Ontario Government Announces $45 Million Music Fund

Ontario Government Announces $45 Million Music Fund
Arts funding may get a major boost in Ontario, with the provincial government having announced plans to create a $45 million grant called the Ontario Music Fund, which intends to help out the music industry.

As the Toronto Star reports, the announcement came this morning (May 1) from Liberal Finance Minister Charles Sousa and Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport Michael Chan at Toronto's Lee's Palace, where they detailed a three-year plan to help support the production, promotion and distribution of Ontario-made music across the country and around the world. The proposal also aims to focus on promoting performance in the province. The project carries the slogan "Music Makes Jobs."

"You don't have to go to L.A. or New York, you can do it right here in Toronto," Sousa said. "This is what's going to make us a prosperous Ontario."

He added: "This is going to be money well spent because the ripple effect of this investment, of these grants, is going to enable us to attract more productions, more talent here in Ontario. … It's going to develop jobs. It's going to enable our young people to be even more involved and stay at home to get it done. It's going to attract people from all over the world to want to come to Ontario. And it's going to make us an even more dynamic and vibrant province."

The news comes a day before the Liberals announce their next provincial budget, which Conservatives are expected to vote against, meaning the funding plans are not yet set in stone. Even so, speakers were optimistic in investing in the Canadian music industry, of which an estimated 80 percent does business in Ontario.

"We create jobs," Canadian Independent Music Association president Stuart Johnsonsaid. "Music contributes to $303 million in GDP to the Canadian economy."

Chan, meanwhile, said that Toronto is a "global music capital for today, tomorrow and beyond."

Last year, Chan worked on a $5 million "live-music strategy" that aimed to boost Ontario tourism by booking more festivals and enriching local culture.