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PACT's 2022 Pre-Budget Submission

December 6, 2022

PACT sent in our submission to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance's annual pre-budget consultations earlier this month. You can download the full document here.

Introduction

The Professional Association of Canadian Theatres (PACT) is pleased to have the opportunity to contribute to the Standing Committee on Finance’s pre-budget consultation once again. PACT’s budget recommendations focus on measures that support the ongoing recovery of this vital sector from the global pandemic, historic inequities, and the theatre sector’s commitment to climate action.

Theatre, as part of Canada’s $74 billion cultural sector, has contributed to jobs and the prosperity of our economy in communities large and small across the country. Over the past three years, there has been an unprecedented and extended closure of theatres across Canada which resulted in massive underemployment, unemployment, and lay-offs. Many theatres are still in recovery mode, with live performance still $1.2 billion below its pre-pandemic GDP (Statistics Canada, 2022).

The changes not only impacted producers, managers, administrators, independent skilled workers and artists, but the eco-system of businesses and organizations that support the theatre sector such as hospitality, tourism, transportation, and more.

One thing is clear, the theatre sector is not yet on the full road to recovery, and a post-pandemic reality is still many years away.  Theatres across Canada continue to lose a significant number of shows due to COVID amongst cast and crews.  In far too many cases complete cancellation of performances is required due to the lack of funding to hire understudies, leading to the loss of vital revenue.

The next few years will be critical in determining how many of our theatres across the country will be able to survive, much yet thrive, as we move forward. 

Outlook

A recent survey of our membership asked theatre companies at what point they would face significant financial hardship if their current ticket sales trend continued.

Recommendations

  1. That the government allows for full loan forgiveness for theatres and not-for-profit organizations who received support from the Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA).
  2. That the government implement a fulsome ticket-matching program which covers the 2022/2023 and 2023/2024 seasons for theatre organisations to protect against altered buying habits and reticence from audiences during the reopening transition for the theatre sector.
  3. That the government improve equity and inclusion in program funding by simplifying and accelerating application and assessment processes for new applicants to funding programs at the Canada Council for the Arts and Canadian Heritage. This can be done by increasing the overall investment and accessibility to funding, specifically for previously unfunded applicants, and reducing standard decision-making timelines.
  4. That the government, as part of the upcoming Green Buildings Strategy, increase investment to Canadian Heritage’s Canada Cultural Spaces Fund and ensure eligibility of arts organizations in new Infrastructure programs and initiatives. This will prioritize climate change, protect the environment, and upgrade ventilation and filtration for safety in the performing arts.
  5. That the government ensures that any future support funds reach smaller theatre companies, particularly those who are not already receiving core funding from Canada Council for the Arts and Canadian Heritage. In addition, the government should target these funds towards a marketing campaign focussing on smaller theatres, who have significantly less marketing resources than the larger companies.

 


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