The Canada Council for the Arts is entering a new era - one that promises to transform its relationship with artists and arts organizations across the country for the better, and that will scale up the impact of the arts for all Canadians.

Shaping a New Future

Over the next five years, the Canada Council will be strengthening its support for the arts community by fostering a culture of participation, inclusion, and diversity.

The Canada Council’s vision for the future is also a vision for the future of our country, a response to our changing social environment and an expression of our shared values.

This vision is set out in our 2016-21 Strategic Plan.

Strategic Plan 2016 Cover Read our Strategic Plan Video Video: Investing to Shape a New Future

Strategic Commitments

The 2016-21 Strategic Plan is structured around four commitments. Each commitment includes strategies for meeting our equity objectives and supporting next-generation artists and audiences.

These four commitments will be achieved primarily through our six funding programs.

Here’s our plan to optimize the federal government's $550 million dollar investment.


We commit to supporting the ongoing relationship between Indigenous artists, and Indigenous and non-Indigenous audiences, for a shared future. The Canada Council is adopting an approach that respects and acknowledges First Nations, Inuit and Métis artistic expression, cultural protocols, rights, traditions, and worldviews. We will support projects that stimulate Indigenous artists, enrich their artistic practices, and inspire their communities. This new approach represents a transformation of the way the Council funds, supports and acknowledges the Indigenous arts and cultures of Canada. It recognizes the cultural rights of Indigenous peoples and respects the principle of First Nations, Inuit and Métis self-determination.

Feathers - banner for Indigenous Commitment


We will amplify the quality, scale and sharing of art through digital technology, which is changing the way we relate to the arts and culture, and how we connect with each other and the world. Artists and arts organizations need to be able to thrive in this radically changing environment. Increased financial support will help them take advantage of technology to create new artistic visions and experiences, to reach new audiences and to transform their organizations and ways of working.

The Arts in a Digital World Summit


We will raise the international profile of Canadian artists and arts organizations, giving them the opportunity to share the best of the arts created in Canada with global audiences. With the help of partners here and abroad, we will help grow Canada’s international presence and complement the efforts of other federal funders to support Canadian artists abroad. We will also foster reciprocity by welcoming international artists to Canada, and by supporting bilateral and multilateral co-productions and artistic residencies and exchanges.

Bright lights - banner for International Commitment
Bridge - banner for Increased Support Commitment

Increased Support

We will invest in artistic research and development, and help next-generation artists to build sustainable careers. We will increase support to artists, collectives and organizations striving for artistic excellence and greater engagement in the arts. And we will measure our impacts to demonstrate results to Canadians.

Ongoing Commitments

In addition to the four commitments in the Strategic Plan, the Canada Council will continue to deepen its longstanding commitment to equity and inclusion.

Performance - banner for Equity


Equity is a principle and process that promotes fair conditions for all persons to fully participate in society. It recognizes that while all people have the right to be treated equally, not all experience equal access to resources, opportunities or benefits. Achieving equality does not necessarily mean treating individuals or groups in the same way, but may require the use of specific measures to ensure fairness.

The Canada Council aims to support a vital and diverse arts ecology that enriches the lives of Canadians, and equity is a critical means to achieve this. All citizens deserve to benefit from a vibrant, accessible and pluralistic arts sector, and all creative expressions should have the same chance to flourish.

Letters A through H - baner for Official Languages

Official Languages

The Canada Council promotes Canada's two official languages, English and French. It also employs positive measures to support the artistic vitality of Official Language Minority Communities (OLMCs): groups of people whose maternal or chosen official language is not the majority language in their province or territory – in other words, Anglophones in Quebec and Francophones outside of Quebec.

The Canada Council believes in the distinct contribution that Canada’s two official languages and its OLMC artists and arts organizations make to the diversity and richness of the arts in Canada.

It also recognizes the important role the arts can play in promoting linguistic duality and the vitality of OLMCs.

Children's hands holing yellow and red maple leafs - banner for Youth


The Canada Council is determined to be a public arts funder that is truly focused on the future. This means we will create more opportunities for the next generation — including for emerging artists, who often face barriers to funding opportunities. Young artists in particular will be encouraged to master their art forms and invent new models for artistic creation and dissemination. We will also find new ways to engage young audiences, children and youth.