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National estimates from Provincial and Territorial Culture Indicators, 2010 to 2014

June 22, 201622 June 2016

Economic benefits of culture

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Using the industry perspective, Statistics Canada estimates that the direct economic impact of culture industries (also known as value added or gross domestic product) was $61.7 billion in Canada in 2014, or 3.3% of the country’s GDP. In 2014, there were 700,100 jobs directly related to culture industries, or 3.9% of the 18.1 million jobs in the country. (The jobs figures include full-time and part-time jobs, while part-year employment is included on a pro-rated basis.)

From the product perspective, the direct economic impact of culture products was estimated at $54.6 billion in Canada in 2014, or 3.0% of Canada's GDP. The employment estimate was 630,500 in 2014, or 3.5% of all jobs in the country. Some key contributors to the culture products GDP include:

  • Audio-visual and interactive media: $18.4 billion.
  • Visual and applied arts: $11.2 billion.
  • Written and published works: $9.7 billion.
  • Live performance: $2.5 billion.
  • Heritage and libraries: $0.8 billion.
  • Sound recording: $0.6 billion.

An estimate of the value added of the arts (i.e., separate from other cultural and heritage elements) is not possible from the data, since many elements of the arts are combined into broader categories with other cultural and heritage elements.

Nationally, the GDP of culture industries is much larger than the value added of agriculture, forestry, fishing, and hunting ($29 billion), accommodation and food services ($38 billion), and utilities ($43 billion). On the other hand, the value added of culture industries is less than that of transportation and warehousing ($78 billion), educational services ($95 billion), and construction ($140 billion).

The report also provides estimates of the direct economic impact of sports industries in 2014 ($6.1 billion, or 0.3% of Canada’s GDP). The direct economic impact of culture ($61.7 billion) is ten times larger than the sports estimate ($6.1 billion). Similarly, the jobs estimate in the culture sector (700,100) is almost seven times larger than the estimate for the sports sector (103,700).

Between 2010 and 2014, the GDP of culture industries grew by 16%. (All figures in this summary have not been adjusted for inflation.) During the same timeframe, the overall Canadian economy grew by 19%, resulting in a slight decrease in the culture industries’ share of the overall economy from 3.4% in 2010 to 3.3% in 2014.

Using the product perspective, specific culture products with an increase in value added that matched or exceeded the overall economy between 2010 and 2014 (19%) include audio-visual and interactive media (25%), heritage and libraries (23%), visual and applied arts (20%), and live performance (19%). Culture products that did not fare as well include sound recording (1% increase) and written and published works (3% decrease).

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