On April 7 the Government of Canada announced its 2022 budget entitled A Plan to Grow Our Economy and Make Life More Affordable. The BC Museums Association has reviewed the announcement and has highlighted five important takeaways for the arts, culture, and heritage sector.
#1: Funding to Help the Heritage Sector Fight Hate
The 2022 budget seeks to provide $85 million over four years starting in 2022-23 to the Department of Canadian Heritage to support the launch of a new Anti-Racism Strategy and a National Action Plan on Combatting Hate. The proposed funding will support community projects that ensure that Black and racialized Canadians, and religious minorities have access to resources that support their full participation in the Canadian economy, while also raising awareness of issues related to racism and hate in Canada.
To further this goal, the 2022 budget proposes to provide $20 million in 2022-23 to the Department of Canadian Heritage to support the construction of the new Holocaust Museum in Montréal; and an investment of $2.5 million for the Sarah and Chaim Neuberger Holocaust Education Centre, as has been approved through the Canada Cultural Spaces Fund and
Museum Assistance Program. $1.2 million in ongoing support has been pledged to the new Special Representative on Combatting Islamophobia.
#2: New Archival Support
The 2022 budget pledges $4 million in 2022-23 to the Department of Canadian Heritage to help support the Muslims in Canada Archive. The Muslims in Canada Archive, a collaborative initiative of the Institute of Islamic Studies at the University of Toronto, seeks to reshape narratives and provide Canada’s robust and diverse Muslim community a chance to tell their own stories in their own words. This funding will allow the Archive to continue its work with national archival and Muslim community organizations to acquire, organize, preserve, and make accessible records of and about Muslim people and organizations in Canada.
#3: Some Funding Announced for Arts, Culture, and Heritage
Based on the 2022 budget document, the most significant federal investments in Canada’s arts, culture, and heritage sector were announced in the 2021 budget and will continue to be delivered in the next financial year. There were, however, a handful of new announcements for the sector that include:
- to provide $12.1 million over two years, starting in 2022-23, to the National Arts Centre to support the creation, co-production, promotion, and touring of productions with Canadian commercial and not-for-profit performing arts companies.
- to provide an additional $50 million in 2022-23 to the Department of Canadian Heritage, the Canada Council for the Arts, and Telefilm Canada to compensate Canadian arts, culture, and heritage organizations for revenue losses due to public health restrictions and capacity limits.
- to provide $22.5 million over five years starting in 2022-23, and $5 million ongoing, to Canadian Heritage for the Canada Arts Training Fund to continue to support the arts sector’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and to address historic inequities in funding levels for Indigenous and racialized arts training organizations.
#4: No Updates on a National Museum Policy
Canada’s national museum policy is nearly 30 years old. In the past three decades our sector has changed and grown in ways unimaginable at the time of this policy’s creation, and yet, the future of our sector is still governed by a policy set firmly in the past. While it is possible that news about reimagining Canada’s national museum policy may come separately from the budget announcement, it remains critical that as arts, culture, and heritage professionals we use our collective voice to advocate for a new national policy.
From creating a national repatriation strategy, to providing a 21st century roadmap for our sector, Canada needs a modern museum policy. The BCMA will continue to work with our partners at the provincial and territorial museum associations and the Canadian Museums Association to advocate for a new national museum policy.
#5: Museums Have a Role to Play in Climate Action
The 2022 budget states, “In Canada — and around the world — climate action is no longer a matter of political debate or personal conviction; it is an existential challenge. That means
it is also an economic necessity. In the largest economic transformation since the Industrial Revolution, the world economy is going green. Canada can be in the vanguard, or we can be left behind.”
As the latest IPCC report states, we need to act “‘now or never’ if the world is to stave off climate disaster,” and museums have an important role to play in climate action in our communities. Canadians trust museums, science centres, and cultural organizations more than any other institution in society. If we use our voice and our community’s trust, we can help to break through the miasma of online disinformation, bring people together around common causes, and help create action in building lasting change.
Despite the many new sustainability initiatives announced in the 2022 budget, the document does not offer a vision for how Canada’s arts, culture, and heritage sector can contribute to the fight against the existential challenge of climate change.
Arts, culture, and heritage help Canadians reflect on who we are and imagine who we can be. If the fight against climate change is going to require the largest economic transformation in hundreds of years, our sector has a critical role to play in bringing communities together to collectively imagine what this change will be.