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Estimates of the direct economic impact of culture in Canada in 2017

June 19, 201919 June 2019

Economic benefits of culture in 2017

Statistics Canada

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Using the product perspective, Statistics Canada estimates that the direct economic impact of culture products was $53.1 billion in Canada in 2017, which equates to $1,454 per capita and 2.7% of overall GDP. The employment estimate was 666,500 in 2017, or 3.5% of the 18.8 million jobs in the country.

Some key contributors to the GDP of culture products include:

  • Audio-visual and interactive media: $17.9 billion
  • Visual and applied arts: $10.2 billion
  • Written and published works: $8.3 billion
  • Live performance: $2.8 billion
  • Heritage and libraries (only those privately owned): $0.7 billion
  • Sound recording: $0.6 billion

Goods and services from government-run organizations are captured separately, along with funding and professional support services. The impact of this sub-sector was $7.6 billion in 2017. Education and training in the culture sector had an impact of $3.7 billion.

Between 2010 and 2017, the GDP of culture products increased by 16%. (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 2.7% in 2017. The number of jobs related to culture products increased by 7%, but the share of all jobs decreased very slightly, from 3.6% in 2010 to 3.5% in 2017.

Many culture products saw a strong increase in value added between 2010 and 2017, including privately-owned heritage and libraries (47%), sound recording (33%), live performance (26%), audio-visual and interactive media (25%), and visual and applied arts (20%). On the other hand, written and published works saw a 16% decrease in value added.

From the industry perspective, the direct economic impact of culture industries was estimated at $58.9 billion in Canada in 2017, or $1,611 per capita and 2.8% of the country’s GDP. In 2017, there were 715,400 jobs directly related to culture industries, or 3.8% of all jobs in the country.

The GDP of culture industries ($59 billion) is larger than the value added of agriculture, forestry, fishing, and hunting ($39 billion), accommodation and food services ($46 billion), and utilities ($46 billion). On the other hand, the value added of culture industries is less than that of transportation and warehousing ($94 billion), educational services ($108 billion), and construction ($153 billion).

Statistics Canada also provides an estimate of the direct economic impact of sports industries in 2017 ($7.3 billion, or 0.3% of Canada’s GDP). The direct economic impact of culture industries ($59 billion) is eight times larger than the sports estimate. Similarly, the jobs estimate for culture industries (715,400) is almost six times larger than the estimate for the sports sector (125,500).

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