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Artists in Canada’s Provinces, Territories and Metropolitan Areas (October 2004)

Artists are unevenly distributed across Canada, but the one constant is low earnings

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October 20, 200420 October 2004

This report shows that British Columbia has a much larger proportion of its workforce employed in artistic occupations than the Canadian average (1.13% vs. 0.80%). Ontario has the second-highest percentage of its labour force in arts occupations (0.83%) and has nearly twice as many artists as any other province. Among the territories, Nunavut has a particularly high percentage of its labour force in the nine arts occupations (2.39%).

Artists are concentrated in Canada’s 27 Census Metropolitan Areas (CMAs). Victoria, Vancouver, Toronto, Montreal and Halifax have the highest proportion of their labour force employed in the arts. Nearly one-half of Canada’s artists (48%) reside in three CMAs: Toronto, Montreal or Vancouver.

Artists’ earnings are well below the overall labour force average in every province. It is in Quebec where artists come closest to overall labour force earnings, with an earnings gap of 18%. In Ontario, the earnings gap is 24%, while in all other provinces the earnings gap is 30% or more. In dollar terms, artists’ average earnings are highest in Ontario, Quebec and British Columbia.

Between 1991 and 2001, the growth in artists was much greater than overall labour force growth in every province except Saskatchewan. In Newfoundland, the arts labour force grew significantly (11%) during a period when the overall labour force decreased (-11%).

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