Volume: 7 Issue: 5
Measuring and Understanding Canada’s Creative Economy
This detailed report from the Conference Board of Canada examines the cultural sector's contribution to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and employment. The key message of the report is that the arts and culture are "cornerstones of the creative, knowledge-based economy". The Conference Board estimates the economic impact of the cultural sector to be $85 billion in 2007, or 7.4% of Canada's GDP. The impact of the cultural sector on employment equals 1.1 million jobs, or 7.1% of total employment in Canada.
Despite several warnings about the difficulties of making an accurate analysis of Canadian Heritage's cultural funding over time, this report does shed some light on recent trends in Canadian Heritage's cultural funding. The report finds that there seems to be a shift between two departmental strategic outcomes: away from the outcome of helping "Canadians express and share their diverse cultural experiences with each other and the world" (including funding for the arts and culture) and toward the outcome of ensuring that "Canadians live in an inclusive society built on inter-cultural understanding and citizen participation".
Statistics Canada's Satellite Account of Nonprofit Institutions and Volunteering provides information on the economic size and scope of the non-profit sector. Overall, the non-profit sector's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) was $83 billion in 2004, or about 7% of Canada's total GDP. (The measure of economic activity in this report differs substantially from the methodology used in estimates of the cultural sector's economic impact.)