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Major Restructuring of Canada Council Grant Programs

Yesterday, at its annual public meeting, the Canada Council for the Arts announced plans to significantly alter its granting system, vastly decreasing the amount of funding programs.

At present, Canada Council operates 142 grant programs. In his address, director Simon Brault explained that these 142 programs would be simplified into 10 or so programs, each nationally focused and non-disciplinary. Despite this restructuring, Brault emphasized that granting amounts would remain stable, stating that, “nobody will lose any funding because of this new model. The intention is not to modify the actual allocations of funding or to destabilize arts organizations.”

The simplified programs are still in development, although Brault noted that at least one program would be helmed by the Canada Council’s Aboriginal Arts Office, and focus on Aboriginal arts (although First Nations, Métis and Inuit artists would also be eligible to apply to the other programs as well).

Throughout his presentation, Brault referenced the Australia Council for the Arts, who recently launched a similar initiative to streamline their granting system.

Beyond introducing the significantly altered model, Brault suggested that computerization would play an increased role in the Canada Council’s future in the form of “digital solutions” that will “optimize the fundamental work of peer committees and give…officers more time to advise, support and guide artists and arts organizations.” He maintained that the Canada Council will continue to rely on peer assessment, however, how this will be executed in non-disciplinary programs was not explained.

The Canada Council is four months into the process of reviewing and restructuring their system. Brault noted that these changes will be more concrete by summer 2015, and are on track to be implemented in 2017.

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Duncan Weller says:

Nearly every author and illustrator I talk with has a story about criminal behaviour regarding Canadian publishers, where publishers routinely rip off their writers and illustrators. Peer assessment won’t help if everyone in the publishing business is on the take. I’ve talked with writers who have made many complaints to various arts councils and the Writer’s Union of Canada only to get nowhere. The problem is going unacknowledged by the media and there seems to be no following of policy to police and punish publishers who have been abusing the system for up to thirty years.

Jay Chauhan says:

I agree with your comments. In writing my novel and publishing it I have felt that even today the publishing is a closed business with publishers are self motivated to make profit. Peer review will only reinforce status quo rather than support new writers. Jay Chauhan

susan murar says:

There should be Canada Council Grants…to help artists “apply” for grants. As an internationally exhibited, Nationally Honoured Canadian artist, and, a graduate of three different arts universities – the process of applying for a Canada Council Grant just “sinks” one’s heart and spirit. Please see one of my sculptures, a monumental portrait of Norval Morrisseau SEE: Morrisseau Portrait – SPECIAL EDITION – 2015 – YouTube Video, and visit my studio in Stratford, Ontario to see seven years of work dedicated to the life and oeuvre of Morrisseau (monumental sculptures)……and bring “grant” forms with you to facilitate the “survival” for future generations this important work in Canadian art history.

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