an employer. National arts service organizations, which provide diverse services to the artistic community while promoting one or more art forms or disciplines, have also been allowed to benefit from the same tax advantages as charitable organizations.

Canada Council support

In 1991-92, the total Canada Council support to the arts was $89.044 million. It also awarded 4,341 grants to artists and arts organizations and, of this amount, approximately 23 per cent went to individuals through the Arts Awards Service and 77 per cent to organizations and individuals through the Council's other programmes.

The Arts Awards Service is the Canada Council's largest programme for funding individual artists. Other programmes of support sponsored by the Council for individuals or groups of individuals are the Art Bank, Explorations, the Writing and Publishing Section, the Touring Office, and the Media Arts Section.

The Public Lending Rights Commission was established in 1986 to compensate Canadian authors for the public use of their works available in Canadian libraries. The programme is administered by a commission of appointed representatives from writers' organizations, libraries and book publishers. In 1991, $6.2 million was paid to Canadian authors through the Public Lending Rights programme, which pays a fee to any eligible author whose book is catalogued in selected Canadian libraries.


The Imagine Program, launched by the Canadian Centre for Philanthropy and funded by both public and private monies, was created to encourage greater support for the arts in Canada. In conjunction with this programme, the Department of Canadian Heritage established the Cultural Volunteer and Benefactor Award Program to recognize outstanding contributions made by volunteers and patrons to cultural institutions and the enrichment of Canadian culture. In 1990, Canadian citizens contributed $17 million to performing arts, visual arts and heritage organizations, in addition to $19 million contributed by Canadian corporations.

Corporate sponsorship of the arts

Corporate sponsorship of the arts in Canada has increased dramatically during the last two decades, and the demand for support continues to grow. In 1992, private sector support of the arts in Canada totalled some $60 million, including expenditures on capital facilities. The interest of the Canadian private sector in the arts is primarily associated with the sponsorship of productions of performances, the purchase of visual arts, and the provision of operating or acquisition funds for public art galleries and museums. Canada still has relatively few foundations with extensive programmes to support and develop the arts and the humanities. Corporate awareness and its potential role in this area is also relatively recent, although it has been greatly increased by the efforts of the Council for Business and the Arts in Canada.

3.2 Legislation

The following statutes are administered in whole or in part by the Department of Canadian Heritage, Revenue Canada and the Department of Industry:

  • National Library Act (1953)
  • Broadcasting Act (1968, 1991)
  • National Arts Centre Act (1966)
  • National Museums of Canada Act (1968, 1990)
  • Canadian Film Development Corporation Act
  • (Telefilm Canada) (1967)
  • The Official Languages Act (1969, 1988)
  • Department of Communications Act (1970)
  • Cultural Property Export and Import Control Act (1977)
  • Copyright Act (1924, 1993)
  • Public Archives Act (1987)
  • Canada Council Act (1957)
  • National Film Act (National Film Board) (1950)
  • Status of the Artist Act (1992)
  • The Canadian Multiculturalism Act (1985)
  • The Telecommunications Act (1993)
  • Historic Sites and Monuments Act (1953)
  • National Parks Act (1988)
  • Heritage Railway Station Protection Act (1988)
  • Department of Transportation Act (Historical Canals Regulation, 1993)
  • The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms
  • Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council Act (1978)
  • Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission Act (1985)


In Canada, copyright falls within the jurisdiction of the federal government and is regulated by the Copyright Act, dating back to 1924. A number of minor changes have been made to the Act since that time, but the first phase of a more substantial revision was completed in 1988. The second phase of this process in now being finalized. New provisions to the Act will enable Canada to adhere to the 1971 Berne Convention and will introduce certain limited exceptions and special measures, neighbouring rights, a new rental right for sound recordings and stand-alone computer programs, and improved measures against pirated works.

Numerous copyright licensing bodies and collectives have been established in Canada in connection with the rights of reproduction, performance and communication by telecommunication.


Statistics Canada defines culture as the performing arts, cultural heritage (which includes museums and historic sites), libraries, visual arts and crafts, literary arts (including book publishing), arts education, multiculturalism, film and video, broadcasting and sound recording. The 1993 federal government reorganization served to broaden this definition to include human rights, amateur sports, nature parks, official languages, Aboriginal languages and culture, and Canadian identity.

Amateur sport

Sport is a $16 billion industry in Canada and is deemed an integral part of Canada's history, heritage and culture. The legislative authority for amateur sport is the Fitness and Amateur Sport Act of 1961. In 1991, 90 per cent of Canadians agreed that sport is as important a part of Canadian culture as music, film or literature.

There is shared jurisdiction amongst all levels of government, including the Department of Canadian Heritage and private-sector organizations, national sports organizations, provincial sports organizations, and municipal sports clubs. The federal contribution to amateur sport was $60 million in 1992-93. This figure does not include contributions made to the International Relations and Major Games Program.

4.1 Cultural heritage

The Department of Canadian Heritage has primary responsibility for the development of cultural heritage. In 1989-90, while known as the Department of Communications, it spent an estimated $484.6 million in direct support of heritage, including museums, parks, libraries and archives. One hundred and thirteen million dollars was spent directly on museums and $37.5 million was spent directly on libraries.

The Department also manages such programmes as:

  • The Movable Cultural Property Program, which regulates the import and export of cultural property and provides tax incentives for individuals to donate cultural objects to public institutions.
  • The Insurance Program for Travelling Exhibitions, which facilitates the hosting of travelling exhibitions by Canadian museums, galleries, archives and libraries. From 1985 to 1991, 114 exhibitions valued at $3.4 billion were insured through this program.
  • The Museums Assistance Program (MAP) distributed approximately $13.5 million in grants (1993-94) to non-federal museums and other related institutions.
  • The Access to Archaeology Program provides financial assistance to train aboriginal people in archaeological resource protection and to promote awareness of Canada's archaeological heritage.
  • The Canadian Heritage Information Network (CHIN) provides an automated collections management service to Canadian museums and access to a variety of databases relating to museums and cultural property. Today, the Canadian Heritage Information Network contains data on 12 million objects, encompassing the humanities, natural sciences and archaeology. Over 600 institutions and 22 other countries now access the Network through microcomputers and the international telecommunications network.
  • The Canadian Conservation Institute (CCI) promotes the proper care and preservation of Canada's movable cultural heritage and advances the practice of conservation of cultural artifacts, providing technical consultation regarding the preservation of collections, conservation research, and the training of conservation personnel from museums and galleries. Information resulting from the Institute's research and activities is disseminated through a publication programme, presentations, a library service, and participation in national and international computerized networks, such as the Conservation Information Network.

Museums in Canada number 1,235 across the country and have an annual operating budget of approximately $400 million. In addition, related spending on construction, acquisitions and services represents $200 million annually. Governments account for 70 per cent of museum operating funds, of which the federal government provides 26 per cent. In 1990, the National Museums Corporation was dissolved as Canada's four principal national museums, the National Gallery of Canada, the Canadian Museum of Civilization, the National Museum of Science and Technology, and the Canadian Museum of Nature were granted corporation status and are currently managed by their own boards of trustees.

Parks Canada, under the mandate of the Department of Canadian Heritage, commemorates, protects and presents places that are significant examples of Canada's cultural and natural heritage in ways that encourage understanding, appreciation and enjoyment by present and future generations. With an annual budget of $387 million (1992-93), Parks Canada is responsible for programmes relating to National Parks, National Marine Parks, National Historic Sites (including the Historic Canals), Heritage Railway Stations, Canadian Heritage Rivers, and Federal Heritage Buildings. These responsibilities include leadership at the federal level for each programme, as well as administrative responsibilities for 36 National Parks, 114 National Historic Sites (including the seven Historic Canals operated for through navigation), and six other heritage areas, places or exhibits.

Parks Canada administers the National Cost Sharing Program for National Historic Sites, enabling the federal government to assist provinces, municipalities, non-profit organizations and incorporated bodies to protect and preserve sites. It is also the lead agency for the UNESCO World Heritage Convention and it participates in UNESCO's Man and Biosphere Programme.

Aboriginal arts and culture

The Native Social and Cultural Development Program of the Department of Canadian Heritage is designed to increase, promote and strengthen the individual opportunities of Aboriginal peoples to develop their full potential and talents in the socio-cultural domain. The program's current focus is on the promotion and retention of Aboriginal languages. The annual budget of $1 million supports approximately 90 projects annually.

The Department of Indian and Northern Affairs operates two Native art programmes. The Inuit Art Section has an advisory and facilitating role related to the production, promotion and marketing of Inuit art in the Northwest Territories, Quebec and Labrador in conjunction with the respective provincial/territorial governments. The Indian Arts Centre fosters and promotes Native Indian Canadian artists through acquisition, loan and exhibition programmes; the Centre offers a referral service for artists and research facilities dealing with Native art.

Official languages

The Canadian Constitution recognizes English and French as official languages. Further, since 1988, the Official Languages Act stipulates the federal government's commitment to enhancing the vitality of the English and French linguistic minority communities in Canada and assisting in their development as well as fostering the recognition and use of both in Canadian society.

The Promotion of Official Languages Program (annual budget of $42.7 million in 1993-94) and the Official Languages in Education Program (annual budget of $238.4 million) of the Department of Canadian Heritage play an important role in the cultural and artistic development of Canada. By supporting second-language learning in Canadinan schools, the Department's programmes allow more than 2.7 million young Canadians to receive exposure to a new cultural reality. The Department's support to minority language education in all provinces and territories ensures that Canadian children speaking either official language have equal access to education and the possibility of reaching their full potential in their own culture.

More concretely, the Departments's programmes provide financial support to minority language community organizations which have a direct impact on the artistic and cultural life of these communities. For example, this support has allowed:

  • the establishment of a network of some 15 community radio stations, in all parts of Canada since 1988;
  • financial support to a network of community centres which provide the cultural infrastructure for dozens of communities;
  • financial support for cultural animation in minority and immersion schools and for francophone professional theatre outside Quebec;
  • support for studies on the economic and social impact of cultural activities, on development needs, and on intervention strategies;
  • support for projects which demonstrate the value of cultural heritage as an element of economic development.


A Canadian public policy response to the need to create a shared sense of national identity amongst the ethnically, culturally, linguistically and racially diverse populations of Canada was achieved through the passage of the 1988 Canadian Multiculturalism Act. The terms of this policy reflect Canada's commitments under several international human rights treaties and have been adopted and incorporated in all federal departments and agencies.

The Heritage Cultures and Languages Program (HCL) of the Department of Canadian Heritage promotes the development and expression of heritage cultures and languages as an integral part of Canadian identity and of Canada's artistic, cultural and academic life.

Activities in the arts and cultural sectors are managed through the Creative and Cultural Expression (CCE) component of the programme which is mandated to promote greater opportunity within and equal access to arts and cultural institutions and industries for artists from diverse cultural backgrounds; encourage cultural institutions to change polices and practices to enable them to reflect the diversity of artistic and cultural expression in Canada; promote the professional development of cultural minority artists; and foster appreciation for the cultural diversity of Canadian society through the support and promotion of the arts. CCE provides support to projects in the fields of broadcasting, film, audiovisual, performing arts, writing, publishing, and translation, and provides arts apprenticeships. The approximate annual expenditures of this programme are $2.1 million, through CCE federal and regional offices.

Human rights

The Canadian government is a leading participant in international human rights fora. Throughout Canada's cultural and political development as a liberal democracy and in its current international relations, respect for human rights plays an integral role. Canada is signatory to all international human rights conventions, and ensuring the application of human rights in cultural policies has become a significant issue given its development as a multicultural society.

The Human Rights Directorate, under the new mandate of the Department of Canadian Heritage, coordinates the preparation and presentation of reports to the United Nations and other international organizations on the measures taken by the federal, provincial and territorial governments in fulfilment of Canada's international human rights commitments. The Directorate also coordinates consultations between the federal, provincial and territorial governments with regard to the adoption and/or ratification of new instruments.

The Directorate distributes three grants totalling approximately $3.5 million. Two grant programmes support the implementation of the Canadian Human Rights Act and the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child. The Court Challenges Program provides support to groups and individuals who wish to challenge laws perceived as contrary to the Constitution of Canada with regard to linguistic and equality rights.

4.2 Cultural education and training

Arts education

The majority of cultural sector training and education programmes are under provincial jurisdiction in community colleges, Collège d'enseignement général et professionel (CEGEP), and universities. More specialized institutions receive funding from a variety of sources, including all three levels of government. Human Resources and Labour Canada, the Department of Canadian Heritage and the Canadian Conference for the Arts (a non-governmental organization) are currently collaborating on the development of a comprehensive human resource strategy for the cultural sector.

The National Ballet, Theatre, and Circus schools provide professional training of an internationally recognized standard to students from across Canada and from other countries. The National Ballet and Theatre schools receive approximately $1.8 million in grants from the Canada Council. They received respectively $3.3 million and $1.9 million in deficit reduction funding from the Department of Canadian Heritage. The Department provided special funds totalling $950,000 from 1990-91 to 1993-94 to the National Circus School.

4.3 Performing arts

Throughout the past decade there has been a significant growth in the performing arts sector in Canada, which has augmented its recognition both domestically and abroad. According to Statistics Canada, there were 400 performing arts companies in Canada in 1992, as well as a doubling of revenues reaching $373 million. Revenues are collectively derived from ticket sales, federal, provincial and municipal government grants and contributions, private donations and sponsorships. In 1991, the direct economic impact of the performing, visual and media arts amounted to 47,000 jobs, of which 27,000 were in the four performing arts disciplines: theatre, music, opera and dance. Their total contribution to the gross domestic product was $900 million in that year.

In 1990-91, performing arts companies received $125 million in grants from all three levels of government, $88 million in grants from the Canada Council, and an estimated $59 million from private sources, including corporations, foundations and individuals. In 1990-91, revenues generated from box office sales accounted for 51 per cent of funding for performing arts companies.

In 1966, the National Arts Centre (NAC) was established to provide a showcase for Canadian artistic talent. In 1993-94 the Centre's budget was $37.4 million, of which $22.3 million was a Parliamentary appropriation. The Centre has three main halls and is home to a symphony orchestra.

4.4 Visual and fine arts


Federal support for design has been initially channelled through Industry Canada. In 1989 the design community requested the participation of the former Department of Canadian Heritage to support its efforts in the development of this discipline within the cultural sector. The DCH supports design disciplines such as interior, fashion, urban, graphic, industrial, set and exhibit design, architecture and landscape architecture on an ad hoc basis for special projects and also through its Cultural Initiatives Program. These funds are allocated to design institutions, organizations and associations which include, amongst others, the National Design/Alliance national du design, Society of Graphic Designers Canada, Design Exchange, and L'Institut de design Montréal. The Department was also a key funding partner in a successful bid to bring an international design conference to Toronto in 1997.

Designers also receive support from various cultural institutions such as the Canada Council, which grants the Prix de Rome in architecture and the Ronald J. Thom Award for Early Design Achievement in architectural design, the Canadian Crafts Council, which has close links to the design community, its philosophy and its processes, and the National Arts Centre and the Banff Centre for the Arts, which provide facilities and training programmes related to set design.

The Canada Council supports exhibitions of works by Canadian artists in public art museums and galleries, and provides grants to artists' centres for their programmes. In the media arts, the Council provides grants to independent film and video artists, and assists film production cooperatives and other electronic media arts organizations. The Art Bank, created in 1972, is an example of a programme which supports individual artists (by purchasing their works), while promoting an appreciation of contemporary visual arts by renting the works of Canadian artists to public institutions. Today, the Art Bank owns about 17,500 works of art, of which an estimated 65 per cent are in circulation.

4.5 Literature and literary production

The Writing and Publishing Program of the Canada Council assists the publication of culturally significant books through a programme of Block Grants to Publishers. Other programmes include promotional tours by writers, public readings, the administration of literary prizes like the Governor General's Literary Awards, and support for the publication of literary periodicals. In 1990-91, the federal government spent an estimated $2 million on the literary arts.


In 1990-91, libraries received a total of $1.5 billion from all levels of governments and had an estimated total operating revenue of over $674 million. The National Library of Canada is responsible for preserving and promoting the written heritage of Canada by acquiring and maintaining a comprehensive collection of Canadian and foreign literature and providing reference information and referral services to other Canadian libraries and individuals. The National Library is a department which reports to Parliament through the Minister of Canadian Heritage.

Since 1872, the mandate of the National Archives of Canada has been to preserve the collective memory of the nation, to maintain official and historical records of the Government of Canada and to contribute to the protection of rights and the enhancement of Canadian national identity. Recently the National Archives acquired responsibilities for controlling and preserving archival records in all media, providing the government with advice and operational services regarding records management, and maintaining its role as the leading archival institution in both Canada and the international archival and information management community.

4.6 Music



Canada's cultural industries are structurally defined as broadcast programming, production and cable distribution, film and video, sound recording, and book, periodical and newspaper publishing. The Department of Canadian Heritage retains responsibility for policy and programme development in support of the cultural industries and works in cooperation with agencies such as the Canadian Radio-television Telecommunications Commission, which regulates the broadcasting, cable and telecommunications industries.

In the 1990s, the global entertainment industry earns an estimated $150 billion per year, with an annual growth rate of 15 per cent. Ensuring and increasing Canadians' access to their own cultural products continues to be a fundamental challenge in the development of Canadian cultural policies. The economic recession, significant reductions in government funding, and foreign domination of cultural products (particularly by the U.S.) pose serious difficulties to the growth of the Canadian cultural industries, which employ over 200,000 people annually.

The extension of trade discussions to cover service industries and intellectual property issues, initially in the Canada-U.S. Free Trade Agreement, in the GATT Uruguay Round and in the North American Free Trade Agreement, has focused new attention on domestic regulations and policies that support the cultural industries. A general objective of these negotiations is to eliminate domestic ownership rules and other discriminatory regulations. This poses special challenges for the Canadian cultural industries and therefore Canada has excluded them from its bilateral and multilateral trade obligations.

In 1991, the former Department of Communications (predecessor to the Department of Canadian Heritage) instituted the Cultural Industries Development Fund of approximately $33 million over five years. It provides alternate corporate financing and management consulting services for the book and periodical publishing, film, video and sound recording industries. This fund is managed on behalf of the Department by the Federal Business Development Bank.

5.1 Book publishing

In 1991-92, the Canadian book publishing industry produced 8, 722 titles, which generated $582 million in sales and created employment for 7,129 people. Canadian-authored titles numbered 6,193. There is a federal point-of-purchase tax (GST) that is charged against consumer goods, including books and periodicals, at a rate of 7 per cent.

The Department of Canadian Heritage supports two assistance programmes for the book publishing industry:

The Book Publishing Industry Development Program (BPIDP) strengthens the capacity of the Canadian-owned and controlled industry to publish and market Canadian books in both domestic and international markets. It has a budget of approximately $25 million (1992).

The Publications Distribution Assistance Program (PDAP): supports domestic and international marketing and distribution costs and stimulates the demand for Canadian books. It also has a budget of approximately $25 million (1992).

In 1991-92, the Canadian periodical industry boasted some 1,440 magazines published by 1,055 publishers and directly employed over 6,000 persons across the country. Canadian periodicals represent 22 per cent of the domestic market. The total domestic and export revenues generated by periodicals published in Canada were $846.4 million in 1991-92. The federal government directly assists the periodical industry through grants from the Canada Council, access to the Cultural Industries Development Fund, and a postal subsidy. The 1991-92 budget for the postal subsidy program was $85 million.

In March 1993, a government task force was established to study a wide range of issues affecting the Canadian periodical industry, including industry trends and developments, the market for Canadian advertising, the impact of evolving technologies, international trends, the regulatory environment, and the effectiveness of current policy instruments.

5.2 Press

See paragraph 5.1 above.

5.3 Broadcasting and sound recording industry

The broadcasting sector is Canada's largest cultural industry, receiving $1.5 billion or approximately 50 per cent of all federal cultural spending in 1990-91. The industry is composed of public and private television and radio stations and services, cable companies and Pay-TV, and specialty services. In total, radio and television broadcasting and the cable-television industry earned commercial revenues of over $4.2 billion in 1992 and employed over 37,000 people. In 1991, it was estimated that 92 per cent of Canadian households had access to cable television services. The major challenges facing the broadcasting industry are the following: competition with foreign programming and delivery services (the majority coming from the United States); increasingly competitive domestic market leading to a fragmented market and escalating programming costs; the need to introduce new technologies such as high-definition television, digital radio and digital video compression; the convergence of technologies between the telecommunications and broadcasting industries and issues of cross-ownership; the problem of television violence; the need to ensure access to services for all Canadians, and that Canadian programming reflects Canada's linguistic duality, its multicultural nature, and the distinctive place of aboriginal peoples within Canadian society. The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) regulates the broadcasting and cable sector in Canada in accordance with the terms and provisions of the 1991 Broadcasting Act. The CRTC issues and renews the licences of public and private-sector broadcasters in Canada. The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC)/Société Radio Canada (SRC) is the major public radio and television broadcaster in Canada. Established in 1936, the CBC is an arm's-length Crown Corporation, independent of the government in programming matters, and it remains the principal instrument of broadcasting policy in Canada. The CBC is also the largest single producer and distributor of Canadian programming for both English and French language radio and television in the country. With a total budget of $1 billion for 1993-94, the CBC operates both a French and English national television network, including 31 television stations, a 24-hour satellite-to-cable English-language news and information television network (CBC Newsworld), and four radio networks (including 58 radio stations). The CBC's foreign broadcasting service, Radio Canada International, broadcasts in 12 languages on short-wave. The private television industry is composed of various English and French langauge national networks, the largest being CTV, Global, and the French-language TVA. Private television broadcasters have suffered declining profits since the mid-1980s, while profits for specialty and pay television services have increased. The CRTC will be issuing licences for new Canadian pay and specialty services following a hearing scheduled for February 1994.

The sound recording industry in Canada has enjoyed a period of considerable growth during the last decade. Canadian-controlled companies grew in number from 109 in 1982 to 201 in 1991-92. The sales value of sound recordings increased from $222 million in 1982 to $531 million in 1991-92. Despite this growth, the domination of multinationals promoting sales of international artists in the Canadian market is a significant challenge. Fourteen foreign-owned companies continue to control the industry in Canada, accounting for 43 per cent of all sales of sound recordings with Canadian-content and 89 per cent of all sound recording sales in 1990-91.

The Sound Recording Development Program (SRDP) was established in 1986 and was allocated $5 million per year towards the development of the Canadian music industry. Since its creation, the Program was administered jointly by the predecessor to the Department of Canadian Heritage, the Department of Communications, the Canada Council, and FACTOR MUSICACTION CANADA, a private consortium of representatives from the sound recording and broadcasting industries. In September 1993, the Department of Canadian Heritage transferred the final portion of the Program over to FACTOR MUSICACTION CANADA.

In 1992, the government Task Force on the Future of the Canadian Music Industry analyzed and reported on the impact of technological changes and trends, examined current governmental policies and legislation to formulate policy recommendations for the Minister in order to ensure the long-term viability of the Canadian music industry.

5.4 Cinema and film industry

Despite the broad challenges of globalization, foreign domination of cultural products, economic recession and the difficulties experienced by Canadian film producers and distributors in gaining access to their home market, the number of film companies in Canada grew from 492 to 743 between 1982 and 1992. Canadian production revenues grew from $146 million in 1984 to $688.4 million in 1992. In 1990-91, the film industry in Canada produced 54 films and employed 19,631 persons, both full-time and part-time.

The federal government assists the industry through two Crown Corporations: the National Film Board, which was established in 1950 under the National Film Act to initiate and promote the production of films in the national interest, and Telefilm Canada (formerly the Canadian Film Development Corporation), which promotes the development of the Canadian film and television production industry. The 1993-94 budgets for the National Film Board and Telefilm Canada are $82.6 million and $132.4 million respectively.

The Canadian Independent Film and Video Corporation, a private-sector funding organization for the non-theatrical film and video production sector, was established in 1991 with funding from Telefilm Canada and the Department of Canadian Heritage. The Loan Guarantee Program (LGP), which is administered by Telefilm Canada, was established in 1993 to provide interim financing to film and video companies for specific projects.


The federal government has undertaken a number of studies and commissions over the years to review Canada's cultural and communications policy and infrastructure. The Report of the Royal Commission on National Development in the Arts, Letters and Science of 1951, the 1982 Report of the Federal Cultural Policy Review Committee, and most recently, the Report of the Standing Committee on Communications and Culture: "The Ties That Bind" have all recognized that cultural development is essential to Canadian society and have recommended the establishment of a comprehensive federal cultural policy.

The need for such a policy is magnified given the many challenges facing cultural development in Canada in the 1990s. Traditionally, the government has maintained its role as a strong supporter of the arts and culture in Canada. The global economic upheaval of the past five years has placed an unprecedented amount of pressure on all three levels of government to restrain spending, which has constrained the ability of the government to maintain its financial support to the cultural sector.

Another key issue for cultural development in Canada is the challenge to establish a balance between the needs and demands of the marketplace, the development of the cultural industries, and the autonomy of artists. The maintenance of this balance will be difficult in light of the economic strain on the government, the private sector and individual artists.

The continuing development of a distinct Canadian society and culture will be challenged by the growth of the global marketplace and information society, which has contributed to the disappearance of economic and cultural barriers and led to increased cultural uniformity among nations. Canada's constitutional debates, which involve the issues of sovereignty for the province of Quebec, aboriginal self-government, and reform in the division of powers among the levels of government, have also presented difficulties in maintaining a distinct Canadian identity.

Cultural participation

Canadians are now allocating a greater share of their personal expenditures to culture and recreational activities than they did 10 years ago. Consumers spent $35 billion on culture and recreational activities, eight per cent of the total consumer expenditure, in 1992. Admission to cultural events (museums, live stage performances, movies) and the purchase of cultural goods (print material, recordings, video tapes, collector's items, original works of art, handicraft kits, artist's materials, art goods and decorative ware) represented an estimated three per cent of consumer spending in 1992, or $11 billion. Between 1982 and 1992, expenditures on cultural activities and events grew at a much faster annual rate than did total consumer expenditures (nine and seven per cent respectively).

In 1991-92, museum and exhibition attendance including botanical gardens and conservatories, rose in relation to 1990-91, and according to a Parks Canada report over 20 million people visit national parks and historic sites each year. In 1991 a survey on Reading Habits in Canada was completed and it revealed that book readership had increased by more than 20 per cent, including increases in both the number of readers and the number of hours devoted to reading.

The most popular forms of cultural consumption in Canada are listening to radio and watching television. Ninety-seven per cent of the Canadians watch television at least once a week; 95 per cent listen to radio, and over 90 per cent of Canadian homes subscribe to cable television.

Consumers spent an estimated $6 billion on cultural equipment and "at home" cultural activities in 1992. This has become the fastest growing area of spending on culture as the number of Canadians who attend or engage in various cultural activities "outside the home" has declined. Despite the fact that cable television penetration has levelled off, the continued expansion of the video cassette recorder (VCR) market, with over 75 per cent of Canadian households owning a VCR in 1992, an increase in the number of specialty television services, and increased sales for compact discs all indicate the increasing popularity of "at home" cultural activities.

The Department of Canadian Heritage has recently placed a greater emphasis on creating demand-side strategies to encourage participation in a range of cultural activities. In 1991, the Department, in cooperation with the provinces and municipalities, developed the Arts Consumer Profile, producing a wealth of market information on the behaviour of consumers of the performing and visual arts.

In 1993, the Department of Canadian Heritage supported the preparation of an integrated comparative study "Cultural Participation in Europe: Trends, Strategies and Challenges", which includes also Canadian strategies and data. This report presents valuable data on cultural participation trends from 1970 to the beginning of the 1990s, national policy objectives, strategies and methods encouraging cultural participation, and policy challenges and future trends.


International cultural cooperation in Canada has extended well beyond traditional multilateral and bilateral agreements to include cultural exchanges, participation in international programmes, and the successful promotion of the Canadian identity in foreign cultural markets.

Responsibility for the delivery of Canada's international cultural programmes outside of Canada rests with the Bureau of International Cultural Relations within the Department of Foreign Affairs. The objectives of the bureau are to facilitate and coordinate the promotion of the wider expression of Canadian culture abroad through various assistance programmes and international promotional activities. The Department of Foreign Affairs also implements and administers Canada's bilateral cultural agreements with France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, Mexico, Italy, Japan, Brazil, and Russia.

This bureau coordinates closely with the Department of Canadian Heritage (DCH), with other cultural agencies of the federal and provincial governments, and with a wide range of non-governmental agencies. International Cultural Affairs in the Department represents Canada's interests in multilateral forums, in bilateral agreements, in the delivery of international programmes in Canada and abroad, participation in the development of new intergovernmental rules, in the promotion and marketing of Canadian goods, services and talent, in providing technical assistance, training and transfer of technology, and in the exchange of information and expertise.

The International Comparative Policy Group (ICP) within the Department of Canadian Heritage provides the international context for the development of Canadian cultural policy through comparative research, analysis and information exchange in cooperation with national and international policy makers, researchers and academics. ICP holds associate member status in the Cultural Information Research Centre Liaison in Europe (CIRCLE). Some of the key research efforts over the years have included cultural industries statistics from selected countries, international data comparisons for cultural policy development, public efforts to address television violence in other countries, public sector support to the print media industry, professional training in the arts, and design as a cultural industry. In addition, the group houses a documentation centre, unique in Canada, with over 2500 references in the cultural field.

Canada has consistently been an active supporter and participant in the international cultural programmes undertaken by various multilateral cultural organizations such as UNESCO, ICOM, ICCROM, ICOMOS, ICA, IFLA, and it maintains observer status in the Cultural Committee of the Council of Europe. The most recent example of Canada's active international cultural participation was the Expo '93 international exposition in Taejon, South Korea, where Canada's pavilion was the only international entry out of 112 to receive five stars.

Canada has also entered into various international agreements, such as:

  • European Community Transatlantic Declaration,
  • Commonwealth of Learning,
  • Protocole d'accord sur la Banque internationale d'information sur les etats francophones (BIEF) entre le Canada et l'ACCT,
  • International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights,
  • Convention for the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage,
  • Constitution of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO),
  • Convention establishing the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO),
  • Universal Copyright Convention,
  • International Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works,
  • UNESCO Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import.


8.1 Ministries, authorities and academies

Department of Canadian Heritage
300 Slater Street
Ottawa, Ontario
tel.:(613) 990-4253

International Comparative Policy Group
Department of Canadian Heritage
300 Slater Street
17th Floor
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 0C8
tel.:(613) 990-4226
fax:(613) 952-5313

The Canada Council
350 Albert Street
P.O. Box 1047
Ottawa, Ontario
K1P 5V8
tel.:(613) 566-4365
fax:(613) 596-4390

Department of Foreign Affairs
International Cultural Relations Bureau
Lester B. Pearson Building
125 Sussex Drive
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 0G2
tel.:(613) 992-1557

Department of Indian and Northern Affairs
10 Wellington Street
Terrasses de la Chaudière, North Tower
Hull, Quebec
Mailing Address: Ottawa, Ont. K1A 0H4
Inuit Art Section fax: (819) 953-0165
Indian Art Centre fax: (819) 953-0165

Statistics Canada
R.H. Coates Building
Tunney's Pasture
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 0T6
Cultural Industries Section tel.:(613) 951-1566
Cultural Activities and Institutions tel.:(613) 951-9173

Canadian Commission for UNESCO
99 Metcalfe Street
P.O. Box 1047
Ottawa, Ontario
K1P 5V8
tel.:(613) 598-4326

Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada
225 Albert Street
P.O. Box 1610, Station "B"
Ottawa , Ontario
K1P 6G4
tel.:(613) 992-0682
fax:(613) 992-1787

8.2 Central cultural institutions

Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC)
1500 Bronson Avenue
P.O. Box 8478
Ottawa, Ontario
K1G 3J5
tel.:(613) 724-1200
fax:(613) 738-6887

Canadian Centre for Architecture
1920, rue Baele
Montreal, Quebec
H3H 2S6
tel.:(541) 939-7000

Canadian Radio-Television
Telecommunications Commission (CRTC)
Terrasses de la Chaudière
Central Building
1 Promenade du Portage
Hull, Quebec
J8X 4B1
tel.:(819) 997-0313
fax:(819) 994-0218

The Institute for Research on Public Policy
2149 Mackay Street
Montreal, Québec
H3G 2J2

8.3 Associations

Canadian Conference of the Arts (CCA)
189 Laurier Ave. East
Ottawa, Ontario
K1N 6P1
tel.:(613) 238-3561

Canadian Artists' Representation (CARFAC)
189 Laurier Ave. East
Ottawa, Ontario
K1N 6P1
tel.:(613) 235-6277
fax:(613) 235-7425

Association for Canadian Studies
Succursale A/P.O. Box 8888
Station A, Montreal, Québec

Association of Canadian Archivists
P.O. Box 2596, Station D
Ottawa, Ontario
K1P 5W6

Association of Canadian Publishers
260 King Street East
Toronto, Ontario
M5A 1K3
tel.:(416) 361-1408
fax:(416) 361-0643

Council for Business and
the Arts in Canada
401 Bay Street, Suite 1507
Toronto, Ontario
M5H 2Y4
tel.:(416) 869-3016


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Applebaum, L. and J. Hébert. Report of the Federal Cultural Policy Review Committee. Department of Communications. Ottawa, 1982.

Bird, B., J.P. Hogue, and S. Finestone. Culture and Communications: The Ties that Bind.

Report of the Standing Committee on Communications and Culture. House of Commons. Ottawa, April 1992.

The Canada Council. Trends in Support to the Arts: 14th Edition. Ottawa, June 1993.

The Canada Council. Artstats: Selected Statistics on the Arts and Culture in Canada: 1st Edition. Ottawa, January 1993.

Canadian Conference on the Arts, Directory of the Arts 1992, Ottawa.

Cliche, D. and M. Lenet. Historical Survey of Arts Policy in Canada. Ottawa, 1992.

Communications Canada. Access to Archaeology Program. Minister of Supply and Services. Ottawa, 1993.

Communications Canada. Reading in Canada 1991: Highlights. Minister of Supply and Services. Ottawa, 1991.

Communications Canada. The Museums Assistance Program. Minister of Supply and Services. Ottawa, 1993.

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Department of Multiculturalism and Citizenship. Human Rights in Canada: Report of Canada to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. Ottawa, February 1992.

Mitchell, C. The Arts and Employment: The Impact of Three Canadian Theatre Companies. Journal of Cultural Economics, volume 13, number 2, December 1989.

Ministère des Affaires culturelles. La politique culturelle du Québec. 1992.

Motzney, B. and T. Cowl. Public Sector Support to the Print Media Industry: A Survey of Mechanisms Abroad. International Comparative Policy Group. Ottawa, 1993.

Report of the Task Force on Professional Training for the Cultural Sector in Canada. Art is never a given: Professional Training in the Arts in Canada. Minister of Supply and Services: Ottawa, 1991.

Skok, Vladimir. Challenge and Survival: Canadian Cultural Policy and Globalization. Study Group A. Cultural Symposium of the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe. Krakow, Poland, May 1991.

Skok, Vladimir. (ed) Cultural Participation in Europe: Trends, Strategies and Challenges. (preliminary version) September 1993.

Statistics Canada. Focus on Culture. Winter, Spring, Summer and Fall editions, 1992.

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* The authors of this monograph, Danielle Cliche and Terrence Cowl are grateful to Zarko Paic, on whose original draft this profile is based, the Canada Council, and to their colleagues in the Department of Canadian Heritage who were enthusiastic in providing them with their information and comments: Ted Bairstow, Nathalie Bradbury, George Ingram, Andre Lefort, Hubert Lussier, Margaret Mitchell, Denise Perrier, Tom Proust, Charles-Henri Roy, Denise Seguin, Judy Young, and Alan Zimmerman.