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An Open Letter to Minister Joly, Minister of Canadian Heritage


Dear Minister Joly,


Please accept our sincere congratulations on the start of a promising new mandate in the service of arts and culture in Canada.

We represent Canadian artists, their representatives and associations from a wide range of artistic disciplines. Today, we are writing to request further clarity regarding the composition of your Cultural Policy Advisory Group. As well, we would also like to pass along the message that artists from the visual and media arts, theatre, dance, writing, music and publishing sectors would like to see representative inclusion in the Advisory Group that you have recently struck.

We commend the government for engaging in what you have called “a sweeping review of Canadian cultural policy,” and many of us have worked to ensure that artists and administrators from our various sectors fill out the consultation survey that your department launched several months ago. We agree that changes to cultural policies are needed. Regulations surrounding Canadian content, digital content and copyright affect the lives and livelihoods of all artists and cultural sector workers. It is therefore concerning to us that your Cultural Policy Advisory Group excludes representation from most of the major artistic disciplines in Canada; that there is a lack of creator representation in your group; and that the twelve experts in the group do not sufficiently represent the cultural, gender and sexual diversity of our communities.

Artists and arts institutions in Canada have urgent needs that require the partnership of our government. Please consider our request for clarity and inclusion to be in the spirit of constructive feedback from the sectors your Ministry represents in Ottawa. We intend to pass your response to this letter along to the artists, cultural workers and advocates that we represent and with whom we work.

It is our position that artists, their representatives and national arts service organizations should be included in any group of experts providing you with their advice and knowledge of the sector as you work to review our cultural policies and legislation. We do not agree that the task of bringing our voices to the table is impossible.

We are eager and excited to work with you and your teams as you bring the Canadian and Québécois cultural sector forward into a digital world. Thank you in advance for your attention to this matter.




Marcia Lea, Executive Director, Canadian Artists Representation/ le Front des artistes Canadiens National (CARFAC- National)

Sara Meurling, Executive Director, Professional Association of Canadian Theatres (PACT)

Christen Thomas, Executive Director, Literary Press Group of Canada (LPG)

Jane Needles, on behalf of Conseil québécois du théâtre (CQT)

Carol Anne Pilon, Directrice adjointe, Fédération culturelle canadienne-française (FCCF)

Arden R. Ryshpan, Executive Director, Canadian Actors’ Equity Association (Equity)

Greer Attridge, Canadian Artists’ Representation/ le Front des artistes Canadiens-British Colombia (CARFAC-BC)

Yael Brotman, Visual Artist and Lecturer, Dept of Arts, Culture and Media, University of Toronto

Bruce Pitkin, Executive Director, Theatre Ontario

Maegen Black, Director, The Canadian Crafts Federation / Fédération Canadienne des Métiers d’Art

Dave Andrews, Executive Director, Visual Artists Newfoundland and Labrador (VANL-CARFAC)

Eric Coates, Artistic Director, Great Canadian Theatre Company (GCTC)

Ann MacDonald, on behalf of the University and College Art Galleries Association of Canada

Christian Bédard, Directeur general, Le regroupement des Artistes en arts visuels du Quebec (RAAV)

Sally Lee, Executive Director, Canadian Artists’ Representation/ le Front des artistses Canadiens- Ontario (CARFAC- ON)

Penny McCann, Director, SAW Video Media Art Centre

Martha Hynna, President, Board of Directors, Ottawa Symphony Orchestra/  l’Orchestre symphonique d’Ottawa (OSO)

Wendy Nelson, Executive Director, Canadian Artists’ Representation/ le Front des artistses Canadiens- Saskatchewan (CARFAC-SK)

Chris Carson, Executive Director, Visual Arts Alberta (VAA-CARFAC)

Michael Adam Murray, Executive Director, Toronto Musicians’ Association

Brian Quirt, Artistic Director, Nightswimming Theatre

Ann Bertrand, Executive Director, Artists Run Centres and Collectives Conference/ la Conférence des collectifs et des centres d’artistes autogérés (ARCA)

Alexis Kinloch on behalf of Canadian Artists’ Representation/ le Front des artistses Canadiens- Manitoba (CARFAC-MB)

Robin Sokoloski, Executive Director, Playwrights’ Guild of Canada (PGC)

Ben Donoghue, Managing Director, Media Arts Network of Ontario/ Réseau des Arts Médi­a­tiques de L’Ontario (MANO)

John Degen, Executive Director, The Writer’s Union of Canada

Remco Volmer, Managing Director, Artengine

Greg Johnston, President, Songwriters Association of Canada / Association des auteurs-compositeurs Canadiens

Marvin Dolgay, Chair of the Screen Composers Guild of Canada

Emmanuel Madan, National Director, Independent Media Arts Alliance / Alliance des arts médiatheques indépendants

Elisha Denburg, General Manager, The Canadian League of Composers/ La ligue canadienne des compostieurs