FAME Applauds the Federal Government’s Support for Arts and Culture

Montreal, May 8, 2020 – Festivals and Major Events Canada (FAME) is joined by event organizers across the country in welcoming the details announced today by the Minister of Canadian Heritage, Steven Guilbeault, regarding the $500M Arts, Culture, and Sport Emergency Support Fund. FAME considers this to be an important first step in the long road towards ensuring the survival of its members and the eventual relaunch of their activities.

In a separate announcement today, the Prime Minister indicated that the Canada Emergency Wage subsidy would be extended beyond June, which we hope will help many organizations in the events sector who are not eligible to this relief program.

Of the $500M, $198.3 million is being provided to the beneficiaries of arts and culture funding via existing programs at Canadian Heritage as well as other organizations with demonstrated needs.

Of these existing programs, the Canada Arts Presentation Fund (CAPF) and the Building Communities Through Arts and Heritage Program (BCAH) will benefit many festivals and events who are already existing recipients. However, these two chronically oversubscribed programs have long lacked the resources to satisfy the demand, which exceeded program resources by at least 40% in 2017-2018. This has left many festivals across Canada excluded from becoming funding recipients.

For this reason, it is also noteworthy to see that “Phase 2” of this measure will provide funding to organizations that do not currently receive funding from Canadian Heritage. This will be welcome news to the many festivals across Canada who, in the past, have not been able to access Canadian Heritage programming. FAME await further details on Phase 2.

Over the past few months – most notably yesterday, before the House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance – FAME has highlighted four essential measures needed for the events sector’s road to recovery.

The first two measures have to do with survival. Ensuring the continued flow of regular grants from Canadian Heritage programming and eligibility for relief measures like the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy were the first priorities. Second, we must also eventually find solutions for the anticipated deficits that all festivals will incur due to cancellation. It remains to be seen to what level today’s announced measures will address these issues.

The second two measures have to do with recovery. Before a relaunch can happen, a transition period needs to occur while we wait for a vaccine, and organizers must reinvent events to be “COVID-Proof”. When the time comes for an economic, social, and touristic relaunch, a structuring federal program will be needed to stimulate a large concentration of activity in the events space. To that end, our coalition believes that a “version 2.0” of the Marquee Tourism Events Program which was introduced as a response to the 2008 economic crisis, is required.


Federal Cabinet Announcement:



MONTRÉAL,NOVEMBER20th, 2019 – Festivals and Major Events Canada (FAME) is enthusiastic regarding the recent announcement of the Liberal Party of Canada’s Cabinet. While we are welcoming new faces such as Ministers Steven Guilbeault and Bill Blair to the portfolios of Canadian Heritage and Public Safety, we are also welcoming back Ministers Navdeep Bains and Melanie Joly to their previous – but adjusted – roles at Innovation, Science, and Industry and Economic Development and Official Languages. FAME looks forward to working together with this new team of advocates for culture, tourism, economic growth and public safety and building a better business environment for all festivals and events in Canada.

While tourism no longer directly appears in Minister Joly’s new title, FAME is confident that she will be continuing her great work on the file through her responsibility for the the Regional Economic Development Agencies (RDA), which help to better support the unique regional needs of various festivals and events through programs like the Canadian Experiences Fund (CEF). Given the fact that Canadian festivals and events are significant touristic motors, the RDA’s have a significant role to play in ensuring their continued growth.

According to an economic impact study by KPMG in 2018, 17 events generated $17,3 M in taxes and fees from an invest of $9.7M from the Federal Government.  In one fiscal year, this means that these events generated 1.78 times the federal contribution, without considering the effect on provincial/municipal employment, economy and culture.

In its last mandate, the Liberal Government made promising investments in programs that support the festivals and events industry, like the Canadian Experiences Fund (CEF), Canada Arts Presentation Fund (CAPF), and Building Communities Through Arts and Heritage Program (BCAH). However, because these investmentments are set to end in 2020-2021, FAME and its partners in the culture and tourism sectors look forward to working with the new government to renew this funding and ensure ongoing support for our industry.

End of the festival season and upcoming federal election: FAME AND RÉMI CALL UPON POLITICAL PARTIES

End of the festival season and upcoming federal election: 


MONTRÉAL, SEPTEMBER 15, 2019 — As a summer season highlighted by great weather and exciting events draws to a close, Festivals and Major Events Canada (FAME) and le Regroupement des événements majeurs internationaux (RÉMI) are calling upon the federal political parties – in the midst of their election campaigns – to commit to ensuring an improved business environment for the festivals and events sector that favors economic development and international tourism.

In a short document entitled “Some ideas for your party and your electoral platform in relation to the festivals and events industry”, the associations suggest concrete measures to address security costs, taxation issues, culture, and growth.

Notably, an important step for the new federal government to make would be to expand the eligibility criteria of the “Community Infrastructure Program: Communities, at Risk” at the Department of Public Safety, to allow festivals and events to apply. The renewal of measures announced in the 2019 federal budget for 2019-2020 and 2020-2021 at the Department of Canadian Heritage – which were celebrated by FAME and RÉMI last March – is also an important item on the list.

A year ago, a study conducted by KPMG found that a group of 17 Canadian events generated economic benefits of $290.8 M annually (value added to market price), that it had created or maintained the equivalent of 4,606 jobs (part-time equivalent), and produced tax revenues of $66.6 M – of which $17.3 M went to the Government of Canada. This same study concluded that the Government of Canada recuperates 1.78 times what it invests in events in the form of taxes and fees.



OTTAWA, March 19th, 2019 — The 2019-2020 Federal budget contains extremely positive news for Festivals and Major Events Canada (FAME)! It includes measures that aim to ensure security at community gatherings, as well as an important increase in funding for both the Canada Arts Presentation Fund (CAPF) and the Building Communities Through Arts and Heritage Program – the main Federal programs supporting the festivals and events industry as well as various presenters of performing arts. The creation of the Canadian Experiences Fund, as part of the new Federal Strategy on Jobs and Tourism, is also welcome news.

For FAME, which is made up of thirty-one events across Canada, the two measures affecting the Department of Canadian Heritage come after a decade of budgetary stagnation, and they should stimulate development in the industry. Most notably, these measures recognize the fundamental role played by festivals and events in Canada’s cultural ecosystem. The Federal budget has announced a total of $40M in additional funding to these two programs that benefit festivals and other cultural presenters.

With regard to security, as the Minister of Finance himself stated, “Wherever we gather, Canadians should always feel safe”. It is for this very reason that festivals and events requested that the Department of Public Safety’s Security Infrastructure Program be increased. Budget 2019 proposes to double the size of the Security Infrastructure Program from $2 million per year to $4 million per year until 2021-22 in order to make Canada’s community gathering spaces safer places to live, work, and play. This leads FAME to believe that festivals and events could be eligible for the program, as per its request.

These announcements are linked with FAME’s three pillared plan to create a better business environment for all festivals and events, by keeping them safe, helping them grow, and focusing on creation. It was made public several months ago and was at the heart of an intensive campaign with the Canadian Government and various partners.

Approximately 100 people and organizations have supported FAME and its requests to Government; including twenty-five Members of Parliament, Tourism associations from across the country, Mayors and, of course, festivals and events. FAME is pleased to see that this collective message has been heard and that the Government is proposing budgetary measures to support the festivals and events industry.

FAME would like to thank the various elected officials who have made today’s announcement possible, starting with the Minister of Finance, Bill Morneau, and the Minister of Canadian Heritage and Multiculturalism, Pablo Rodriguez, who has expressed his firm support for festivals and events since his nomination. FAME would also like to extend its thanks to Minister of Tourism Melanie Joly, and to offer its full support for the implementation of her new Federal Strategy on Jobs and Tourism and the creation of a Canadian Experiences Fund.

Several months ago, a KPMG study evaluated that a group of 17 Canadian events generated $290,8M annually in economic impact (added to market value), created or maintained the equivalent of 4,606 jobs (Full Time Equivalent), and produced fiscal revenues of $66,6M, $17,3M of which went to the Federal Government. This same study concluded that the Canadian Government recouped 1.78 times its investment in festivals and events by way of taxes and fees.

Canadians favourable to financial intervention from the federal government to help festivals and events ensure the safety of participants, according to a survey

Nearly three in four Canadians (72%) are in favour of financial intervention from the federal government to help festivals and events ensure the safety of participants, says a Léger survey commissioned by FAME and the Regroupement des événements majeurs internationaux (RÉMI).

To the question “How safe do you feel when you attend festivals and events in Canada?” 80% of respondents answered “very safe” or “sufficiently safe.” Some 84% said that Canadian festival and event organizers are putting in place appropriate measures to ensure participants’ safety.

For the two associations of festivals and events, which represent 45 gatherings across the country, this support from the population is very timely. A few weeks ago, FAME submitted a brief as part of the pre-budget consultations in Ottawa that recommended the government provide an additional $10 million to theCommunities at Risk: Security Infrastructure Program (SIP) and expand access to this program for festivals and events. The brief also suggests the creation of a program to grow the industry and calls for increases in the budgets of the two Canadian Heritage programs that benefit the industry. These budgets have remained unchanged for nearly 10 years.

FAME Executive Director Martin Roy, who called on the federal government to boost its support in an open letter in June, today invites the Ministers of Public Safety, Tourism, Canadian Heritage and Economic Development to act on the recommendations regarding festivals and events.

In May, a KPMG study estimated that a group of 17 Canadian events together generated $290.8 million in economic benefits (added value at market prices). This calculation was based on eligible spending (operations and tourism) of $396.4 million. The study also estimated that the 17 events had created or maintained the equivalent of 4,606 jobs (full-time equivalent) and generated $66.6 million in tax revenues ($49.3 million for the Québec government, $17.3 million for the Government of Canada).

More information about the survey

The web-based survey was conducted from August 3 to 6, 2018 among a sample of 1,527 Canadians aged 18 and over who can express themselves in French or in English. Using Statistics Canada data, the results were weighted by sex, age, province, mother tongue, education, and the presence of minor children in the household to make the sample representative of the entire population under study.

Survey results (in French)

Prebudget Consultation: FAME asks for a better business environment for the festivals and major events industry

Festivals and major events Canada (FAME) submitted a brief as part of the pre-budget consultations in Ottawa. The proposal for a better business environment for all festivals and major events rests on three pillars that will help Canada compete in a growing international market. We invite the Government of Canada to keep them safe, help them grow, and focus on their creation.

  1. Security: The terrorist threat that is felt around the world forces festivals and events to take necessary mitigation measures, which represents a significant and increasing cost that cannot be covered through sponsorship or otherwise.
  2. Growth and Competitiveness: The disappearance of tobacco sponsorship and previous Federal programs — as well as an absence of reliable sources of funding — has stunted the industry’s growth and affected its ability to compete with other jurisdictions around the world in attracting international tourists. FAME wants to ensure that our industry will be able to compete to attract tourists in a rapidly-growing international market.
  3. Culture: As the number of events in Canada has increased, the budgets of programs that benefit the industry at the Department of Canadian Heritage have not increased in almost 10 years. This means that these programs remain under high pressure and cannot keep up with the demand.

As the only pan-Canadian organization exclusively comprised of festivals and events in the country, FAME acts as the spokesperson for the industry. Therefore, the scope of our thinking extends to the entirety of Canadian festivals and events, of all sizes and all places. Small and large events are equally concerned by growth, security, and the recognition of their contribution to Canada’s cultural vitality.

Read the brief

Large economic impact study of 17 major Canadian events : Impressive numbers that further justify FAME's request for a federal program dedicated to the growth of the events industry

A new economic impact study of 17 major Canadian events published today shows that FAME’s request for the federal government to establish a program dedicated to the growth of the events industry is more relevant and timely than ever.

Read the study 

The KPMG study estimates that a group of 17 events generated a combined $290.8 million in economic benefits (added value at market prices). This calculation is based on $396.4 million in eligible expenditures (operations and tourist). The study estimates that the 17 events created or maintained the equivalent of 4,606 jobs (full-time equivalent) and generated tax revenues of $66.6 million ($49.3 million for the Government of Québec, $17.3 million for the Government of Canada).

The study, commissioned by KPMG at the request of the Regroupement des événements majeur internationaux (RÉMI), included nine FAME members. It also concludes that the Government of Canada is receiving 1.78 times what it invests in the events thanks to taxes and other levies.

These figures are obtained under a so-called “restrictive” approach that only takes into account the spending of tourists who came to the destinations mainly because of the events. The numbers are even more impressive when including tourists who came to the destinations partly because of the events. This is another approach provided in the Québec government’s Guide méthodologique pour la réalisation des études sur l’impact économique des grands festivals & événements. In this case, the 17 events generate economic benefits of $355.1 million (added value at market prices), based on $483.5 million in eligible expenditures (operations and tourist). The number of jobs created or maintained rose to 5,598 (full-time equivalent) and tax revenues to $84.2 million ($62.4 million in Québec, $21.8 million in Ottawa).

The events industry can therefore be highly lucrative. The more funds are injected, the greater the economic rewards; as demonstrated by the experience of the Montréal International Jazz Festival, the subject of studies in 2016 and 2017. With $4 million in subsidies from the City of Montréal and the Québec and Canadian governments, the event generated $39.1 million in 2016. In 2017, additional contributions from the Canada 150 Fund and theSociety for the Celebration of Montréal’s 375th Anniversary raised the total subsidies to $5.5 million. These helped to extend the event and, as a result, increased the economic benefit to $48.5 million. This is an additional argument to sow more in order to reap more.

The KPMG study also shows that the holding of events encourages tourists from outside the province, often from abroad, to travel to the venues specially to attend the events and spend “new money” in the economy. Of the 17 events analyzed, 190,603 visitors came from another province or from outside Canada, spending an average of $778.34 per stay and leaving a total of $148.5 million in “new money” in Québec – nearly a quarter on hotels or lodging and one-third on restaurants. FAME believes that with more resources, major Canadian festivals and events will be more attractive and draw more tourists, including international tourists.

Fairness and redistribution requested

For FAME, one of the current problems is one of equity in Canada. With the exception of Canada Economic Development for Québec Regions, the other regional economic development agencies do not make the event industry a priority and do not support it.

Also, if the Government of Canada supports, for example, the Canadian Formula 1 Grand Prix to the tune of $7 million per year – recognizing its economic and touristic importance – it does not do the same with the major events cited in the study.

At the Department of Canadian Heritage, which recognizes the role of cultural presenters more than events, budgets of the Canada Arts Presentation Fund (Programming support component: Professional Arts Festivals and Performing Arts Series Presenters) and of the Building Communities Through Arts and Heritage (Local Festivals) program, have not been meeting the demand for a long time. They have not been increased for nearly 10 years. Under these two programs, FAME members receiving grants from Canadian Heritage share approximately $4.5 million annually.

Even if major events lead to a chain reaction in the economy, for example, in transportation, restaurants and hotels, they receive only a small part of the wealth created, with the exception of tickets, when applicable, and a few autonomous revenue items. FAME calls on governments to actively play their role as “redistributors” of some of the wealth in order to keep the wheels turning and enable festivals and events to obtain financing, renew themselves, and grow.

Watch featuring containing results from the study 

2018 Federal Budget: FAME Disappointed to See Festivals and Events Ignored

Following the presentation of the federal budget for 2018–2019, Festivals and Major Events Canada (FAME) is disappointed that, despite its Creative Canada strategy and its desire to make Canada an all-star international destination, the federal government did not see fit to support the development and growth of the event industry at this time.

The association, which represents 29 events in Canada, plans to continue its advocacy work with Heritage Minister Mélanie Joly and her colleague in charge of Tourism, Bardish Chagger, and hopes to convince them of the importance of investing in an industry that pays all sorts of dividends.

“It was the perfect opportunity to recognize the role of festivals and events as economic and cultural drivers, release the brakes and send a strong signal for their development,” said FAME Executive Director Martin Roy. “There’s always next time,” he added.


Prebudget Consultation: FAME urges the federal government to invest in the festivals industry

Festivals and Major Events (FAME) is inviting the Government of Canada to increase Canadian productivity and competitiveness through the festivals and major events industry, by investing a part of the allocations for the 150th anniversary celebrations. This is the crux of the written submission FAME presented to the Standing Committee on Finance, in the context of its prebudget consultation - the deadline for which was August 4th, 2017.

According to FAME, a $45 M investment will bring in 112.5 M $ in tax revenue for the Government of Canada from the first year.

“In 2011, the Government of Canada concluded, in its evaluation of the Marquee Tourism Events Program (2009–2011), that ‘the Program responded to the need for an immediate economic stimulus to the tourism sector’ and ‘created positive benefits for recipients’”, said Martin Roy, Executive Director of FAME. “This positive evaluation speaks to the potential impacts that this type of program could have in today’s context—where the international tourism market is growing like never before. Canada can, and must, seize the opportunity to compete in this lucrative market by increasing support for it festivals and major events sector”, he added.

Read the brief

More tourists, more wealth: An appeal to the Government of Canada

Martin Roy, Executive Director, Festivals and Major Events (FAME) and Regroupement des événements majeurs internationaux (RÉMI)*

It’s happening: a very hopeful tourism season is starting now in Canada with Tourism Week from May 28 to June 3 and the first major events and festivals being rolled out everywhere in this year of Canada’s 150th Confederation and Montreal’s 375th anniversaries.

For a long time, the stars have not been as propitious for our destination – which has topped the New York Times and Lonely Planet’s annual list – to attract more international tourists than ever. If the federal government has acted resolutely in favour of the industry since 2015, it can and must do more to seize the largest share of the market, a “pie” that is literally exploding before our eyes globally and in which we should have the largest possible share.

Each year, there are more than a billion international tourists who travel the world in search of a change of scenery and new experiences. The World Tourism Organization predicts that this will increase to 1.8 billion in 2030, which represents an average annual growth of 3.3 %. In 2016, Canada welcomed nearly 20 million foreign visitors, the highest level in the past 14 years, and this could make it climb a few rungs among the top 20 international destinations when it did not do better than ranking 18th in 2015.

This increase is certainly the result of favourable circumstances and also the intervention of the government of Canada, which has stopped requiring visas from certain countries and reinvested in Destination Canada so that the organization can work on convincing more Americans to visit. From our point of view, this effort focusing on marketing and access must be combined with an effort to develop the tourism offering, the “product” that we offer to tourists.

On the occasion of the launch of the festival and events season, Festivals and Major Events (FAME) would like to ask the federal government to take a step further in promoting the arrival of international tourists and generating benefits by creating a program for the growth of these major events, such as the Ottawa Bluesfest, the Montreal International Jazz Festival, Just For Laugh Festival, Vancouver International Jazz Festival and the Festival d’été de Québec, which are held in most of the provinces. To this end, they suggest perpetuating a part of the 150th anniversary budget allocation.

In addition to having a positive social and cultural impact, festivals and events act as very appealing products for the destination by concretizing vague travel intentions to Canada into not-to-be-missed dates. In 2009, we estimated that a group of 15 major events would alone generate more than a billion dollars of spending and $ 650 million in GDP for the country. It has also been established since then that each dollar invested by the governments in festivals pays off two and a half times in terms of tax revenues and incidental taxes. Many festivals and events are attended by more than 10% of festivalgoers from outside the country. The example of Osheaga, in which more than two-thirds of participants come from outside of Quebec, is persuasive enough to be reproduced across Canada.

Elsewhere, various jurisdictions have understood the importance of investing in festivals and events, which are increasingly becoming worldwide social phenomena as well as significant tourism opportunities, as evidenced by the success of Coachella in California, Tomorrowland in Belgium, and SXSW in Texas. In the last case, the state alone invests nearly $ 40 million in a fund for events while the City of Austin contributes more than $ 12 million.

Here, Quebec and Ontario recently announced reinvestments, each increasing their program budgets to more than $ 20 million, but since the end of the Marquee Tourism Events Program in 2010, the federal government’s participation is still awaited. Through Canadian Heritage and economic development agencies, Canada indirectly supports up to 4 % of a sector that is proportionally funded to a greater degree by the French, Swedish and Irish governments, to name just a few. In the United Kingdom, the public revenue share in British Arts Festival Association members is as high as 28 %.

To enable Canadian festivals and events to be more attractive and competitive on the international scene and offer a higher quality “product” and enhanced experience to their client base, FAME asks the government to intervene conscientiously in the context where the Canadian Council of Tourism Ministers is already evaluating the possibility of collaborating with this significant, but fragile industry.

* FAME represents 22 festivals and major events across Canada while RÉMI is active in Québec with 27 members