Arts groups expect to survive pandemic: Canada Council survey

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Update: May 13, 2020

Arts groups expect to survive pandemic: Canada Council survey

To better understand the needs of the professional arts sector to overcome the COVID-19 crisis, the Canada Council for the Arts sent a national survey on April 6 to approximately 30,000 of its existing clients (artists, groups, organizations).

Within just a few days, 8,842 or 32% of survey invitees replied. The majority of survey respondents (61%) felt that the emergency aid measures would help them withstand the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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The survey and responses reflect the challenges faced by the professional arts sector and address the Government of Canada’s emergency aid measures as they were during the period the survey was conducted. Additional measures were announced on May 6. See Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan for more information.

The final report prepared by Forum Research Inc. is now available. This report is complemented by data tables, which provide more information for specific parts of the sector (e.g., by region, type of respondent, field of practice).

The Canada Council for the Arts thanks the arts sector for its engagement and participation. This level of response demonstrates the arts sector’s commitment to addressing the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Findings at a glance

  • The majority of survey respondents (61%) felt that the emergency aid measures would help them withstand the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Less than half of respondents had applied or intended to apply for the emergency measures:
    • 42% of individual respondents said they had or would be applying to the Canada Emergency Response Benefit.
    • 41% of organizations said they had or would be applying to the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy.
    • 17% of organizations said they were planning to access the Canada Emergency Business Account.
  • No fields of practice supported by the Canada Council will be untouched by the crisis.
  • Certain aspects of the sector remain at risk (for example, organizations relying on self-employed professionals and organizations with high non-payroll fixed costs).
  • Respondents emphasized that additional assistance would be needed to address the challenges faced by the arts sector in the long-term.
  • Suggestions included expanding the eligibility of the current emergency aid measures and providing additional sector-specific supports.

To read the complete report, click here.


Most Canadian artists and arts workers thinking positive, study finds

April 16, 2020: A preliminary study commissioned by the Canada Council of the Arts found that 61% of artists and arts groups who responded to a questionnaire believe that the arts will get through the COVID-19 crisis with the support of the federal government’s emergency aid measures.

Forty-three percent of individual respondents said they had applied or would apply to the Canada Emergency Response Benefit while 41% of organizations made a similar declaration concerning the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy.

No sector of the arts supported by the Canada Council will be untouched by the crisis, according to a Canada Council summary of the report. Particularly at risk are organizations relying on self-employed professionals and organizations with high non-payroll fixed costs.

The survey by Forum Research reached out to approximately 30,000 clients of the Canada Council – individuals and organizations – on April 6. Within 48 hours, more than 7,500, or 27%, had replied, and the preliminary results are based on these respondents.

“The responses demonstrate a high level of confidence that the emergency aid measures announced by the federal government will be helpful,” a preliminary version of the report concludes.

Of the 57% of individuals who said they would not be applying for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit, 35% said it was because they were not in need of it and 36% said they thought they were not eligible. Twenty-one percent offered other reasons. Hopefully, the 36% non eligible rate will decrease with the new rules on the CERB allowing for income of $1000 per month announced on April 15.

The message that help is available appears to be getting out. Only 7% of respondents said they were not applying because they did not have enough information.

“We continue to assess how our programs and our services are impacted and to make adjustments where necessary,” the Canada Council said in a press release. “Our commitment to dialogue with Canadian artists and arts organizations will continue during this crisis and beyond.”

For access to the preliminary report, go to https://canadacouncil.ca/research/april-2020-covid19-client-survey

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