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Culture and leisure

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Culture and leisure industries help make the country a better place to live and contribute significantly to its economy. In 2008, according to the Labour Force Survey, 759,600 Canadians, or more than 4% of the labour force, worked in jobs related to information, culture and recreation. More than half worked in Toronto, Montréal and Vancouver.

Employment in information, culture and recreation grew 20% from 1999 to 2008, surpassing the economy’s overall employment growth of 19%. However, employment in these industries fell 3% from 2007 to 2008, whereas employment across the economy grew 1.5%.

The information and culture industry accounts for more than half of all employment in information, culture and recreation. Self-employment is common: 16% of information, culture and recreation workers reported themselves as self-employed in 2008.

Economic benefits

Information, culture and recreation industries contributed $56.8 billion to the economy in 2008, up 39% from 1999. The total gross domestic product (GDP) grew 26% over the same period.

Information and cultural industries— which include publishing, movie and sound recording, broadcasting and telecommunications, and news services and libraries—showed the most growth, 43%, and contributed $45.1 billion to the GDP in 2008.

Arts, entertainment and recreation industries—which include performing arts, spectator sports, museums, heritage sites, zoos, amusement parks, casinos and gaming machines, golf courses, ski hills, fitness facilities, and bowling centres— contributed $11.7 billion to the economy in 2008, an increase of 26% from 1999.

The three levels of government spent a total of $8.3 billion on culture in the 2005/2006 fiscal year, including about $444 million in intergovernmental transfers.

In 2005/2006, the federal government spent $3.5 billion on culture. Of each federal culture dollar, 47 cents supported broadcasting, 26 cents funded heritage resources—which includes museums, public archives, historic sites and nature parks—10 cents helped film and video production, 5 cents went to the performing arts, 4 cents went to literary arts and half a cent supported arts education.

Provincial and territorial governments spent $2.4 billion on culture in 2005/2006. These funds were largely directed toward libraries (37 cents of every culture dollar) and heritage institutions (28 cents). Smaller amounts went to multidisciplinary activities (about 9 cents) and the performing arts (8 cents).

Municipal governments spent $2.3 billion on culture in the 2005 calendar year. For each of their culture dollars, 70 cents funded libraries, 21 cents went to cultural centres and other activities, and 6 cents supported museums. Historic sites and parks and the performing arts each received less than 2 cents of every municipal dollar spent on culture. The remainder went to public archives.