Advocacy Update: Ontario Budget Submission

Ontario Presents continues to remain in dialogue with our networks and partners to keep up to date with the needs of the sector and advocate on behalf of our members and the arts sector at large. We are in continual contact with the CAPACOA advocacy committee, the Provincial Arts Service Organizations coalition, and of course our members.

Drawing on these strong relationships with our members and colleagues, and the urgent needs of our sector, we have submitted the following recommendations to the Ontario government as part of the Budget 2021 consultations: 

  1. Funding to support live arts presentation: Thus far, many presenters have not been eligible for emergency support of any kind, and no funding has been available for programming. This funding is urgently needed to ensure the survival of live arts touring in Ontario. Pre-pandemic, presenters often took financial risks in order to bring art to their communities through their performing arts presentations. With the intense effects of the pandemic on performing arts venues, many are now being pressured to devote their resources only to venue rental. This would be a great loss to cultural offerings and economic stimulation in Ontario communities, as well as to employment opportunities for artists, agents, and arts workers. 
  2. Funding for PPE and HVAC upgrades: Even as their revenues have been decimated, performing arts presenters face increased costs in order to keep their staff, artists, and audiences safe. Funding to support the purchasing of PPE equipment and upgrading of HVAC systems is essential for the survival of performing arts venues. 
  3. Funding to support digital programming: Numerous surveys and reports indicate that digital programming is not only a viable option to employ artists and arts workers until live events reopen, but will remain a part of the arts and cultural milieu long after the pandemic. However, venues and artists are not currently set-up to support digital work. Funding is needed to support the purchasing of equipment for livestreaming/digital offerings, and training of staff to run such events. 

As well as supporting the five key recommendations laid out by the PASO/OPSA coalition:

  1. An increase of $25 million in base funding to the Ontario Arts Council, to be distributed at the discretion of the OAC 
  2. Increased COVID-19 relief support for individuals 
  3. Paid sick leave, a critical tool for fighting this pandemic and ensuring that Ontarians can begin to gather once again.
  4. Funding for PPE and HVAC upgrades (see above) 
  5. An investment of $10M for an Indigenous Culture Fund 

Read our full letter here

Read the PASO/OPSA letter here

Ontario Presents and the PASO coalition will also be submitting more detailed recommendations to the Ministry of Heritage, Sport, Tourism, and Culture Industries, in response to the Ministry’s inviation for feebdack on the December 2020 white paper Reconnecting Ontarians: Re-emerging as a Global Leader

We welcome feedback from our members and networks at any time. Please share any advocacy questions, concerns, or recommendations with Natalie.