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News / January 21, 2015

Major Restructuring of Canada Council Grant Programs

The Canada Council for the Arts announced plans to streamline its granting programs.
The Canada Council for the Arts in Ottawa. Photo: Kohila Kurunathan. The Canada Council for the Arts in Ottawa. Photo: Kohila Kurunathan.

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.