Creative Canada: Excerpts of cultural sector responses

Oct 2 2017 --- Cultural Policy

Below are excerpts of cultural sector responses to Creative Canada, the new cultural policy framework announced by Canadian Heritage Minister Mélanie Joly on 28 September 2017.

It will be updated over the course of this week.

ACTRA

“Canada’s talented creators have built an internationally-renowned creative industry that generates thousands of jobs and millions in economic activity,” said ACTRA National President David Sparrow. “We are pleased to see minister Joly’s commitment to creators, which will allow our industry to both compete and thrive in this digital age.”

“The Minister’s focus on stable production funding for the Canada Media Fund, a stronger CBC and increased support for exports is music to our ears,” added Sparrow.

National Executive Director Stephen Waddell added a note of caution about the government’s new agreement with Netflix, “We welcome Netflix’s investment in Canada, but let’s be clear: while other broadcasters play by Canada’s regulatory rules Netflix has been allowed to write their own rules. That will continue to undermine our broadcasting system.”

Association of Canadian Publishers

The Association of Canadian Publishers (ACP) is pleased to see initiatives related to book publishing within the Government of Canada’s Creative Canada Policy Framework, which was released by Minister of Canadian Heritage Mélanie Joly last week. Support for an effective and well-functioning copyright regime and continued support for the marketing and distribution of Canadian books through the Canada
Book Fund (CBF) are among the commitments made by the Minister.

In addition, the implementation of the Creative Export Strategy, with $125 million committed over five years, will bring Canadian culture to audiences around the world. Canadian publishers welcome this investment and look forward to expanding their presence in international markets, and to showcasing the work of Canadian writers on the world stage. This will be a focus at the 2020 Frankfurt Book Fair, where Canada will be Guest of Honour.

ACP shares Minister Joly’s vision for a vibrant Canadian creative sector, but expresses concern that current funding levels are inadequate for publishers to deliver on the objectives outlined in the new framework. CBF is essential to the continued health and success of Canada’s domestic book publishing industry….

Further,

The release of the Creative Canada Policy Framework coincided with news of Netflix’s plans to invest $500 million over five years in Canadian productions. Given the negative outcomes stemming from foreign investment experienced by the Canadian book sector over the past decade, ACP raises concern over the government’s plans to rely on foreign companies to support Canadian cultural production.

Canadian Actors Equity Association

Canadian Actors Equity was encouraged to see priority given to the promotion of Canadian content internationally as this was something that was emphasized in its submission as part of the consultative process. However, the industry in general was underwhelmed as several key details were not included in the strategy, leaving the industry unable to determine the value to the sector.

Further,

The larger arts community expressed early on that they felt left out the government’s review as the emphasis was on cultural industry players such the film and television sector as well as more cutting edge creative industry players such as augmented reality and video games.

Canadian Arts Coalition

The Canadian Arts Coalition commends the Minister of Canadian Heritage, Mélanie Joly, for having undertaken a monumental policy review and for delivering an equally ambitious vision. This policy review, although not stipulated in the Minister’s mandate letter, was long awaited and sorely needed.

Within today’s exhaustive vision, the Coalition welcomes two announcements that will be particularly beneficial to the arts sector.

Canadian Media Producers Association

We appreciate the Minister’s efforts to develop creative solutions to the challenges facing Canada’s production sector today,” said Scott Garvie, Chair CMPA Board of Directors and Senior Vice President at Shaftesbury. “Commitments to stabilize CMF funding in light of declining revenues, as well as moves to ensure the CRTC regulatory framework meets the needs of both creators and consumers, are positive developments for our industry and the health of Canadian culture.”

The CMPA cautiously welcomed the announced deal with Netflix as a potential opportunity to drive the creation of more great independently-produced Canadian content as audiences, industry and government adjust to the digital shift.

Canadian Museums Association

The new policy for cultural industries does not significantly impact museums but the Minister indicated to the Canadian Museums Association (CMA) executive director and CEO earlier this week that “my door is wide open for innovative ways to modernize museum policies and programs. Please come forward with some big ideas.”

“The CMA is pleased the Minister reached out to us and we intend to quickly take up her invitation. Mélanie Joly values the role of museums and galleries, and she wants to take action,” said John G. McAvity, CMA executive director and CEO. “She is sincere and very concerned that museum funding has been cut over the years and that programs no longer meet the needs of today’s museums,” he added.

Canadian Music Publishers Association

Music publishers and songwriters are very excited about Minister Joly’s vision for an expanded export strategy for Canada’s cultural sector. The $125-million in new funding over five years for a Creative Export Strategy will go a long way to help the small- and medium-sized businesses in the Canadian music publishing industry. Our sector has recently grown to $282 million.

Further

We look forward to working with the government on a successful strategy and participating in the culture trade mission announced for 2018 to open new global markets for Canadian content as well as the Creative Industries Council.

“We are also pleased to hear the government’s support for the protection of creators’ intellectual property and fair compensation for those who help contribute to Canadian cultural content.

Coalition for Culture and Media

The organizations making up the Coalition for Culture and Media have expressed their disappointment concerning the fuzzy logic and inconsistent vision of the Canadian government with respect to its Creative Canada roadmap. At a time when people were looking for concrete answers to pressing questions with regard to the sustainability and promotion of Canadian culture and media in the digital era, the federal government has rolled out a partial and incomplete vision based on a taxation strategy unanimously criticized as unfair.

(Largely Quebec-based, the Coalition represents about 40 cultural sector organizations.)

Magazines Canada

Magazines Canada is very pleased to hear the Minister confirm the continuing relevance of the Canada Periodical Fund,” said Magazines Canada CEO, Matthew Holmes. “We will continue our close work with officials at Heritage on ways in which to modernize the program and enhance opportunities for partnership and business innovation, while ensuring the government’s support to magazines is impactful and responsive to a sector undergoing rapid change.

SOCAN

SOCAN welcomes many elements of the Creative Canada launch on Sept. 28, 2017, where Minister of Canadian Heritage Mélanie Joly outlined the Government of Canada’s vision for Canada’s cultural and creative industries in a digital world.

Further,

“Admittedly, we were expecting somewhat more depth and details after such a long wait for this announcement, particularly in regard to music-related issues, but we’re pleased to see that the federal government is investing in Canadian content, at home and abroad,” said SOCAN CEO Eric Baptiste. “SOCAN is also pleased that Minister Joly recognizes that investing in Canadian creators means ensuring that they’re fairly compensated and their intellectual property is protected.”

Writers Guild of Canada

The Writers Guild of Canada commends Minister Joly for emphasizing the key role screenwriters play in the industry by announcing a new focus on early-stage pitch document and script development at the Canada Media Fund (CMF). As well, the government will top up CMF funding to account for monies lost from diminishing contributions from cable and satellite companies.

The Minister also demonstrated the government’s commitment to Canadian-created programs with the announcement that Netflix will spend $500 million over five years on original Canadian productions.

“We’re very pleased that the Minister has listened, and heard, the concerns of Canadian screenwriters,” says WGC Executive Director Maureen Parker.

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