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Federal Budget Earns Hoorahs From Arts Groups

The new federal budget is promising a fountain of new money to salve financial wounds inflicted by lockdowns, layoffs and dwindling incomes rippling from the pandemic and the news has brought cheers and hope to the arts communities that have been pummeled for more than a year.

Budget highlights include:

  • $300 million over two years, starting in 2021-22, to Canadian Heritage to establish a Recovery Fund for Heritage, Arts, Culture, Heritage and Sport Sectors.

  • $70 million over three years, starting in 2021-22, to Canadian Heritage for the Canada Music Fund. This includes up to $50 million in 2021-22 to help the live music sector, including music venues, weather the pandemic.

  • $200 million through the regional development agencies to support major festivals 

  • $200 million through Canadian Heritage to support local festivals and other events

  • $49.6 million over three years, starting in 2021-22, to Canadian Heritage for the Building Communities Through Arts and Heritage Program ($14 million over two years, starting in 2022-23), the Canada Arts Presentation Fund ($16 million over two years, starting in 2022-23), and the Celebration and Commemoration Program ($19.6 million over three years, starting in 2021-22)

  • Canada Recovery Hiring Program, which will run from June to November and will provide $595 million to make it easier for businesses to hire back laid-off workers or hire new ones

  • Extension of CEWS and CECRA programs until September 2021

Reaction has been swift and unanimous.

“Today, our collective voice which we all worked so hard to raise, has been heard. It is with great relief that we welcome Budget 2021, which clearly recognizes the integral role the Canadian live music industry plays in our quality of life - as well as its significant economic, social, and cultural benefits,” Canadian Live Music Association President & CEO Erin Benjamin said in a statement. “Our industry has been devastated as a result of Covid-19. This support will help safeguard our nation’s critical cultural infrastructure… (and) we look forward to working with the government to ensure it reaches each and every company and organization who needs it.  With today's historic budget, our government has helped us to believe in the future - and we can’t wait to get there, together.”

CIMA President & CEO Andrew Cash weighed in: ““Federal investments like this are crucial for the sector in order for it to bounce back and play an active and dynamic role in Canada’s post-Covid economic recovery. The extension of relief programs to at least September are also huge for arts and culture workers, including those in the indie music and live sectors.”

CIMA’s recent study, The Impact of COVID-19 on Canadian Independent Music shows that Canada’s independent music sector lost almost 2,000 FTE jobs and saw a decline in revenue of $233 million CAD – in just the first six months of the pandemic. Estimates show that the industry will not recover to pre-Covid levels until at least 2023-2024. “Budget 2021 demonstrates the Federal Government’s strong partnership with the music industry,” Cash added.

Additionally, ACTRA is applauding the federal government for including “strong financial supports” for Canada’s screen-based production. Specifically, increased investments in the Canada Media Fund (CMF), Telefilm Canada, Indigenous Screen Office, National Film Board (NFB) and CBC/Radio-Canada.

 “Increased and ongoing financial support for the CMF, Telefilm, Indigenous Screen Office, the NFB, the CBC and the Short-Term Compensation Fund is an investment in Canadian content production at a crucial time for our industry,” said ACTRA National President David Sparrow. “These investments will help strengthen our screen-based production industry by providing an opportunity for more Canadian stories to be told by more diverse Canadian storytellers. While the announcement of additional funding is welcome news, we must also ensure there are measures in place to promote the availability and accessibility of Canadian music and stories.”

The Federal Budget includes additional investments, starting in 2021-22, of $105 million over three years to Telefilm Canada, $60 million over three years to the CMF, $40.1 million over three years to the Indigenous Screen Office, $5 million to the NFB, and $21 million to the CBC/Radio Canada. To help Canadian musicians, concert venues, producers, and distributors, $70 million over three years will also be provided to the Canada Music Fund.

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