Young woman with black hair creating a mural in an urban setting.


Strategic Vision

Our strategic plans lay out our broad directions to maximize our support to the arts sector and our impact on the public. In 2021, we report on the achievements of our 2016–21 plan as we release our 2021–26 plan, Art, now more than ever

2016–2021 achievements

From 2016 to 2021, we supported an ever more dynamic, inclusive and connected arts sector, and we did it according to the four broad commitments in our 2016–21 strategic plan.

The commitments in our 2016–21 strategic plan focussed on arts support, increased sharing of artistic creation through digital media, Indigenous creation and the international presence of the arts. The plan also reaffirmed our long-standing commitment to equity, inclusion and official languages, as well as to the next generation of artists and audiences. The plan presented a vision for stronger support of the arts sector to build a strong culture of engagement with all people across Canada and with audiences around the world. 

In the final year of that plan and during the pandemic, we continued to support the arts through our regular programs, for which we received more applications. With the support of the government, we implemented special funding initiatives, including emergency support for arts organizationsemergency support for Indigenous and equity-seeking groups and organizations, and the Community Cares and Digital Originals initiatives. We also supported digitally focussed international events like those for the 2020 Edinburgh festivals. We will report on the results of these initiatives in the coming months. 

Overall Investment: $487M

In 2016, the Government of Canada announced the doubling of the Council’s budget between 2016 and 2021.

Of the additional $550 million promised between 2016 and 2021, we invested $512 million (or 93.1%) directly into the arts sector. The remaining 6.9% of that investment went to services to the community, partnerships, program delivery and general administration.

We have delivered on all of our commitments, and we had surpassed most of our targets by 2020–21. We are mindful that the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the entire arts sector and our work in significant ways. As the context evolved through 2020, we were able to monitor the situation closely and to adapt our approach as we continued to pursue our commitments.

The Canada Council for the Arts’ investment in the arts sector as of 2019-20


This infographic shows the Council’s planned and actual additional investment in the arts sector and surpassing its target for 2020–21.

  • Actual additional investment in the arts sector as of 2020–21: $512 million
  • Target additional investment in the arts sector: $487 million
  • Final status: Surpassed

Overview of our Commitments

Ceiling view of a galleria covered with a canopy of intertwining steel arches.

Arts Support

Our increased support for the arts responded to the evolution of artistic creation, engaged increasingly diverse audiences and fostered renewal and growth.
Target Final status
 $137.5M or 25% of new funds to new recipients Surpassed
 50% / 50% split between project and core funding by 2020-21 Achieved
Abstract background of colourful curved wires.


Our digital investment fostered the sharing of artistic creation, enhanced skills and supported the transformation of organizational models and practices across the arts sector.
Target Final status
 $88.5M for a digital strategy fund Surpassed
Detail of a raven feather.


Our support for Indigenous creation centered on cultural self-determination and supported the renewal of the relationship between Indigenous artists and Indigenous and non-Indigenous audiences.
TargetFinal status
 Triple support to Indigenous creation Surpassed
Glowing sphere connected with axon-like lines.


Our international investment supported the strong and sustainable presence of Canadian artists and organizations and their work in the world.
TargetFinal status
 Double support for international activities Not met in 2020-21 due to COVID-19

Ongoing Commitments

In addition to the four commitments in its 2016-21 Strategic Plan, the Canada Council created opportunities for youth and will continue to deepen its longstanding commitment to equity, inclusion and official languages.

Performance - banner for Equity


The Canada Council is committed to supporting 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, are encouraged to master their art forms and invent new models for artistic creation and dissemination. We will also continue to find new ways to engage young audiences, children and youth.

Strategic Plan 2021-26

Art, now more than ever: Strategic Plan 2021-26

Discover our strategic vision for a stronger, more resilient, and more inclusive sector.

Discover our strategic vision