” […] Let’s not forget that this isn’t an easy time for anyone in the creative industries. Lockdowns around the world have forced tours, performances, book launches, festivals and film productions to cancel. Entire creative industries that are already highly vulnerable have been put on pause. It is too early to say how much this virus has economically affected Canada’s cultural industries, but artists felt the hit almost immediately.
The thing is, before this lockdown even began, artists in Canada were already facing a multitude of challenges. Last year in Ontario, funding to the Ontario Arts Council was cut by $10 million, a $5 million Indigenous Culture Fund was cancelled and the Ontario Music Fund was cut by $8 million. Similar decisions were made in Alberta in 2019, with cuts to video game industries, the Alberta Foundation of the Arts and The Banff Centre.
In Winnipeg, proposed cuts to the arts made headlines earlier this month. In February, Nova Scotia arts groups challenged the province’s decade-long funding freeze. These recent cuts follow a national trend where support for the arts is largely deemed elective. It is often one of the first areas on the chopping block when governments want to balance budgets. Artists are constantly forced to prove their value and worth to governments and voters. This lockdown should be a wake-up call to all of us who are leaning on these creatives now: arts and culture needs to be an unwavering national priority.”