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National estimates from Provincial and Territorial Culture Indicators, 2016

March 21, 201821 March 2018

Economic benefits of culture

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Using the product perspective, Statistics Canada estimates that the direct economic impact of culture products was $53.8 billion in Canada in 2016, or 2.8% of overall GDP. The employment estimate was 652,400 in 2016, or 3.5% of the 18.5 million jobs in the country.

Some key contributors to the GDP of culture products include:

  • Audio-visual and interactive media: $19.4 billion.
  • Visual and applied arts: $10.1 billion.
  • Written and published works: $8.2 billion.
  • Live performance: $2.7 billion.
  • Heritage and libraries: $0.7 billion.
  • Sound recording: $0.6 billion.

Between 2010 and 2016, the GDP of culture products increased by 17%. (All figures in this summary have not been adjusted for inflation.) During the same timeframe, there was a slight decrease in the culture products’ share of the overall economy, from 2.9% in 2010 to 2.8% in 2016.

Many culture products saw a strong increase in value added between 2010 and 2016, including audio-visual and interactive media (35%), heritage and libraries (also 35%), sound recording (32%), live performance (20%), and visual and applied arts (19%). On the other hand, written and published works saw a 17% decrease in value added.

From the industry perspective, the direct economic impact of culture industries was estimated at $59.3 billion in Canada in 2016, or 3.1% of the country’s GDP. In 2016, there were 704,000 jobs directly related to culture industries, or 3.8% of all jobs in the country.

Nationally, the GDP of culture industries ($59 billion) is larger than the value added of agriculture, forestry, fishing, and hunting ($31 billion), accommodation and food services ($41 billion), and utilities ($43 billion). On the other hand, the value added of culture industries is less than that of transportation and warehousing ($84 billion), educational services ($100 billion), and construction ($133 billion).

Statistics Canada also provides an estimate of the direct economic impact of sports industries in 2016 ($7.2 billion, or 0.3% of Canada’s GDP). The direct economic impact of culture industries ($59.3 billion) is eight times larger than the sports estimate. Similarly, the jobs estimate for culture industries (704,000) is almost six times larger than the estimate for the sports sector (120,200).

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