Shaping a New Future for the Arts in Canada

Canada Council sets vision for the next five years, announces new funding

April 26, 2016

Ottawa, April 26, 2016 – The Canada Council for the Arts today outlined an ambitious vision for the arts sector in Canada with the release of its latest Strategic Plan 2016-21, and the announcement of several major funding initiatives for the current year.

The news comes one month after the March 22, 2016 Federal Budget, which confirmed an unprecedented $1.9 billion for the arts and culture sector, including a doubling of the Canada Council’s budget by 2021.

The Government of Canada’s reinvestment in the arts is historic and we believe that it opens the door to an artistic renaissance, with outcomes that will benefit Canadians and the world. We – the Canada Council and the arts community – have been ready for this. Our plan and new programs are all designed to enable us to be flexible, to innovate and to move quickly so that what we do continues to resonate for the art sector and for Canadians.

Simon Brault, Director and CEO of the Canada Council


Looking ahead, the Canada Council has identified commitments and actions in four broad areas. They include:

  • increasing support to artists, collectives and organizations striving for artistic excellence and greater engagement in the arts,
  • amplifying the quality, quantity and sharing of Canadian art through digital technology,
  • renewing the relationship between Indigenous artists and Indigenous and non‑Indigenous audiences for a shared future, and
  • raising the international profile of Canadian artists.

The Council remains committed, across its work, to upholding a fundamental commitment to equity, inclusion and supporting young and emerging artists.


With the new government investments kicking in this year, the Council also revealed plans to launch a special, one-time $33.4 million creation fund by May 2016, called New Chapter. Open to artists and arts organizations on the occasion of Canada’s 150th anniversary, this one-year funding program will support major creation projects to be presented across Canada and internationally through 2017 and beyond. An additional $1.8 million will be invested into {Re}conciliation and Indigenous arts initiatives. Council will also begin to implement a new digital strategy to support the professional arts sector to more effectively use digital technologies to create and share its work with audiences here and around the world. More details on the respective initiatives will be available later this spring.


The Canada Council is in the process of radically transforming its funding model as it prepares to mark its 60th anniversary next year. The transformation of its programs entails a vast restructuring of its programs - from over 140 to 6 more flexible, open programs. Beginning in 2017, the increased government funding will be channeled through the Canada Council’s new funding model directly.

These are exciting times for the arts in Canada. The impact of this major reinvestment will not only support and nurture artistic creativity now but it will foster deeper artistic and cultural expressions amongst all Canadians to be shared with the world.

Pierre Lassonde, Chair of the Board of Directors of the Canada Council

Canada Council for the Arts

The Canada Council for the Arts is Canada’s national public arts funder. We champion and invest in artistic excellence so that Canadians may enjoy and participate in a rich cultural life. In 2014-15 we allocated $155.1M towards artistic creation and innovation through our grants, prizes and payments. We also conduct research, convene activities and work with partners to advance the sector and help embed the arts more deeply in communities across the country. The Canada Council Art Bank operates art rental programs and helps further public engagement with contemporary arts. We are responsible for the Canadian Commission for UNESCO which promotes the values and programs of UNESCO to contribute to a more peaceful, equitable and sustainable future for Canadians.

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