PASO-OPSA Coalition: Pre-Budget Submission December 2016


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Learn more about the 2017 Pre-Budget Consultations with the Ontario Minister of Finance

Re: 2016 Pre – Budget Submission

Dear Minister Sousa,

Once again PASO-OPSA welcomes the opportunity to take part in the budgeting process in Ontario. As the Coalition of Provincial Arts Service Organizations, we aim to strengthen the environment for individuals and institutions that create and disseminate the arts in this province as well as to increase public access to the arts. Our collective memberships are made up of individual artists as well as the performance and exhibition organizations that create and support artistic expression.

The priorities outlined below are informed by our observations as leaders in our sector and by an extensive survey that was undertaken by the Ontario Arts Council as part of its strategic planning process.


To build on the strength of Ontario’s arts sector, PASO calls on the provincial government to:

  • Confirm its commitment to the sector by increasing investment in the arts through the Ministry of Tourism, Culture & Sport and key agencies such as the Ontario Arts Council whose last budget increase was in 2009 and the Ontario Trillium Foundation who suffered an unannounced reduction in its basic operating funding in 2016 which was a major cause for concern within our membership.
    This would be achieved by:
    a. Immediately doubling the Ontario Arts Council’s budget allocation. It should be noted that 60 percent of all applications to OAC are denied. Significant changes at the federal funding levels should serve as a benchmark for a province responsible for 45 per cent of the total GDP of Canada’s arts, culture and heritage sector and provides almost 302,000 jobs.
    b. Re-instating $25 million to the Ontario Trillium Foundation and ensuring that capital grants fund specialized equipment purchases as well as construction to maximize the ability of Ontario arts organizations to leverage federal funds through Cultural Spaces Canada.
    c. Over the long-term, the development of a Reclaimed Assets Program as suggested by the Ontario Non Profit Network (ONN) in a previous budget submission in which intangible, unclaimed properties such as insurance policies, returned stocks and bonds, bank deposits, unpaid wages, and pension benefits would be earmarked and used for direct investment in organizations. Organizations such as the Ontario Arts Council and Ontario Trillium Foundation would are well-positioned to administer these additional funds for the benefit of the arts community.

  • Strengthen and instigate cultural policy framework in Ontario through a continued consultative process
    in order to better address the challenges of artistic creation and processes of production, dissemination
    and distribution.

    This would be achieved by:
    a. Ensuring that the Indigenous and racially marginalized arts sector be fully acknowledged, recognized as one of the most vibrant contributors to the arts in Ontario and Canada, and equitably funded. This to be done in a transparent manner with clearly declared goals, timetables, dedication of human and financial resources, and public education/promotion of their aesthetic practices.
    b. Revisiting role and composition of Minister’s Advisory Council on Arts and Culture so that it is representative of the community and given a clear mandate to create a cultural policy for the Government of Ontario
    c. Auditing Status of the Artist legislation in Ontario and comparing/aligning to other jurisdictions nationally and internationally

  • Support youth employment in the Province through a robust community-driven training/internship strategy.
    This would be achieved by:
    a. Creating a task force administered by the Ministry of Training Colleges and Universities made up students, cultural workers, educational professionals and government representatives to revisit internship/apprenticeship programs and rethinking their application and management in the 21st century
    b. Launching reframed strategy by 2017

  • Invest in adequate and affordable facilities for artists and arts organizations.
    This would be achieved by:
    a. Ensuring that public facilities like schools that are transitioning to community hubs are made available for the arts community and that policy and legislation affecting these facilities incorporates the needs of the arts community in its language.
    b. An expansion of access to Infrastructure Ontario loan programs to all non-profit arts groups, from the current limit of professional arts training facilities. As loans through Infrastructure Ontario are eligible for matching grants from Cultural Spaces Canada, this expansion creates a lever to shift a portion of non-repayable funding commitments to Heritage Canada and allows arts groups to maximize potential funding.
    c. A minimum annual investment of $20,000,000 in the purchase of land and/or buildings for arts organizations (not-developers or non-profit developers) to create a permanent arts infrastructure in Ontario. A 40 million dollar fund was proposed by the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Sport in 2008 and has not come to fruition, with rapidly increasing rental and purchase costs across the Greater Toronto and Hamilton area this has been a lost opportunity.

The impact of arts and culture on the Ontario economy is significant as outlined by R. Michael Warren, Special to Postmedia Network, a former corporate director, Ontario Deputy Minister, TTC Chief General Manager and Canada Post CEO excerpted below:
“According to Statistics Canada, the estimated direct economic impact of Canada’s culture industries was $61.7 billion in 2014, or 3.3 per cent of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP). To put this in perspective, the GDP contribution of culture industries is much larger than that of agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting combined ($29 billion). Culture industries contribute more to our economy than accommodation and food ($38 billion) or utilities ($43 billion). Sports fans will be surprised to hear the direct economic impact of culture is 10 times that of the sports sector ($6.1 billion). More than 670,000 Canadians delivered cultural products and services in 2014 — more than three per cent of our workforce. That’s nearly five times the number employed in the auto sector. Their products included audio-visual media, written works, visual and applied arts, live performance, heritage and libraries. Employment in this sector has grown faster than the overall labour force, increasing 50 per cent over the last 25 years.
The same report demonstrates the economic importance of arts and culture in Ontario. It shows the province is responsible for 45 per cent of the total GDP of Canada’s arts, culture and heritage sector and provides almost 302,000 jobs.
To appreciate the economic impact of culture, you need to drill down to the local level. For example, the Tom Thomson Art Gallery in Owen Sound, plans to expand into a $10.5-million, 35,000-square-foot visual arts centre. The new “Tom” will serve as a cultural “living room” for the city, visitors from across the region, the country and beyond. Two different impact calculators were used to estimate the economic contribution of the new facility. They showed the expanded gallery will generate between $3.5 million and $8.5 million in annual economic benefits to the City and region. Its construction would bring one-time, direct and indirect benefits of $11 million to the community. This overall return on investment would excite any venture capital firm.
Culturally vibrant communities benefit in another critical way. A 2016 study for Business for the Arts found municipalities and businesses that make investments in arts and culture have more success attracting skilled workers…Nik Nanos, chairperson of Nanos Research, said, “When we listen to Ontarians that are part of the knowledge economy, their level of affinity to the arts and culture is exceptionally high.” Nicole Anderson, the CEO of Business for the Arts, points out “… $50,000 to an arts and culture organization is going to go a lot further. It’s a drop in the bucket in the sports field.”
Many large companies direct some of their corporate philanthropy to supporting culture. But smaller firms and municipalities committed to growth and attracting people, are finding creative ways to use arts and culture as well. The City of Owen Sound itself says thanks to hundreds of volunteers every year by inviting them and a guest to enjoy a local little theatre production. A former Culture Capital of Canada, the branding line of the city is “where you want to live”. It backs up this outreach approach with a thriving music, theatre and arts scene with several performance centres.
The bottom line? Businesses that want to keep and attract top employees — and thank clients — should work with local arts and culture organizations. Municipalities that want to keep their young people and attract skilled workers need to support their cultural industries.
Culture is a key component in today’s business and municipal competitiveness.”

Ontario’s cultural sector is 4.1% of Ontario’s GDP, contributing to $27 billion per year to the Ontario economy.
The foundation of this creative economy is the arts activity funded by the Ontario Arts Council.
Ontario has fallen behind in its support of the arts:

  • At $4.29 per capita, OAC’s budget ranks the lowest among Canada’s six large provinces; only the Atlantic provinces are lower
  • The budget at the OAC provincial counterpart in Quebec is $13.33 per capita
  • The federal government will double the Canada Council’s budget by 2021 to over $362 million; the Toronto Arts Council is targeting a doubling of its budget by 2025 to $40million

With additional funds, the Ontario Arts Council could do more to support government priorities:

  • creating jobs and skills for today’s creative economy
  • making Ontario a more attractive place to live and in which to invest
  • attracting more visitors from across Canada and abroad
  • making Ontario artists and arts organizations better known on the world stage
  • strengthening the Ontario brand -improved quality of life for individuals and communities
  • increased opportunities to engage children, youth, diverse and marginalized communities
  • contribute to a wide range of economic, social, and cultural impacts.

We sincerely appreciate that the Government of Ontario continues to recognize and support culture’s important place in the life of the province and its essential role in building a vibrant, rich and attractive place to live, work, grow and visit. PASO-OPSA looks forward to the continued investment as part of the budgeting process.
What follows is a list all of the Coalition members.
Submitted by:
Bruce Pitkin
Co Chair

Rosslyn Jacob Edwards

L’Alliance culturelle de l‘Ontario
Catherine Voyer-Léger, Coordonnatrice générale
613-745-2322 #207

Arts Network for Children and Youth
Linda Albright, Executive Director

Association des auteures et auteurs de l’Ontario français
Yves Turbide, Directeur général

Association des professionnels de la chanson et de la musique (APCM)
Natalie Bernardin, Directrice générale

Bureau des regroupements des artistes visuels de l’Ontario (BRAVO)
Yves Laroque, Executive Director
819-457-1892 or 800-611-4789 (toll free)

Canadian Alliance of Dance Artists – Ontario (CADA-ON)
Larissa Taurins-Crawford, Administrative Director

Canadian Arts Coalition
Kate Cornell, Co-Chair 416-504-6429 Ext. 28 or 416-515-8444

Frédéric Julien , Co-Chair

Canadian Artists’ Representation / Le front des artistes canadiens (CARFAC Ontario)
Sally Lee, Executive Director
416-340-8850 or 877-890-8850 (toll free)

Canadian Music Centre
Matthew Fava, Ontario Regional Director

Choirs Ontario
Elizabeth Shannon, Executive Director
416-923-1144 or 866-935-1144 (toll free)

Craft Ontario
Emma Quin, Executive Director

Cultural Pluralism in the Arts Movement Ontario (CPAMO)
charles c. smith , Executive Director

Culture Days
Aubrey Reeves, Executive Director 416-964-7555

Dance Ontario
Rosslyn Jacob Edwards (PASO Co-Chair), Executive Director

Dance Umbrella of Ontario
Robert Sauvey, Managing Director
416-504-6429 or 800 919-5019 (toll free)

Directors Guild of Canada (Ontario)
Bill Skolnik, Chief Executive Officer and Executive Director
416-925-8200 or 888-972-0098

Folk Music Ontario
Alka Sharma, Executive Director
613-560-5997 or 866-292-6233 (toll free)

FUSION – The Ontario Clay and Glass Association
Jenanne Longman, Office Administrator

Media Arts Network of Ontario (MANO)
Ben Donoghue, Managing Director

Ontario Association of Art Galleries (OAAG)
Zainub Verjee, Executive Director

Ontario Presents
Warren Garrett, Executive Director
Christina Loewen, Executive Ditrector
416 591 7222

Réseau Ontario
Véronique Fortier, Directrice Générale

Théâtre Action
Marie Ève Chassé, Directrice générale

Theatre Ontario
Bruce Pitkin (PASO Co-Chair), Executive Director

Diane Davy, Executive Director