The Japan Foundation
Performing Arts Network Japan
Canada Council for the Arts
Canada Council for the Arts

350 Albert Street
Post Office Box 1047
Ottawa, Ontario K1P5V8
Phone: 1-800-263-5588 or 613-566-4414
Fax: 613-566-4390
E-mail: info[a]
Arts Organization of the Month Arts Organization of the Month
Jul. 13, 2011
Canada Council for the Arts 
Established in 1957, the Canada Council for the Arts is a Crown corporation based in Ottawa, which supports artistic activities in Canada through a wide range or programs. Its current budget is approximately $195 million, and it annually awards around 6,000 grants and prizes to individual artists and arts organizations. The peer assessment principle in the processes of screening enables the Council to make effective and fair decisions independently from the government and the market, with artistic excellence as the primal criterion, and to maintain accountability and transparency. Also, the programs reflect the linguistic, regional and ethnic diversity of Canada.
In the peer assessment system, more than 750 assessors form 120 committees or juries every year, and inputs from 900 external assessors are added to that. A Peer Assessment Committee is formed for each competition, and a Standing Committee of Peers that is formed by members who are appointed for terms up to three years maintains continuity in specialized fields such as administration or research. The staff of the Council selects peers through consulting database of potential peer assessors, their colleagues and the community at large, putting importance on their expertise and experience. Artists and art organizations can nominate assessors, and they can also nominate themselves. Basically an assessor can serve on a committee only once in 24 months, and committees are formed balancing such factors as the assessors’ artistic practice, professional specialization, language (English and French), cultural, ethnic and regional diversity, gender and age in order to maintain equity. The seven fields of the support are dance, inter-arts, media arts, music, theatre, visual arts, and writing and publishing, to which approximately 15,000 applications are sent every year. Also, in collaboration with all these divisions, three offices specializing in equity, audience and market development, and Aboriginal arts are set.
The Council runs Art Bank, a Canadian contemporary art collection of 18,000 paintings, prints, photographs and sculptures. It supports artists through purchasing works, and rents the works to support itself and to promote the arts into public and corporate spaces.
Following the three-year plan "Moving Forward" (2008-2011) that focused on (1) commitments to individual artists, (2) commitments to arts organizations, (3) equity in support for the arts, (4) partnership building with other organizations and (5) capacity building of the Council, and responding to changes such as the global economic downturn that happened in the term, a new plan "Strengthening Connections" has been announced. In order to enhance flexibility and ability to respond to the situation, the term of the plan is expanded from three years to five years (2011-2016), and while continuing with the five directions of the previous plan, more importance is going to be put on the impact of the transition to a digital society on the arts and the growing priority of public engagement in the arts.