Canada Council Change Agenda
by Louise Campbell
Much of the discussion at the NASO meeting in October 2012 centered on the Canada Council Change Agenda. As we all know, this change agenda will have a significant impact on the Canadian arts community. Council took great care to situate the change agenda within the global context of accelerated change, the current government and the current Canadian arts milieu. The question at all levels of government is how to best serve the citizenry; Council is assessing how best to serve the citizenry through fulfilling it’s mandate. Council invests in professional arts practice. How best can the Canadian citizenry be served through a professional arts practice? Some of the major issues at play include public engagement, national and international market access, equity and Canada’s North.
What does this mean for the Canada Council?
Council wants an on-going dialogue with the Canadian arts community as it pursues the change agenda. This is being done through national consultations with advisory committees throughout the 2012–13 season, on-site consultations held across Canada and use of webinars and social networking tools. The goal of this dialogue is to learn where the arts community is at in terms of the artistic practice and the various perspectives on the change agenda. Modifications will be made in response to and only after these conversations take place.
Council’s understanding of their current position is that their funding envelope is stabilized, meaning no cuts or growth in base funding from GOC. In addition to undertaking a thorough assessment of the ever-evolving arts practices in Canada, Council is undertaking a major self-assessment, making significant internal changes to update and streamline their own way of operating.
Canada Council director and CEO Robert Sirman gave a personal goal of wanting to give artists more of a sense of control over their own destiny. Ultimately, Sirman feels that what happens in the arts community following the change agenda will determine if the change agenda has been successful.
What does this mean for music?
Music as a discipline was cited as being well positioned in terms of the major issues, particularly with regards to public engagement. Placing public engagement as a priority will aid Council in internal GOC politics, as it makes more clear the importance and role of public funding for the arts in serving the Canadian public.
Specific programs under review include the Operating funding and Flying Squad programs. National and International market access has received a larger funding envelope for the 2012–13 season.
While not specifically a part of the change agenda, Council is under internal pressure to strictly assess organizational efficacy and responsible use of funds. Given this pressure and the increasing competition for funds, it is important to respond to funding guidelines in a timely and appropriate manner.
Find more information on the change agenda on this page of the Canada Council web site, where you can download their PDF documents, such as:
- Council’s current Strategic Plan (2011–2016) – direct link (PDF)
- Council’s Discussion paper on Public Engagement in the Arts – direct link (PDF)
Read the Director’s message from Canada Council’s 11/12 Annual Report here.
Read Katherine Carleton’s take on the change agenda here.