1. Commitments
  2. International
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Our international investment supported the strong and sustainable presence of Canadian artists and organizations and their work in the world.

Overall result

With our commitment to international outreach, the Council raised the profile of Canadian artists and arts organizations, making sure they had the opportunity to share the best of the arts created in Canada with global audiences. We also fostered reciprocity by welcoming international artists to Canada and by supporting bilateral and multilateral co-productions and artist residencies.

In 2019–20, we surpassed our commitment to double our support for international activities. The COVID-19 pandemic posed significant challenges to our ongoing work in this area. We adapted our approaches so that artists from Canada could continue to reach people around the world despite travel restrictions and the cancellation and postponement of many international arts gatherings.

Targets and investments

The Canada Council for the Arts’ investment to support international activities


This infographic shows the Council’s planned and actual investment to support international activities towards reaching its target for 2020–21.

  • Baseline support for international activities in 2015–16: $10 million
  • Actual investment to support international activities as of 2020–21: $16.2 million
  • Target investment to support international activities by 2020–21: $20 million
  • Final status: Not met in 2020–21 due to COVID-19. The Council surpassed its target in 2019–20, providing $33.3 million in funding.


Strengthening global ties

In June 2019, Simon Brault, the Canada Council’s former director and CEO, accompanied by executives from the Department of Canadian Heritage and other organizations in the Department’s portfolio, travelled to Buenos Aires, Argentina, to meet artists, cultural leaders and political decision-makers at the Americas Cultural Summit, the meeting of the ministers of culture at the Southern Common Market (Mercosur) and the Argentine Creative Industries Market (MICA). These meetings were an opportunity for the Council to partner in international collaborations where Canadian artists could shine on the world stage.

Highlighting the diversity of Canadian creation

Through the Council’s international outreach, Canada was selected as the Guest Country at the Festival Internacional Cervantino, which was held in Guanajuato, Mexico, in October 2019. With the Cervantino program, the Council highlighted the diversity of Canadian creation before international audiences, presenting 17 shows by artists from across Canada that included a strong Indigenous presence, linguistic and cultural diversity, and international artistic collaboration.

Canada shines in Germany

In the months leading up to the 2020 Frankfurt Book Fair, where Canada was slated to be the Guest of Honour, the Council supported 174 projects involving artists, publishers and companies from all artistic disciplines presenting their work across Germany. This support was provided through formal agreements with Global Affairs Canada and the Department of Canadian Heritage.

With the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic, Canada’s role of Guest of Honour was postponed to 2021.

Learn more about our commitments