At the beginning of 2015, we asked what you thought the most important cultural policy issues would be in the coming year. Overwhelmingly, survey respondents indicated that improved public investment through grants or tax credits was the most important issue facing artists and cultural organizations.
If the new federal government delivers on their campaign promises of increasing funding to the Canada Council and the arts in general, and if Ontario implements a proactive culture strategy, we are well on our way to seeing great improvements.
Here’s a look at some other issues and events received our attention.
Copyright changes in the Federal Budget
The music sector hailed the federal budget as a victory when it extended copyrights for songwriters to 70 years.
Changes to tax credits in the Ontario Budget
The culture industry was relatively resigned when the Ontario Government began to slay the deficit by making cuts to cultural media tax credits. The sector seemed understanding of the challenges the government faces and viewed the low dollar as offsetting the immediate effects of the cuts.
Reframing the Cultural Policy Dialogue Symposium
In June, The Arts Advocate, with various partners, hosted a symposium to discuss cultural policy in Canada. The day included speakers from various disciplines in the sector and in government. For the full report, please visit www.culturalpolicydialogue.ca, or check out the Storify that captures the key points of the day as well as some of the social media dialogue it generated.
The 42nd Federal Election
Arts and culture played a minor role in the recent election, as other issues like the economy and foreign policy dominated the debates. The Liberals, however, along with the NDP promised to reverse cuts to the CBC and increase funding for other arts organizations, particularly the Canada Council for the Arts. It will be interesting to see if the new Liberal government will be able to live up to its campaign promises.
The Ontario Culture Strategy Consultations
The consultation process got underway, with meetings all over the province. It also sparked lively online discussion with many people and organizations using the #ONculture hashtag to promote themselves or their genre. The online upvote/downvote system for ideas as part of the strategy stirred some mild controversy, feeling a little bit like a popularity contest and favouring those organizations that had the social media savvy to mobilize supporters over those that have more traditional followers and methods of support.
Stay tuned for The Arts Advocate’s take on what we’ll be watching in the year ahead, or subscribe to the Report for timely updates delivered straight to your inbox.