2015 Performance Measurement Report

Based on municipal submissions that have been reviewed by their peers, this report compares municipal expenses related to 36 service areas, one of which is culture. While 15 municipalities participated in the initiative, only eight reported data on their cultural services (i.e., cultural grants and overall cultural expenditures). Six of these eight municipalities are in Ontario, evidence of the project’s roots in an Ontario municipal benchmarking initiative.

The report cautions that each municipality is unique with regards to influencing factors “such as population, geographic size, organizational form, government type and legislation”. The smallest city reporting cultural data is Thunder Bay (population 108,000), while Toronto is the largest city (2.8 million). More specific factors influencing the 2015 results include a work stoppage involving 750 municipal staff members in London as well as large heritage projects underway in Montreal related to the city’s 375th anniversary (in 2017).

In 2015, the median overall cost for cultural services in the eight cities was $26.84 per capita. Expenses for cultural services were highest in Montreal ($43.79), followed by Ottawa ($33.21) and Toronto ($31.81). These are three of the four largest cities that reported their cultural costs in 2015. The median overall cost for cultural services in the eight cities increased by 12% between 2013 ($24.05 per capita) and 2015 ($26.84).

Median grants for the arts, heritage, and festivals were $8.86 per capita, again highest in Montreal ($23.16), followed by Thunder Bay ($17.59) and Ottawa ($9.70). The results for overall cultural grants are influenced by the fact that Montreal did not report on this measure. The median in the other seven cities was $9.31 in 2015, led by Thunder Bay ($17.79) and Ottawa ($11.26).

Summary: 

Based on municipal submissions that have been reviewed by their peers, this report compares municipal expenses related to 36 service areas, one of which is culture. In 2015, the median overall cost for cultural services in the eight cities was $26.84 per capita. Expenses for cultural services were highest in Montreal ($43.79), followed by Ottawa ($33.21) and Toronto ($31.81). Median grants for the arts, heritage, and festivals were $8.86 per capita, again highest in Montreal ($23.16), followed by Thunder Bay ($17.59) and Ottawa ($9.70).