Municipal spending on culture in Quebec in 2015

(Les dépenses en culture des municipalités en 2015)

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Quebec’s cultural observatory provides an annual summary of a survey of municipalities regarding their spending on the arts, culture, and heritage, including: libraries; arts and letters; heritage, public art and design; cultural festivals and events; other events with a cultural component; cultural and scientific leisure activities; conservation of historical archives; and other cultural expenditures. The vast majority of municipalities with 5,000 to 99,999 residents responded to the survey in 2015 (86%), as well as all ten cities with a population of at least 100,000.

Quebec municipalities’ operating expenditures on culture totalled $909 million in 2015, representing 4.8% of total municipal operating expenditures. Between 2011 and 2015, Quebec municipalities’ operating expenditures on culture increased by an annual average of 2.9%, compared with a 3.0% increase in municipalities’ total operating expenditures. As a result, operating expenditures on culture remained stable (4.8% in both 2011 and 2015).

A very large proportion of funding for culture in 2015 came from municipalities' own contributions (81% via property or other local taxes), while much smaller percentages came from sales and fees (8%), grants from other levels of government (7%), and other revenues (5%).

On average, operating expenditures on culture by Quebec municipalities amounted to $111 per resident in 2015. Montreal and Quebec City had the highest per capita spending on culture:

  • Montreal and Quebec City: $168.
  • The three cities with populations between 200,000 and 499,999 (Gatineau, Laval, and Longueuil): $76.
  • The five cities with populations between 100,000 and 199,999 (Lévis, Saguenay, Sherbrooke, Terrebonne, and Trois-Rivières): $120.
  • The 35 municipalities with populations between 25,000 and 99,999: $110.
  • The 58 municipalities with populations between 10,000 and 24,999: $107.
  • The 77 municipalities with populations between 5,000 and 9,999: $69.
  • The 931 municipalities with populations under 5,000: $48.

Breakdowns by sub-sector and type of expenditure are available for three-quarters of all operating expenditures on culture (a portion of expenses that is referred to as “cultural services” in the report). The largest sub-sector in 2015 was libraries, accounting for 44% of total expenditures on cultural services. Arts and letters represented 19% of spending on cultural services, followed by heritage, public art and design (15%) and culture-specific festivals and events (6%).

In terms of type of expenditure, salaries and benefits comprised the largest share of Quebec municipalities’ spending on cultural services in 2015 (44% of the total), followed by cultural grants (17%), purchases of goods and services (15%), infrastructure maintenance (10%), and artist fees and honoraria (8%).

Summary: 

Quebec’s cultural observatory provides an annual summary of a survey of municipalities regarding their spending on the arts, culture, and heritage. Quebec municipalities’ operating expenditures on culture totalled $909 million in 2015, representing 4.8% of total municipal operating expenditures.