1. Priorities
  2. Actions for the 2021-26 Strategic Plan

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


Our 2021-26 Strategic Plan—Art, now more than ever—is made up of three directions that are guiding our efforts and investments. The Plan supports a rebuild of the arts sector on a more inclusive, equitable, resilient, and sustainable foundation and maximizes the sector’s impact on Canadian society over the next five years.

We have begun to map out how we will realize the directions of our Strategic Plan through a series of actions. As of fall 2021, the following actions are underway or being developed. These include key initiatives that will define our own evolution.

As the implementation of our Strategic Plan progresses over the next five years, we will refine our actions and initiatives and add new ones.

Direction 1: Invest in rebuilding and innovation

The Council will foster an inclusive and sustainable rebuilding of the arts sector across the country. Innovation will be at the centre of that collective journey.


  • Invest $1.6B in grants and $74M in payments to authors through the Public Lending Right Program over the next five years to support artistic and literary creation and foster increased access to the arts across Canada.
  • Better understand and address the numerous barriers faced by youth, official language minority communities, and historically underserved and marginalized communities including Indigenous, Black, racialized, Deaf and disability, and 2SLGBTQI+ and gender-diverse communities, women, and artists at intersections of these groups. In this regard, and to improve access to its funding, the Council will allocate at least:
    • 50% of total grant funding to projects
    • 20% of project funding to first-time recipients
    • $100M over five years for Indigenous arts and culture
  • Develop and implement a Northern Roadmap to strengthen the Council’s presence, interactions, and support for artistic and literary activity in the North of Canada.
  • Develop and implement new grant management tools to ensure equitable access to project funding for artists, arts groups, and organizations in all regions of the country.
  • Invest a minimum of $200M over five years specifically for a strong rebuild of the arts sector that encourages the development of innovative business models, the ongoing digital transformation, and more.
  • Modernize our management of the Art Bank to build a more inclusive and equitable collection, broaden public access to our collection, and ensure a sustainable business model.
  • Review and modernize our prizes to ensure they better recognize artistic and literary contributions to the development of an inclusive society.

Direction 2: Amplify the benefits of the arts for society

The Council will support the arts sector in its work to eliminate discrimination in all forms, including that based on gender identity, race, and ability, to respond to climate change, and to recognize and promote the role of youth in the arts. It will support efforts to advance Indigenous sovereignty and self-determination, as well as the Indigenous-led decolonization of the arts and culture sector. It will champion fair compensation for artistic and literary creation, the economic protection of artists, and equitable access to digital infrastructure and resources for artists and people across Canada.


  • Convene and actively participate in dialogues with arts organizations and all stakeholders to develop and implement strategies, policies, and initiatives to:
    • advance equity, diversity, and inclusion to eliminate the consequences of racism and colonization in the arts sector, overturn misogyny and all forms of discrimination against women, and advance gender equality.
    • work collectively to mitigate the effects of climate change in the activities of the arts sector.
    • support the arts sector to respect and protect the intellectual property, traditional knowledge, and artistic and cultural expression of Indigenous people and encourage the arts sector to serve as an example in furthering this work.
    • promote improved working conditions and financial remuneration and security for artists and cultural workers, including in the form of a social safety net.
  • promote universal access to digital resources for artists, arts groups, and organizations and audiences, particularly in underserved areas such as the North of Canada.
  • Fund innovative projects that build digital capacity in rural and northern communities and support the arts sector in its greening efforts.

Direction 3: Nurture and expand collaboration and partnerships

To strengthen the arts sector’s capacity to rebuild and innovate, the Council will support collaborations, cross-sectoral partnerships, and renewed cultural diplomacy.


  • Act as a trusted convenor to foster cross-sectoral collaboration and the transfer and sharing of knowledge within the arts sector and, more broadly, between the sector and Canadian society.
  • Actively foster and engage in partnerships with Canadian and international stakeholders to support and position the arts in the post-pandemic reconstruction of the economy, communities, and society.
  • Maximize the synergies between the Council and the Canadian Commission for UNESCO to advance the shared priority of a more just, equitable and sustainable future.
  • Invest a minimum of $110M in grants over five years to strengthen and expand the international presence of artists, arts groups, and organizations from Canada.
  • Expand the Council’s role in the delivery of a renewed approach to cultural diplomacy to advance dialogue and exchanges between cultures.

Council’s Efforts

We, at the Canada Council, will be learning, adapting and navigating this momentous period of transition alongside the sector. We are committed to questioning, reviewing and improving how we work to help build back a better arts sector.


  • To strengthen our strategies, policies, programs and operations, we will
    • Take meaningful steps to create a culture of employee engagement, wellness, diversity and inclusion consistent with the Council’s organizational values.
    • Accelerate the journey of decolonization at the Council.
    • Continue to increase diversity and representation at the Council and leverage the diversity of voices at the Council.
  • Review our approach and processes to supporting the sector and our decision-making, such as applicant profiles and peer assessment, to broaden access to Council funding and improve our services.
  • Accelerate and amplify the Council’s digital shift to improve our services.
  • Green Council’s operations to reduce our carbon footprint.
  • Enhance measurement and reporting to improve our accountability and transparency.