Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs (Ontario) Pre-budget Consultations Submission by Ontarians for the Arts Friday, January 19, 2018

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1 Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs (Ontario) Pre-budget Consultations Submission by Ontarians for the Arts Friday, January 19, 2018 Our SPECIFIC REQUESTS for BUDGET 2018: 1) We hope this budget will commit to a 4-year renewal to the Ontario Cultural Attractions Fund, with progressive increments to its base funding from $2.5M in to $4.5M in OCAF plays a key role in promoting cultural tourism, connecting Ontarians, and visitors to Ontario, to great experiences. 9.5 million Tourists participate in Ontario arts and culture activities annually. OCAF is the only provincial funding program for the marketing of cultural tourism events, with an average of only 7% annual administrative costs. 2) We recommend the creation of an infrastructure investment program that facilitates Ontarians access to arts and culture, and helps leverage federal investments. This may include components for: infrastructure revitalization for state of good repair & energy efficiency; new builds & facility expansions; Indigenous reconciliation & cultural renewal. Different approaches may be required to improve upon cultural infrastructure owned by government (internal process) and to serve the needs of non-profit arts and culture organizations (accessible program). 3) We see the planned increases to the Ontario Arts Council as critical, with progressive $5M increments taking the OAC s base funding from $65M in to $70M in , then to $75M in and $80M in We thank the current government for starting to close this noticeable gap, and the opposition parties who support this increase and promise to see this increase through should there be a change in government. It is necessary to keep the supply chain moving. For your consideration, below are some thoughts on the benefits of arts and culture with regards to Ontario s social, cultural and economic well-being, as they may relate to budget forecasts and the upcoming election. These ideas include ways to encourage the development of our cultural life, which also happens to be an important part of our province s social & economic well-being. Dear Honourable members, As you know, the government of Ontario delivers on a range of services, including cultural development. It s not just a jurisdictional responsibility, but also a broader, social responsibility. We can think of no better way to connect our citizens to one another and promote the distinctiveness of our province and its many peoples than through arts and culture. Participating in the arts promotes social inclusion and cohesion and, in a province as diverse as Ontario, it s an important way of ensuring that all Ontarians feel a real sense of belonging here.

2 The Ontario government has a long history of playing a vital role in the development of culture. Investments in arts and culture have proven to be an essential part of a healthy creative ecology. Ontario governments over the decades have placed value in developing the arts, and we are hopeful that this support will continue. Ontario is home to one-third of Canadians. It is also home to roughly half of the cultural activity in the country. Our culture is more diverse than ever, and we have only begun to address reconciliation with Indigenous peoples. There is much work to do. With our province s demographics and culture evolving as rapidly as it will over the next two decades, artistic and cultural development are critical to continued social and economic success for all Ontarians. Moreover, the creative sector contributes $25B annually to Ontario s GDP and represents approximately 4% of Ontario s work force (275,000 jobs). 65% of Ontario business leaders i say that a thriving arts and culture scene makes it easier to attract top talent to their communities. The return on investment to the public is not just quantifiable, it s qualitative as well. It includes delivery on a wide-range of societal benefits for all the people of this province. Ontario artists and cultural workers are an increasingly important component of Ontario society. Through music, film, art, books and theatre, artists tell our stories and sing our passions, share our beauty and animate our neighbourhoods. Culture is so much more than entertainment or diversion. In our schools, community centres and seniors homes, in town squares and parks, and also in exhibition and performance spaces, art engages us in our humanity culture connects us to one another they reflect what we are as a society. We are so concerned with being connected these days, and what better way to promote connection and socialization than through arts and culture? They are an innate and necessary part of our human experience. We have a strong, beautiful and diverse culture in Ontario. We are also a resilient, resourceful, hard-working people, artists and cultural workers included. We encourage this government, and whoever forms the next government of Ontario, to continue developing our province s arts and culture through policy, programs and education, to continue investing in arts and culture, and to make arts and culture an integral part of how we promote Ontario s place in Canada and the world. ARTS EDUCATION Arts education prepares our young people for a future where creativity underpins economic innovation and growth. Creativity starts with exposure to the arts. Arts education also promotes cross-cultural literacy and understanding, social inclusion and cohesion, and community engagement.

3 The Arts empower youth, especially at-risk youth ii, to succeed in school, in work and in later life iii. Canadians know this and 85% believe that investment in arts education assists in the emotional and intellectual development of children iv. Ontarians expect our government to do its best in delivering practical and appreciable skills from pre-school to post-secondary. As such, it is necessary to adequately resource the education system to ensure that the arts education curriculum can benefit all Ontario students and be delivered with a consistent depth of experience in ways that can be quantified as well as qualified. ARTS DEVELOPMENT We also encourage this committee to support the renewal of Ontario s culture strategy every 5 years to ensure that ongoing innovative artistic and cultural developments reflect Ontario s many peoples. Ontario is already Canada s most diverse province. We have some catching up to do to ensure Indigenous peoples, Francophones, people of colour, and other marginalized groups such as the deaf, disabled and mad, are included. There is room for improvement. And, there is room for growth. Roughly half the culture strategy s recommendations are underway. One example of its success for Ontarians is the inter-ministerial cooperation developing between the Seniors Secretariat and the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport. This collaborative approach is helping to connect seniors to each other and their community through culture, while improving health outcomes through programs like Dancing with Parkinsons. INVEST IN THE ARTS A full range of activities in the arts sector in communities across the province are supported through the Ontario Arts Council, Ontario Cultural Attractions Fund, Ontario Arts Foundation and the Ontario Trillium Foundation. We wish to stress their continued importance. The planned increases to the Ontario Arts Council are critical, with progressive $5M increments taking the OAC s base funding from $65M in to $70M in , then to $75M in and $80M in We thank the current government for starting to close this noticeable gap, as well as the opposition parties who support this increase and promise to see this increase through should there be a change in government. It is necessary to keep the supply chain moving. The raw materials and talent created through the arts support production and distribution systems up the line, where for-profit creative sector outcomes are realized. For the longer-term, we request the government of Ontario commit to increasing the OAC s funding base to $120M by and to strike a panel of experts to determine the OAC s optimal funding level. This sector is clearly also a major driver of tourism with 9.5 million tourists participating in Ontario arts and culture activities annually. Tourists consistently seek out our festivals and events from Stratford to the Ottawa Bluesfest to the Festival du loup (Tiny, ON) to summer theatre in every corner of the province. That s why we hope this budget will commit to a 4-year renewal to the Ontario Cultural Attractions Fund, with progressive increments to its base funding

4 from $2.5M in to $4.5M in OCAF plays a key role in promoting cultural tourism, connecting Ontarians, and visitors to Ontario, to great experiences. OCAF is the only provincial funding program for the marketing of cultural tourism events, with an average of only 7% annual administrative costs. The Ontario Arts Foundation facilitates private giving to the arts in Ontario. Revitalizing this Foundation by reintroducing a matching endowment incentives program would help arts organizations become more self-reliant and reduce emphasis on operating grants in due course, freeing-up resources for those who need it most. PROMOTE ONTARIO S PLACE IN CANADA AND THE WORLD We also hope this committee will re-examine ways of better leveraging federal investments in culture. The Ontario government needs to improve inter-governmental cooperation in culture and ensure that Ontario gets a fair and demographically proportionate share of federal investments in arts and culture. As an example, Ontario currently does not have a way to consistently leverage federal cultural infrastructure or cultural export investments, whereas both Alberta and Quebec do. Cultural infrastructure facilitates Ontarians access to arts and culture experiences, but Ontario s cultural infrastructure deficit is in the $300M range v. If we develop a program to match the federal government, that deficit could be reduced substantially in due course. Additional investments to bolster cultural exports would also improve market access and development, leverage federal support, and strengthen Ontario s economy as well as its global brand. SUMMARY Whether we are celebrating Indigenous roots and cultures, reading a book by a Francophone author from Hearst on the beach in Muskoka, or attending our daughter or nephew s music recital, arts and culture help make life worth living. It s the glue of society, a reflection of the human condition, a reason to give pause, and look forward to the future. That future is more diverse, more culturally rich, than any of us can fully imagine. Ontarians for the Arts is a new inclusive, non-partisan movement intent on promoting the benefits of the arts in every city, community and reserve in every corner of the province. For further information, please contact: Hamal Docter, Director of Communications Ontarians for the Arts, c/o 401 Richmond Street West, Suite 350, Toronto, ON M5V 3A8

5 References i Nanos Research for Business for the Arts, Businesses thoughts on attracting employees through the arts and culture, May ii National Endowment for the Arts, The Arts and Achievement in At-Risk Youth: Findings from Four Longitudinal Studies, iii Arts Education Partnership, Preparing Students for the Next America: The Benefits of an Arts Education, iv Strategic Counsel, Building the Case for Business Support of the Arts, v Arts Build Ontario, Bricks & Mortar: Ontario s Arts and Culture Facilities Database, 2016

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