Wednesday, December 7, 2005

SAA Bulletin

December 2005

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In this issue…
    Putting Arts on the Election Agenda
    Vulnerable Workers
    An Update on Artist Equity
    Voluntary Sector Initiatives
    International Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions
    InterActions Fund


    Saskatoon Awarded 2006 Cultural Capital of Canada
    Mapping Canada's Cultural Policy: Where do we go from here?



Putting Arts on the Election Agenda
If support of the arts is one of your interests in the upcoming federal election, here is some information you might find helpful.

Canadian Conference for the Arts (CCA) will press to put arts issues forward during the election. CCA will canvas political parties for their cultural platform, and distribute the information to the sector. CCA website is at www.ccarts.ca.

In complement with CCA's plans, Saskatchewan Arts Alliance (SAA) prepared a questionnaire for Saskatchewan’s federal election candidates asking their views on key issues. At the top of the list are questions asking whether candidates support federal funding for the arts and would honour the recently announced funding increase of $342 million. Other questions ask candidates their position on cultural sovereignty, artist access to social programs, and taxation and copyright reform. A copy of the questionnaire and any responses we receive will be posted on the SAA website (www.artsalliance.sk.ca) and distributed through the SAA Bulletin. SAA is interested in any responses you might receive from your conversations with candidates. Forward them by email to info@artsalliance.sk.ca, or call 780-9820.

Canadian Arts Coalition initiated Vote Arts 2006 to increase, by $5.00 per Canadian, funding to the arts through the Canada Council of the Arts. The Coalition notes that this goal was reached when the Government of Canada announced it would invest $306 million over the next three years in the Canada Council and now wants to ensure this announcement becomes a reality. More information about the Coalition and the arts sector can be found at www.votearts2006.ca.

Vulnerable Workers
The Commission on Improving Work Opportunities for Saskatchewan Residents was formed to make recommendations to the Minister of Labour for improving conditions for part-time and vulnerable workers. Recognizing that artists share many of the same issues, SAA President, Skip Kutz presented to the Commission. SAA also submitted a brief, Improving Work Opportunities for Artists, that acknowledges the important contributions artists make to society, describes how their "non-standard" work makes them vulnerable to inequities, and recommends measures to improve the situation.

An Update on Artist Equity
SAA met with the Minister's Advisory Committee on Status of the Artist (MACSA) in September to discuss SAA's 2005 Action Plan Proposal to the Government of Saskatchewan for the Arts Sector. MACSA saw common ground on several of SAA recommendations such as the definition of a professional artist, procurement and taxation. MACSA was in discussion on other SAA recommendations such as those around collective bargaining and workers' compensation. MACSA asked SAA to submit a recommendation for a permanent committee that would have responsibility for status of the artist.

The major task for MACSA this year, on instruction from Cabinet, is to re-examine its proposals for collective bargaining. Cabinet also recommended that MACSA seek public input. In response, MACSA commissioned the report Collective Bargaining Rights for Associations and Unions of Professional Artists in Saskatchewan, prepared as background information by Neil Craig Associates, and held 3 focus group consultations.

SAA, Saskatchewan Arts Board and SaskCulture participated in a fourth "stakeholder" focus group consultation to discuss the impact of the findings of the first three meetings to our respective organizations. SAA commentary on collective bargaining was consistent with the recommendations of the SAA Action Plan Proposal and the Report of the Minister's Advisory Committee on Status of the Artist (1993) – that the Status of the Artist Act be amended to include collective bargaining rights for cultural labour organizations (which will provide artists protection from action under the Competition Act), balanced by the need to reflect national agreements and existing federal and provincial legislation; that the clause that limits the Government of Saskatchewan to undertake “as far as it considers it reasonable and appropriate to do so” be deleted; and that other steps to promote Status be taken.

The report from all focus groups will help inform MACSA's recommendation to Government on collective bargaining. MACSA's term is over January 2006 when its final report is due.

Voluntary Sector Initiatives
SAA hosted an arts sector Community Conversation to raise awareness about the role and contribution of the voluntary sector in Canada and determine interest in a national advocacy campaign. This was one of more than 100 Conversations held across the country as part of the Voluntary Sector Awareness Project. The Awareness Project is led by Imagine Canada under the direction of a diverse range of partners including the Canadian Conference of the Arts and Volunteer Canada. To facilitate discussion, a paper Greater than the Sum of the Parts was prepared. If you are interested in receiving the final report or the discussion paper, please contact the SAA. If you would like to contribute to the discussion, there is an online feedback form at www.imaginecanada.ca/vsap_survey.

Imagine Canada, Canadian Policy Research Networks and the Canadian Council for Social Development made a joint submission to the Gomery Commission regarding accountability regimes. Endorsed by the Voluntary Sector Forum, Submission to the Commission of Inquiry into the Sponsorship Program and Advertising Activities argues that federal accountability requirements have undermined the sector’s effectiveness, and expresses concern that recommendations from the commission further exacerbate the situation. The submission urges the federal government to "refocus accountability practices to better balance the need for financial controls and risk-management with the need for measurement of results; improve the processes by which the Government of Canada is accountable to Canadians; and entrench the Accord Between the Government of Canada and the Voluntary Sector and the Codes of Good Practice on Funding and Policy Dialogue in all relationships with the voluntary sector."

Saskatoon Awarded 2006 Cultural Capital of Canada
Congratulations to the City of Saskatoon which was designated as a 2006 Cultural Capital of Canada. According to the City of Saskatoon news release, the funding submission “included four proposed legacy projects and two celebrations:
  • Strategy for the development of Cultural Tourism
  • Artists in the Community partnership project
  • Building Arts and Cultural Bridges through an alliance of partners committed to continued coordination and cooperation
  • Commissioning of additional outdoor art work for public display
  • Centennial Celebrations on May 26 and 27
  • Celebrating Our Heroes in October 2006."


Canada Ratifies International Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions
On November 23, 2005, Canada became the first country to ratify the UNESCO International Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions. The Convention, approved by the General Conference of UNESCO, will enter into force three months after its ratification by 30 States The Convention will promote cultural diversity by establishing clear ground rules to enable Canada and other countries to maintain policies that promote their culture, while respecting the rules governing the international trading system and securing markets for cultural exports. It will also recognize the importance of cultural diversity to international social and economic development.

InterActions Fund
A fund to increase diversity in the arts sector was announced by the Department of Canadian Heritage and Canada Council. The InterActions Fund, a partnership agreement between the two agencies, will enable professional artists and arts organizations from diverse cultural communities to increase their access to the Canada Council's programs and enhance their artistic development. The Fund is directed towards professional artists and arts organizations eligible for Canada Council support.

Mapping Canada's Cultural Policy: Where do we go from here?
Canadian Conference of the Arts is holding a combined National Policy Conference and the Chalmers Conference, March 2nd to 4th, 2006 at the Sheraton Hotel in Ottawa. The conferences will be an intensive consultation on cultural policy. Topics of discussion will be:
  • Do we already have a cultural policy?
  • Policies which touch on artists and creators, including training, taxation, status of the artist
  • Policies which affect producers and the cultural industries
  • Where do we go from here? Which policies are still relevant, which new ones should be added to the mix, what is the cultural environment of tomorrow going to be?

More information and registration forms are available at www.ccarts.ca.