The Daily
 In the news  Indicators  Releases by subject
 Special interest  Release schedule  Information

Performing arts, 2018

Warning View the most recent version.

Archived Content

Information identified as archived is provided for reference, research or recordkeeping purposes. It is not subject to the Government of Canada Web Standards and has not been altered or updated since it was archived. Please "contact us" to request a format other than those available.

Released: 2020-02-27

Performing arts benefited from Canada 150 celebrations

Following the publicity of Canada 150—both domestically and abroad—the performing arts industry saw a larger increase in operating revenues from 2016 to 2018 than what was observed in previous years. Total operating revenues reached $2.4 billion in 2018, up 11.3% from 2016. Operating expenses increased 10.9% to $2.1 billion, resulting in an operating profit margin of 12.8%.

Geographically, four provinces accounted for 92.9% of total operating revenues. These provinces—Ontario (37.2%), Quebec (34.0%), British Columbia (13.3%) and Alberta (8.4%)—all posted an increase in operating revenues from 2016 to 2018.

Musical groups and artists continued to account for the largest proportion of the performing arts industry, contributing 39.5% of total operating revenues. The remainder was generated from theatre (except musical) companies (22.5%), other performing arts companies (17.9%), musical theatre and opera companies (11.4%), and dance companies (8.7%).

From 2014 to 2018, the performing arts industry saw salaries, wages, benefits and commissions increase at a slower rate than total operating expenses, with subcontracts increasing at a faster rate. The share of salaries, wages, benefits and commissions in total operating expenses decreased from 28.7% in 2014 to 26.2% in 2018, while subcontracts grew from 12.6% to 14.1%.

Non-profit performing arts companies rely on volunteers and grant funding to enrich the cultural lives of Canadians

Volunteering is integral to Canadian culture, and the non-profit sector of performing arts includes individuals who provide their time without monetary compensation to help with anything from day-to-day operations to showcasing their talents in performances. In 2018, 48,587 volunteers contributed an average of 41.3 hours each. This is more than a week's worth of full-time work.

To maintain their operations, non-profit establishments continued to rely heavily on public and private funding, which comprised 51.7% of total revenues (sales, public and private funding, and licensing rights combined). As detailed in the 2016 federal budget, the Canada Council for the Arts received $70 million more in funding in 2018 than in 2016, contributing to a 28.2% increase in federal grants for performing arts companies.

Individual donations remained the top source of private sector funding, at 37.6%. Compared with 2016, individual donations increased 11.5% to $82.2 million. Corporate donations and sponsorships combined made up the second-largest source of private funding, at 21.5%.

Performing arts companies are embracing the digital world

The use of digital technology is increasing in the world of performing arts. In 2017, the Canada Council for the Arts launched a communications campaign for its Digital Strategy Fund, hosting information sessions across Canada and posting a series of tips online. E-commerce sales rose 54.2% for the industry as a whole from 2016 to 2018, and accounted for nearly one-fifth of total sales.

  Note to readers

Data for 2014 and 2016 have been revised.

Contact information

For more information, or to enquire about the concepts, methods or data quality of this release, contact us (toll-free 1-800-263-1136; 514-283-8300; or Media Relations (613-951-4636;

Report a problem on this page

Is something not working? Is there information outdated? Can't find what you're looking for?

Please contact us and let us know how we can help you.

Privacy notice

Date modified: