Canadian Arts Coalition Survey points to Slow Recovery

Jul 13 2020

Canadian Arts Coalition Survey points to Slow Recovery 
(Reposted from CAC Newsletter, July 13, 2020)

Emphasizing the precarious state of artists and arts organizations in Canada, 85% of those recently survey by the Canadian Arts Coalition (CAC) believe they will be unable to recover from the effects of the pandemic for another 18-24 months, as whole sectors try to adapt.

Survey respondents representing over 5,900 arts and culture organizations, and an additional 58,650 individual artists, provided insights into the issues facing book publishers, filmmakers, musicians, dancers, actors, composers, playwrights, craftspeople, visual artists and grassroots community organizations.  As one summed it up: “We’re all over the map.. trying to invent things on the fly.. we feel like we are in a tornado tunnel.”  Another simply said: “Next year is terrifying.”

While grateful for the emergency programs put in place by the federal government, 85% of respondents perceived gaps in the ability of the current programs to meet the needs of their members, citing the need for both the CERB and CEWS to be amended and extended.  Of particular concern is the current precarity of Indigenous, racialized, the deaf and disabled and other marginalized artists.  69% of respondents also felt that the funding channelled through the Canada Council for the Arts and Department of Canadian Heritage failed to fill the gaps.

Recognizing that Canadians have been seeking online arts experiences during this period, 87% of the survey respondents are looking to the federal government to strengthen support for digital creation to ensure artists are fairly compensated and that their work finds an audience.

While the arts have contributed to a sense of social cohesion at a time of social distancing, the survey respondents are looking to governments at every level o help Canadians to return to live arts experiences,”
— Charles Smith, Executive Director of Cultural Pluralism in the Arts and CAC Steering Committee Member.

To enable that, 82% of those surveyed want the federal and provincial governments and public health agencies to work with the sector to re-introduce public gatherings in theatres, concert halls, galleries and museums, 79.5% want improved support for municipalities and 74% see the need to develop and support a coordinated marketing strategy to amplify the importance of arts and culture in supporting mental health and community connectedness.

Going forward, 77% want the government to provide increased support for Canadian Heritage’s essential programs for arts training, production and presentation which were already underfunded before the pandemic; some respondents also noted the importance of sustaining the Canada Book Fund and Canada Music Fund.  Concerned about the lack of equitable support for artists, particularly those already marginalized, 87% of respondents believe that the federal government should provide a basic, guaranteed income for all.

To view the survey results and a PDF of the CAC’s membership survey to inform Federal advocacy, click here to visit our site.


Founded in 2005, the Canadian Arts Coalition is a pan-Canadian, bi-partisan, voluntary association.  Respondents to its most recent survey were based in every province and 170 municipalities.  The survey was conducted in late June, 2020.

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