RE: Budget 2019 & Dance

Jan 05 2019

  • Arts funding under the Alberta Government’s Ministry of Culture, Multiculturalism and Status of Women is available in our province’s Budget 2019 document:
  • In early November the CCVO published an excellent analysis of the budget as it pertains to the non-profit sector. This is essential reading.
  • Update (December 2019 from Alberta Foundation for the Arts):

“The Alberta Foundation for the Arts (AFA) Board of Directors has approved its 2019-20 spending plan. In Budget 2019, the Alberta government announced an allocation of $28.4 million to the AFA. This amount represents a decline of $1.5 million, or approximately five percent, from the previous fiscal year.

In response, the AFA Board developed a spending plan that minimizes negative impact to the arts community as best as possible with a focus on maintaining existing commitments to grant recipients. The AFA has also been able to realize savings during the year through fiscal restraint and reductions in operating expenses, in order to further minimize impact on our funding clients.

The AFA is maintaining its 2019-20 operational funding commitments to arts organizations. This is key in ensuring the ongoing viability of our funding clients and their ability to support artists and deliver arts programming to audiences across Alberta.

AFA has had to make some spending reductions to project funding opportunities, to art acquisition for the AFA collection, and for research and engagement projects. AFA has tried to mitigate the impact to our clients and stakeholders by targeted funding reductions to grant programs that primarily support one-time projects.

Reductions to project funding grant programs were primarily limited to a maximum of 12 percent. The board has worked to ensure no one program bore a disproportionate share of the AFA’s reduced annual allocation.

The AFA receives its annual allocation as part of the government’s budgeting process. The AFA does not receive advance notice of its allocation for future years. Budget 2020, which will include the AFA’s 2020-21 allocation, will be announced next spring.

Even with a five percent decline to the AFA’s annual allocation in 2019-20, the board recognizes the government’s continued support for Alberta’s arts sector.

The AFA will continue to promote the value of strong and sustainable arts sector to all Albertans.”


*** Older Updates ***

The specifics of the budget for the Ministry of Culture, Multiculturalism and Status of Women are in the image attached to this post. Our Alberta Foundation for the Arts receives funding from the Arts and Creative Industries expense line. Although this expense line (which funds activities in addition to the AFA) decreases notably over the next three years, that decrease is largely made up for with the introduction of a new Film Tax Credit program in Alberta that is under the Ministry of Economic Development, Trade and Tourism where those Alberta Media Fund dollars will then be available.

As such, the AFA is suggesting that they will see a less drastic decrease of about ~5% to their funding from the Arts and Creative Industries expense line. But that this cut may continue to occur for the next few years limited to a ~15-20% decrease in funding. However, the AFA (which funds much of the professional dance in Alberta, in addition to stable municipal and federal funding) has yet to release a statement about how this funding cut will be distributed amongst their various programs. Therefore it is difficult, at this time, to evaluate the magnitude of the impact this new budget will have on dance in Alberta. There are so many measures of impact for the different ways dance manifests in our province. As always, the Alberta Dance Alliance looks forward to working with our community here, CADA/West, the CDA and our government to ensure a future for dance in Alberta.

If anyone in dance in Alberta, or those who have concerns about dance in Alberta, would like more information about what is being done, what they can do in response, or share how the new provincial budget is impacting them, we invite you to connect with your Alberta Dance Alliance at or by phone at (780) 422-8107.

Update (November 6, ’19): The Lottery Fund Transfer is a direct transfer to the province’s general revenue and that funding was/is not the same as the Alberta Gaming lottery funding that goes to charities, arts, etc. Gaming-related funding that is accessed by the arts in Alberta is unaffected/untouched by our province’s new budget.

Extra to the budget, Alberta Lotteries was already undergoing a review, of their own accord, prior to our provincial election. At this time, that review is on hold and we do not know when/if it will be reopened. But thankfully, to reiterate, the Casino/Bingo funding programs that support the arts in Alberta are proceeding normally. (

The Alberta Foundation for the Arts is determining how their 5% cut will be distributed across their programs, with special consideration for organizations that are vulnerable. In our most recent and ongoing conversation with the AFA, we are happy to report that the Minister of Culture, Multiculturalism and Status of Women is interested in strong, ongoing communication with Alberta’s arts community and furthering the Status of the Artist legislation.

Currently, ADA is in conversation with those dance companies affected by Alberta’s new provincial budget. We are surveying them and the broader dance community to evaluate the impact of cuts. The extent of reliance on provincial funding differs between companies/artists.

Although any reduction is never good news, we are fortunate to have an excellent relationship with the Ministry implicated. ADA continues to provide impact statements and resources directly to the Ministry to ensure that the best possible outcome is always achieved for dance, given the dynamic economic climate in Alberta.

As a member of Alberta Partners for Arts and Culture, ADA, alongside the Canadian Dance Assembly and the arts councils of Alberta’s major cities, will continue to react strategically to any cuts in our province.