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Government Expenditures on Culture in 2008/09

July 21, 201121 July 2011

Issue
Government spending on culture

Article Link
http://www.statcan.gc.ca/pub/87f0001x/87f0001x2011001-eng.htm?WT.mc_id=twtB0869?WT.mc_id=twtB0868

Statistics Canada recently released a brief overview and data regarding government spending on culture in 2008-09. The data includes direct government support for culture through operating expenditures, capital expenditures and grants. Excluded are indirect support instruments, such as tax credits . Hill Strategies has analyzed this data for this issue of the Arts Research Monitor.

In 2008-09, governments spent $9.3 billion on culture, excluding transfers between different levels of government. This represents a 16% increase from 2003-04 (after adjusting for inflation).

Provincial and municipal expenditures on culture increased substantially between 2003-04 and 2008-09 (29% and 22%, respectively, after adjusting for inflation). Federal cultural spending increased by 4% during the same timeframe. These figures include transfers between levels of government.

In 2008-09, federal government spending on culture (including transfers) was $4.0 billion (41% of spending by all levels of government), while the provinces and territories spent $3.0 billion (31%) and municipalities $2.7 billion (28%). (The federal, provincial and municipal breakdowns include $0.5 billion in transfers between governments and therefore do not equal the $9.3 billion total, which is net of transfers.)

In the Statistics Canada dataset, “the arts” include some arts education activities, performing arts, and visual arts and crafts (excluding art galleries, which are included as museums in the heritage category). Based on this definition, government support for the arts was $809 million in 2008-09, or 8% of total government spending on culture. Support for the arts was highest at the provincial and territorial level ($437 million, or 14% of provincial and territorial governments’ spending on culture), followed by the federal level ($296 million, or 7% of federal government spending on culture). This level of detail is not available for spending on the arts at the municipal level. While large municipal spending areas like libraries are broken out in the dataset, most other municipal funding is grouped into the “Multidisciplinary and other activities” category.)

The $4.0 billion in federal government spending on culture in 2008-09 was dominated by the broadcasting sector ($1.9 billion, or 47% of federal spending) and heritage organizations, including museums, art galleries, public archives, nature parks and historic sites ($1.1 billion, or 28% of federal spending). The largest portions of the $3.0 billion in provincial spending in 2008-09 went to libraries ($1.0 billion, or 34% of provincial spending) and heritage organizations ($890 million, or 29%). Sixty-nine percent of total municipal support in 2008 ($1.9 billion of the $2.7 billion total) went to libraries.

On a per-capita basis, spending on culture by all levels of government was $296 per Canadian in 2008-09. From highest to lowest, per-capita spending by all levels of government was as follows in each province:

  • Quebec ($374 per capita);
  • Prince Edward Island ($306);
  • Saskatchewan ($281);
  • Ontario ($271);
  • Newfoundland and Labrador ($263);
  • Nova Scotia ($262);
  • Alberta ($248);
  • Manitoba ($242);
  • New Brunswick ($221); and
  • British Columbia ($211).

Federal spending on culture averaged $122 per Canadian in 2008-09. As shown below, two provinces were above this average, while the other eight were below $122 per person in federal spending on culture:

  • Quebec ($180 per capita);
  • Prince Edward Island ($150);
  • Nova Scotia ($117);
  • Ontario ($112);
  • Newfoundland and Labrador ($94);
  • New Brunswick ($84);
  • Manitoba ($75);
  • Alberta ($60);
  • Saskatchewan ($57); and
  • British Columbia ($51).

Provincial spending on culture averaged $92 per Canadian in 2008-09. Only Ontario and British Columbia were below this level. Per-capita provincial spending on culture was as follows in each province:

  • Newfoundland and Labrador ($139 per capita);
  • Saskatchewan ($132);
  • Prince Edward Island ($123);
  • Quebec ($121);
  • Manitoba ($116);
  • New Brunswick ($106);
  • Alberta ($104);
  • Nova Scotia ($98);
  • Ontario ($69); and
  • British Columbia ($62).

Municipal spending on culture varied widely between the provinces and averaged $82 per Canadian in 2008. Per-capita municipal spending on culture was as follows in each province:

  • British Columbia ($98 per capita);
  • Saskatchewan ($92);
  • Ontario ($90);
  • Alberta ($84);
  • Quebec ($73);
  • Manitoba ($51);
  • Nova Scotia ($47);
  • Prince Edward Island ($33);
  • New Brunswick ($31); and
  • Newfoundland and Labrador ($30).

Per-capita spending levels are higher in the three territories than in any province by every measure except municipal spending. Because of their small populations, the territories were excluded from the above analysis. Key data for the territories follows:

  • In the Yukon, total government spending on culture was $1,157 per person in 2008-09, which included $586 in federal spending, $549 in territorial spending, and $22 in municipal spending.
  • In the Northwest Territories, total government spending on culture was $1,075 per capita in 2008-09, including $821 in federal spending, $199 in territorial spending, and $54 in municipal spending.
  • In Nunavut, total government spending on culture was $616 per person in 2008-09, which included $363 in federal spending, $242 in territorial spending, and $12 in municipal spending.

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