“The Canada Council for the Arts is enormously heartened by the positive message sent by the 2012 budget and the support of the government in recognizing the Council’s leadership role,” said Canada Council Board Chair Joseph L. Rotman. “This vote of confidence in the Council is a clear signal of support for the arts as the creative heart of the nation. This government and the Minister of Canadian Heritage, the Hon. James Moore, clearly appreciate the sector’s positive contribution to the economy and identity of this country. It makes it all the more important that we continue to demonstrate the highest possible standard in our investment of public funds.”
Throughout its 55-year history, the Council and its programs continue to evolve, keeping pace with changes in both the practice of art and the demographic realities of the country. Its strong focus on demonstrable results has been repeatedly highlighted, most recently in the Special Examination by the Auditor General of Canada (2008) and Strategic Review (2010) and its most recent strategic plan, Strengthening Connections 2011-16. In 2011 the Council established a process to assess current and future program options against its highest level objective: a vital and diverse arts sector that enriches the lives of Canadians.
“The government’s decision to maintain the Council’s funding gives us the opportunity to independently take actions that will generate savings that we can reinvest back into the professional arts sector. It will also enable us to ensure our programs continue to be relevant, cost-effective and responsive to the changing needs of the community,” said Director and CEO Robert Sirman. “Over the next three years we will implement a number of changes that are already in development, including reducing the cost of our office space, streamlining operational processes and adjusting programs.”
In the coming months, the Council will review options that address its traditional commitment to the core of creative arts practice while reflecting areas of increasing priority, including equity, public engagement, and national and international market access.
The Canada Council for the Arts is an arms-length Crown corporation that strengthens Canadian arts practice and connects the public to the arts using a parliamentary appropriation of roughly $5.25 per capita. Through its grants, awards, prizes and payments, the Council supports over 20,000 artists and arts organizations annually. It also houses the Canada Council Art Bank with over 17,000 works of contemporary Canadian art and the Canadian Commission for UNESCO. Governed by an 11-person board, the Council reports to Parliament through the Minister of Canadian Heritage and is audited annually by the Auditor General of Canada.