Thank you and good morning.
My name is Corrie Jackson, and I am a senior curator at RBC. I'm responsible for overseeing and managing the RBC art collection, including acquisitions and installations of artwork globally.
The RBC art collection actively supports the work of living Canadian artists and has been collecting works since 1929. While many of our acquisitions focus on the work of emerging artists—supporting their work often before they find critical support from major museums or institutions—we also look to collect from artists of different generations who are fostering important conversations, and who are the mentors to the next generation of artists.
At RBC, we recognize the important role the arts play in supporting vibrant communities and strong economies. We also understand that support for the arts creates opportunities for many promising new artists to commit to their craft and take their careers to the next level. That is why RBC has made it a priority to help the next generation of artists progress in their careers. Our strategy provides the opportunity to raise awareness about Canada's vibrant and diverse art landscape.
Some examples of RBC's support for the arts include the following.
The RBC emerging artist project, which is overseen by the RBC Foundation, is committed to supporting young artists as they graduate and make their way to being professional practitioners. The RBC Foundation partners with institutions to support mentorship programs that help young artists in the early stages of their careers. This support is essential as young creators leave school and look to establish themselves among their peers. Since its inception, the RBC emerging artist project has helped over 8,000 artists from a variety of disciplines, and has invested over $70 million in arts organizations globally.
There is also the RBC Canadian painting competition. It was established in 1999 and has focused on helping emerging visual artists by providing them with a national forum to display their work and by opening doors to future opportunities. In addition to monetary prizing, artists are provided with support and mentorship. Each year, one national winner and two honourable mentions have their works become part of RBC's corporate art collection, which I oversee.
We partner with the Canadian Art Foundation to ensure that these young artists also receive mentorship from a jury of nationally and internationally celebrated art experts. We have partnered with organizations such as CARFAC to also ensure that these young artists receive access to information on artist compensation, copyright and the rights of an artist.
RBC's corporate art collection includes over 4,500 works by Canadian artists. RBC is collecting with an awareness that we are supporting a practice, and that this support is part of an active exchange. The works we acquire are sourced from commercial primary market galleries and help fund the time in the studio that allows for the next exhibitions, the publications, and the ability for artists to continue to engage, reflect and produce.
We collect with an awareness that an active market in Canada can strengthen the vibrancy of our communities. The stronger our arts community is nationally, the more we are cohesively engaged in creating a culture that benefits from the innovative, experimental and enriching experience that art brings to us all.
What drew me to this position personally, after working in commercial and university galleries, was seeing the unique and direct impact corporate collecting can have on the livelihood of artists. An actively acquiring collection pays artists for the work of their labour, research, time and thought, and that becomes manifested within an artwork. This opportunity is important and impactful. The Canadian primary market can be limited in scope, and the impact of corporate collections is not insignificant.
When thinking about our responsibility toward supporting artists, I often think of an ongoing study I recently read, entitled “Waging Culture”, which comes out of York University. It's a small sampling and quite limited in scope, but it offers information that I feel echoes sentiments I have heard in talking to artists across the county.
It looks at the typical experiences of a professional artist working in Canada. I want to emphasize that this is a study of artists who are actively making work and contributing to cultural dialogues, showing in museums and institutions. They are professional artists, but they are not necessarily living off the sale and display of their work alone. They are also often working other jobs. They are focused and committed to making work that is bringing new voices into our communities.
The study is broad and speaks to many of the challenges artists face. However, it also helps us understand how our acquisitions affect the livelihood of artists. The study states that the revenue for median artists in Canada, from their artistic practice, is 40% from sales, 40% from grants and 20% from artist fees, like copyright income. The yearly income for artists from all sources, including their day job, is approximately $21,000.
In both 2007 and 2012, however, the study showed that artists are not realizing any profit from their practice. In 2007, the median practice income was a loss of approximately $500, and in 2012, it was about a $400 profit. On average, the hourly income for artists was less than $2 an hour. This gives us pause to consider that it's often the artists themselves who are actively funding the production of art in Canada.
RBC's support of the arts is part of our corporate culture. The conversations sparked by artworks in our collection infuse the innovative and dynamic exchanges between our clients and our employees. As we continue to support the visual arts, we look to better understand and strengthen our relationships with visual arts organizations across Canada and understand our impact within the larger Canadian and international art market and the visual art community as a whole. We continue to look to support the diverse conversations stimulated by visual art.
Thank you for your attention. I'd be pleased to answer any questions from the committee.
Thank you, Madam Chair and members of the committee.
I'm Glenn Rollans. I'm president of the Association of Canadian Publishers, known as ACP, and co-owner and publisher of Brush Education in Edmonton. I am joined by Kate Edwards, who is the executive director of ACP.
We acknowledge that we're meeting today on the unceded traditional lands of the Algonquin Anishinabe people.
ACP represents almost 120 Canadian-owned, mainly English-language book publishers across Canada, publishing in all genres for audiences around the world. We're creative partners and risk investors in books. We're not printers. We fill the role in the book world that producers play in the film world. Audiences can purchase our works, or license them under direct or collective licences, in digital and print formats. We generate important income for authors, editors, designers, illustrators, photographers and other creative professionals, and we are creative professionals in our own right.
The 2012 amendment to Canada's Copyright Act damaged our livelihoods. In particular, it opened the door to systematic and widespread unpaid copying by Canada's K-12 and post-secondary sectors. The two amendments most responsible are the inclusion of education as a purpose for fair dealing, and the reduction of statutory damages—that is, the penalties for infringement specified by the act.
Emboldened by these amendments, the education sector throughout Canada, with the exception of Quebec, abandoned collective licences and stopped paying mandatory Copyright Board tariffs. Instead, they implemented new policies advising staff and students that all copying, within the limits of the old licences and tariffs, was now available for free. The new statutory damages didn't even slow them down. Our members were shocked to learn that the only significant difference between the new policy and the old licences and tariffs was that publishers and authors would no longer be compensated.
This cynical ambush was the exact opposite of what the education sector had promised to do during the pre-amendment consultations. By opening the door to widespread unpaid uses of our works, these amendments created a threat to the existence of independent Canadian writers and publishers.
Make no mistake: They also created an urgent freedom of expression issue. If our Copyright Act leads to a Canada where the only writers and publishers who can earn a living are those with institutional salaries and those chasing Internet advertising, it will have silenced important, independent Canadian voices.
Independent Canadian publishers struggle in a home market dominated by internationally owned media. We are comparatively small entrepreneurs, yet we publish 80% of all Canadian-authored titles. Our members publish writers who might otherwise go unheard—diverse, marginalized and emerging voices. By undermining their livelihoods, the 2012 amendments have encouraged the exploitation and suppression of these authors. They have also made it less possible for publishers to take risks on developing these authors' works and finding their audiences.
As a result of the behaviour unleashed by the 2012 act, our sector has lost copying revenues of roughly $30 million per year, as determined by the PwC study of 2015. Our opportunity to sell books has also suffered because of the large free-copying zone opened up by the act. The 2015 study—which I think we have supplied to the clerk—stood up well to the 2017 scrutiny of the Federal Court of Canada.
These changes also went against Canada's international commitments under copyright conventions and treaties. Foreign users now pay Canadian authors and publishers more for copying than Canadians do. By failing to rein in copying by its education sector, Canada has cast itself as an outlier among developed nations. We have become a scavenger of published works that lacks the will to support their creation, rather than a confident creator of intellectual property in a 21st century economy.
The Copyright Act should defend Canadian creative workers against large-scale copyright users who systematically use our work for free. Thrift does not justify theft. There is no justification for treating Canada's authors and publishers as uncompensated suppliers.
The education sector argues that statistics prove the Canadian book publishing sector is doing well despite uncompensated copying. In fact, this is a flat-out misstatement of the facts. I urge you to review the information we have supplied to the clerk and to question such misstatements carefully.
Losses due to the education sector's rejection of Access Copyright licences and Copyright Board tariffs vary by publishers, but in the case of my own company, those direct losses have amounted to roughly 5% of revenues. When combined with our diminished opportunity to sell books, and with the razor-thin margins in book publishing, this has had a dramatic impact on our growth and operations. Among independent Canadian publishers, losing even 1% of revenues means lost jobs, unpublished titles, lost opportunities for today's students to work in our sector and lost contributions to Canadian education, community and culture.
The education sector also argues that copyright users are harmed when copyright creators are protected. I beg you to reject this premise in all its forms. The rights you protect for me and my colleagues are not taken away from anyone. They are protected for everyone, and protecting them benefits all Canadians.
Relicensing the education sector is not complicated. The only thing the education sector needs to change is its attitude toward what is fair. Quebec's education sector is fully licensed under collective licences, while the education sector in the rest of Canada is almost completely unlicensed. That means that Canadian authors and publishers are compensated when they are copied in Quebec but not when they are copied elsewhere in Canada. That is simply unacceptable in our federation. The easy, practical and affordable solution is for the education sector in the rest of Canada to again enter into collective licences—but they appear to need your encouragement to do so.
We were disappointed to learn yesterday that the government's plan for Copyright Board reform will not address statutory damages for our sector. This is a missed opportunity to encourage respect for the Copyright Board's decisions and to create an incentive for all parties to come back to the negotiating table. Unless this omission is reconsidered, mandatory tariffs will remain unpaid and damage to our sector will continue to mount.
I need to say clearly and bluntly that if you don't intend the damage—damage that has now gone on for years and years—you need to stop it and reverse it. We urge this committee to find the courage to say no to the short-sighted conduct of the education sector, which is so destructive to the livelihoods of Canadian authors and publishers—and in fact to the interests of educators, their students and all Canadians.
Please restore a fair marketplace where independent Canadian book publishers can earn a living and continue to make their important contributions to other creative professions and to our country.
We'll include our full set of recommendations as part of our written submission.
Thank you, Madam Chair and members of the committee. We look forward to your questions.
Thank you, Madam Chair and members of the committee.
I'm William Huffman, and I represent the West Baffin Eskimo Co-operative, an organization with a very broad mandate but one that includes the management of copyright and permissions as it relates to Inuit artists in the region.
I'll just give you a bit of an organizational overview, to give you a sense of who we are. The West Baffin Eskimo Co-operative is the oldest and most successful of the Arctic co-operatives. There is a network across the north. The organization was created in 1959 to provide resources for Inuit artists working in the community. Since its inception, the co-operative has been responsible for making possible the iconic Inuit art of Cape Dorset. The creation and sale of Inuit art is the largest and most profitable local industry in the region.
Cape Dorset is located in the territory of Nunavut, approximately 2,091 kilometres north of this room. The head office is in Cape Dorset, and since 1976 a satellite office operates in downtown Toronto, where I am based.
We are a community-owned organization; 90% of 1400 residents in Cape Dorset are shareholders. Profits are distributed back to the community in the form of annual dividends.
What we do in the context of copyright is that we manage the copyright and reproduction permissions on behalf of Cape Dorset's living artists and artists' estates. Our system is predicated on a power of attorney and appointment of agent arrangement that we negotiate with each artist, or the artist's estate representative. We are only responsible for this community. No other organization in the Canadian Arctic has the same system sophistication that exists in Cape Dorset.
For today's forum, I should note that my office regularly receives requests from artists residing in other communities for its copyright and permissions expertise. That certainly demonstrates a need for this specialized infrastructure in Canada's Arctic region for our northern creators.
Any individual or entity wishing to reproduce, in whole or in part, the likeness of a work of art produced by a Cape Dorset artist must seek authorization from the co-operative. Our office has worked with a range of stakeholders, from museums and art galleries to corporations and government.
In light of today's forum, we have ongoing federal relationships in the context of copyright and permissions with the Bank of Canada, the Royal Canadian Mint, Canada Post, the National Gallery of Canada, the Canada Council for the Arts, Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada, and Global Affairs Canada, among others.
Our copyright and permissions specialist reviews the proposed use of the imagery and provides final approval on format and quality of the reproduction or depiction. The co-operative often collects a user fee based on the CARFAC copyright collective schedule and remits, minus a 20% administration fee, a dollar amount to the artist or estate. Use of imagery can relate to both print and online platforms. These can include publications, advertising initiatives and merchandising, everything from coffee mugs and umbrellas to exhibition catalogues and magazines.
Often, the approach is proactive, with requests for copyright and permissions received by my office. We then work closely with those individuals or organizations. In other circumstances, we are made aware of or we discover unauthorized image use and attempt to enforce our reproduction and fee requirements. In the case of the latter, we are often successful collecting fees and rectifying improper image use, but certainly we are limited in how aggressively we can enforce our copyright and permission terms globally.
In our 2017-18 fiscal year, we processed $137,466.78 in copyright and permission fees, remitting $109,973.73 to Cape Dorset artists and their estates.
Why do we manage this program? The artists of Cape Dorset range from the very emerging to elder creators. Many artists are challenged by a lack of home phone and Internet access. All have Inuktitut as a first language, and it is common for our more senior artists to be unilingual Inuktitut speakers. It's also common that our artists are without bank accounts and are therefore unable to accept payments under what we would consider normal circumstances.
In light of that, you can imagine how complex and challenging it is for our artists to both understand and navigate a copyright and permissions program under, again, what we would consider normal circumstances. The specific structure and administration of this copyright and permissions program by the West Baffin Eskimo Co-operative makes possible a financial benefit to artists from image use while protecting the integrity of the original work by regulating and restricting its reproduction or depiction.
In closing, the distinctive structure of our organization and its collective understanding of the Inuit artist community in Cape Dorset have uniquely equipped us to manage copyright for our stakeholders.
Thank you, Madam Chair.
Thank you, everyone, for being here.
First of all, Ms. Jackson, I would really like to congratulate you on what you just presented and on the Royal Bank's role, which I was unaware of. It's a wonderful example of support for creators, and contemporary creators, which is particularly interesting. I sincerely thank you for that.
I would like to turn now to the Cape Dorset artists. In the last Parliament, one of the Liberal MPs, , introduced his bill, Bill , proposing to amend the Copyright Act with respect to the continuation right in visual arts. This bill did not succeed. Today, while there is much talk of the need for reconciliation with indigenous peoples, I find that the lack of resale rights in the visual arts is a glaring example of Canada's lax approach.
I'll summarize for my colleagues what this is all about. Let's take the example of a little-known artist—perhaps a little like those whose creations are on display at the Royal Bank—who sells his work at a low price or accepts the first offer that seems reasonable to him. His work eventually gains value and is sold for hundreds of thousands of dollars. Without the resale right, the artist won't benefit from it and will remain poor for the rest of his life.
The example is striking in the case of First Nations and Cape Dorset. I must remind you of the case of Ms. Pootoogook, whose body was found in the Rideau River here in Ottawa, where she lived in poverty, illness and despair. This might not have happened if she had received worthwhile remuneration for her work, for example from your Cape Dorset cooperative, Mr. Huffman.
Don't you think we should quickly create this resale right, perhaps even in the context of the revision of the Copyright Act?
Thank you, Madam Chair.
Thank you to our witnesses this morning.
Allow me to digress briefly to another industry, or a sport, I guess.
I have a son who was a motocrosser, and he travelled the country. Motocrossers provided entertainment. They inspired youth. They attracted thousands and thousands of people to these events. They were all starving. They slept on couches. They were bumming meals. In fact, they actually had to pay to participate in these events. Spectators would go to the events and pay to watch them. It was absolutely bizarre. That changed in motocross when corporations across Canada got more involved. Corporations saw the value of getting more involved.
With respect to you, Ms. Jackson, number one, I commend RBC for what you do across the country. Certainly the emerging artists program is wonderful. RBC is clearly a leader.
Can you touch on how important it is for large corporations across Canada to be involved, to help? The words “starving artist” take a whole new meaning the more I learn on this committee. What further role, and what bigger role, if you will, can corporations play? When did RBC actually recognize that?
Okay. I want to talk about corporations and philanthropists in this space. It's great. They were announcing all these literary prizes on CBC last week, and one of the disc jockeys, if you will, said that maybe we have too many prizes for the market we have. I think that's absurd, but here's what's perverse: having all these prizes from corporations and philanthropists, yet artists struggle to be discovered because we have fewer and fewer publishing houses.
Today, The Red Word by Sarah Henstra is the literary award winner for the Governor General's awards, and she struggled to get the book published because it deals with the really raw subject of sexual assault on a campus. There's the award-winning book for the Governor General's literary prize, and it almost didn't get published because we don't have enough publishers prepared to take a risk. That's an issue.
Glenn, my question is this. I understand that fair dealing has turned out to be not very fair at all. I won't use the word “betrayal”, but some of your colleagues have. What I did hear was a serious backsliding of the intent of the educational industry in this nature. What does this mean for what I would call not just specialized, but important regional content in the educational space?
I'm an openly gay, francophone MP from the west who also has indigenous heritage. I want to see those stories told. What does the lack of publishers mean, and what does this framework mean, for LGBTQ2, indigenous, francophone, regional perspectives in the west, in the Atlantic, or in the north? Are we just going to see the U.S. perspective, the European perspective, the Ontario-centric perspective? Am I going to learn awesome things about Quebec
but in western Canada
instead of learning from
the French-speaking community in western Canada?
Thank you very much, Madam Chair.
I would like to thank the committee members for inviting us to appear today.
My presentation will be mainly in English, with a few short paragraphs in French. I work for a national association whose members are mainly in Canada. So I work a lot in English, but I do everything in both official languages on a daily basis.
In response to the committee's mandate, the Artist-Run Centres and Collectives Conference, hereafter referred to as ARCA and represented by myself and Jason Saint-Laurent, is thankful to appear before you to address remuneration models through the unique perspective of artist-run centres, also known as ARCs—an infrastructure of 180 organizations located across Canada. ARCs provide multiple access points to the arts for both art professionals and the public.
Artist-run centres are non-profit organizations governed by artists. ARCs support the production and public presentation of new and innovative practices and are committed to paying artists the recommended minimum CARFAC fees of $1,996 per exhibition lasting four weeks on average. In 2015-16, artist-run centres presented the work of over 4,000 Canadians—Canadian artists, I should say, but they are also Canadians—across the country in more than 900 exhibitions attended by some 1.5 million audience members.
A statistical study conducted in 2010 by the Observatoire de la culture et des communications of the Institut de la statistique du Québec on a sample of professional visual artists found that only one-third of artists had received royalties, for a median annual amount of about $890. Although this source of income is important for artists, it is far from providing a living.
It is impossible to establish with certainty the amount of exhibition royalties paid by artist-run centres to artists with the current Canadian Arts Data—also known as CADAC—as there is no clear differentiation between fees and royalties in financial reporting.
Because royalties represent such a small proportion of revenues, salaries and honoraria are an important source of income for artists. Artist-run centres actively work toward providing adequate pay for curatorial and administrative staff, half of whom are also practising artists. This labour force plays a key role in integrating new generations of artists and cultural workers by bridging the gap between higher education training, professional artistic practice and cultural management.
In 2015-16, only 77 artist-run centres of the 180 received core funding from the Canada Council for the Arts, representing less than half of our members. With total revenues of over $21 million, the median annual operating budget of these 77 centres was less than $250,000. Approximately $5.5 million of this revenue was paid in salaries and professional fees, representing over half of total artistic expenses. The remaining portion was dedicated to production costs, special projects, publications, professional development, outreach and education. Only 35% of the overall workforce positions were full-time, with a decrease of 2.7% since 2010, likely due to the growing freelance and part-time workforce, for which we only have anecdotal data.
Organizations systematically operate with fewer paid staff than what is needed.
Artist-run culture draws from an exceptional, highly specialized labour force. Designers, copy editors, translators, technicians—often artists themselves—are experts in the production of programming. Exhibiting artists are encouraged to give public talks and facilitate workshops along with their exhibitions. This labour, whether related to production or exhibition, provides additional revenues in the form of honoraria. Payment of these honoraria, however, can vary considerably according to organizational budgets.
I have a proposal. The current data, despite its gaps, suggests that current copyright-based remuneration falls short in providing artists with a living wage. Artist-run centres are currently providing additional sources of artistic income, on shoestring budgets.
In light of the above presentation, we ask the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage to consider recommending the following to the Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology.
One, strike a partnership between the Department of Canadian Heritage and Statistics Canada to develop and fund new statistical tools to better gauge today's complex visual arts sector according to key indicators and monitor the evolution of the socio-economic conditions of artists and cultural workers over time with greater granularity than the Culture Satellite Account can currently provide.
Two, before developing programs for the cultural hubs infrastructure—I read it this morning on the bus and it's fantastic, actually; thank you for that work—examine the current challenges faced by the existing Canadian artist-run network, representing a cross-section of artists, curators and managers who have been making Canadian art happen locally, nationally and internationally for over 40 years.
In closing, ARCA is grateful to members of Parliament for their part in approving the doubling of the Canada Council for the Arts budget. In the first round of core funding results since the increase in 2017-18, artist-run centres received an overall increase of 30%. More increases are expected after this year's second round of applications.
Good afternoon, everyone.
My name is Emmanuel Madan. I've been a professional artist for the last 20 years. My works have been shown in galleries and museums all over the world, as well as domestically. Since 2014, I've also been the director of the Independent Media Arts Alliance, or IMAA. IMAA is the national representative of the Canadian independent film, video, digital art and sound art sectors. Through our nearly 100 member organizations spanning 10 provinces and two territories, we serve over 16,000 independent media artists and cultural workers.
I'm not here on behalf of IMAA today, however. I've been asked to appear on behalf of the Visual Arts Alliance, a larger consortium of national arts organizations, of which IMAA is one.
The Visual Arts Alliance comprises 14 national arts service organizations, working in the domains of visual art, media arts and craft. Our 14 constituent groups represent artists, curators, art museums, artist-run centres, and art dealers. We've been in operation since November 2007, when we first convened at a national visual arts summit.
I'd like to echo and build on the statements that my colleague Anne Bertrand has just presented. The organization that Madam Bertrand leads, ARCA, is also a member of the VAA.
I've been following the proceedings of this committee and the testimony of your previous witnesses. Many have noted the immense challenges they face in the new copyright environment as a result of digital transformation and the consequent increase in mobility of content across borders.
These huge shifts are definitely not alien to me or to my own organization, as they pertain largely to audiovisual content. They deeply threaten the viability of the existing model for ensuring equitable and sustainable remuneration for creators.
What stands out for us in the Visual Arts Alliance is that for independent artists engaged in contemporary visual art and related fields, the previous model was never sustainable to begin with, even before the current pressures on the copyright regime. This is why so many contemporary artists tend to rely on a diverse range of income in order to make ends meet, as has been documented repeatedly, for example in a report by Michael Maranda, “Waging Culture”, from just a few years ago.
In this mix of revenue, certainly exhibition royalties.... Copyright-related royalties are part of the mix, for some artists anyway, but so are many other types of revenues related to the artist's practice, including sales of work, teaching, and other arts-related professional employment. Completing the mix, we have micro-gigs, contracts, and a myriad of part-time jobs that are not directly related to the artist's professional artistic career. That's actually my own experience, and it's the experience of many artists working throughout the field, whether they're emerging artists, mid-career, or often even established and senior artists. This precarity is of note. As I mentioned, it really predates the current disruption of the copyright environment.
We at the Visual Arts Alliance believe that the solution to the problem of remuneration for professional artists and content creators, although it's certainly affected by changes in the copyright landscape, cannot be solved exclusively through modifications to copyright legislation. Rather, a more holistic set of measures must be brought to bear in order to effectively address the ongoing systemic socio-economic precarity of this country's independent and professional artists.
At the moment, two committees are working in parallel on the revision of the Copyright Act. I understand that here at the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage, your priority is the well-being of Canadian artists and creators. The Visual Arts Alliance is therefore confident that the holistic approach it advocates, which certainly involves, but is not limited to, revising the Copyright Act, will appeal to the members of the committee.
This is the very spirit of what Ms. Bertrand was just saying, namely that we must ensure the social and economic security of creators themselves. After all, they are the starting point for the entire creative chain and are therefore the key element of the cultural industry as a whole.
Most independent artists in visual arts, media arts and crafts have the status of self-employed workers. They manage their businesses like any other small business owner. However, given the great instability of income sources, they are subject to major fluctuations, with good years often following years of significant losses.
While the Income Tax Act sets the reasonable expectation of profit as the determining criterion for carrying on a business, it must be recognized that, for many artists, this expectation may take many years to materialize and that, when the benefit finally arrives, it does not necessarily last forever.
I will note here that we have been in discussions with your colleagues at the Canada Revenue Agency, particularly in the aftermath of the Steve Higgins case last spring, to the effect that the Income Tax Act be interpreted in a way that is consistent with the realities of self-employed professional artists.
Applying the existing law correctly and appropriately is therefore the first recommendation of the Visual Arts Alliance with regard to remuneration models for artists. Tax relief in the form of income averaging, for example, would be another measure to investigate further.
The second and principal recommendation that the Visual Arts Alliance is making today to the standing committee is that you equip yourselves with the appropriate tools to measure and monitor the socio-economic conditions of working artists.
The existing mapping tools for artists' remuneration and the broader socio-economic context are incomplete. A report commissioned in 2011 by our own alliance, the Visual Arts Alliance, from Guy Bellavance of INRS, pointed out a range of gaps and blind spots, and recommended a clear path to address these gaps through a strategic foresighting process that would enable us to measure, analyze and track the evolution over the long term of a comprehensive set of data and trends.
The existing statistical tools, such as the Culture Satellite Account, are inadequate for achieving a thorough understanding of artists' remuneration and artists' socio-economic conditions. As Madame Bertrand has pointed out, even the Canadian Arts Data system, CADAC, which was initiated by public art funders across the country, does not differentiate between royalties and other forms of payment to artists.
We therefore support the recommendations stated by ARCA just now advocating for statistical tools that rise to the challenge of monitoring and analyzing the Canadian visual arts landscape, tools that would be explicitly geared toward understanding and improving the socio-economic conditions of artists and cultural workers.
We believe that PCH and Statistics Canada have a central role to play in this work, and we would advocate in the near term for the formation of a working group in which the Visual Arts Alliance could also play a role.
Thank you very much. Those are my remarks for now.
My name is Émilie Grandmont-Bérubé, and I own a contemporary art gallery in Montreal. I'll make my presentation in French, but please feel free to ask your questions in English. Perhaps it will help refresh my English a bit.
I am on the board of directors of the Association des galeries d'art contemporain, AGAC. I also served for several years on the board of directors of the Art Dealers Association of Canada, ADAC.
I am here mainly to discuss the issue of resale rights. The Canadian Artists' Representation, or CARFAC, has proposed that this resale right be included in the Copyright Act. This proposal is of great concern to us from the point of view of the art market and, above all, from the point of view of the primary market, consisting essentially of the galleries that AGAC represents.
Right off the bat, when we talk about the primary market, we are talking about the first time a work is sold, that is, when it leaves directly from the artist's studio. It is a sale from which the artist benefits. The secondary market is all the sales that follow.
Finally, resale rights are a tax on resale. The goal of this tax is to ensure that artists benefit from the added value of their works when they are sold in private galleries and auction houses.
From the outset, it is very important for us to recall the obvious role of gallery owners, who have a very privileged position in the art world in general. They are the only ones with such a long-term relationship with artists. We support them when things are going well and when things are not going well, in fact, at all stages of their careers.
There is no doubt that all gallery owners fully support the goal of helping to improve artists' incomes and socio-economic conditions. The income of gallery owners depends directly on the sale of the works of the artists they represent.
Gallery dealers, especially those in the primary market, who therefore deal directly with artists, practise a form of patronage. They believe deeply in art and artists, and they put their money where their mouth is. They personally invest their time, energy and money to defend with incredible passion the artists they represent and in whom they believe, hoping one day, perhaps, to reap the benefits of all this work.
It is a very high-risk enterprise. This is evidenced by the increasing number of galleries that have closed in recent years in Montreal, Toronto, Calgary and Vancouver. It's a little scary, actually. Galleries don't close because gallery owners no longer believe in their artists or their mission, but because the market doesn't allow them to survive.
The proposal to include resale rights in the Copyright Act may be very attractive at first sight, but it has major weaknesses that have been identified in several studies published in countries that have adopted this measure. The main weakness of this measure is that it does not benefit artists who really need it. There is no doubt about that and the figures prove it very clearly. This measure benefits established artists, the 1% of artists who have a very strong market. They are the ones who will receive royalties.
The studies published in France, the UK and Australia clearly show that resale rights, which aims to improve the situation of visual artists, misses its target and is based on the somewhat romantic idea that all works of art will be sold at a profit and that artists would deprive themselves of perhaps huge royalties. However, in reality, very few works of art sold end up on the secondary market and are even less sold at a profit.
One of the problems with the proposed resale rights measure is that it does not make any distinction. The tax would still be applicable on the sale of a work, whether it is sold at a loss or at a profit.
This meagre 1% of the artists generally receive between $50 and $100 in royalties per year. This is clearly not what will improve their socio-economic conditions.
In France, 70% of all royalties collected were distributed to seven artists, or seven estates, because this is of great benefit to the estates of dead artists, ultimately, and not to living artists who really need it. In the United Kingdom, 80% of all royalties collected were distributed to 10 artists. Once again, we are basically talking about their estates.
As my colleagues mentioned in their presentation, the situation of artists is extremely precarious. They are scraping by and often have to take jobs in different fields. They scrape by while hoping to find their place in the community and establish themselves one day. They dream of making a living from their work and from selling their works. The sale of works is the best way to improve the socio-economic conditions of artists. It is also the most respectable, and that is their goal. However, implementing resale rights in Canada will not achieve that objective at all. On the contrary, this right weakens an already extremely precarious market.
I mentioned the lack of nuance, the fact that the resale right could apply to a work sold both at a loss and at a profit. This would make collectors more inclined to take fewer risks and move towards better known works. Once again, the emerging artists most in need of selling their works would be left out.
By reselling a work at a loss and then having to pay a royalty on the resale, we would be doubly penalized for taking a risk. We would not have made a good investment and, in addition, we would have to pay for it. According to published studies, this would harm the market for emerging artists.
Another potential perverse effect of the measure is the shift of the resale of works outside galleries and auction houses. Canada is very close to the United States. It would be very easy to sell works in the United States, by mutual agreement between individuals, and thereby avoid both taxes and the resale right. That would also result in lost revenue for galleries and, ultimately, for artists.
It has been proposed to incorporate resale rights into the Copyright Act to correct an apparent inequity between visual artists and literary, musical or film artists. Yet, the ownership of rights already applies in the visual arts in the same way as it does in other settings. Unless visual artists have surrendered their rights, they may also monetize their authorization to reproduce their works in books, magazines, films, and so forth. That's why CARFAC's role is very important in maintaining reproduction rights.
AGAC strongly hopes that the government will put in place measures to improve the socio-economic conditions of artists. They deserve to be able to earn a decent living, we all agree on that. However, we believe that, in order to reach all, not just some, artists, the solution lies mainly in measures that will stimulate not weaken the buyers' market. For example, instead of taxing collectors when they resell works, why not encourage them to buy more works from the primary market by giving them tax credits, for example? Why not remove the capital gains tax on the sale of a work of art or take inspiration from the United Kingdom and its Own Art program, which encourages the acquisition of works by living artists?
I understand. Algorithms have that perverse effect.
Ms. Grandmont-Bérubé, you mentioned your reluctance about resale rights for the first transaction.
I completely understand you. Since I come from the record business myself, I believe that the parallels that have been drawn recently—I think even during the previous hour of the meeting—between a record producer and an emerging artist's first album are appropriate. I do believe that's precisely the role of gallery owners. Of course, far be it from me to interfere with the emergence and distribution of new talents.
However, you mentioned that, for you, the main problem is the resale right on the primary market. Different models have been presented. CARFAC has presented its model. Alexandre Taillefer, whom everyone knows, has already expressed his support for the proposal for resale rights in visual arts in the model presented by SODRAC, if I remember correctly. In any case, I am sure he has already expressed his support for one of the two formulas.
If we were to remove the resale right aspect from the primary market, the first gallery owner who offers a work for sale, would that then change everything for you?
It's not very politically correct of me, but I can't help raising my eyebrows when I hear that.
Unfortunately, the reality is that very few people around this table buy art, even though we all have good salaries of about $160,000 a year. Very few of us buy works of art.
For the time being, there is an ecosystem of creative artists that we must value—I see that Ms. Bertrand wants to comment. They are creators who want to achieve their potential and create works of art.
Right now, institutions and wealthy people interested in the visual arts are the ones who buy works. I therefore find it hard to believe that a 5% penalty, which could ensure the sustainability of the career of a living artist, such as Ms. Pootoogook, is drastic. She is a perfect example of what I am talking about.
I know there are social dimensions related to First Nations, but the reality is that some artists have lived in poverty all their lives and, after their death, their works have been sold for huge amounts of money compared to the initial prices they may have received. There's a direct parallel to music.
I would like you to answer, and I would also like to hear Ms. Bertrand's point of view.