I call upon the Province of Ontario to increase the Ontario Arts Council’s budget.
The Ontario’s arts and culture sector is a primary economic driver, creating 276,000 jobs and directly contributing more than $25 billion and actively allowing far more investment per year within the Ontario economy than many other sectors combined. At the center of this economic driven resides the Ontario Arts Council (OAC) which funds innovative artistic creation and plants seed for development as the crucial first link in our “creative chain” fueling ALL economic impact. Without this source of creativity all economies would suffer from a lack of inspiration and creative drive proven to be a focus for economic success. Both professional and community driven arts activities are funded by OAC across the entire province supporting all government priorities and contributing to a wide range of economic, social and cultural impact on the ground in each region.
For many years the Ontario Government has fallen far behind in its support of the arts. ALL large provinces in Canada invest more per capita in the arts through their respective councils than Ontario currently does:
- · Ontario currently invests $4.29 per capita making the OAC’s budget rank lowest among Canada’s six large provinces with only the Atlantic Provinces ranking lower.
- In comparison Quebec has an investment of $13.33 per capita, which is more than three times Ontario.
- On a federal level the Canada Council for the Arts’ budget is set to double by 2021 making it reach more than $362 million per year.
- The Toronto Arts Council’s budget has increased by 57% since 2009 in the attempt to maintain a healthy quality of life in the absence of provincial dollars.
OAC’s budget has remained the same ($60 million/year) for the past decade. However, this budget is slowly becoming smaller due to the cost of inflation and the increased pressure from regional developments raising a 61% increase in demand during this time.
Quality of Life: Arts organizations are critical contributors to all our communities, whether large or small, urban or rural and current financial constraints controlled by Ontario’s Government have significant long-term consequences both as economic impairments and towards the quality of life in Ontario. The arts sector is a major contributor to strengthening Ontario’s workforce creating and sustaining jobs today’s economy and making Ontario more competitive as an attractive and viable place to live and invest. Ontario using our economy to attract visitors, making Ontario artists and arts organizations well known globally. This consistently strengthens Ontario’s brand of having a high quality of life for our individuals and communities.
· 81% of Ontarians believe that our government should spend more public dollars in support of the arts.
· 95% of Ontarians believe the arts enrich our quality of our lives.
This means that increased funding to the arts in Ontario would be welcomed by a majority population, not just by those who regularly participate in the arts. Such investment would make a huge difference to Ontario’s not-for-profit arts sector, and provide a tremendous return for the people of Ontario.