Federal Budget for 2021 “A recovery plan for jobs, growth and resilience”

Published April 19, 2021

See the full Budget 2021 (HERE)

Read the Media Release from the Department of Finance (HERE)

April 19, 2021

The highly-anticipated Federal Budget for 2021 was released on April 19, 2021. The 2021 Federal budget “A recovery plan for jobs, growth and resilience”.  It proposes $101 billion in new spending over the next three years and affirms new spending in areas to support women, childcare, low-wage workers, students and those in essential jobs, small businesses and more pandemic support laying groundwork for sustainable growth.  

Of Interest to the Visual Arts Sector

The impact of COVID-19 on workers and businesses in tourism, arts, and culture has been severe. With the rollout of vaccines underway, businesses in the tourism, arts, and culture sectors are getting ready to welcome Canadians back to experience the great places and activities this country has to offer—when it is safe to do so. Canadians are also eager to return to the arts and culture, local festivals and places they know and love. 

Visual Arts

  • $200 million through the regional development agencies to support major festivals. This would ensure they can continue to celebrate our artistic excellence and unique character.  (p. 200)
  • $200 million through Canadian Heritage to support local festivals, community cultural events, outdoor theatre performances, heritage celebrations, local museums, amateur sport events, and more. (p. 201)
  • $100 million to Destination Canada for marketing campaigns to help Canadians and other visitors discover and explore the country. (p. 201)
  • $500 million Tourism Relief Fund, administered by the regional development agencies. The Fund will support investments by local tourism businesses in adapting their products and services to public health measures and other investments that will help them recover from the pandemic and position themselves for future growth.(p. 201)
  • $23 million over three years for Canadian Heritage’s Museums Assistance Program to support the digitization of information and collections by non-national museums and heritage institutions, which will allow these institutions to create original content such as educational materials, apps or other virtual activities to enhance the visitor experience. (pages 223 & 537)
  • $47 million in 2021-2022 for Canada’s six national museums and the National Battlefields Commission to address financial pressures caused by COVID-19 and program integrity issues. Funding is also proposed for the RCMP Heritage Centre as it begins the process of transitioning to a new national museum, and to support the completion of the National Museum of Science and Technology’s Ingenium Centre. Finally, funding is proposed for the Canadian Museum of History to support the purchase of the collection of Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame. (pages 223 & 537)
  • $300 million over two years, starting in 2021-22, to Canadian Heritage to establish a Recovery Fund for Heritage, Arts, Culture, Heritage and Sport Sectors. (page 203)
  • $49.6 million over three years, starting in 2021-22, to Canadian Heritage for the Building Communities Through Arts and Heritage Program ($14 million over two years, starting in 2022-23), the Canada Arts Presentation Fund ($16 million over two years, starting in 2022-23), and the Celebration and Commemoration Program ($19.6 million over three years, starting in 2021-22).  (page 203)
  • $17.2 million in 2021-22 to the National Arts Centre to address financial pressures caused by COVID-19 and to ensure the NAC will continue to support artists and celebrate Canadian culture. (p. 206)
  • $6 million over two years, starting in 2021-22, to the National Arts Centre to support collaborations with equity deserving groups to help relaunch the performing arts sector. (p. 206)
  • To help arts and heritage institutions upgrade their facilities to meet public health guidelines, $15 million in 2021-22 to Canadian Heritage for the Canada Cultural Spaces Fund. (page 203)

Indigenous Communities and Reconciliation:

  • $18 billion over the next five years, to improve the quality of life and create new opportunities for people living in Indigenous communities. Working with Indigenous partners, these investments will make significant strides in closing gaps between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples, support healthy, safe, and prosperous Indigenous communities, and advance meaningful reconciliation with First Nations, Inuit, and the Métis Nation. (page 245)

Anti Black Racism and Black-Led Initiatives

  • Budget 2021 provides additional funding for the black entrepreneurship program, as well as an investment in a blacklist philanthropic endowment fund to help fight anti black racism and improve social economic outcomes in black communities. $300 million to fund Black-led initiatives to fight racism and support Black-led non-profit organizations. (page 391)

Helping Charities, Non-profits, and Social Purpose Organizations Grow

  • The government is proposing to launch planned disbursements of the $755 million Social Finance Fund and deploy up to $220 million over its first two years. It is estimated that the Social Finance Fund could attract up to $1.5 billion in private sector capital to support the development of the social finance market, create thousands of new jobs, and drive positive social change. (p.206)
  • To ensure charities, non-profits, and social purpose organizations have the skills and capacity needed to access social finance opportunities: Budget 2021 proposes to renew the Investment Readiness Program for $50 million over two years, starting in 2021-22. This program supports charities, non-profits, and social purpose organizations in capacity-building activities such as business plan development, expanding products and services, skills development, and hiring. (p. 207)

Supporting Community Service Organizations 

  • $400 million in 2021-22 to Employment and Social Development Canada to create a temporary Community Services Recovery Fund to help charities and non-profits adapt and modernize so they can better support the economic recovery in our communities.(page 208)
  • Budget 2021 proposes launching public consultations with charities over the coming months on potentially increasing the disbursement quota and updating the tools at the Canada Revenue Agency’s disposal, beginning in 2022. This could potentially increase support for the charitable sector and those that rely on its services by between $1 billion and $2 billion annually. (page 208)

Workplace Support

  • Extending the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy until September 25, 2021 (page 83)
  • Extending the Canada Emergency Business Account–the government recently extended the application deadline for CEBA to June 30, 2021 (page 85)
  • $80 million in 2021-22 to support an extended application deadline for the Regional Relief and Recovery Fund and Indigenous Business Initiative until June 30, 2021. (page 85) 
  • $7 billion on targeted tax incentives, grants and loans to help small- and medium-sized businesses adapt and expand their digital operations after the pandemic. The plan includes hiring 28,000 young Canadians to help businesses adapt to new technology. (page 132)
  • Legislation to implement a $15 minimum wage in federally regulated sectors. (page 116)
  • Nearly $9 billion over six years to expand the Canada Workers Benefit to one million low-wage workers. (page 116)

Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland’s speech mentions three fundamental challenges.

  • Conquering COVID though buying vaccines and supporting provincial and territorial health care systems.  Providing Canadians and Canadian businesses with the support they need to get through these tough third wave lockdowns.
  • Coming out of the COVID recession. Ensuring the loss jobs are recovered as swiftly as possible, and hard hit businesses rebound quickly. Providing support to women, to young people, to low wage workers, and to small and medium sized businesses, especially in tourism and hospitality.
  • Building a more resilient Canada – more fair, prosperous, and innovative. Investing in Canada’s green transition and the green jobs that go with it. Digital transformation and Canadian innovation. Building infrastructure for a dynamic growing country. Social infrastructure from early learning and child care, student grants and income top ups. 

One thing that this budget did not address was the basic income guarantee which GOG has been advocating for. GOG participated in the pre-budget consultations and will continue to work with members of government to strengthen our sector. Over the coming weeks, GOG will continue to share budget information relevant to Ontario Visual Arts Sector as it becomes available.