Arts and culture pump $84.6 billion into Canada’s economy

August 27th, 2008 - 1:45 pm ICT by IANS  

Toronto, Aug 27 (IANS) Canada’s thriving arts and culture contributed a record $84.6 billion to the nation’s economy last year.Highlighting the economic significance of the sector, a report by the private think-tank Conference Board of Canada released Tuesday said it accounted for as much as 7.4 percent of the nation’s gross domestic product (GDP).

The report comes amid the government’s decision to cut funding for various cultural and arts programmes by $45 million.

Titled Valuing Culture: Measuring and Understanding Canada’s Creative Economy, the report said that apart from pumping billions of dollars into the economy, the culture sector also created over a million jobs for Canadians.

“Not only does the arts and cultural industry make a valuable economic contribution in its own right, it also stimulates creative activity in other sectors of the economy,” said Conference Board of Canada vice president Michael Bloom.

“Countries around the world, as well as many cities and regions, recognise that a dynamic culture sector plays a key role as a magnet for talent, enhances economic output, and acts as a catalyst for prosperity,” he said.

The report said the arts and culture sector accounted for almost four percent of national employment, adding that its contribution was even higher when its indirect and induced effects are taken into account.

“Opportunities for growth in the culture sector are being driven by digital technologies and exploding use of the Internet. These technologies allow content producers to distribute their works to a wide audience and consumers to participate directly in creating cultural content,” the report said.

This significant report comes after hundreds of scholars, researchers, professionals, industry leaders, and public officials from Canada and around the world held The International Forum on the Creative Economy here in March.

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