Canadian Conference of the Arts

The Canadian Conference of the Arts is the focal point where issues relevant to the Canadian arts, culture and heritage sector are identified and debated and through which sound cultural policies are promoted. We build and support strategic partnerships and alliances, facilitate the identification of common priorities and act as a catalyst for change.

The Canadian Conference of the Arts recognizes the important contribution that arts and culture makes to our individual and collective identity, to the education of our children, to our economy, to the integration of our communities and to our quality of life.

The Canadian Conference of the Arts believes access to arts and culture should not be limited to the privileged but should be for all Canadians.

The Canadian Conference of the Arts favours an open national dialogue based on the Canadian linguistic plurality and on the cultural diversity which categorizes Canada as a nation.

The Canadian Conference of the Arts favours an open and informed debate on all policy issues which affect the cultural life of Canadian Citizens.

The Canadian Conference of the Arts maintains, in cooperation with other levels of government and the private sector, that the federal government has an important role to play in regard to Canadian artists and to the cultural sector. That particular value is very important.

From a conversation with Alain Pineau
National Director of the Canadian Conference of the Arts, 2008.10.22

The Canadian Conference of the Arts represented the interests of over 400,000 artists, cultural workers and supporters from all disciplines of the nation’s arts, culture and heritage community.

The Conference served the arts and cultural community in Canada by providing research, analysis and consultations on public policies affecting the arts and Canadian cultural institutions and industries.

The Canadian Conference of the Arts:

  • organized conferences and spoken out on all major Canadian policy proposals pertaining to arts, culture and heritage since its formation.
  • created the Cultural Sector Training Committee to improve work and training opportunities for members of the cultural labour force
  • was the incubator and administrator of the national ArtsSmarts program from its creation in 1998 to 2005, when it became part of the Canadian Education Association
  • was a founding member of the Governor General’s Performing Arts Awards Foundation, along with the National Arts Centre, the Canada Council for the Arts and the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation
  • actively participated in the development and adoption of the UNESCO Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions
  • convened 98 cultural organizations from coast to coast to support a common message to the government regarding copyright reform. This led to a presentation to Parliament of a series of amendments that reflected a large consensus in the cultural sector
  • was one of numerous organizations opposing the decision of the federal government to make the long-form version of the 2011 Canadian census optional.

On October 30, 2012, the Canadian Conference of the Arts released a press release announcing that it would be discontinuing operations. The release identified this decision was due to the loss of federal government support, which the organization had received regularly since the 1960s, and which during its final years accounted for approximately 60-70 per cent of its total operating budget.

The Canadian Conference of the Arts left its research, archives and ongoing projects in the hands of a volunteer trustee board, with the intention that another cultural or academic organization will be able to continue its work in future

Canadian Conference of the Arts – Wikipedia
Members of the Canadian Conference of the Arts

Making a Single case for the Arts

There is a wealth of arts advocacy work and resources in Canada which would gain significantly more effectiveness and clout by pooling their efforts to better serve the arts. To reach this objective, it would appear crucial to expand the networking outside the cultural sector as such to other stakeholders in Canadian civil society.

Making a Single case for the Arts
Canadian Conference of the Arts
October 2008 – PDF

“Imagine a world without music, without poetry, without books, without paintings on the walls, without photographs, without legends, without the movement and the energy of dance, without theatre, without cinema, without the kind of imagination and creations which would force us to live only the realities of day to day life, the economy, the politics… Arts and culture are the fourth dimension we need to be humans: a country without arts and culture would be a country without a soul and a nation without identity.”

Raymond Legault, Union des artistes
Common Electoral Platform Project
Canadian Conference of the Arts, 2011 – PDF