Federal Election Polling Trends

Note: The following analysis is based on data from 338Canada.com as of October 15, 2019.

In Ontario

  • Both the Conservatives and the Liberals could either lose or gain significant ground in Ontario. So many races are too close to call that the outcome in Ontario could help either party to form the next government. The Liberals held 76 seats in Ontario when the writ was dropped and are projected to win between 32 and 92 seats. The Conservatives held 33 seats in Ontario and are projected to win between 20 and 73 seats. Conservatives have been trending up in Ontario over the past week.
  • The Liberals are projected to lose up to 5 seats in OC member ridings: Kitchener-South-Hespeler, Peterborough-Kawartha, Richmond Hill, Oakville-North-Burlington, St Catharines.
  • At the onset of the election, we had identified 6 ridings to watch for OC members in Ontario: Kitchener-South-Hespeler (Toss up Liberal/Conservative – possible Liberal loss), Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound (Conservative hold), Hamilton-Centre (NDP hold ), Barrie-Springwater-Oro Medonte (Conservative hold), Richmond Hill (Toss up Liberal/Conservative – possible Liberal loss), Oakville-North-Burlington (Toss up Liberal/Conservative – possible Liberal loss).
  • Since the televised debates, NDP fortunes have been on the upswing in various regions throughout the country, including Ontario, where the party has now pulled into several tight races with Liberal incumbents.

In Québec

  • The NDP’s fortunes have improved somewhat since the televised debates, but the party still stands to lose significant ground in Québec. At the time the writ dropped, the NDP held 14 seats in Québec. As of now, they project to win 2 to 5 seats.
  • The NDP are projected to lose up to 5 seats in OC member ridings: Laurier-Sainte Marie, Hochelaga, Rimouski-Neigette-Témiscouatta-Les Basques, Trois rivières, Sherbrooke.
  • The Liberals could lose the most ground in Québec. At the time the writ was dropped, the Liberals held 40 seats in Québec. As of now, they project to win 18 to 44 seats.
  • In several ridings where OC members are based, the races between Liberals and the Bloc Québécois are too close to call.
  • The Bloc Québécois stands to be the biggest winner. At the time the writ was dropped, the Bloc held 10 seats. As of now, they project to win between 21 and 47 seats. The number of projected wins for the Bloc has nearly doubled since the televised debates.
  • At the onset of the election, we had identified 7 ridings to watch for OC members in Québec: Laurier-Sainte Marie (Toss up Liberal/Bloc – NDP loss), Hochelaga (Leaning Bloc – NDP loss), Outremont (Liberal Hold), Ville Marie-Sud Ouest-Île des soeurs (Liberal Hold), Longueil-Charles Lemoyne (Toss up Liberal/Bloc – possible Liberal loss), Québec (Toss up Liberal/Bloc – possible Liberal loss), Chicoutimi-Le Fjord (Toss up Bloc/Conservative – possible Conservative loss).

Updates on Instruments with Endangered Species Material

Following three years of consensus-building among music stakeholders, governmental authorities, and conservation experts, policy requests put forward by a consortium of partners in the international music community (led by the League of American Orchestras, and heartily endorsed by Orchestras Canada, among many others) gained approval on August 28 at the gathering of 183 parties to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) at the Conference of the Parties (CoP18) in Geneva.

Actions were approved that will improve the mobility of performing artists, and redirect enforcement resources to support conservation, and facilitate international cultural activity.

For orchestras and individual musicians seeking to buy and sell instruments across borders, or to travel internationally for performances, CITES sets some limitations and requires permits for instruments containing material from species under protected status, such as rosewood, lizards, sea turtles, and elephants. At CoP18, treaty negotiators considered new rules related to items containing rosewood, cedrela, and mammoth ivory, and improvements to the Musical Instrument Certificate in use by touring orchestras.

Delegates from the U.S., Canada, the European Union, the CITES Secretariat, World Resources Institute, and the World Wildlife Fund International all spoke in support of policy changes that will advance both conservation needs and cultural activity. The following improvements were adopted:

Rosewood: A proposal was adopted to allow all commercial and non-commercial movement of finished musical instruments, parts, and accessories that contain rosewood (the dalbergia genus) to be exempt from CITES permit requirements, aside from Brazilian rosewood (dalbergia nigra), which has been under tighter restrictions since 1992, and will remain subject to permit requirements. The exemption will be in effect starting in late November 2019, 90 days after adoption.

This represents a significant relief for musicians that buy and sell instruments containing rosewood internationally. This also adds certainty for musicians and orchestras traveling with instruments that contain rosewood. These instruments will be fully exempt from permit requirements.

In the course of discussions among a variety of stakeholders, a consensus emerged confirming that conservation goals are not furthered by requiring finished musical instruments, parts, and accessories to repeatedly undergo permit processes. However, the rosewood material used in making musical instruments will remain subject to permit requirements; this conservation effort was supported by musical instrument stakeholders.

Cedrela: A proposal related to newly listing Cedrela (a tree species used in making some classical guitars), was amended to exclude finished musical instruments containing the wood from new CITES permit requirements. The exemption will be in effect starting in late August 2020, 12 months after adoption.

Mammoth: A proposal to include the woolly mammoth as a species subject to CITES controls was rejected. Many Parties stated that mammoth ivory can be differentiated from elephant ivory in trade. Mammoth ivory has been used in small quantities to replace elephant ivory in musical instruments for several decades. CITES parties agreed to consider studying how the trade in mammoth ivory impacts elephant conservation.

Musical Instrument Certificate: A decision was approved to initiate a CITES effort to streamline and simplify permit requirements for “the international movement of CITES specimens where the trade will have a negligible impact on the conservation of the species concerned,” including the non-commercial cross-border movement of musical instruments. The CITES Musical Instrument Certificate is used by musicians performing internationally with older instruments that contain protected species material that require CITES permits, such as elephant ivory tips on bows, tortoiseshell embellishments, and lizard skin bow grips. Currently, substantial resources must be invested by both musicians and enforcement authorities to enable musicians to perform internationally with their instruments. Next steps in response to calls to ease the permit burden will take place in CITES meetings beginning in 2020. Resolutions were also approved to harmonize the codes used on the Musical Instrument Certificate and clarify the requirements for determining that items qualify for CITES permits.

The international musical community has a lasting commitment to the goals of CITES, and will remain at the table to help form policies that support the sustainability of endangered species. Detailed information on changes to the current rules for traveling with musical instruments containing endangered species material is available on the League of American Orchestras website.

In Geneva and over the course of the three-year negotiations, orchestras and other stakeholders have been ably represented by Heather Noonan, Vice President for Advocacy at the League of American Orchestras. We are grateful to Heather, the League, and the many international partners that collaborated to advance these policy requests, including:

American Federation of Musicians, Argentinian Association of Musical Instruments Manufacturers, Association of British Orchestras, Australian Music Association, Brazilian Music Industry Association (ANAFIMA), The National Association of German Musical Instruments Manufacturers, C.F. Martin & Co., Confederation of European Music Industries (CAFIM), Dismamusica, Fender Musical Instruments Corporation, ForestBased Solutions, LLC, French Musical Instrument Organization (CSFI), International Alliance of Instrument and Bow Makers for Endangered Species, International Association of Violin and Bow Makers (EILA), International Federation of Musicians (FIM), International Wood Products Association, Japan Musical Instruments Association, Madinter, Music Industries Association, National Association of Music Merchants, Orchestras Canada, Paul Reed Smith, PEARLE*, The Recording Academy, The SOMM – Society of Music Merchants e. V., and Taylor Guitars.

Submission to the Standing Committee on Finance: 2020 Pre-Budget Consultation

OC Logo

The entire submission is available here.

Orchestras Canada/Orchestres Canada Recommendations:
  1. Ensure that charities and not-for-profits have the same access to federal programs supporting research and fact-based carbon reduction education and projects as their SME  and MUSH sector counterparts.
  2. Ensure that the five-year $180 million investment for the Canada Council for the Arts announced in Budget 2016 is completed in Budget 2020-21.
  3. Enhance the budget of the Endowment Incentives component of the Canada Cultural Investment Fund by $6.5 million annually, to help arts and culture organizations raise private sector contributions and develop stable, long-term revenues through the growth of endowment funds.
  4. Increase funding and support for internships and on-the-job training for arts managers by $500,000 annually to ensure succession planning and diversification of the sector.

On behalf of our 125 member orchestras from across Canada, the audiences they engage, and the diverse communities they serve, Orchestras Canada/Orchestres Canada (OC) is pleased to participate in the Standing Committee on Finance’s pre-budget consultations.

At OC, we believe that orchestras are strong contributors to quality of life in Canadian towns and cities, valued participants in community commemorations, capable partners in community cultural and educational development, and proud standard-bearers for Canadian achievement, locally, nationally and internationally.

Canadian orchestras are not-for-profit organizations and registered charities. According to data collected by Orchestras Canada, Canadian orchestras performed 3718 performances for 2.894 million Canadians in 2017-18. That same season, our members generated revenue from box office and other earned sources (an average of 36.2% of revenues); donations, sponsorship, and special events (38.8%), and from grants and contributions from various levels of government (25%). Over 70% of a typical orchestra’s budget is spent on people. Orchestras manage their resources prudently, but – without adequate capitalization – they can be profoundly affected by prevailing economic conditions.

Orchestras contribute significantly to the vitality, cohesion and competitiveness of Canadian communities; the ability of Canadian communities and businesses to attract and retain talent; creating and maintaining good jobs and contributing to the quality of lives of Canadians. These are key attributes that help make Canada such a desirable country in which to live and do business. Export of Canadian orchestras’ work – through international touring and digital dissemination of recordings and live streaming – projects a modern image of Canada, highlights the talent of artists from across the country, supports innovative approaches and leverages the creativity of technological progress and contributes to Canada’s cultural diplomacy.

Accordingly, while we see government investment in orchestras as important, we are equally interested in policies that favour attractive, sustainable, participatory communities, and the growth and sustainability of the charitable sector. The four measures that we propose this year will be good for orchestras; and they’ll contribute to the cultural and economic fabric of our communities, too.

Recommendation #1: Collective responses to the climate emergency

This year, the Committee is specifically seeking recommendations pertaining to the climate emergency and the transition to a low carbon economy. OC and our members know that climate change is a profound threat to our economy, our communities and our future, and we are pleased to address this topic in our brief.

Canadian orchestras are increasingly engaged in carbon reduction efforts through:

  • Stewardship (operation or tenancy) of performing, rehearsal and office space, often in re-purposed or heritage buildings;
  • Operating practices that prioritize energy-use and waste reduction, and strategic use of digital materials in place of paper;
  • Encouragement to audience members to consider transportation alternatives;
  • Careful planning of tours, to minimize carbon footprint;
  • Artistic programming that helps to draw public attention to environmental issues.  (The Earth Day Network has compiled a list of orchestral works inspired by environmental issues, including Canadian composer Vincent Ho’s Arctic Symphony, composed for the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra)

As important as these measures are, they reflect hyper-local and isolated responses to a global concern. For Canadian orchestras to fully engage in this work – with other performing arts partners in both the for-profit and not-for-profit sectors – they require access to the same policy frameworks, research, knowledge-sharing, and supports as their counterparts in the Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) and Municipalities, Universities, School Boards and Hospitals (MUSH) sectors. Environmental sustainability and the transition to a low carbon economy must be a movement and not simply an action: and it starts with research and education, and culminates in collective and informed action.

Orchestras Canada looks for inspiration to the UK, where bespoke research on the carbon footprint of the performing arts sector has shed light on the greenhouse gas emissions associated with music venues, touring, and audience travel, among other contributors. This solid base of facts has empowered funders, member-driven organizations and orchestras to take meaningful, collective steps toward a lasting change. The UK orchestral sector has developed a Green Charter; arts organizations have identified and measured their main environmental impacts (energy, water, waste, travel); the sector has started to create a demand for goods with strong environmental credentials and commit to sustainable procurement; touring groups have included a “green rider” in performance contracts, made marked efforts to “travel green” (including using public transportation where possible, including on tour), and have worked in collaboration with their venues and with public transit agencies to make it easier for audience members to travel to concerts by transit, bicycle, or electric car.

Canadian orchestras are keen to play our part, and we will work in collaboration with peer organizations in the live music industry to share best practices and, where relevant, engage in dialogue with the Government of Canada. Our efforts will be immeasurably aided if charities and not-for-profits have the same access to federal programs supporting research and fact-based carbon reduction education and projects as their SME and MUSH-sector counterparts.

Recommendation #2: Support for the arts through the Canada Council for the Arts

In Budget 2016, the Government of Canada made a five-year commitment to doubling funding for the arts through the Canada Council for the Arts, taking the Council’s annual parliamentary appropriation from $181 million in 2015-16 to $361 million by 2020-21. We thank the Government of Canada for this investment, and we encourage the Government of Canada to honour this commitment in full, and include the final installment of $35 million in Budget 2020-21.

Canada Council funding made up just 5.9% of total orchestras’ revenues in 2017-18, a proportion that had been declining over the previous five years. With the new infusion of Canada Council funds, we see that this trend is starting to shift. Increased core funding from the Council will permit better planning, more efficient use of resources, and greater resiliency. This, in turn, will enable greater reach, stronger investment in human potential and robust responses to the diverse and changing nature of Canadian communities. Artists and arts organizations in communities across the country have only just started to benefit from this enhanced investment, and they are using it to create new work, new markets, and new prosperity.

Recommendation #3: Increased investment in matching funding for endowments

As the next step in recent updates to the guidelines for the Endowment Incentives Component of the Department of Canadian Heritage’s Canada Cultural Investment Fund, we encourage the Government of Canada to increase the budget of the Component by an additional $6.5 million per year.

Orchestras continue to seek ways to stabilize and diversify their revenues, and endowment funds (funds contributed for long-term impact, invested in perpetuity, and producing an annual payout to support a charity’s mission) are an increasingly important tool for them. OC began collecting information on endowed funds held by or managed on behalf of by Canadian orchestras in 2005-06; since then, orchestras’ endowment holdings have grown from just over $74 million to almost $260 million. The annual payout from these funds is in the order of $12.3 million, almost as much as the total contribution of the Canada Council to Canadian orchestras. The proceeds of endowment funds are critical to securing orchestras’ artistic and community programs.

Since 2001, the Department of Canadian Heritage has supported the growth of arts endowments through a component of the Canada Cultural Investment Fund. Arts organizations can apply annually to get gifts to endowments matched by up to 100% through the Endowment Incentives program, and many orchestras both large and small have taken part. The program has been extremely successful: applications to the program are growing in number, and in recent years it is increasingly limited in the match it can offer. An additional $6.5 million annual investment in the Endowment Incentives program would address the growth in demand on the program. These enhancements would also enable arts organizations of all sizes to continue to build endowment funds by encouraging donors to think long-term.

This is an investment in the future: smart tax policy and progressive program design can provide incentives for increased giving by Canadians, and Canadian orchestras are highly motivated to pursue private sector giving. As stated earlier, in 2017-18, a remarkable 38.8% of Canadian orchestras’ revenue came from charitable, corporate, and special event fundraising. According to a recent analysis by the Canada Council for the Arts, Canadian orchestras saw a 34.4% growth in private sector giving between 2010-11 and 2016-17. If this recommendation is implemented, arts and culture organizations of all sizes will grow their endowment funds, thereby diversifying revenue streams. The result? Arts organizations that are even more artistically vibrant, responsive to community concerns, and adaptable in a transitioning economy, too.

Recommendation #4: Increased investment in internships and youth training

Our sector is continually called upon to anticipate changes in our communities, and develop strategies to adapt our current business models. We know that investing in workforce training and opportunities for emerging management, administrative, and artistic talent is critical to the continued viability of orchestras. Yet continuing financial pressures have resulted in a restructuring of the administrative workforce at Canadian orchestras: a recent Canada Council study of 47 of Canada’s largest orchestras reveals that there’s been an 11.4% decline in the number of full-time, full-year positions at Canadian orchestras between 2010-11 and 2016-17, while seasonal and short-term contract positions have gone from 29% to 50% of the workforce during the same time period. These changes reflect orchestras’ keen interest in making their operations ever more efficient; however, they may – quite inadvertently – close off necessary opportunities for meaningful, reciprocal inter-generational knowledge transfer and thoughtful succession planning.

Canadian orchestras continue to highlight the critical importance of a well-trained, up-to-date and diverse workforce. Working for a Canadian arts organization is often seen as a labour of love, not necessarily a viable career. This, despite the overall cultural sector contribution of $53.1 billion to our country’s GDP. This is particularly the case for young Canadians, seeking to start their career in the current precarious job market. At present, there are few ways to gain a foothold in the cultural sector. In recent years, the Young Canada Works/ Cultural Human Resources Council funding program has had a budget of $226,000 to partially support only 20 paid placements in arts administration per year. Given the urgent need for succession planning, mentorship and knowledge transfer, we need to do better.

Accordingly, we urge the Government of Canada to expand the Young Canada Works program in the area of arts and cultural administration. By increasing the investment in this program by $500,000 per year (from its current base of $226,000), young and emerging arts and cultural workers will gain valuable experience with arts organizations and the organizations themselves can skill up.


Orchestras Canada thanks the Standing Committee on Finance for the opportunity to contribute to the 2020 pre-budget consultations. We would be pleased to discuss our recommendations with you further.

Thank you, Micheline McKay, and welcome Éric Dubeau!

A message from our Executive Director, Katherine Carleton

Micheline McKaySince 2013, Orchestras Canada has been privileged to work with Micheline McKay as our government relations consultant. Micheline has served as trusted advisor, analyst and reliable source of information and feedback to the OC staff, board and Advocacy Committee. Her good sense, high ethical standards, discretion, hard work, and political insights have inspired us all. On a personal note, she’s the best and most patient co-writer I’ve ever worked with, handling my relentless editing and wild spins on things with great aplomb. I also recall with great admiration the role she played in our Orchestras on the Hill day in early 2018: the passionate tributes that Minister of Canadian Heritage and the chairs and vice chairs of the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage paid to orchestras that day came about because of Micheline’s tact and effective organization.

In the fall of 2018, Micheline let us know that she was closing her government relations practice to focus on other things. We bade her a fond farewell in early March, and thanked her on behalf of the entire OC community. She has done exceptional work with us over the last five and a half years and we are grateful.

Éric DubeauStarting April 1, we’ll be welcoming Éric Dubeau as OC’s new government relations advisor. Éric, based just outside Montreal, has many years of experience as an arts advocate, political staffer on Parliament Hill, policy wonk, association leader, granting officer, arts consultant, and award-winning singer-songwriter. His unique skills and collaborative, informed approach make him an ideal successor to Micheline, and we can’t wait to get started!

Our thoughts on the Federal Budget 2019

Map of CanadaThe federal budget, announced on March 19, is the last before this fall’s general election. The budget document included acknowledgment of the importance of the cultural sector, stating:

Across the country, Canada’s artists and their supporters bring people together, to appreciate and celebrate the diversity and creativity that Canadians are known for the world over. Our cultural industries are also an important source of jobs—employing more than 650,000 Canadians—and are a key contributor to our economy, worth nearly $54 billion each year.

To continue advancing the cultural sector, Budget 2019 announced:

$20 million over two years, starting in 2019–20, to the Canada Music Fund.
The Canada Music Fund (CMF) helps the Canadian music industry meet new challenges. A wide range of musicians and entrepreneurs who create, produce and market original and diverse Canadian music are eligible to apply. The CMF is the primary tool implementing the three major objectives of the Canadian Sound Recording Policy, From Creators to Audience, which are: to enhance access to a diverse range of Canadian music choices through existing and emerging media; to increase the opportunities available for Canadian music artists and entrepreneurs to make a significant and lasting contribution to Canadian cultural expression; and to ensure that Canadian music artists and entrepreneurs have the skills, know-how and tools to succeed in a global and digital environment.)

$16 million over two years, starting in 2019–20, to the Canada Arts Presentation Fund.
The Canada Arts Presentation Fund (CAPF) provides financial assistance to organizations that professionally present arts festivals or performing arts series (arts presenters) and organizations that offer support to arts presenters. Through the CAPF, Canadians have access to a variety of professional artistic experiences in their communities. Each year, the CAPF supports approximately 600 professional arts festivals and performing arts series, as well as other activities related to art presentation, in more than 250 cities or communities across Canada. The CAPF has two main components – Programming and Development. The CAPF Programming component has two streams: Professional Arts Festivals and Performing Arts Series Presenters; and Presenter Support Organizations.)

$24 million over two years, starting in 2019–20, to the Building Communities Through Arts and Heritage Program, the Celebration Program, and the Commemoration Program
The Building Communities Through Arts and Heritage program was created to help you celebrate your community – both its past and its present. This program increases opportunities for local artists, artisans, heritage performers or specialists to be involved in their community through festivals, events and projects. It also allows local groups to commemorate their local history and heritage.

Celebrate Canada provides funding for activities organized on National Indigenous Peoples Day (June 21); Saint-Jean-Baptiste Day (June 24); Canadian Multiculturalism Day (June 27); and Canada Day (July 1).

The Commemorate Canada program provides funding to initiatives that commemorate and celebrate historical figures, places, events and accomplishments of national significance. The program favours commemorations and celebrations marking 25th, 50th, 75th, 100th anniversaries and subsequent anniversaries in increments of 25 years.

In addition, support of $1 million is being provided over two years to Canadian Heritage’s efforts to integrate Gender-based Analysis plus (GBA+) in program design.

More broadly—but still of potential value in the arts and culture sector—the budget includes provision for a doubling of work placements for youth through the Canada Summer Jobs program in 2019–20, and new funding to modernize the Youth Employment Strategy.

Budget 2019 continues measures already announced in previous budgets, including staged funding increases to the Canada Council for the Arts, which will double the Council’s parliamentary appropriation (from a 2016 base) by 2021.

What this means for orchestras

The budget’s positive references to the social and economic impact of the arts represent good news for the arts and culture sector. Further, the continued, sustained increase to the Canada Council for the Arts was Orchestras Canada’s number one priority, as put forward in our 2019 pre-budget submission. This looks to have been achieved. Each of the other program increases that we’ve cited may – in very different ways – offer opportunities for Canadian orchestras, and Orchestras Canada will be keeping you apprised of what we learn in the coming weeks.

Next steps
  • Orchestras Canada will review the detailed spending estimates when they’re made available, to better understand the fine details of the budget’s impact.
  • We will reach out to partner umbrella organizations to learn more about the potential impact of these new investments on orchestras.
  • We will continue to press for enhanced investment in the Endowment Incentives program.
  • We will monitor changes to the Youth Employment Strategy, with a focus on enhanced opportunities for the arts sector.
  • And, of course, we’ll share what we’re learning with you.

Arts Day on Parliament Hill

Arts Day on Parliament Hill 2018 image

On October 2, the Canadian Arts Coalition organized a highly successful Arts Day on Parliament Hill, where arts advocates from across the country came together to meet with Members of Parliament and to promote the arts. OC’s Executive Director Katherine Carleton was one of more than 100 advocates who took part.

The participants in this event were put into teams, and each team met with MPs, Senators, staff and key officials over the course of the day. Katherine, along with colleagues (Cathryn Gregor, Canada’s National Ballet School; and Steven Smits, Volcano Theatre/Peggy Baker Dance Company) had the opportunity to meet with four MPs or staff: Wayne Easter (Malpeque, PEI), Larry Miller (Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound, ON), Ali Ehsassi (Willowdale, ON) and Anthony Rota (Nipissing Timiskaming, ON)

The Canadian Arts Coalition prepared participants for their meetings through a training webinar, as well as a series of downloadable materials in English and in French, including a meeting script and documents to leave behind, customizable for each MP.

“MPs are keen to know about the impact that federal investment in the arts has in their ridings,” Katherine says. “By and large, they are very aware of the artists and arts organizations in their ridings, but the connection between federal policy and those wonderful individuals and organizations is not always so clear.”

Arts Day on the Hill is an opportunity for beginners and experienced arts advocates alike. “It’s for anyone who might benefit from thoughtful federal arts policy and funding,” Katherine says. The Coalition removes a lot of the stress surrounding these meetings by setting them up for you, and providing sound research, statistics, and infographics. They also pair up people of differing levels of advocacy experience so that you can also learn from the team who go into the meeting with you.

While there is a lot of value in the wide scope of the arts messaging that the Coalition prepared, there is also much value in advocacy work that is specifically related to orchestras. “I tended to speak to the positions that specifically addressed orchestras’ needs, while my colleagues addressed “asks” that more directly affected their sectors,” Katherine explains. “Still, the feedback that we received during meetings – and the discussions we started – will make it easier to return with more orchestra-specific messages.”

We asked Katherine how the orchestral community might participate in this advocacy work on its own behalf.

“Orchestras Canada’s advocacy committee is planning an Orchestras in the Ridings Week in January that we’d like all our members to take part in. We’re preparing orchestra-specific messages that we’d like you to discuss with your MP, and we’ll provide a training session, downloadable templates and leave-behind materials to help get you prepare. The Advocacy Committee will be testing these materials with their own MPs this November, and committee members and the OC team are there to support you along the way.”

Last year, OC ran its own Orchestras Day in Ottawa, and our intrepid teams met with over 20 MPs and Senators.  We’d like to triple that number this year, and with your help, we’ll make it happen!

Advocacy Update: August 2018

As summer draws to a close, we are writing to update you on OC’s recent advocacy work with the federal government. In July, we surveyed members to affirm the sector’s main federal public policy priorities. Not surprisingly, ensuring that the Government of Canada follows through on its full commitment to increased funding to the Canada Council for the Arts topped the list for respondents. Other high priorities? Sustained and increased funding to the Endowment Incentives component of the Canada Cultural Investment Fund and better training opportunities for emerging arts professionals.

These priorities formed the basis of Orchestra Canada’s pre-budget recommendations to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance. The annual pre-budget process provides organizations like ours the opportunity to put forward its main policy priorities to the federal government. They also form the basis of our year-round advocacy activity. Orchestras Canada has consistently participated in this process, on behalf of its members, for over ten years.

Specifically, Orchestras Canada recommended that the federal government:

1. Ensure that the five-year $180 million investment for the Canada Council for the Arts announced in Budget 2016 be sustained and fully realized in Canada’s long-term fiscal plan.
2. Update the guidelines for, and enhance the budget of, the Endowment Incentives component of the Canada Cultural Investment Fund, to help arts and culture organizations raise private sector contributions and develop stable, long-term revenues through the growth of endowment funds.
3. Increase the investment in the arts administration and arts practice component of the Young Canada Works program by $500,000 per year, to expand the number of funded positions, help emerging cultural workers gain valuable training and early work experience, and enable strong succession planning in arts organizations.

Several of our recommendations are shared by other organizations in our sector, including Opera.ca and a consortium of large arts organizations – including several orchestras – focused on securing support to the Endowment Incentives program.

What next?

Orchestras Canada staff, together with the Advocacy Committee, will be working this fall to meet with MPs and their staff in key ridings to share our recommendations and increase awareness of the impact of orchestras in our towns and cities.

Over the course of the fall, we will also be preparing for an Orchestras in the Ridings Week, tentatively scheduled for January 2019, during which we’ll be encouraging all our members to meet with their MPs in January. We’ll be in touch with more details as soon as possible.

Canadian Arts Coalition Update

The Canadian Arts Coalition, a collaborative non-partisan movement spearheaded by a group of national arts service and membership organizations – of which Orchestras Canada is a member – is preparing for Arts Day on the Hill, 2 October 2018. If you’re interested in participating, you can find out more, and register on their website.

Advocating on behalf of its broad membership base, the Canadian Arts Coalition put forward these two recommendations in its pre-budget brief:

  • to increase the funding to the Canada Arts Presentation Fund for performing arts presenters and festivals by $30 million in order to create synergies with other federal investments and to enable Canadian productions to be competitive both on the domestic market and on the world stage.
  • to recognize the professional status of Canadian artists by implementing fair taxation in order to establish a more coherent and predictable support and fiscal ecosystem.

The full brief can be found at www.canadianartscoalition.com

Orchestras Canada makes recommendations to the Federal Standing Committee on Finance

In early August, Orchestras Canada submitted a brief to the federal Standing Committee on Finance as part of the committee’s annual pre-budget consultation process.

Informed by a member consultation, our discussions with advocacy partners, our sense of the current political climate, and discussions with OC’s Advocacy Committee, OC made four recommendations to the Committee this year:

Recommendation 1: Ensure that the five-year $180 million investment for the Canada Council for the Arts announced in Budget 2016 is sustained and fully realized in Canada’s long-term fiscal plan.

Recommendation 2: Acknowledge the fundamental importance of digital capacity in the arts by ensuring there are comprehensive, integrated, accessible, and forward-thinking federal programs and policies in place.

Recommendation 3: Enhance the Endowment Incentives program (part of the Department of Canadian Heritage’s Canada Cultural Investment Fund), to help arts and culture organizations develop stable, long-term revenues through the growth of endowment funds.

Recommendation 4: Help arts and culture organizations provide full-time, career-oriented work opportunities to recent graduates of post-secondary institutions by expanding the Young Canada Works program.

You can find the entire brief HERE.

We urge Canadian orchestras to read the brief, and share it with their Members of Parliament, as an attachment to an email, as a hard copy inclusion in a letter on orchestra letterhead, or through discussion in a face-to-face meeting in your riding. Whether your MP is an opposition backbencher, or a member of the federal Cabinet, we’d like them to be aware that federal policy and investment decisions can have significant local ramifications.