The letter below is one of the contributions we have made to the push for the provincial Government to sustain Ontario Arts Council funding at the 2022 level of investment of $65M in the 2023 provincial budget. Please note that links are subject to change.
March 14, 2023
Dear Minister Bethlenfalvy,
I am writing to you today from the Canadian Alliance of Dance Artists – East Chapter (CADA/East) in regard to the status of the Ontario Arts Council (OAC) in the upcoming budget. I understand the Ontario government is in a tight fiscal situation and appreciate the demands you are facing. However, regardless of how resilient artists seem to be, the current climate requires a resilience building organization like the OAC maintain their ability to operate at full capacity to help the dance sector with their continued recovery.
The OAC supports Canada’s National Ballet School, who provides a home for Sharing Dance Parkinson’s; offering free dance classes that are empirically supported to improve the quality of life of those with Parkinson’s Disease. The OAC supports Citadel + Compagnie, a creative hub in Toronto’s Regent Park, providing a space for the work of artists in Ontario and dance class scholarships to young children from families in financial need within the community. The OAC supports CADA/East, and we educate our members towards advocating for their own rights and needs, provide subsidies for their training and the cost of caregiving, and are the home of a benchmark document that dance artists and organizations have been referencing for pay rates and working conditions over the past twenty years.
Beyond this, the OACs funding programmes support employment and tourism across the province. According to figures the Gross Domestic Profit / GDP of overall culture and support sectors increased by 3.3% in the last quarter of 2022. Jobs and employment in the culture sector increased by 3.2% in the second quarter, exceeding pre-pandemic levels for the first time. Providing that same arts and culture sector is a solid ROI for the province.
Additionally, Statistics Canada reports that the cultural economy in Ontario generated a provincial GDP impact of $28.7 Billion in 2019. Of this, the sectors where OAC is a primary support, contributed over $5.4 Billion of provincial GDP. Other streams of government funding are smaller, geared towards smaller scale and individual short-term projects. This does not help organizations build capacities or support goals focused on long-term success.
We have a deep understanding of the negative impact that financial precarity can create, and that is why we are asking for stable funding to the OAC for the next two years. We urge you to maintain support to the OAC, an organization that clearly contributes to the maturation of artistic expression, health, and quality of life of individuals at every stage of life and career. By keeping this funding level, you can ensure the arts, culture, and tourism sector can work towards financial vitality while it recovers from the lingering economic aftershocks of the pandemic.
Thank you for your consideration.
Administration and Outreach Manager
Canadian Alliance of Dance Artists – East Chapter