Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Advocating for Theatre, Arts, and Culture in Ontario

By Brandon Moore, Communications Coordinator

We all had the date marked on our calendar.  Arts Day at Queen’s Park was going to bring together artists and arts administrators with Members of Provincial Parliament to meet and talk about the value of arts in Ontario and the work of the Ontario Arts Council (OAC).

Unfortunately, Dalton McGuinty’s resignation as Premier and the prorogation of Queen’s Park changed our plans.  Instead, we would meet locally in the MPP’s riding office.  Both individual Theatre Ontario members and representatives of member organizations were among the many people from all arts disciplines who volunteered to meet with their MPPs.  I met with Reza Moridi, Liberal MPP for Richmond Hill and recently appointed Minister of Research and Innovation, to share some of the good news:
  • Ontario’s cultural sector directly contributes $19.7 billion annually to Ontario’s economy, representing 4.2% of the province’s GDP
  • Direct employment in Ontario’s cultural sector is 252,300 people or 4.1% of total Ontario employment
  • Ontario arts organizations receiving operating funding from the OAC had direct expenditures of $541 million in 2009-2010, with previous research showing almost 90% of arts organizations’ spending on goods and services going directly to Ontario business
  • Arts and culture tourist spending generated $3.7 billion in GDP province-wide in 2010
But the most exciting part of the discussion for me was talking about the intrinsic value of the arts—the studies showing how arts activities help enrich the quality of our lives, and play an important role in building our identity as a province within Canada and internationally—and it was heartening to hear Mr. Moridi be as enthusiastic about art’s intrinsic value as its economic value.

We’re proud at Theatre Ontario to be able to advocate on behalf of our members—and we look forward to continuing to articulate your needs to our political leaders in the future.


  1. Thanks for sharing your account of the MPP meetings held last winter. The meetings were an exciting opportunity for all involved.

    1. You're welcome! It was indeed an exciting opportunity, and looking forward to more in the future.