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The Federal Budget 2012-13 and Culture

CCA Bulletin 06/12

March 30, 2012

Just the Facts


Budget day has finally arrived. The verdict has been handed down. Much of the economic news was eclipsed by the abolition of the penny. However there was good news! The Canada Council for the Arts’ budget was maintained, as Minister Moore had been suggesting for the last few weeks. Like others the CCA is thrilled with this decision, which was the main recommendation of our pre-budget submission. The government is also maintaining the funding of Canada’s national museums.

Now for the bad news, the cuts that will affect the audio-visual sector for the next three years: $115 million cut to the CBC, $10.6 million to Telefilm, and $6.7 million to the National Film Board. Other disappointing news: $9.6 million in cuts to Library and Archives of Canada, which doesn’t benefit from the protections given to other federal heritage institutions.

Finally, on the score of things we are still waiting to find out: what will the effect of the $46.2 million in cuts to the Heritage department be? How much of these cuts will come from staff and how much from programs, which the budget says will be limited and will be accomplished through “the establishment of priorities for grants and contributions”? Heritage Canada should immediately adopt “a more integrated policy framework that focuses on the socio-economic benefits that their programs offer Canadians and their communities. The Department will also focus on funding that leverages contributions from partners.” We will have to wait to find out the meaning of this cryptic language in the coming months.

Tell Me More


The devil is in the details, and for now we don’t have many details to help us understand the real impacts that this budget will have on the arts, culture and heritage. We’ll have to wait the Main and Supplementary Estimates to see more clearly. Even still, it is only through the specific decisions that we will begin to understand the government’s cultural policy. So far we know, from Ministers Moore and Flaherty and other government ministers restating repeatedly, that having received funding in the past is by no means a guarantee that you will continue to in the future.

For now, we know that on top of saving our national museums, the government will be adding additional support to the Canada Travelling Exhibitions Indemnification Program that will help the largest museums and galleries in the country to reduce their insurance costs when they host major exhibitions. It must be said that failing having the new museum policy that all parties agreed on in 2005, we can celebrate the fact that the budget has never contained such laudatory comments in regards to the heritage community:

“Canadians are proud of their museums. Taken together, national and local museums in communities all across Canada are some of the best in the world. The Government created two new national museums: the Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21 in Halifax and the Canadian Museum for Human Rights in Winnipeg. Canadians value museums, the stories they tell, the collections they house, and the role they play in preserving culture. Because of this, Economic Action Plan 2012 will maintain funding for Canada’s national museums.”

To Follow


Of course the CCA will continue to dig into the budget and, we hope, will be returning soon with even more details and interpretation of the measures that will affect the cultural sectors across the country, including from the point of view of charitable organizations and the measures that could affect self-employed workers.


  1. Chris Ralph says:

    Sad to see that you didn’t mention the National Arts Centre which is seeing big cuts.

    • Kimberly Wilson says:

      Stay tuned for our more in depth look at the budget coming out soon, where we will look at more of the affects of the new budget.


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