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Canada Council for the Arts Strategic Plan 2008-11: Values and Directions

October 16, 200716 October 2007

Arts funding & finances / State of the arts

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This Strategic Plan, released in early October, “sets out the values and directions that will guide the Canada Council for the Arts over the next three to five years”. The plan is based on the input provided through the Council’s consultations (reviewed in Arts Research Monitor Vol. 6, No. 6).

The nine values and achievements outlined in the document include: artistic merit and artistic excellence as the “most important consideration in awarding grants”; ensuring that individual artists are at the core of the Council’s thinking; a commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion, with a possible expansion of support for disability arts; peer assessment; the strong knowledge base of the Council; adaptability, flexibility and efficiency; transparency and accountability; advancing Canadian artists and organizations internationally as well as nationally; and keeping “its priorities and interventions targeted and strategic”.

The Council established five core directions:

1. “Reinforce the Council’s commitment to individual artists, working alone or collaboratively, as the core of artistic practice in Canada.”

The plan indicates that, “as resources permit”, the Council will “increase the maximum grant levels and flexibility of support available to individual artists”, with the goal of reaching greater parity with the support provided to research professionals in academia. The Council will also “increase its outreach to younger artists”.

2. “Broaden the Council’s commitment to arts organizations to strengthen their capacity to underpin artistic practices in all parts of the country.”

In expanding its support to arts organizations of all sizes, the Council has committed to “work towards a significant increase in public investment in the organizational infrastructure across the country and reinforce the role of Canadian arts organizations abroad”. The Council also indicated that it will work with the best-financed organizations “to ensure that their focus extends beyond their own survival to encompass the interests of the disciplines and communities in which they operate”.

3. “Enhance the Council’s leadership role in promoting equity as a critical priority in fulfilling Canada’s artistic aspirations.”

The Council will attempt to “address inequities of all kinds – linguistic, regional, cultural, Aboriginal, racial, gender-based, etc.”, with measurable goals.

4. “Make partnerships with other organizations a key element in the Council’s approach to advancing its mandate.”

The plan indicates that “partnerships will be helpful in areas where the Council has a deep interest but neither the mandate nor the resources to deliver direct programs”. Potential partners include other arts funders, other federal organizations, international organizations and various other organizations.

5. “Implement structural changes within the Canada Council to improve communication and strengthen the organization’s capacity to implement change.”

The Council has committed to strengthen its leadership and horizontal integration by implementing some “recommendations made in the 2007 organizational design review to improve its culture of learning and information exchange, research, strategic planning, program evaluation, change implementation, and communications capacity”.

The values and directions will be further refined into an Action Plan in early 2008.

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