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Municipal spending on culture in Quebec in 2012

(Les dépenses culturelles des municipalités en 2012)

July 30, 201430 July 2014

Government spending on culture / Donors / Arts funding and finances

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This report from Quebec’s cultural observatory highlights various statistics related to cultural spending by Quebec municipalities in 2012. In the report, cultural spending includes: libraries; arts and letters; heritage, public art and design; cultural festivals and events; events with a cultural component; cultural and scientific leisure activities; conservation of historical archives; and other cultural expenditures. The definition of culture in the report is quite different from the definition used to create a presentation on Saskatoon’s Investment in Culture between 2009 and 2012, and the results should not be directly compared.

In 2012, Quebec municipalities’ operating expenditures on culture totalled $843 million, representing 4.8% of municipal operating expenditures. Montreal and Quebec City, the only cities with populations over 500,000 in Quebec, spent $373 million on culture in 2012, or 44% of the cultural expenditures of all Quebec municipalities.

In terms of services provided, libraries dominated cultural spending, representing 44% of total expenditures on cultural services in 2012. Arts and letters represented 20% of spending on cultural services, followed by heritage, public art and design (17%). Cultural grants represented 15% of Quebec municipalities’ spending on cultural services in 2012, while artist fees and honoraria represented another 8%.

In 2012, a very large proportion of municipalities’ operating expenditures on culture came from municipalities' own contributions (85% via property or other taxes), but smaller percentages also came from sales and fees (6%), grants from other levels of government (5%), and other revenues (4%).

Operating expenditures on culture increased by 7.6% on an annual basis between 2008 and 2012, higher than the 6.3% annual growth in municipalities' total operating expenditures.

The report compared operating expenditures on culture in 2012 to total municipal operating expenditures in seven groups of Quebec municipalities. Compared with the overall average of 4.8% of total operating expenditures, cultural spending was highest in municipalities with populations between 25,000 and 99,999 (5.9% of total expenditures), followed by municipalities with populations between 100,000 and 199,999 (5.4%), Montreal and Quebec City (5.2%), and municipalities with populations between 10,000 and 24,999 (4.9%).

On a per capita basis, Quebec municipalities allocated $106 of their operating expenditures to culture in 2012. By this measure, Montreal and Quebec City had the highest levels of spending on culture:

  • Montreal and Quebec City: $165.
  • The three cities with populations between 200,000 and 499,999: $80 (Gatineau, Laval, and Longueuil).
  • The five cities with populations between 100,000 and 199,999: $110.
  • The 35 municipalities with populations between 25,000 and 99,999: $101.
  • The 54 municipalities with populations between 10,000 and 24,999: $99.

The two smallest groups of municipalities (under 5,000 residents and 5,000 to 9,999 residents) spent the least on culture by both measures (i.e., percentage of total spending and per capita spending).

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