(Jason Aldean at Sunfest Country Music Festival 2019/Photo by RMS Media)

The federal government announced further details on Tuesday on the implementation of $181.5 million in funding for the live arts and music sectors in 2021-2022.

The funding will stimulate employment in the arts and culture sector, support ongoing operations during the pandemic, and prepare for the sustainable recovery of the sector.

“It is during these challenging times that artists and cultural workers—whose outputs and creations so uplift and inspire all Canadians —need our government’s support the most,” said Simon Brault, Director and CEO for the Canada Council for the Arts.

Canadian Heritage will be distributing $65 million, which includes $40 million for COVID-safe events funds, which aims to stimulate short-term contracting of arts and cultural workers.

The Canada Council for the Arts will invest the remaining $116.5 million with the bulk going to new initiatives like Digital Now and the Explore and Create Program.

Culture and recreation industries have seen the largest job loss after the accommodation and food industries since March of last year.

Independent contractors, like actors, dancers, directors, choreographers and other artists have had to rely on the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) or its successor programs to stay afloat.

The Canadian Survey on Business Conditions revealed that the arts, entertainment, and recreation industry was one of the three most severely impacted industries on all survey indicators.

Compared to other countries, Canada appears to be further behind on their support for the arts and live entertainment sector.

In December, the US government announced the Save Our Stages act that allocated $15 billion of funding for live venues, independent movie theaters, and cultural institutions.
The U.K. government approved £1.57 billion ($ 2.77 billion) for the arts sector, giving grants of up to £80,000 to at-risk venues in Britain.

Canada’s funding seeks to stabilize the arts and music sectors, while investing in research and technology in these same sectors.

The new digital innovation initiative, Digital Now, will receive $50.5 million to enable arts groups, collectives, and organizations to target virtual audiences with the help of IT support and technicians.

An additional $66 million in funding will go to the Canada Council’s Explore and Create program to enable artists to research, create, and produce new works that aren’t necessarily for immediate performance.

“If people can’t perform right now, maybe we can fund them so that they can do research, [to] create things that we will see a year from now,” Guilbeault said.

The terms and conditions of the funding agreements will explicitly state that 50 per cent of the project budget must be committed to the fees of artists, arts workers, and support staff.

“We are honoured to receive $116.5 million to support the recovery and sustainability of the arts sector, by making it possible for eligible recipients to financially bridge this prolonged period of pandemic restrictions, “ said Simon Brault

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