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Heritage institutions 2004

Catalogue no. 87F0002XIE

November 27, 200627 November 2006

Museums, Galleries, Visual Arts and Heritage

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This is the first release of a new Statistics Canada heritage institutions survey, highlighting the operating finances of over 600 heritage organizations in 2004. As noted in Statistics Canada’s Daily, data from this release “should not be compared with previously published data for Heritage Institutions since significant changes were made to the survey.” Rather than a census of all eligible organizations, the new data is collected using a sample.

The new survey data includes non-profit and for-profit heritage organizations, including art galleries, museums, historic sites, zoos and botanical gardens. The new methodology excludes heritage organizations that are part of a larger organization, such as university-affiliated art galleries. Nature parks and archives are excluded from the report due to low data quality. The report provides estimated data for 2004, 2002 and 1999 using the new methodology. In addition to aggregate data for all kinds of heritage institutions, separate data is provided for non-profit organizations, for-profit organizations and different types of heritage organizations.

The majority of the statistics are based on a survey of organizations, but an analysis of administrative data was conducted in order to provide industry-wide estimates. The survey component represents about 95% of total revenues of the overall heritage sector.

Although the text summary in Statistics Canada’s Daily notes that the survey respondents were representative of the 615 heritage organizations eligible for the survey, neither the Daily nor the summary data tables provides the number of heritage organizations responding to the survey.

Total revenues were $1.05 billion for all heritage organizations in 2004, including $946 million for non-profit organizations (90% of the total) and $102 million for the for-profit organizations (10%). Museums (other than art galleries) represent the largest share of revenues in the heritage sector, accounting for about 45% of total revenues, followed by art galleries (23%), zoos and botanical gardens (22%) and historic and heritage sites (10%).

In non-profit organizations, government support represents the largest share of total revenues (51%), followed by earned revenues excluding admission fees (21%, including membership fees, merchandise, food and beverage sales, royalties, rentals and more), admission fees (15%), and private-sector fundraising (11%).

In 2004, the non-profit heritage sector in Canada registered a collective deficit of $21.3 million (representing 2.4% of revenues), while profits in the for-profit heritage sector amounted to $9.8 million. Three types of not-for-profit heritage organizations registered a collective deficit in 2004, including the 109 art galleries (deficit of 3.9% of revenues), the 299 museums other than art galleries (3.3%), and the 173 historic and heritage sites (2.7%). Only the 33 zoos and botanical gardens posted a surplus (2.5% of revenues).

Between 1999 and 2004, the 36% increase in expenditures exceeded the 30% increase in revenues for non-profit heritage organizations (not adjusted for inflation). Expenditure increases outstripped revenue increases in all types of heritage organizations.

The non-profit heritage organizations drew 30 million people to their organizations in 2004, an increase of 10% from 1999. Admission revenues grew by 15% (higher than the 10% admissions increase), meaning that admission fees increased during this period. In fact, the text summary in the Daily notes that “the average admission fee for adults to all heritage institutions surveyed rose from $3.60 in 1999 to $4.62 in 2004, a 28.5% increase without taking inflation into account.”

For-profit heritage organizations attracted 4.8 million visits in 2004, a 45% increase from 1999. A breakdown of attendance estimates by type of organization was not provided in the Daily or the summary data files.

On a provincial basis, Ontario-based organizations account for 40% of the revenues of all Canadian heritage organizations. Quebec-based heritage institutions account for 28% of overall revenues. British Columbia-based heritage organizations represent 15% of national revenues, while their Alberta counterparts account for 8% of the revenues of all Canadian heritage organizations.

In the heritage sector, 46% of total expenditures go towards personnel costs, including staff salaries, benefits and contractor fees. Despite the substantial labour expenditures, the 48,000 heritage volunteers accounted for almost 75% of the overall workforce of not-for-profit heritage organizations. (It should be noted, however, that this simple “head count” does not represent work effort or hours worked. Typically, full-time staff members work many more hours than average volunteers.)

The summary data tables for heritage institutions are available at

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