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Strategic Vision

Our strategic plans lay out our broad directions to maximize our support to the arts sector and our impact on the public. In 2021, we report on the achievements of our 2016–21 plan as we release our 2021–26 plan, Art, now more than ever

2016–2021 achievements

From 2016 to 2021, we supported an ever more dynamic, inclusive, and connected arts sector, and we did it according to the four broad commitments in our 2016–21 Strategic Plan.

The commitments in our 2016-21 strategic plan focus on arts support, increased sharing of artistic creation through digital media, Indigenous creation, and the international presence of the arts. The plan also reaffirms our long-standing commitment to equity, inclusion, and official languages, as well as to the next generation of artists and audiences. The plan presents a vision for stronger support of the arts sector to build a strong culture of engagement with all citizens across Canada and with audiences around the world. 

The results presented here are as of the 2019-20 year, the second-to-last year in our strategic plan. As such, they precede the COVID-19 pandemic. During the pandemic, we’ve continued to support the arts through our regular programs for which we received more applications. With the support of the Government, we've implemented special funding initiatives, including emergency support for arts organizationsemergency support for Indigenous and equity-seeking groups and organizations, and the Community Cares and Digital Originals initiatives. We’ve also supported digitally focused international events like those for 2020 Edinburgh. We’ll report on the results of these initiatives in the coming months. 

Overall Investment: $487M

In 2016, the Government of Canada announced the doubling of the Council’s budget between 2016 and 2021.

Of the additional $550M promised between 2016 and 2021, we are on track to invest $487M (or 88.5%) directly into the arts sector. The remaining 11.5% of that investment will go to services to the community, partnerships, program delivery, and general administration.

We’ve already delivered on several of our commitments, and we’re on track to reach our targets by 2020-21. We’re mindful that the COVID-19 pandemic impacts the entire arts sector and our work in significant ways. We’re monitoring the evolving context closely and exploring how to adapt our approach as we continue to pursue our commitments.

The Canada Council for the Arts’ investment in the arts sector as of 2019-20


This infographic shows the Council’s planned and actual additional investment in the arts sector and progress towards reaching its target for 2020-21.

  • Planned additional investment in the arts sector as of 2019-20: $327.5M
  • Actual additional investment in the arts sector as of 2019-20: $337.7M
  • Target date to invest total of an additional $487M in the arts sector: 2020-21
  • Current status: On track

Overview of our Commitments

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Arts Support

Our increased support for the arts responds to the evolution of artistic creation, engages an increasingly diverse public, and fosters renewal and growth.

Target Progress
 $137.5M or 25% of new funds to new recipients surpassed
 50% / 50% split between project and core funding by 2020-21 achieved
Abstract background of colourful curved wires.


Our digital investment fosters the sharing of artistic creation, enhances skills, and supports the transformation of organizational models and practices across the arts sector.

Target Progress
 $88.5M for a digital strategy fund in progess
Detail of a raven feather.


Our support for Indigenous creation centres on cultural self-determination and supports the renewal of the relationship between Indigenous artists and Indigenous and non-Indigenous audiences.

Target Progress
 Triple the support to Indigenous creation achieved
Glowing sphere connected with axon-like lines.


Our international investment supports the strong and sustainable presence of Canadian artists and organizations and their work in the world.

Target Progress
 Double the support for international activities surpassed

Ongoing Commitments

In addition to the four commitments in its 2016-21 Strategic Plan, the Canada Council will create opportunities for youth and will continue to deepen its longstanding commitment to equity, inclusion and official languages.

Performance - banner for Equity


The Canada Council is committed to supporting a vital and diverse arts ecology that enriches the lives of Canadians, and equity is a critical means to achieve this. All citizens deserve to benefit from a vibrant, accessible and pluralistic arts sector, and all creative expressions should have the same chance to flourish.

Letters A through H - baner for Official Languages

Official Languages

The Canada Council promotes Canada's two official languages, English and French. It also employs positive measures to support the artistic vitality of Official Language Minority Communities (OLMCs): groups of people whose maternal or chosen official language is not the majority language in their province or territory – in other words, Anglophones in Quebec and Francophones outside of Quebec.

The Canada Council believes in the distinct contribution that Canada’s two official languages and its OLMC artists and arts organizations make to the diversity and richness of the arts in Canada.

It also recognizes the important role the arts can play in promoting linguistic duality and the vitality of OLMCs.

Children's hands holing yellow and red maple leafs - banner for Youth


The Canada Council is determined to be a public arts funder that is truly focused on the future. This means we will create more opportunities for the next generation — including for emerging artists, who often face barriers to funding opportunities. Young artists in particular will be encouraged to master their art forms and invent new models for artistic creation and dissemination. We will also find new ways to engage young audiences, children and youth.

Strategic Plan 2021-26

Art, now more than ever: Strategic Plan 2021-26

Discover our strategic vision for a stronger, more resilient, and more inclusive sector.

Discover our strategic vision
Annual Report 2019-2020

Annual Report

The Canada Council for the Arts issues an Annual Report that details its activities and work towards its strategic plan commitments. The Report touches on the Council’s major accomplishments and initiatives, as well as the contributions of artists and organizations that bring these accomplishments to life. The Annual Report affirms the importance, necessity and impact of public arts funding for Canadians.

Read the Annual Report
ReImagine the Arts

Read the report on the engagement exercise for the 2021–26 Strategic Plan.