The Canadian Arts Coalition is “applauding” the renewal of funding for cultural programs in the federal budget released today (February 11).
Kate Cornell, spokesperson for the organization and executive director of the Canadian Dance Assembly, said the arts coalition is particularly happy to see renewed funding for the Canada Arts Presentation Fund, the Canada Cultural Investment Fund, and Cultural Spaces Canada.
“We’re also pleased to see that $25 million has been made permanent to the Canada Council for the Arts, which was previously an amount that had to be renewed from year to year,” Cornell told the Straight by phone from Toronto.
“So although this is part of a longer conversation…it’s certainly welcome by the coalition because Canada Council is [a] very well-respected and efficiently-run national arms-length agency, and the coalition is very pleased to see this vote of confidence for the Canada Council.”
Cornell noted the coalition has been advocating for a 10-percent increase in funding for the Canada Council for the Arts, which it will continue to propose.
“This is certainly a promising step forward, and we’re encouraged to see this move by the federal government,” she said.
In addition to the $25 million allocated to the Canada Council for the Arts, funding outlined in the budget includes $30.1 million for the Canada Cultural Investment Fund, $30 million for the Canada Cultural Spaces Fund, $18 million for the Canada Arts Presentation Fund, and $1.8 million for the Fathers of Confederation Buildings Trust.
"Beginning in 2015–16, Economic Action Plan 2014 proposes to provide ongoing funding of $105 million per year in support of core arts programs," the budget document reads.
Funding for the Canada Book Fund and the Canada Music Fund will also be renewed.
According to the Canadian Arts Coalition, the cultural programs slated for ongoing funding give Canadians access to the arts.
“Whether it is through support for a music festival in Lanaudière Quebec, for a professional performance in a theatre in Vancouver, or financing upgrades to an art gallery in Winnipeg, each of these programs has an important role to play in helping connect Canadians to diverse, high calibre artistic experiences,” the group stated in a press release.