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Live Presenters Lobby For Fed Financial Relief

More than 30 Canadian associations representing mainly show programmers and festival organizers have joined forces to petition Canad

Live Presenters Lobby For Fed Financial Relief

By External Source

More than 30 Canadian associations representing mainly show programmers and festival organizers have joined forces to petition Canadian Heritage for more funding in two major programs that benefit their members.  The collective is appealing directly to the Minister of Finance for reinvestment before a $15B round of cutbacks compounds existing problems.


The spring federal budget outlined plans to find $15.4 billion in savings over the next five years. They include cuts to consultation contracts to the tune of $7 billion and a three percent reduction in spending for all federal departments.

The loose-knit collective of live music orgs is calling for a “substantial reinvestment”, and has outlined its concerns under the umbrella of ‘Future of Live’.

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As per the appeal:

  • The base budgets for two important Canadian Heritage programs that support the presentation of shows and festivals, Building Communities Through Arts and Heritage (BCAH) and the Canada Arts Presentation Fund (CAPF), have not been reviewed since 2007. Funding for these programs totals $50.2M and currently supports more than 1,500 organizations.

  • To mitigate issues of oversubscription and underfunding for both programs, the government provided $15M per year in 2019-2020, but for two years only. These temporary funds have been renewed – three times for BCAH – but that is not even enough to maintain grants received at pre-pandemic funding levels due in part to a 12% increase in the number of clients.

What the Future of Live is asking for:

  • They are asking that the one-off funds added since 2019 be permanently integrated into the base budgets of both programs. Performing arts organizations shouldn't have to advocate year after year for the same funding extensions. Touring and presenting require predictable funding, they say.

  • The associations say, “an historic catch-up is required, not marginal adjustments.” They are requesting an increase of $21M to the Canadian Arts Presentation Fund and $9M to the Building Communities through Arts and Heritage fund, “in addition to the temporary funds extended on a piecemeal basis since 2019.” According to the group, these investments would represent a 37% increase (in constant dollars) compared to the programs' initial funding bases when they were first rolled out. As per the collective’s statement: “As a reminder, the Liberal government corrected underfunding at CBC/Radio-Canada and the Canada Council for the Arts back in 2015, but did not do the same for Canadian Heritage programs that support performing arts presentation.”

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Further details about the campaign and the issues can be found online here.

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Charlotte Day Wilson
Emily Lipson

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