Federal Budget 2023-2024



MONTRÉAL, MARCH 28 2023 — Festivals and Major Events Canada (FAME) describes some of the measures in the budget as “very promising”. FAME notes that the federal government has responded to some of their concerns in two specific ways that they welcome, pending further details.

The 2023 budget proposes to provide $108M over three years, beginning in 2023-2024, to regional development agencies to help communities, small businesses and non-profit organizations develop local projects and events. This announcement being made in conjunction with the new Federal Tourism Growth Strategy suggests that there may finally be greater support for Canadian festivals and events to grow based on economic and tourism criteria. This was an important request made by FAME in its brief “Unleashing the Full Potential of Event and Festival Tourism”, submitted as part of the consultation launched by the Minister of Tourism, Randy Boissonnault, whose work deserves to be highlighted.

Festivals and events were also asking for predictability and were hoping for an announcement that investments made in 2019-2020 to Building Communities Through Arts and Heritage would be renewed. This has been accomplished with the budget’s proposal to provide $14M over two years, beginning in 2024-2025, to the Department of Canadian Heritage. This investment of $7M per year has been added to the base budget for the past five years and would otherwise have disappeared on April 1, 2024. FAME has been campaigning on this issue for the past few months and acknowledges that the Minister of Canadian Heritage, Pablo Rodriguez, and his team have been listening.

The Canada Arts Presentation Fund (CAPF) also had an $8M increase to its base budget in 2019-2020, but the federal budget makes no mention of whether this measure will extend beyond the current year. The announcement of the $108M investment over three years could explain this, according to the coalition, but there is some cause for concern at this point. It will be important to ensure that those who suffer cuts from the CAPF (losing 25%) will gain at least an equivalent amount from regional development agencies.