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Census Metropolitan Areas as Culture Clusters

October 18, 200518 October 2005

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This report explores the potential clustering of arts and cultural industries in Canadian Census Metropolitan Areas using four main factors: cultural production; cultural employment; education in cultural programs; and the migration of cultural workers. To determine cultural production, the report examines organizations and firms in performing arts, heritage, film, sound recording and publishing based on Statistics Canada’s discipline surveys dating from 1998/99 to 2001/02. For cultural employment, the report looks at an unusual selection of cultural occupation codes from the 2001 census. (More specifically, the report highlights 21 cultural occupations rather than the 45 or 48 examined in other cultural-sector reports, or the nine occupations commonly examined in arts reports.) The report examines cultural education clusters based on enrolment and graduates in post-secondary cultural programs between 1998 and 2000. Finally, for migration, the report looks at 2001 census data on the movement of cultural workers in Canada and immigration of cultural workers to the country.

Overall, the Toronto CMA is found to be strong in a range of indicators and especially dominant for many cultural industries. Montreal, the second-largest overall cluster, “led on all measures for the performing arts.” In the Atlantic region, “the presence of many culture students in Halifax, in addition to higher than average proportions of their labour force working in culture industries and culture occupations, supports the position of Halifax as a regional culture cluster.”

For some cultural sectors, such as heritage and movie theatres, there is no dominant CMA cluster.

The examination of the select group of cultural occupations shows that Victoria, Vancouver, Toronto, Montreal and Ottawa-Hull have the highest concentrations of cultural workers. Only Ottawa-Hull differs from the list in a recent Hill Strategies Research report, which used a group of nine arts occupations to show that Victoria, Vancouver, Toronto, Montreal and Halifax have the highest proportion of their labour force employed in arts occupations.

The report confirms other reports’ findings of relatively low average employment income in cultural occupations. For all 27 Canadian CMAs, the average (or “mean”) earnings in the 21 cultural occupations are 8% less than average earnings of non-cultural workers. Looking at median earnings in all 27 CMAs, the select group of cultural workers earn 11% less than other workers. Moreover, in 25 of the 27 CMAs, median earnings in the selected cultural occupations are lower than in non-cultural occupations. The differences between the earnings of culture and non-culture workers are even more pronounced in non-CMA areas, where there is a 28% difference using mean earnings and a 39% difference using median earnings. (This examination of the report’s data contradicts the report’s own conclusion that “when median income is looked at, the image of the underpaid culture worker was challenged.”)

In terms of university culture education, Montreal has the largest number of culture program enrolments and graduates, followed by Toronto. In relative terms, “Kingston ranked highest for culture university graduates and enrolment per capita.”

Finally, regarding migration patterns, the report finds that Toronto and Montreal – Canada’s largest CMAs – are strong “magnets for Canada’s culture workers.” This section of the report also shows that culture workers are generally more mobile than non-culture workers. In terms of very recent immigration to Canada, a slightly higher percentage of culture workers than non-culture workers immigrated between 1996 and 2001. This statistic holds true for both CMA and non-CMA areas.

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