Artists in Canada’s Provinces and Territories
Based on the 2006 Census
IssueSituation of artists
Like the report on artists in the country as a whole, this report from Hill Strategies Research examines the situation of artists, with a focus on the Canadian provinces and territories. Artists include nine arts occupations, such as actors, authors, choreographers, craftspeople, composers, conductors, dancers, directors, musicians, producers, singers and visual artists.
The report shows that, among the 10 provinces, British Columbia has the largest percentage of its labour force in arts occupations (1.08%), the only province above 1% and a figure that is well above the Canadian average of 0.77%. British Columbia has 25,900 artists who spent more time at their art than at any other occupation in May 2006.
Ontario has a slightly higher percentage of its labour force in arts occupations (0.81%) than the Canadian average (0.77%). With 56,900 artists, Ontario has nearly twice as many artists as any other province.
The 3,700 artists in Nova Scotia place the province third in terms of the proportion of the labour force in arts occupations (0.73%).
Quebec has the second-largest number of artists (30,200) and is fourth in terms of the percentage of its labour force in arts occupations (0.71%).
Artists’ earnings are well below the overall labour force average in every province. It is in Quebec where artists come closest to overall labour force earnings, with an earnings gap of 25%. In Ontario and Prince Edward Island, the earnings gap is 38%. In all other provinces, the earnings gap is 40% or more.
In dollar terms, Quebec and Ontario are the only provinces where artists’ average earnings (about $24,500 in both provinces) are above the Canadian average ($22,700). British Columbia and Alberta are the only other provinces where artists’ average earnings exceed $20,000. Artists’ average earnings are about $18,000 or less in the six other provinces.
Between 1991 and 2006, the growth in the number of artists was greater than overall labour force growth in six provinces. In three of these provinces (Ontario, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia), the growth in the number of artists was double or more the overall provincial labour force growth rate. The other three provinces with higher growth in artists than the overall labour force are British Columbia, Quebec and Prince Edward Island.
Between 1990 and 2005, artists average earnings decreased in six provinces, after adjusting for inflation. The largest decreases were in Ontario (15%) and Quebec (11%). The decreases were 9% in Saskatchewan and Nova Scotia, 8% in Alberta, and 5% in British Columbia.
Prince Edward Island is the only province where the average earnings of artists increased by more than the overall labour force (12% vs. 6%). However, the average earnings of artists on PEI are still quite low ($15,900 in 2005).