Artists and Cultural Workers in Canada’s Provinces and Territories / in Canadian Municipalities

Based on the 2011 National Household Survey and the Labour Force Survey

These two reports from Hill Strategies examine the situation of artists and cultural workers in Canadian provinces, territories, and municipalities. This summary provides brief highlights of the data on artists and cultural workers organized by province and territory.

The 24,800 artists in British Columbia represent 1.08% of the provincial labour force, the highest percentage among the provinces. The average income of B.C. artists is $29,100, 37% less than other workers in the province. The median income of B.C. artists is $19,300, 48% lower than the median income of all workers in the province. The 100,100 cultural workers in B.C. represent 4.34% of the overall labour force (also highest among the provinces).

Two B.C. cities have a particularly high concentration of artists and cultural workers. Victoria has the highest concentration of artists (2.36%) among 36 municipalities with reliable data on artists and the second-highest concentration of cultural workers (8.35%) among 96 municipalities with reliable data on cultural workers. Vancouver has the second-highest concentration of artists (2.32%) and the highest concentration of cultural workers (8.54%). Vancouver is home to about one-third of all B.C. artists (7,900, or 32%). The municipal report also contains information about six other B.C. cities with reliable data on artists and 17 other municipalities with reliable data on cultural workers.

In Alberta, the 11,300 artists account for 0.54% of the overall labour force. Artists in the province have average incomes of $32,600, 44% less than other workers. When the median income is calculated rather than the average, the typical income of an Alberta artist is just $21,500, or one-half of the median income of all workers in the province (51% less). There are 63,800 cultural workers in Alberta, representing 3.05% of the provincial labour force.

There are 4,500 artists in Calgary (0.70% of the city’s labour force) and 3,200 artists in Edmonton (0.67%). Calgary and Edmonton are home to about two-thirds of all Alberta artists (68%). The 25,700 cultural workers in Calgary represent 3.98% of the local labour force, while the 3,200 cultural workers in Edmonton account for 3.70% of the city’s labour force. The municipal report also contains information about seven other Alberta municipalities with reliable data on cultural workers.

The 2,800 artists in Saskatchewan represent 0.50% of the provincial labour force. The average income of Saskatchewan artists is $28,400, 40% less than other workers in the province. The median income of Saskatchewan artists is $23,000, 40% lower than the median income of all workers in the province. The 13,800 cultural workers in Saskatchewan represent 2.49% of the overall labour force.

There are 900 artists in Regina (0.81% of the overall labour force) and 840 artists in Saskatoon (0.65%). Artists in these two cities represent 62% of all Saskatchewan artists. The 4,000 cultural workers in Regina represent 3.55% of the local labour force, while the 4,200 cultural workers in Saskatoon account for 3.27% of the city’s labour force.

In Manitoba, the 4,200 artists account for 0.68% of the overall labour force. Artists in the province have average incomes of $26,800, 37% less than other workers. When the median income is calculated rather than the average, the typical income of a Manitoba artist is just $19,500, 45% lower than the median income of all workers in the province. There are 19,800 cultural workers in Manitoba, representing 3.16% of the overall labour force.

There are 3,100 artists in Winnipeg, representing 0.85% of the local labour force. Winnipeg artists account for 73% of all artists in Manitoba. The 14,100 cultural workers in Winnipeg represent 3.90% of the city’s labour force.

In Ontario, the 58,100 artists account for 0.87% of the province’s labour force. The average income of Ontario artists is $34,900, 30% less than other workers in the province. The median income of Ontario artists is $23,200, 41% lower than the median income of all workers in the province. The 273,300 cultural workers in Ontario represent 4.09% of the overall labour force.

There are 23,700 artists in Toronto (1.76% of the city’s labour force) and 4,700 artists in the City of Ottawa (0.95%). One-half of all Ontario artists (49%) reside in these two cities. The 97,100 cultural workers in Toronto represent 7.20% of the local labour force, while the 24,300 cultural workers in Ottawa account for 4.97% of the city’s labour force. The municipal report also contains information about 14 other Ontario cities with reliable data on artists and 39 other municipalities with reliable data on cultural workers.

In Quebec, the 28,200 artists account for 0.69% of the overall labour force. Artists in the province have average incomes of $34,000, 22% less than other workers (the lowest difference among the provinces). When the median income is calculated rather than the average, the typical income of a Quebec artist is just $21,500, 40% lower than the median income of all workers in the province. There are 165,200 cultural workers in Quebec, representing 4.04% of the overall labour force.

There are 12,300 artists in the City of Montreal (1.49% of the local labour force) and 2,000 artists in Quebec City (0.72%). One-half of all Quebec artists (51%) reside in these two cities. The 57,100 cultural workers in Montreal represent 6.91% of the city’s labour force, while the 13,100 cultural workers in Quebec City account for 4.68% of the local labour force. The municipal report also contains information about three other Quebec cities with reliable data on artists (Laval, Longueuil, and Gatineau) and 16 other municipalities with reliable data on cultural workers.

In the four Atlantic provinces, the 6,700 artists account for 0.56% of the region’s labour force. Atlantic artists have average incomes of $28,500 (a 32% difference compared with the overall labour force) and median incomes of $19,600 (43% difference). The 32,900 cultural workers in the Atlantic provinces represent 2.76% of the overall labour force.

While the information on artists is not reliable for Prince Edward Island, the data for the other three Atlantic provinces are: Nova Scotia, 3,400 artists, 0.72% of the labour force, third among the ten provinces; New Brunswick, 1,700 artists, 0.43% of the province's labour force; and Newfoundland and Labrador, 1,200 artists, 0.47% of the overall labour force. The income statistics of artists by province are:

  • Nova Scotia, average income of $29,100 (31% difference), median income of $20,600 (41% difference).
  • New Brunswick, average income of $25,700 (36% difference), median income of $17,600 (48% difference).
  • Newfoundland and Labrador, average income of $30,800 (30% difference), median income of $22,000 (37% difference).

Key data on cultural workers in the four Atlantic provinces are: Nova Scotia, 14,900 cultural workers, 3.14% of the labour force; New Brunswick, 9,500 cultural workers, 2.44% of the province's labour force; Newfoundland and Labrador, 6,600 cultural workers, 2.63% of the overall labour force; and Prince Edward Island, 1,900 cultural workers, 2.47% of the labour force.

There is reliable data on artists for only two Atlantic cities. There are 2,100 artists in Halifax (0.95% of the overall labour force) and 590 artists in St. John’s (1.06%). Artists in these two cities represent 41% of all Atlantic artists. The 9,100 cultural workers in Halifax represent 4.11% of the city’s labour force, while the 2,400 cultural workers in St. John’s account for 4.37% of the local labour force. The municipal report contains information about four other Atlantic municipalities with reliable data on cultural workers (Cape Breton, Fredericton, Moncton, and Saint John).

In the three territories, the 560 artists represent 0.98% of the region’s labour force. Artists in the territories have average incomes of $27,400 (a 53% difference compared with the overall labour force) and median incomes of $20,100 (61% difference). The 2,300 cultural workers in the territories represent 3.96% of the region’s labour force. Key data on cultural workers in the individual territories are: Yukon, 970 cultural workers, 4.62% of the labour force; Northwest Territories, 770 cultural workers, 3.33% of the territory’s labour force; and Nunavut, 520 cultural workers, 4.03% of the overall labour force.

Summary: 

These two reports from Hill Strategies examine the situation of artists and cultural workers in Canadian provinces, territories, and municipalities. This summary provides brief highlights of the data on artists and cultural workers organized by province and territory.