1. Priorities
  2. Progress

2021–26 Strategic Plan Progress

Since the launch of our 2021-26 strategic plan, Art, now more than ever, we have progressed in the implementation of several actions and strategic commitments. The second year of the plan has come to an end, and some of the most significant achievements are presented below. These pages will be updated as further progress is made.

Funding commitments

We are on track to meet our strategic funding commitments, as illustrated in the tables below.

These commitments aim to increase access to the arts across Canada; to improve access to Council funding, especially for historically marginalized and underserved communities and first-time recipients; and to support a strong rebuilding of the arts sector.

Note: This information is up to date as of March 31, 2023. 


Direction 1: Invest in rebuilding and innovation

  • In addition to distributing $145.5 million in federal funding in 2021-22 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Council delivered two additional funding initiatives in 2022-23 to address the pandemic’s impacts on the sector:
  • $50 million in funding to resume activities in 2022-23, to support research, creation and the production of works, touring activities across Canada, market development, and sector innovation.
  • $9.2 million in government support to some 200 core-funded organizations with mandates to serve historically marginalized and underserved communities, namely Indigenous, racialized, Deaf and disability, and official language minority communities. This funding supported artists, technicians and cultural workers whose livelihoods suffered because of the pandemic and whose contributions are essential to building a more inclusive, equitable and sustainable future for the arts.
  • The Canada Council Art Bank launched an open call to purchase works with the goal of including a greater diversity of artists in its collection. This acquisition prioritized works by artists who were not previously represented in the collection and who self-identified as Indigenous, Black, racialized, Deaf or having a disability, being from an official language minority community, youth, 2SLGBTQI+ and gender-diverse communities, women, and artists at the intersections of these identities. More than 1,700 eligible submissions were received, and the Art Bank purchased 72 works by emerging and established artists from every province and territory and from each of the Council’s priority groups.
  • In accordance with its current strategic commitments, the Council believes that everyone in Canada deserves a dynamic, accessible and diverse arts sector. Consequently, the Council continues to explore and implement strategic funding mechanisms to ensure equitable access to project funding to all applicants in all regions of Canada.

Direction 2: Amplify the benefits of the arts for society

  • In 2022, the Council published its Research on the Value of Public Funding for Indigenous Arts and Cultures. This study, grounded in Indigenous ways of knowing and self-determination, concluded that public funding is integral to the success of Indigenous artists, arts, and cultures. The Council published a blog post to describe how it intends to implement the recommendations from this study.
  • In 2023, the Council completed a research project on the Impact of Grants on First-Time Recipients, which shows the transformative power of its funding programs. The study highlighted many benefits of a first-time grant for artists, arts groups and organizations. These benefits include a sense of legitimacy and validation of artistic creativity; a greater sense of representation, increased visibility and professional opportunities for underrepresented communities and practices; and fostering intercultural dialogue on major social issues.
  • In its efforts to help the arts sector mitigate its effects on climate change, in 2022-23, as part of its Strategic Innovation Fund, the Council has contributed more than $250,000 to a partnership with the Centre for Sustainable Practice in the Arts (CSPA) to create a climate leadership program for arts professionals in Canada.
  • The Council has also engaged in a partnership with the National Arts Centre to support the Sectoral Climate Arts Leadership for the Emergency (SCALE/LeSAUT), a network of artists and organizations working at the intersection of culture and climate in Canada. This partnership is helping the Council better adapt its climate-related work in alignment with evolving realities and opportunities for the arts sector.

Direction 3: Nurture and expand collaboration and partnerships

  • The Council hosted the Arts Funding Forum in Ottawa from April 26 to 28, 2023. It included some 150 representatives of public and private arts funding organizations from all over Canada, as well as guests from the United Kingdom and the United States. The event fostered conversations to help advance a sustainable recovery and rebuild of the arts and culture sector, highlighting shared challenges and opportunities. The Arts Funding Forum reinforced the need for a continuous channel of communication between all arts funding organizations across the country.
  • To better serve the arts sector in Canada’s North, the Council entered into two co-delivery partnerships. The first, with the Inuit Art Foundation (IAF), led to the creation of a multidisciplinary funding program for Inuit artists and arts workers all over Inuit Nunangat. In 2022-23, the IAF distributed over $180,000, funding 40 artists from all over Inuit Nunangat. The second partnership, with the Government of Yukon, is providing $200,000 in funding over two years (beginning in 2022-23) to support emerging Indigenous artists and cultural carriers.
  • In 2022, the Council cohosted the Arctic Arts Summit, in partnership with the Government of Yukon. With a “for the north, by the north” approach, the event strengthened arts and culture in the North, stimulated cooperation between key players, and fostered continued and sustainable collaboration across the region.

Internal efforts

  • In 2022, the Council embarked on an exercise with all of its staff to identify and articulate its core organizational values. These values inform its internal operations, as well as its relationships with the arts sector, the public, and its partners in Canada and abroad.
  • In 2021, the Council launched a major recruitment campaign to foster diversity, equity and inclusion. Outperforming its objectives within a year, representation of all priority groups increased significantly at all levels of the organization.