Municipal spending on culture in Quebec in 2014

(Les dépenses en culture des municipalités en 2014)

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Every year, Quebec’s cultural observatory surveys municipalities about their spending on the arts, culture, and heritage, including: libraries; arts and letters; heritage, public art and design; cultural festivals and events; events with a cultural component; cultural and scientific leisure activities; conservation of historical archives; and other cultural expenditures. All ten Quebec cities with a population of at least 100,000 responded to the survey, as did 85% of other municipalities with at least 5,000 residents. Data for the smallest municipalities (under 5,000 residents) were estimated using other sources. This report summarizes the 2014 survey results.

Quebec municipalities’ operating expenditures on culture totalled $859 million in 2014, representing 4.7% of total municipal operating expenditures. A very large proportion of funding for culture comes from municipalities' own contributions (81% via property or other taxes), but smaller percentages also come from sales and fees (8%), grants from other levels of government (6%), and other revenues (6%).

Salaries and benefits dominated Quebec municipalities’ spending on cultural services in 2014 (representing 47% of the total), followed by purchases of goods and services (17%), cultural grants (15%), infrastructure maintenance (10%), and artist fees and honoraria (7%).

Three-quarters of the operating expenditures, called cultural services in the report, could be allocated by area within the arts, culture, and heritage. Libraries were by far the largest expenditure, representing 46% of total expenditures on cultural services in 2014. Arts and letters represented 19% of spending on cultural services, followed by heritage, public art and design (15%).

On average, operating expenditures on culture by Quebec municipalities amounted to $106 per resident in 2014. Montreal and Quebec City had the highest per capita spending on culture:

  • Montreal and Quebec City: $159.
  • The three cities with populations between 200,000 and 499,999: $76 (Gatineau, Laval, and Longueuil).
  • The five cities with populations between 100,000 and 199,999: $108.
  • The 35 municipalities with populations between 25,000 and 99,999: $104.
  • The 58 municipalities with populations between 10,000 and 24,999: $106.
  • The municipalities with populations between 5,000 and 9,999: $71.
  • The 930 municipalities with populations under 5,000: $44.

Between 2010 and 2014, Quebec municipalities’ operating expenditures on culture increased by an annual average of 3.8%, compared with a 4.9% increase in municipalities’ total operating expenditures. As a result, operating expenditures on culture decreased from 4.9% to 4.7% of total operating expenditures.

Summary: 

Every year, Quebec’s cultural observatory surveys municipalities about their spending on the arts, culture, and heritage, including: libraries; arts and letters; heritage, public art and design; cultural festivals and events; events with a cultural component; cultural and scientific leisure activities; conservation of historical archives; and other cultural expenditures. Quebec municipalities’ operating expenditures on culture totalled $859 million in 2014, representing 4.7% of total municipal operating expenditures.