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Monday, October 31, 2005

Government expenditures on culture


All three levels of government spent more on culture in 2003/04 than in the previous year, although the rate of growth slowed in federal government spending. Federal spending actually fell for the film and video industry, book publishing and the performing arts.

In total, the three levels of government spent $7.3 billion on culture, up 4.1% from the previous year. This was slower than the pace of growth of 5.2% and 6.6% in preceding years.

The federal government spent $3.5 billion on culture in 2003/04, up 2.2% from the year before. The provinces and territories spent $2.2 billion, up 4.3%, while municipal allocations amounted to just over $2.0 billion, up 7.1%.

Per-capita government expenditures on culture, 2003/04 
  Federal Provincial/territorial Municipal1
  in dollars
Canada 1112 69 63
Newfoundland and Labrador 87 75 23
Prince Edward Island 139 86 20
Nova Scotia 125 61 37
New Brunswick 75 69 32
Quebec 156 97 56
Ontario 119 51 72
Manitoba 73 96 56
Saskatchewan 46 88 73
Alberta 48 63 59
British Columbia 49 64 75
Yukon 537 418 22
Northwest Territories 722 228 44
Nunavut 382 .. 5
1.Municipal spending is on a calendar-year basis.
2.Federal expenditures at Canada level also include unallocated expenditures.
..Figures not available.

The federal government accounted for 45% of total spending, the provinces and territories 29% and municipalities 26%. During the past five years, only the municipal share has increased.

On a per capita basis, the federal government spent $111 per person on culture, the provinces and territories $69, and municipalities, $63. Federal culture outlays were still highest in the North: $722 in the Northwest Territories, $537 in the Yukon, and $382 in Nunavut. Federal per capita spending was also higher in the Atlantic region than in the West.

Note to readers

The survey of federal and provincial/territorial government expenditures on culture is a census of all 30 federal and 180 provincial/territorial departments and agencies with culture-related expenses. This release includes results for the financial year April 1, 2003 to March 31, 2004. Municipal data are based on a sample of municipalities for the financial year from January 1 to December 31, 2003.

There are three main categories of spending on culture: operating expenditures, capital expenditures, and grants and contributions.

Unless otherwise stated, all values are in current dollars with no adjustment for inflation.

Survey results do not include data from the Government of Nunavut. The missing information is estimated at 0.1% of the total provincial and territorial culture budget and will have a minor impact on data comparability.

Expenditures on certain activities in certain provinces have been revised to conform to the data of the current year. Revisions are noted in the tables.

As usual, culture industries consumed the lion's share of the federal culture budget, although in general, spending was down. On the other hand, the heritage sector, the second major recipient of federal funding, got a big increase. Libraries still dominated provincial/territorial and municipal cultural budgets.

Federal government spending down on key culture industries

The 2.2% increase in federal culture spending in 2003/04 was only one-quarter of the 8.9% increase two years earlier.

Most of the federal cultural budget is devoted to key culture industries, which include broadcasting, the film and video industry, book and periodical publishing and the sound recording industry. Spending on this group of industries declined 1.0% in 2003/04 to $2.2 billion.

Federal spending on broadcasting amounted to $1.6 billion, or nearly three-quarters of total spending on culture industries. However, federal allocations were up just 0.3%, compared with 0.9% in 2002/03 and 7.5% in 2001/02. Cuts in spending in New Brunswick, Alberta, Newfoundland and Labrador, and Manitoba contributed significantly to this decline.

Federal spending on the film and video industry fell 2.9% to $386.2 million. Alberta, Ontario and Saskatchewan suffered the biggest cuts.

In addition, federal funding for book and periodical publishers declined 11.6% to $162.1 million. This was largely due to drops in federal contributions to the Canadian Magazine Fund and the Book Publishing Industry Development program by the Department of Canadian Heritage.

On the other hand, federal funding to the heritage sector, including museums, archives, nature parks and historic sites, rose 19.2% to $937.2 million. Heritage institutions in Ontario, Quebec and British Columbia were the major recipients.

Federal spending on the performing arts fell 11.2% to $184.5 million. Performing arts organizations in Quebec and Alberta were hit hardest.

Federal spending on culture rose in all provinces and territories in 2003/04 except in Prince Edward Island, Saskatchewan and Alberta. The highest percentage increase (+63%) occurred in Nunavut, with nature parks benefiting the most. Nature parks were also the biggest beneficiaries in British Columbia, where federal spending was up 11.2%.

The federal government spent 9% less in Prince Edward Island, with performing arts organizations suffering the most.

Provinces/territories more than double their percentage increase in culture spending

The 4.3% gain in provincial/territorial spending on culture in 2003/04 was more than twice the increase of 1.9% in the previous year.

Overall, most provinces and territories reported growth in spending, ranging from a high of 14.6% in Alberta to a low of 2.5% in Saskatchewan. Spending actually declined in Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick.

The film and video industry and the heritage sector benefited the most from increased spending by the government of Alberta. At the same time, film and video suffered the most from reduced spending in New Brunswick.

Libraries dominated spending, receiving $856 million in total, up 6.0%. They accounted for nearly two-fifths of the total provincial/territorial culture budget, although the priority attached to libraries varied widely. For example, in British Columbia, two-thirds of all culture expenditures were allocated to libraries, while the Yukon devoted only 19%.

The next most significant funding recipient overall was heritage at $557 million or one-quarter of the total provincial and territorial culture budget, up 5.2% from 2002/03. The increase was largely attributable to increased funding for heritage in Quebec, Alberta and British Columbia.

There was also a wide range in the proportion of spending on heritage. In Yukon, for example, spending on heritage represented 58% of total culture outlays, compared with only 13% in British Columbia.

Provincial and territorial governments allocated $298.6 million (or 14% of their total culture budgets) to the culture industries, a 0.8% increase. One-fifth of Quebec's culture budget went to these industries, the highest proportion, compared with only 0.7% in Prince Edward Island, the smallest.

The performing arts received $179.1 million, a 4.4% increase. They accounted for 8% of total provincial/territorial spending. Increased grants and contributions to performing arts organizations in Ontario were a significant factor.

Again, priorities varied. The government of Quebec spent 15 cents of every dollar of its culture budget on the performing arts, while the Northwest Territories spent well under one cent.

Municipal spending on culture continues to grow

The 7.1% gain in municipal spending on culture in 2003 was more than twice the growth of 3.3% in 2002. But this growth was still below the increases of 9.2% in 2001 and 8.1% in 2000.

Libraries dominated in municipal culture spending, consuming nearly three-quarters of all municipal culture budgets.

In 2003, municipalities spent $1.5 billion on libraries, up 5.9%. Spending increased in all provinces and territories, except for British Columbia and the Yukon.

Available on CANSIM: tables 505-0001 and 505-0002.

Definitions, data sources and methods: survey numbers, including related surveys, 3116 and 3117.

Selected details from the Survey of Government Expenditures on Culture in table format (87F0001XIE, free) are now available online. Data from the survey are also available by province and territory. Special tabulations are available on a cost-recovery basis.

To obtain more information, order data or enquire about the methods, concepts or data quality of this release, contact Client Services (1-800-307-3382 or 613-951-7608; fax: 613-951-9040;, Culture, Tourism and the Centre for Education Statistics.

Government expenditures on culture
  1999/2000 2000/01 2001/02 2002/03 2003/04 2002/03 to 2003/04
  $ millions % change
Federal 2,809 2,955 3,217 3,426 3,500 2.2
Provincial and territorial 1,958 2,079 2,069 2,109r 2,200 4.3
Municipal1 1,536 1,660 1,814 1,874r 2,007 7.1
All levels2(current dollars) 5,918 6,291 6,708 7,054 7,341 4.1
1.Municipal spending is on a calendar-year basis.
2.These totals exclude inter-governmental transfers; therefore, they cannot be derived by adding the three figures above.

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Date Modified: 2005-10-31 Important Notices