Ottawa invests $125 million for domestic art programs and cultural exports

MONTREAL — The federal government is investing $125 million over five years in domestic art programs and for Canadian artists to export their work around the world.

Heritage Minister Melanie Joly told reporters today the government’s plan will boost funding for existing federal programs as well as provide money for artists to travel and entertain new audiences.

Joly says the Liberals are reinvesting in sectors ignored by the former Conservative government under Stephen Harper, which cut funding for programs that exported Canadian art into foreign markets.

Included in the funding is $7 million a year for a new program called Creative Export Canada that will help domestic artists find foreign buyers and audiences for their creative products.

Most of the cash will increase the budgets of existing Heritage Department programs such as the Canada Arts Presentation Fund, the Canada Book Fund, the Canada Music Fund, the Canada Periodical Fund and Telefilm Canada.

Heritage Canada says cultural product exports were valued at $16 billion in 2016 and accounted for 2.5 per cent of all Canadian exports.

The Canadian arts and culture sectors account for more than 650,000 direct jobs and represent 2.8 per cent of the country’s GDP.

“It really depends on the sector, but we know there is a growing middle class in emerging markets looking for great content,” Joly told reporters.

“I think we are unique in the world and we’re sometimes stronger than we think,” she added. “I think there are a lot of people interested in seeing our great artistic exports.”

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