Ontario cuts music fund by more than half, looks to modernize it

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TORONTO — Ontario is cutting a music grant program by more than half as it looks to modernize it.

The day after the Progressive Conservative government tabled its first budget earlier this month, officials told the Canadian Independent Music Association that the Ontario Music Fund would be reduced from $15 million to $7 million.

The association’s president said he had expected the fund would receive less money, given the government’s aim of tackling the deficit.

“I wasn’t surprised that the fund was going to receive a cut,” said Stuart Johnston. “I was surprised by the depth of the cut. I think that took everybody by surprise.”

The Tories said in the budget that they will be reviewing the program.

“The government will work with Ontario Creates to modernize the Ontario Music Fund to focus on activities that bring the biggest return to the province, and refocus its investments into emerging talent to create opportunities to achieve success,” a spokesman for Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport, Michael Tibollo, said in a statement.

“We will continue to work closely with our stakeholders in the culture sector, so we can continue to deliver on our promise to respect taxpayer dollars, and ensure that we are providing value for money in Ontario’s culture sector.”

The government noted that several large acts and companies have received money through the fund. Sony Music, Universal Music and Warner Music shared $1.75 million in 2017-18.

Johnston, who represents the independent music community, said the investments the fund makes in small business are sound.

“(The funds) are leveraged by the music industry to create the intellectual property, music, that is then commercialized both here in Canada and around the world,” he said. “So there is a large return on investment based on those investments from the Ontario Music Fund.”

NDP culture critic Jill Andrew said the cuts to the fund will make it harder for homegrown talent to flourish.

“(Premier) Doug Ford has hit another bad note on the culture file, this time ripping away opportunities from everyone from aspiring artists to the domestic music companies that nurture their budding talent,” she said in a statement.

“This showcases just how out of touch the Ford Conservatives are with how important it is to support the local cultural sectors that contribute so much to our economy.”

Jazz singer Matt Dusk said the funding has allowed him to expand his work and it helps create jobs.

“It enables us to not only hire Ontario employees, but also enables us to go to places within the province and the country where we get to go perform in certain halls or to create local events that then spin off into festivals,” he said. “It’s a real, kind of, trickle-down effect.”

Allison Jones, The Canadian Press


14 COMMENTS

  1. I’m guessing common sense is a rarity these days. If Ontario owes 3 billion dollars, how do you relieve the debt? Add taxes or stay on budget. Hopefully we all know what a budget is. Liberals and NDP wanted to add taxes. Conservatives were the only ones who set a budget which will relieve the debt. Just in time for you fools to need a change. Budget folks. Not cuts. The bloated funding wasn’t there last year nor the years before.

  2. With Ontario being the highest taxed province, you would think we have the best of everything, yet we don’t. Our politicians are lining their pockets while programs are being cut left and right.

  3. My question is as it always fits multiple applications..is the money actually getting to the boots on the ground or is it mostly eaten by administrative bureaucracy? I would suspect that the top heaviness of the operation like many organizations will and has come under scrutiny. In the end does the program provide the services promised, does it run efficiently and lastly are the taxpayers getting value for dollars spent?

    • Mario Carlucci ya, and the 3 billion dollar debt will hit 10 billion. Oh, expect another tax as well. I mean 6 more taxes. No no. 8. 10 12 50. Get the picture. Over budget and taxed to death. Then give away billions in project scandals. Ya, great choice

    • Ha ha, a little sarcasm there..the truth is, any party you have in there will always have their plan in place and ultimately it will negatively affect the masses..it just gets worse with time!

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