Live Performance In Canada: A $3.8B Industry And Growing

A new statistical analysis offers insights into the state of Canada’s arts and culture industries.

 The statistical analysis of the performing arts industries is made available by the Canadian Association for the Performing Arts (CAPACOA) and includes the following insights:

  • The live performance domain was comprised of 11,503 organizations and businesses in 2022 in Canada.

  • Of these, 8,617 were performing arts companies, and 2,886 were presenters/promoters and festivals. 2,174 had employees; 9,329 did not have employees.

One of the main sources of funding for live presentations at the federal level is the Canada Arts Presentation Fund. In 2021-2022, the CAPF provided $39.8M in grants and contributions to 781 professional arts festivals and performing arts series in more than 270 cities or communities across Canada. From 2013-14 to 2017-18, the program supported an average of 38,210 performances per year and the average number of attendees was 22.4 million per year. For every dollar invested by the program, an average of $8.50 is directly spent in the Canadian economy.

Seven in ten Canadians (68%) attended a performing arts event or an artistic or cultural festival in 2016. This attendance rate is high across all demographic groups.

  • 86% of Canadians are accessing performing arts presentations via television, Internet or other media channels. Yet, they are twice as likely to ascribe high importance to live performing arts attendance than to any media-based consumption.

  • 79% of Canadians say they would miss it if there were no live, professional performing arts available in their community (21% to a moderate extent and 58% to a high extent).

  • The live performance domain contributed $3.3 billion to the Canadian Gross Domestic Product in 2022.

  • The live performance domain accounted for 72,000 jobs in 2022.

  • The live performance GDP grew at an annual rate of 5.9% between 2010 and 2019.

  • Live performance jobs grew at an annual rate of 3.9% between 2010 and 2019.

  • In 2019, revenues from admissions to live performing arts performances in Canada totalled $3.8 billion. This represented GST/HST revenues of $190 million for the federal government.

  • International visitors spent $220M in direct spending for live performance events in Canada in 2016 ($188M for performing arts events and $32M for festivals and celebrations). This represents 1.1% of total tourism spending and 6.4% of non-tourism commodities (expenses other than travel, accommodation and food). This is more than for any other culture and sports sub-domains, including organized sports ($171M).

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