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This report “aims to summarize research in the areas of theory, evidence, measurement frameworks and indicators” of the social benefits of culture. The review found “wide evidence of positive effects of arts and culture in society” but a lack of “consensus on how to measure the results”.

This brief report focuses on a few studies related to the social and economic benefits of cultural engagement. The review found that “people benefit in multiple ways when there is a vibrant arts and culture base in their community and that taking part or engaging in arts and cultural activities1 has certain positive effects on individual well-being”.

The report indicates that there is “strong support that artistic practice is associated with higher levels of life satisfaction, a more positive self image, less anxiety about change, a more tolerant and open approach to diverse others, and, in some cases, less focus on materialistic values and the acquisition of goods”. For the most part, the findings relate to amateur rather than professional arts practice.

Based on Statistics Canada’s product perspective, the direct economic impact of culture products in 2016 was estimated at:

  • $56 million in Yukon, or 2.1% of territorial GDP
  • $76 million in the Northwest Territories, or 1.7% of territorial GDP
  • $48 million in Nunavut, or 2.0% of territorial GDP

Based on Statistics Canada’s product perspective, the direct economic impact of culture products in 2016 was estimated at:

  • $543 million in New Brunswick, or 1.7% of provincial GDP
  • $874 million in Nova Scotia, or 2.3% of provincial GDP
  • $108 million in Prince Edward Island in 2016, or 1.9% of provincial GDP
  • $414 million in Newfoundland and Labrador, or 1.4% of provincial GDP

Based on Statistics Canada’s product perspective, the direct economic impact of culture products was estimated at $25.7 billion in Ontario in 2016, or 3.5% of provincial GDP. In Quebec, the direct economic impact of culture products was estimated at $11.0 billion in 2016, or 3.0% of provincial GDP.

Based on Statistics Canada’s product perspective, the direct economic impact of culture products in 2016 was estimated at:

  • $7.2 billion in British Columbia, or 2.9% of provincial GDP
  • $5.3 billion in Alberta, or 1.7% of provincial GDP
  • $915 million in Saskatchewan, or 1.3% of provincial GDP
  • $1.6 billion in Manitoba, or 2.5% of provincial GDP

Using the product perspective, Statistics Canada estimates that the direct economic impact of culture products was $53.8 billion in Canada in 2016, or 2.8% of overall GDP. The employment estimate was 652,400 in 2016, or 3.5% of the 18.5 million jobs in the country.