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Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage


NUMBER 097 
l
1st SESSION 
l
42nd PARLIAMENT 

EVIDENCE

Thursday, March 1, 2018

[Recorded by Electronic Apparatus]

  (0850)  

[Translation]

    We will begin the 97th meeting of the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage. We will now continue our study of the state of Canadian museums.

[English]

     We're starting this morning with our first panel. By video conference we have Ms. Gail Lord, co-founder and president of Lord Cultural Resources Inc. Here with us today, from the Inuit Heritage Trust Incorporated, we have Eva Aariak, president, and William Beveridge, executive director.
    Because there may be technical issues along the way, we'll start with our video conference witness.
    Ms. Lord, you have 10 minutes. It's a little hard for you to see me, so I'm going to ask you to keep an eye on the clock.
    Why don't we get started? Unfortunately, I can't hear you.
     They're going to turn on my microphone.
    Perfect. That's great.

[Translation]

    Thank you very much.
    It is my great pleasure to be here with you all today to talk about a very important subject: the role of museums and Canadian heritage, and especially the role of community museums.

[English]

    I thank you all for this opportunity. It's the first time that I'm making such a presentation.
    I thought I would just start with telling you a little bit more about me because it will give you an idea of where I come from, if you'll permit me,

[Translation]

Madam Chair and members of the committee.

[English]

    You know my name—I'm Gail Lord. My husband and I founded Lord Cultural Resources in 1981. We're both Canadians. This is the world's largest cultural planning entity. I was honoured a year ago with the Order of Canada, which I'm very proud of. I'm also an

[Translation]

Officier de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres

[English]

from the Government of France, and I have an LLD degree from McMaster University. I feel very honoured with all this.
    Our company has offices worldwide, so I think we're a great example that you can achieve, in museums and heritage, the status of international renown in a creative industry.
    We've conducted more than 2,700 assignments in 57 countries, and our clients include the Louvre—and when I say the Louvre I mean the Louvre in Paris, the Louvre in Lens, and the Louvre in Abu Dhabi, which just opened.
    The proudest thing for me of all these statistics—and of course they're lived experiences; they're much more than statistics—is our work in Canada. We've done more than 400 projects across this country. That means assignments of museum planning, cultural planning, and museum development in every province and territory, in museums big and small, over 36 years. We continue to work in museums big and small.
    In the national capital region where you are, we've conducted more than 20 assignments alone. We're working on the rehabilitation of the Centre Block of Parliament and the visitor's centre that will be established there in due course. So we're very involved in our nation's capital. You may know that my firm won the competition to do the Holocaust Monument, which I'm inordinately proud of, which is up and operating in Ottawa near the War Museum. The proudest moment for me—I think it's good for you to know this—is the 14 years I worked on the Canadian Museum for Human Rights in Winnipeg. Our master plan was submitted to the then Prime Minister of Canada, Jean Chrétien, and was voted on unanimously by the House of Commons. This is so incredible. I think that the results in Winnipeg are very profound.
    We've also worked for nine years with Pier 21 in Halifax. I just think that it speaks volumes both to the knowledge and experience that I'm privileged to have in our own country, and also worldwide. Without further ado I would like to briefly outline for you what I see as the strengths, the weaknesses, and the opportunities of the small and medium-size museum sector in Canada.
    The first strength is the dedicated staff and volunteer base of our local museums and the museum communities all across Canada. There are very commendable efforts such as the Ottawa Museum Network with which we are working right now, and the Nova Scotia museum system with which we have worked over many years to support, promote, and build capacity among community museums. Community museums are so heavily reliant on volunteer support. The capacity building is a very big issue for them. The decentralization of our national museums—and I know national museums are not the subject today—is a great help because I'm not a believer in trickle-down economics, but I do believe in trickle-up and trickle-down influence. That brings tremendous expertise to each of the regions of the country in which these museums are located.

  (0855)  

     I think that combining the impetus of the national and provincial museums and their expertise with the local knowledge of the smaller museums is really a major theme.
    Museums need to be seen as transformative institutions. Because they're largely voluntary, and they're so community-based, I think they're too often seen as, I don't know, “keepers of old stuff”. That's really no longer the main theme, although it's a theme of many of them. They're inspiring spaces. They're places where young people go to experience the real material history of their lives, their new lives if they're immigrants, their family lives if they're settled for a while, and their changing lives, because the lives of all Canadians are changing. So museums are really places where you can measure change, where you feel change.
    So the idea of them being stale and stuffy, really nothing could be farther from the truth. They're also elevating and inspiring places, and they're places for aspiration, and again, I think we underestimate the aspirational value of community museums. In Toronto there's a new initiative called the Myseum which is to establish a Toronto museum. Toronto is actually the biggest city in the world that doesn't have a city museum. I know no one ever feels badly for Toronto, but it's a reality, and the group that's starting Myseum has private funding and they are making this museum happen as dialogues all across this huge city, and it's working. I attended an event a couple of weeks ago on the history of the ward, and there were a hundred people who showed up, and they were young. The fact that it happened to be in a brew pub probably contributed to it, but of course, in Toronto there are lots of brew pubs, and the fact is that that was a very exciting evening for people to attend.
    So these are places, community museums in all their different forms, are places for what sociologists call bridging and bonding, and I think for Canada bridging and bonding is one of the most important things. We're proud of our immigration policies and rightly so. They changed fundamentally in the late 1960s and early 1970s, and I think that they're one of the most progressive aspects of our country today, and museums are places where people meet other people and create relationships, which is bridging cultures, and they're also where people bond, where they discover what they have in common. For us in Canada, especially at a time when we know that social media can be very very divisive, we have to understand that museums are inclusive and they're the opposite of divisive. They're bridging institutions. They're bonding institutions, and that would be pretty much the big idea there.
    Now, what are some of the weaknesses? First of all, we have no federal museum policy.

  (0900)  

    Two minutes.
    Good. I think that having a museum policy is very very important, and I would hope that that could be a recommendation and an outcome of your work together. Funding at the federal level is episodic, and as a result the logical place of entry into the museum world as a professional is in the community museum, but there is absolutely no job security there. Therefore, we are losing talented people outside the country. We're not retaining talent, and we have the situation that we find particularly in Toronto where right now, very few museum and cultural leaders are in fact Canadian, or even Canadian residents. I'm a believer in internationalism but for lack of a career path and career development, we wind up in a very very perilous situation with respect to who's leading our institutions and who understands Canada.
    I think that the federal government has a great role. Obviously, you can't...I shouldn't say it's obvious but it's the digital realm that brings you most closely into museums, and I would urge you to see that the digital initiatives—which have been interesting, but they are basically episodic—are married with real progress on the ground. If we can do it in health, I think we can do it and must do it in museums.
    Great.
    I hope I'm on time.
    Yes, you are perfectly on time. Thank you very much.
    Now we will go to Ms. Aariak and Mr. Beveridge, please, for 10 minutes.
    My name is Eva Aariak and I am the president of Inuit Heritage Trust, based out of Iqaluit. Iqaluit is the capital city of Nunavut that was created in 1999. I'm very pleased to be here with our executive director, William Beveridge. Inuit Heritage Trust represents 27,000 Nunavut Inuit and receives its mandate from article 33 of the Nunavut Land Claims Agreement between Inuit and the Government of Canada.
    I am sorry to say though that I don't have solid information about our museum because we don't have one in Nunavut. I'm going to elaborate a little bit more about that. I agree so much with many of the comments that the first speaker just said, in terms of how lively and inspirational museums are and I'm going to elaborate a little bit more on that as well.
    Within the territory, the Inuit Heritage Trust represents Inuit interests on issues that relate to heritage, archeology, ethnographic resources, and traditional place names. William will be handing out, to each and every one of you, the map that this Inuit Heritage Trust has been working on over the last 20 years or so. This also includes spiritual places, of course, in our traditional sense.
    The Nunavut agreement is the largest indigenous land claim settlement in Canadian history. Nunavut has 25 communities and the size of the territory is about one fifth of the land mass of Canada, or three time zones. Nunavut is the only jurisdiction without a designated heritage centre. Article 33 of the Nunavut Land Claims Agreement identifies the need to promote, protect, and preserve the natural and cultural heritage in Nunavut. The need for the territorial centre has been recognized for decades. It means so much to the people to have such a facility to showcase our rich history and culture. It has a direct impact on education, career development, tourism, and so on.
    Our smaller communities have a very small scale of a building that they will showcase what they have in the communities, but in the territory, we don't have such a heritage centre to warehouse over 400,000 artifacts that depict the rich traditional knowledge and skills of our ancestors. Where are all these artifacts stored? They are not in Nunavut, unfortunately. That's the initiative that we've been fighting for.
    These artifacts that rightfully belong to Nunavut are housed in various places, such as the Prince of Wales Heritage Centre in Yellowknife in the Northwest Territories, Winnipeg, Ottawa, and other jurisdictions where there is a proper facility to store them. There is no such facility in Nunavut to keep them safe for years to come, so that our own children, grandchildren, and the next generation would have access to.
    Museums are very much influencing our young people. What I'm wearing today is inspired by traditional design of our ancestors, but our youth today are very creative in adapting from what was and making it into modern contemporary art per se and design.

  (0905)  

    Can you imagine? If only these young artists and designers we have in Nunavut had access to see the true traditional designs our skilled ancestors created. It's only with what they know and can see from their parents and grandparents that they are inspired, creating wonderful garments, jewellery, implements, and so on.
    There is much at stake in having a place where schoolchildren, youth, and even—I'm not so young anymore—my and William's age group can go, because we are always intrigued. Every time we go to a jurisdiction like Yellowknife or here, we are invited to see our stuff, our artifacts, and the clothing, tools, and implements that have been kept safe in the dark, in the drawer. Whenever there is a drawer that opens and you see all these artifacts, these beautiful creations of our ancestors, it always hits your heart.
    I can imagine how touching it would be for our own children and grandchildren and the next generations to come to be able to enjoy what we have briefly seen in various jurisdictions. It's very important to our territory to have such a facility.
    It is our hope and dream to be able to showcase artifacts in our own homeland, when someday a Nunavut heritage centre can finally become reality. Our heritage centre is very much working with Inuit organizations in Nunavut. We are continually trying to outreach to other entities, including the Government of Canada. We had wonderful meetings with government officials a few weeks ago here in Ottawa, explaining what we are doing. We will be providing the presentation that we gave when we were here once it's translated, and you'll have access to that.
    We have 25 small communities ranging in population from 450 to 3,000, depending on where you are in the territory. They are trying hard to showcase their culture. To do that, they solicit a little money from the Government of Nunavut; they fundraise and so on, so that they can have a small place for visitors and youth and the community to have a little showcase. That is nowhere near what is needed in terms of a humidity-controlled, well-established facility, where we would be welcoming our rich cultural heritage information and so on. I'm talking more about the fact that we don't have such a facility, but I would very much like to entertain your questions for deeper information on what you want to know.
    Thank you, Madam Chair.

  (0910)  

    Thank you.
    Now we're going to go to a question and answer period. There will be some questions in French. Everyone, use your earpieces if you need translation.

[Translation]

    Mr. Hébert, you have seven minutes.
    Thank you, Madam Chair.
    Ms. Lord, Ms. Aariak, thank you for your presentations, they were very interesting.
    My question goes to you, Ms. Lord.
    Your organization's documents mention that you want to supply a variety of programs to develop sustainable governance practices that will be adequate and useful for your clients, in this case, museums that call on you for your services.
    Have you developed specific programs for local and rural museums to ensure their long-term survival? The museums that experience problems with funding, and even visitor traffic, are often the most remote, such as the Musée Louis-Hémon, located in Péribonka, in my constituency, that showcases the Maria Chapdelaine novel. These problems could be passed onto the provinces.
    What would you suggest that the government do to help the more remote communities?

[English]

     It's a great question.
    Let me say that it's always been a fundamental philosophy we have had that large learn from small, and small learn from large. I would say that above all, in Quebec, your smaller institutions are incredibly creative and have much to teach the world. There are different reasons that I think this is so, but maybe we won't go into them.
     In fact, one of the Canadian leaders—and I stress the word Canadian—here in Toronto came from the Musée d'art de Joliette. It's not tiny, but it's not Quebec City. She is really one of the great leaders in the province of Ontario. In fact, I would say that Quebec is almost a searching ground for talent for the rest of the country, even in places where bilingualism isn't a requirement, but where people are looking for talent. I would like to underline that.
    We work for small museums everywhere. We've written a set of books. We feel that these books are almost equally applicable. Planification de nos musées was the very first one. It was published in French in 1983. The financial challenge for Canadians, and I believe for Québécois as well—and it's probably also true in Nunavut—is that these are private-public financial opportunities. This is Canada and we need the leadership of government. When government shows consistent leadership, I believe the private sector will step forward with support. That would really be my advice.
    The problem now is that most monies going to museums are episodic, and that's a very bad basis on which to go to the private sector for support.

[Translation]

    Thank you.
    My next question is for Ms. Aariak.
    As you have revealed, Nunavut has no official or territorial museum. How could the federal government help to create such a place? How should a museum in Nunavut be tailored to the geographic and cultural aspects of the territory?

  (0915)  

[English]

    Over the last number of years, the Inuit Heritage Trust has been working with the Qikiqtaaluk Inuit organization, an organization in our jurisdiction. Just recently Nunavut Tunngavik Incorporated, which is the parent Inuit organization, contributed a bit of money to start this initiative in a more concrete fashion.
     We have been talking about the need to have such a centre for many years, but it never really did advance anywhere because there was no money involved in the discussions. However, once you put money in there, there is much more of an initiative.
     It's a very small amount from Nunavut Tunngavik Incorporated, at $5 million, with the Qikiqtani corporation contributing the same amount, so now, we have more of a concrete plan. We are engaging our own government, as well as the Government of Nunavut. It is crucial that all different entities work together and plan together, including our government.
    Nunavut heritage centre is part of the land claims agreement to be implemented, so it is very important that serious thought and initiative be put into this. We need the support of our own territorial government, as well as the Government of Canada. In doing that, we need a concerted effort to work together and plan how we can all come to realize this initiative. I think that we are well on the way, but again, we need that commitment from the government to fully implement it.
    Thank you.

[Translation]

    Thank you for your answer.
    You are facing some particular problems that the heritage organizations in Nunavut are confronted with. Do you believe that new technologies and techniques could help improve the situation? I am specifically thinking about the Internet, the Web.

[English]

     We'll have to have a quick response, please
    Yes, I mean technology is very important in our territory because we are so remote. But at the same time, we need this hands on capability as well because in reaching out to the smaller communities, we can showcase certain artifacts and whatnot, and technology plays an important role. If we have the bandwidth enough to carry out what needs to be done. In the North, bandwidth is challenging. Therefore I think it is so much more important to really when it comes to heritage aspect of what we are talking about is to have a facility where it will be helping other communities such as travelling exhibitions and so on to have a hands on access to our wonderful heritage and artifacts.
    Thank you.
    We will now be going to Mr. Van Loan, for seven minutes.
    Ms. Lord, people all around the world in the museum sector pay a lot of money for your expertise, experience, knowledge, and insights. I want to get as much of that as possible. I'm simply going to ask you to focus on what you think are the challenges for museums in Canada and your suggested recommendations to us to make to the government to help museums in Canada.
    Thank you very much for that very kind comment.
    I used to say to my late husband that is the town doesn't have a pulp mill, we couldn't work there because we did not start in the big cities. We started it in small communities all across Canada. I'd just like you to know that from a feed point of view, we make ourselves very accessible. I would just like to make that clear.
    Now to get to your points. I know that you're sponsoring a repatriation bill. I'd like to say that I think that that's very important.
    Pardon?

  (0920)  

    It's not me.
    It's not you? Oh. Okay.
    I think that bill, whoever is sponsoring it, should be supported. I was misinformed, but that also happens in our country and everywhere else. I think repatriation, to the point that Eva Aariak is making, is really very foundational; and I think repatriation, of course as she's pointing out, does have costs attached because we have to make sure that, when works are repatriated, the proper process is undertaken and the proper facilities exist in the communities. So that's a cornerstone. And it's very interesting, by the way, that even in Europe, the idea of repatriation is gaining ground, although—alas—not for some collections that should be returned to Montreal. But that's maybe another story.
    I think the issue is having a robust museum policy where our government actually takes a stand and says that museums are important, that they matter. They've made the statement about many other aspects of Canadian life: the CBC, the Canada Council. A number of other major institutions have received recognition in the last few years, but there hasn't been a museum policy now for many years, and museums have changed. I think that a policy should say that museums are part of Canada's soft power, and Canada is a soft power nation. Museums are fundamental to trade. They are places where international relations are celebrated. Museums are important in education. They're important in areas where federal government doesn't have jurisdiction but where federal government can offer incentives. I think my problem is that our incentives are episodic and they're unrelated.
    I think the issue that was just raised around technology is a significant one. Yes, technology is important, but we're also seeing how divisive technology is. Human agency is actually what counts, including if the human agency is, as Eva Aariak has said, to actually study how this garment is made. I can have a close up of what she's wearing, and this dress is absolutely fantastic. If you are interested in design, students in design actually need to handle those older materials, they have to see how they were made, they have to open then up, and they have to look at the seams. It's the same for archival material. People want to learn what their relative did in World War I or World War II. It's one thing to see it online; it's a very different thing to see the actual death record or the actual birth record in its physical reality.
    I think having a balanced view of the digital and the physical is really something that human beings need, to learn, and frankly if we don't, it's at our own peril. I don't know if that answers your questions fully, but it's a start.
     Let's go through some other things. For example, we've heard a lot about the sustainability of museums in the long term and the funding needed for that. There's talk of our national policy that provides for matching funds for endowment contributions for performing arts organizations. Some say that should apply in the museum sector.
    Is that the way the government should fund it? Are there other ways the government should be funding museums that are preferable and better? And is government funding really an answer if you're looking at sustainability?
    I think government in Canada primes the pump, so government has to offer some funding that will attract the private sector to match those funds. Government funding by itself is not the answer. Endowment is partially an answer, but, again, that money has to be both public and private.
    Again, it would start with a policy, government money comes into it, and then the private sector should be encouraged to match it.
    Probably the most retrogressive way of funding museums is through admission charges. Canada charges admission to its national museums, if I may say so, whereas neither the United States nor the U.K. does. The French do. I think the whole question of how we charge, and why we charge, and what we charge for needs to be looked at.

  (0925)  

    Okay.
    Another suggestion we get is that there are too many museums, that we should look at ways of consolidating resources, consolidating museums, or finding ways to have things done collectively. Is there a role for the government or the museums association to do that, to find ways of smoothing those kinds of processes to assist the viability of museums facing tough times?
    We're a very big country with a very small population scattered across this big country. That's true of the north, but really it's true of everywhere in this country.
    When you get into the issue of are there too many museums, I hate to say it's a little bit like saying are there too many post offices. I think we have to balance the human return, the social return, the bridging and the bonding against the economic. Are there too many schools?
    Of course, where possible, there should be incentives for people to rationalize. I think museums could benefit from provincial programs for mass purchases so as with might happen in the drug industry in the future, for example, there would be an incentive that they can purchase materials, ticketing systems, whatever they need, on a group basis rather than each one negotiating for services that, in fact, they all need.
    I think maybe the health sector is a good example. Somehow the federal government did manage to take a big leadership role in defining what health means to Canadians and making sure that happens. I do think museums are part of the mental health of Canadians, and that the federal government needs to leave it that way.
    I'm going to have to cut it there. I think that's a good place to leave it, though. You might continue it later.

[Translation]

    We will continue with Mr. Nantel, who has seven minutes.
    Thank you, Madam Chair.
    Ms. Lord, do you hear the interpretation? We didn't hear you, but, from the look on your face, I think you did.

[English]

    I'll speak in English, just to make sure.

[Translation]

    Actually, no, because I will have to cite the study.
    The mandate of the study is to review the state of Canadian museums, with a focus on local and community museums, as opposed to the major national or provincial museums, and that the committee report its findings to the House.

[English]

    Madam Lord, we have people from the Inuit Heritage Trust here. If they had the opportunity to ask from you some support, some recommendations for an actual place, a venue, a museum, where they could have their own artifacts to show to their own people, and to show to tourists, and to show to me if I go there and have the opportunity to see in context, what would you recommend? I think you're a specialist, and you have a community awaiting for some infrastructure. What would you recommend to them?
    Thank you very much.
    The first point is that we actually have a book that started with national museums, which explains in detail how to plan a museum. I'm going to send Eva Aariak a book. They can look at it. It's 800 pages long. Anyway, it's used all over the world. Let's do that.
    You know, for Nunavut, it's very important that they right-size this. I think she has a very good grasp, from what she already said, of what they need. She's given us a list of what they need. Our job would probably be to go help make that list, I would say streamline that list: doing the calculations of how much climate-controlled space they need to look after the objects, to research the objects, and then the space about displaying, and then, of course, the community space to make sure that they don't, I would say, become like what happens in a family. You know, you buy a house and it's too big for your family, and you can't afford the mortgage. This is one issue that we would really try to work with them on, which is what I would call right-sizing, but I think she understands very well what the needs are.
    Merci, madame Lord.
    Ms. Aariak and Mr. Beveridge, would you agree that rightsizing is a key issue?
    On the second point, how do you perceive the project called Qaggiavuut? I hope we have witnesses on it in the cultural hub study that we will do. For example, yesterday I was at the Walrus Talks at the BAC, with Mr. Casey. Libraries and/or museums can act as social hubs for various interactions, thematics, discussions, and gatherings. How do you react to Ms. Lord's proposal? Please tell me your impressions about the Qaggiavuut project.

  (0930)  

    In terms of planning these kinds of things, I have a PowerPoint presentation. It's too bad we couldn't do it here, but you will be getting a copy of what we have planned so far in terms of narrowing it down and the financing, the possibilities. This is something we have been continually working with. William and the department of culture and heritage have been working on that as well, in terms of what is needed. I think we have a very good grasp. Even a location for the building has already been identified, and the size of the building, and so on, if only we had the funds to realize it.
    It is such an important entity, because everything is connected to education and cultural knowledge. We have gone as far as to plan to have elders as interpreters of our artifacts and so on, because we have in our communities such knowledgeable people today. It is urgent that we use the first-hand knowledge of these elders to interpret rather than relying on written texts to try to interpret. We have the people who know the artifacts and everything, who are out there still, but the time is ticking to utilize their expertise.
    You mentioned Qaggiavuut. They have come to our board meeting to present what they are looking for. We do support their important role, because this is cultural activity as well, but at the same time—Madame Lord mentioned the plan and so on—we have the plan and we are very much waiting to see Qaggiavuut's plan and how the building would look and what would be in it. Of course it's very important for Nunavut.
    This cultural centre is to be in one location but supporting the other 24 communities. A lot of planning has gone into this, and we are now in the discussion of financial requirements and so on.
     I think it would be up to potential digital coverage of the north and then back to Ms. Lord's aspect of the balance between digital and physical.

[Translation]

    Thank you, Mr. Nantel.
    It's now Mr. Breton's turn, who has seven minutes.
    Thank you, Madam Chair.
    Thank you to our guests.
    First of all, I want to speak to you, Ms. Lord. I am impressed with your skills and expertise with museums. I also congratulate you on the various honours you've received over the years. It is all quite impressive. I would like the museums in my constituency to know of you. In fact, I will introduce you to them. So, if they need your expertise, they can seek out your services.
    Could you talk about the three most significant challenges museums face, whether it is the museums of today, or the museums of tomorrow? In my opinion, money is clearly a challenge, but, besides that, please tell me about three other major challenges museums face.

  (0935)  

    Many, many thanks for your questions. It is a challenge.

[English]

    I keep stressing the need for federal policy. Our competitors in the U.K. or in France or anywhere in the world—the United States, although the United States less so—particularly in the U.K., set a high bar for what they expect from their museums. I think it's time for our leaders nationally to say that museums have the potential to change society, to change the world. Museums are change agents. Museums are part of Canada's soft power. We have to have national leadership that places museums....
    Health is the one big thing that defines Canada. We care about health. It developed over many years. This very much defines us and places us in a special place in the world with some other leading economies. I think the same thing has to happen with museums. The first challenge is federally set a high bar for performance federally. Whether people can afford it or not is almost irrelevant to setting the bar. Right now it's a kind of race to the bottom for community museums. I would except Quebec from that, where I think community museums do better. I think there are some reasons for that, which the rest of the country should learn from.
    The second, of course, is that we need some form of more sustainable funding. The federal entity is the museums assistance program. That has been underfunded for 30 years. I have to say that my husband, Barry Lord, worked for that program. Our company is almost like a result of that program. When we had a robust museums assistance program, we had a robust international reputation for museums at all levels in our country because there was a more consistent funding base. Today we live in a different world. Funding needs to be private and public, but we need to have some kind of a national program that shows leadership in that.
    The third area is leadership development. We have a national theatre school in Montreal. We have other initiatives in the country, but we are not really leading in the area of national leadership. Canadian lawyers lead the world in jurisprudence and especially in constitutional law because we have the benefit of biculturalism and multiculturalism. I think in our museums we have lost so much ground. We have the benefit of multiculturalism; we have the benefit of biculturalism; and we have the big benefit of indigenous people. We should be leaders, but instead we're frankly not.
    Those are three things: national policy—set a high bar—private-public funding with a secure funding base, and invest in leadership. Otherwise it'll be brain drain. It already is.

[Translation]

    This is extremely interesting.
    Earlier, in answering a question, you said that public investments should not be the only type of investment museums should count on, since there are also private investors.
    Are you able to tell us, for each dollar invested by the government, how many are invested by the private sector? Are there studies on the topic? Can you share an experience with us that would give us more information on this?

[English]

     That's a great question, and it varies somewhat by community. I don't think there's a one-size-fits-all ratio. I can say, though, that the most inefficient way of raising money is through admission charges. Admission charges are costly to administer. They only bring in 10% to 12% of revenue, and they keep so many people away. That's very inefficient.
    Corporate sponsorship is extremely efficient. More people coming in for free leads to more corporate sponsorship. Individual wealth is very efficient. It's about looking at each situation and finding the most efficient way to bring in that private money. The Canadian Museum for Human Rights is a good example, frankly, on the capital side, as is the fact that fundraising is important for them in an ongoing way.

  (0940)  

[Translation]

    Museums are increasingly calling on volunteers to get help for their activities, and lower their costs. This obviously allows the public to contribute, and rallies people with an interest in museums.
    Yes, of course.
    Do you suggest models of that kind to your clients? How is this more generally done?

[English]

    Yes, there is a general model. The general model is one-third earned, and that's the category to earn money, so that's earning from a lot of things. Currently, the biggest way of earning money is through rental of space. You know we live in a world in which real estate is king, or queen, and frankly museum real estate is particularly valuable. It has a big impact on the real estate around it, and we forget the economic benefits in a very visceral way.
    One third earned—
    I'm going to have to cut you off there, unfortunately.
    Okay, one third earned, one third contributed, one third government, one third, one third, one third.

[Translation]

    Thank you very much.

[English]

    We are going to Mr. Van Loan, please, for five minutes.
    Thank you.
    One of the witnesses we were hoping to have—or at least I was hoping to have here—but I don't think we're going to get, is Mr. Jimenez, who's a contributor to your book, Cities, Museums and Soft Power, and to your organization. I'm interested in the question of economic impact. It's very hard to find stuff. If I'm looking for sports stadium stuff, it's easy to find, but museum stuff is very hard to find.
    The other question is a more general one: what are the museums that are successful in Canada doing right, that the museums that are not successful in Canada are not doing?
    Okay. Thank you for referring to Javier. He's in Mexico right now where we're working on many museum projects there. I think that's important in terms of our economic development.
    The data, we'll be glad to send you what we have, which is international data on economic impacts and benefits. It comes from all over and it's poorly understood. I think the economic impacts in Canada should be looked at. We have been involved in studies on the economic impact of libraries, but I think the economic impact of museums is something that needs to be understood a lot better in our own country.
    The second part of your question, sir, I'm sorry, I got lost there?
    What are the museums that are successful in Canada doing right, that the museums that are not successful are not doing?
    That's really hard. Museums in Canada today are not performing at their peak capacity. That's the fact, and it's because they lack the three challenges that I was referring to before. For example, the Canadian Museum for Human Rights is still new. It's doing well. It has fundraising initiatives across the country, and it's very motivated by personal and corporate financing. It's beginning to make a name for itself.
    Our bigger museums are doing better with financing, but in a certain sense I would have to say—with government slipping so low and the huge responsibilities they bear—they're also losing out because they're not as effective in the community way. You know, we have a situation in which nobody is perhaps performing as well as they should.
    Remember when our hospitals weren't performing? We're kind of in that place with museums. Now our hospitals are performing well.
    On museums and marketing to the public, my sense is that our museums do not do a good job on that here in Canada.
    I would agree with you.
    The boards of museums are an area of weakness. Again, I'm not an expert in the health care system, but I think our boards are very confused about their roles. Many are appointed by government.
    I think the current government in Ottawa has taken a great step forward in opening up and having more transparency in the appointment of boards, but our boards are not always seeing that their primary responsibility is funding. That should be part of our museum policy. That's their main responsibility.

  (0945)  

    We went a little in the direction of where the government could assist by provincial or federal pushing for shared purchases of services and so on.
    Could you elaborate a bit more on that in terms of things like insurance, for example?
    I think it's insurance. I think it's supplies. I think it's archival materials. I think it's a whole range of things, including supplies and services both, yes.
    Our government used to provide services, by the way. Again, times have changed, but maybe there should be some type of service central that can help people make decisions on these matters.
    All right.
    If you were to give us some new trends from abroad where museums are very successful, say in remaking themselves and there is in some way a role for government or policy in that, or just a good story to tell, where should we look? What would be some good examples of that?
    You can look at both the U.K. and France, and at our neighbour, the United States. The key thing at the small museum level is the ability to hire talented people who can work with the community. That is the number one thing.
    A program was brought to me yesterday in rural Ontario which is having a school in one of our counties. The young people, the teenagers, take their classes in the local museum. That program has produced tremendous results. However, it depended on the fact that the school board was willing to pay a qualified historian to work in that museum. It comes down to inspired staff, like everything else. Technology is there to support—that's very important for young people, clearly—but it was the person.
     In the U.K., I think you'd see the same thing. You see dynamic projects and programs, because creative people are working in their museums.
    Thank you. That's a great way to end this session.
    Thank you to all of our witnesses today. It was helpful to get your insights.
    We are going to be suspending briefly while we set up for our next panel.
    Thank you.
    Thank you.

  (0945)  


  (0950)  

     We'll start again so we can make sure we have enough time for all of our questions.
    We have with us in person Shauna Levy, president and chief executive officer of the Design Exchange. In Haida Gwaii, we're having some technical difficulties.
    Can you hear us now?
    I'm on the phone, but I'll be right there.
    That was Nika Collison, executive director of the Haida Gwaii Museum.
    We're going to start with Shauna Levy from the Design Exchange so we can work through our technical issues with the video conferencing.
    Welcome, Ms. Levy.
    Good morning. I'm Shauna Levy, president and CEO of Design Exchange, Canada's only museum dedicated exclusively to design, and I believe that design can change the world.
    Canada has an industry of hundreds of thousands of designers employed in graphics, fashion, industry, architecture, interiors, hospitals, and more. The DX—Design Exchange— reflects this industry as a unique cultural presentation space.
    Thank you, Madam Chair, and committee, for inviting me to speak today. With a mandate to demonstrate the value and importance of design to everyday life, DX was launched 25 years ago. The City of Toronto gifted the original Toronto Stock Exchange for 99 years rent-free, and the developers, Cadillac Fairview, provided a grant of $500,000 a year for 25 years to cover operational expenses. This grant sunsetted in 2015.
    Seven years ago, Lord Cultural Resources, completed a strategic plan that I was recruited to implement. The Lord plan made two recommendations: to be a design museum offering programs with broad public appeal, and to launch a design festival. In the case of the former, I installed Stefan Sagmeister's Happy Show, and Christian Louboutin's 20-year retrospective borrowed from London's Design Museum. We also developed our own shows: This Is Not a Toy, a show on street art, guest-curated by the performer-singer Pharrell Williams; and Politics of Fashion | Fashion of Politics with Canadian icon Jeanne Beker.
    These four shows attracted over 75,000 mostly first-time visitors and increased DX admission by 300%. We earned 800 million global media impressions, and for the first time DX saw a meaningful increase in revenue. For example, Louboutin brought in a record revenue of $250,000 in corporate sponsorship and about the same in provincial government grants. Yet, given the current funding landscape for museums, it remained difficult to cover our costs. To complicate things further, the more we used space for programming, the less it could be rented out for venue rental, which is our most significant revenue stream.
    Around this time I had two conversations that led us to the next stage of our evolution. First, when I asked Pharrell why he curated the show pro bono, he said that people are often intimidated by contemporary art and stand in front of an art gallery afraid to walk in. He explained that street art was accessible and served as an introduction to cultural expression. The second conversation was with a city councillor who represents a high-priority neighbourhood. He asked me to think about the kids out there.
    First, Pharrell was right. We received phone calls from young adults asking us what the dress code was because they simply had never been to a museum before. Second, the councillor's question made me think about relevance, diversity, and accessibility, so much so that this became a starting point for the next phase, DX Satellite.
    DX Satellite was launched. In addition to our home at the Toronto Stock Exchange, we became nomadic with pop-up installations throughout the Greater Toronto Area. The 3DXL exhibition illustrated the impact of 3D printing on architecture, while Smarter. Faster. Tougher. was an exhibition on innovative sportswear design held during the Pan Am Games.
    We evolved a robust series of educational programs, tours, and customized workshops for high-priority neighbourhoods. These programs continue to grow. We annually engage with approximately 90,000 visitors and participants and have approximately 200,000 friends and followers through social media. We did a project at Union Station with Luminato and our high-priority neighbourhood programming.
    In 2015, further to the strategic plan, we developed the concept for a design festival and biennial, leading to our most ambitious and acclaimed project to date, EDIT: Expo for Design, Innovation, and Technology. EDIT was a 10-day interactive and immersive festival that looked at how design innovation and technology can make the world a better place for all people. It was held in 2017 to celebrate Canada's 150th anniversary. It wasn't until I learned about the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals in 2015 that EDIT's raison d'etre really became clear. I was excited about the prospect that our planet could achieve these goals, but moreover I saw them as design challenges. I met with the UN in New York and asked them to partner with us on EDIT.
    We repurposed the deserted Unilever factory in Toronto, occupying 150,000 square feet with an immersive experience of curated exhibits by global thought-leaders like Bruce Mau and Carlo Ratti. Featuring 50 installations by Canada's leading architects and designers, it hosted 40 workshops and 125 speakers, including Ian Campeau, Marije Vogelzang, and David Suzuki. Topics included design solutions for rising sea levels, the indigenous housing crisis, food waste, and affordable housing. We provided a platform for the country's architects, designers, and innovators to create interactive experiences to demonstrate how they could ingenuously solve global challenges.

  (0955)  

    For only $15 a ticket, we created an immersive and accessible experience and aimed to eliminate barriers to entry. Some 35,000 visitors, including 6,000 school kids who were admitted for free, attended. Ninety per cent of surveyed visitors would return for the next edition.
    As EDIT continues, we're excited about working more closely with the school boards to develop design tool kits that encourage students to think about and solve the sustainable development goals in their own communities.
    From a $5 million project, we scaled it back to $3.9 million. About 50% of the funding was provided by the Government of Ontario and the City of Toronto, with the other half raised through corporate sponsorship, ticket sales, and donations.
    I was really interested to read Rene Rivard's claim that we've now entered a phase of “museum of ideas”, something I couldn't agree more with. While design can be about making beautiful things, it's also about developing solutions.
    EDIT was, and continues to be, about adaptive reuse. As urbanist Jane Jacobs famously said, “New ideas require old buildings.” As the cost of real estate continues to rise in our urban centres and funding becomes increasingly challenging for museums, we continue to innovate cultural expression placemaking by repurposing space. EDIT taught us that we don't have to dummy down our content, but rather, we have to be accessible, authentic, diverse, and relevant.
    Neither EDIT nor one of the DX programs mentioned above has received federal government support. Design Exchange, as a Canadian museum, has often been told that we're not eligible for Canadian Heritage programs. When we applied for support for EDIT, it was the same story. We continue to diversify our programs. We engage all sectors and talk about issues that touch us all. We're directed to other ministries like ISED or Global Affairs, who have rallied us back to Canadian Heritage.
     We hear discussion about design becoming part of the definition of the creative industries, yet we await specific details. We spend valuable time strategizing about funding, about ways to engage corporate sponsors. It takes money to make money. I've often lamented the state of the small cultural institution in Canada, the vicious cycle of insufficient funding impacting programming and marketing, leading to small audiences and resulting in insufficient funding, and so on. I have often thought that we should band our resources together to create shared spaces and align with other institutions, cultural or otherwise.
    We ask you to consider a few things: that the definition of museum experience not be exclusively defined by what goes on within a museum’s bricks and mortar; that funding activities remain flexible to account for the shifting realities of the sector; that funding programs be opened up and resourced to include design institutions and designers; that we have an inter-ministerial approach to culture and heritage that accounts for the cross-sector nature of projects and programming and leverages a variety of resources for broad impact.
    This is an exciting time for the design industry and Canada's museum sector. We look forward to working with you and other stakeholders.
    Thank you.

  (1000)  

    Thank you.
    I'm just going to wait for us to be able to see Ms. Collison again.
    If you could speak to us, that would be great. We have you on the front screens now.
    You have 10 minutes, please.
    Can you hear me?
    Yes.
    Xaada 'láa isis....
    There's a reverb here. I'm going to turn my end down. Can you still hear me?
    Okay, great.
    [Witness speaks in Haida]
    Good people, háw'aa for inviting me to speak today.
    My name is Jisgang. My English name is Nika Collison. I'm the executive director of the Haida Gwaii Museum, a position I've only recently taken on. Before this, I worked here for 18 years as a curator and senior negotiator for Haida repatriation initiatives, among other things. Until we can secure proper funding, I continue to carry this work along with my new role.
    I've been invited to share experiences on the Haida Gwaii Museum, its history and current existence, and the challenges we face. In this, I'd like to begin by saying our museum might be one of the earliest calls to action in regard to reconciliation in the museum and greater world, in that its formation was a vision of both Haida citizens and our friends residing on Haida Gwaii. The museum opened in 1976 at Kay Llnagaay, an ancient Haida village from which I'm presenting right now, and of course we're on Haida Gwaii.
    Since almost all of our treasures left the islands during the height of colonization, we didn't have much of a collection to begin with, but several families, both Haida and settler, donated their treasures so they can be cared for and shared by all. One of the earliest acts of repatriation in Canada also occurred through the formation of our museum when then curator Peter Macnair of the Royal British Columbia Museum showed support by returning some monumental poles taken from Haida Gwaii in the early 1900s.
    The Haida Gwaii Museum has since grown to include a considerable collection of treasures obtained through donations, commissions, long-term loans, and repatriation and by purchases and really large donations made possible through Canada's Cultural Property Export and Import Act.
    In 2008, our museum grew from 5,600 square feet to 17,000 square feet with the creation of the Haida Heritage Centre at Kay Llnagaay, a 50,000 square foot complex of which our museum is a partner, along with the Skidegate Band Council and Parks Canada. Conceptualized and driven by our community, the centre houses several cultural and educational spaces and organizations in addition to our museum. It took seven years and almost $30 million to create.
    Throughout, every experience, word, object, and image has been developed with our people ensuring we say what we want to say and how we want to say it. Amongst it all is a grave house that was built to house ancestral remains unearthed during construction of the Haida Heritage Centre. It also serves as a holding place for repatriated ancestral remains awaiting reinterment.
    In the 1990s, the repatriation of ancestral remains became a primary focus of our people and has been facilitated and supported by our museum, in partnership with the Haida Repatriation Committee and Council of the Haida Nation since the movement began. To date, more than 500 of our ancestors have been brought home and reburied, from museums, universities, and private individuals across North America and one from overseas. This work has taken over 20 years and has cost over $1 million in cash, sweat labour, and in-kind donations.
    We are a category A museum, meaning we meet professional Canadian museum standards by way of facilities and the ability to care for and present our multiple historic collections and archives. We also present new works, as we are a living culture.
    Our museum's principle research, collecting, and presentation focus is the recovery of art, knowledge, and documentation pertinent to Haida history located in institutions around the world. This is brought forward into our living culture today. Our mandate is also very focused on the preservation and continuation of the Haida language, an endangered linguistic isolate. We also collect and conduct research on the natural sciences of Haida Gwaii and its history of Canadian settlement.
    We conduct all our work in consultation with the Haida and greater islands community, and we approach this work locally and abroad with the goal of mutual respect, co-operation, and trust. We are the main generator of public programs on-island with an annual arts and culture program featuring workshops, art exhibitions, educational programs, and a series of public programs also aimed at visitors to Haida Gwaii.

  (1005)  

     Other programming includes an array of ongoing community-driven research projects, educational experiences, and other collaborations with organizations both locally and on a global scale. We are also committed to building capacity in the fields of art and heritage by mentoring Haida and other islands in museum practices and arts administration.
    These opportunities build important skills for employment and passion and provide unparalleled access to learning about historic and contemporary Haida language, art, and culture, Haida Gwaii itself, and our shared history with Canada. We also operate a gift shop that supports and promotes local artists. In observing the many facets of our operations, it is clear that the Haida Gwaii Museum is not an institution in and of itself; rather, we are part of the institution that makes up Haida society and Canadian society. Together with the Haida Heritage Centre, we provide space, support, and opportunity for artistic and cultural practices, ceremonies, research, education, capacity building, and so on.
    We are driven by the community, as I said earlier, and are a part of and contribute to our Haida way of life, an islander way of life, both inside and outside of our house. We have been blazing paths towards reconciliation long before the term became popular.
     I will segue into our challenges, and then we'll be touching on each subject in anticipation of providing you with further pertinent information in response to your questions.
    Of course, the number one issue or challenge is funding. In order to run a professional small-to-medium sized museum of our stature, at the bare minimum we require professional staff to serve in administration, curation, repatriation, collections, archives, retail, and, ideally, education.
    With an absolute basic operating budget, meaning no major exhibitions, publications, research projects, mentorship programs, education programs, etc., thus a very basic annual schedule of programming, our budget runs just over $400,000. Ideally, it would be around $750,000. Based on revenue from existing annual operating grants, admissions, and retail sales, in order to break even, we can only employ myself, a bookkeeper, and a gift shop manager. In this case, our payroll expenses make up about 25% of our operating costs. All other positions are grant dependent, and when we do find grant money for additional positions, all staff are still grossly underpaid.
     I'd like to give you some personal examples. As executive director, visual arts curator, repatriation negotiator, facilitator, and marketer, I make $60,000 a year. When I was everything except the executive director, I made $32,000 a year. Our curator of collections and archeology, who is also our conservator and exhibitions preparator, makes $35,000 a year. The archives and gift shop each make $42,000 a year, and remember, many of these positions are grant dependent.
    Human resource and capacity building is huge. We're absolutely overworked, underpaid, and underdeveloped. The indigenization, decolonization of museums and, by extension, Canadian society by way of repatriation, reparation, reconciliation, and recognition of indigenous scholarships, laws, and protocol.... Amazing work has been accomplished by working together. I can tell you many stories that demonstrate the miles and miles we have yet to cover. We really need to embrace the TRC calls to action and UNDRIP in this round.
    The rural location is very much a challenge. There is an increased cost to living on an island, and because of that, we have fewer visits and less opportunity for revenue generation and grants. However you support art, culture, and reconciliation in general by way of this inquiry, I highly value your understanding of the essentiality that this brings to the sustaining of a healthy economy and society for all and support one of the most powerful on-the-ground roads to reconciliation.
    Háw'aa.

  (1010)  

    Thank you.
    Following these two presentations, we're going to move to the question and answer period. We'll begin with seven-minute rounds.
    We're going to begin with Ms. Dzerowicz for seven minutes.
     Thanks so much to both of you for your excellent presentations. I'm a born and bred downtown Torontonian, so I know the Design Exchange very well. I've been there for a number of functions, but I can't say I've been to any of the exhibits. That's something I would love to do.
    Toronto has a big love for design. We have a lot of design talent across this country and there is a lot of diversity. One of the things we heard from one of the presentations earlier is that some of the most successful museums have very talented people such as yourself who work with local people. What I'd love to hear from you is how you incorporate the diversity of the city and this country into the work you do at the design museum. How do you the tap into some of content creators and influencers in Canada, and what are some of your challenges?
    One of the things I talked about in the presentation was this moment where I had a wonderful conversation with Councillor Michael Thompson when I first started in the position. Prior to me being involved in the organization, the focus was very much on promoting design to industry. Our focus then, further to the Lord plan, became about promoting to the general public, or programming for the general public. When meeting with Councillor Thompson, that was something that he really emphasized: your design. You're downtown Toronto; how are you reaching out to the many communities within the city?
    We did that by truly being authentic from the very beginning. All the content that we create is, at its core, something that we feel is of interest to all people and is not exclusionary but accessible to all.
    We do calls for submissions. We do calls for participation. We look at various topics. For example, for International Women's Day on March 8, we're doing a talk about women entrepreneurs. We're looking at various issues around housing in the fall to really focus on accessible and affordable housing, and so forth. Because it's design and because design truly touches every aspect of our daily life, it's very easy for us to be able to talk about a whole range of subjects that really appeal to a very broad demographic.

  (1015)  

    Okay. Thank you.
    One of the questions we've had floating around is, which country does it well? We've heard a lot about the U.K. and the U.S, which are two completely different models. In the U.K., there's actually funding done publicly for content creation, whether it's their BBC or various other things. In the U.S., it's largely private.
    The second part of that question for me is really about fees. In the U.S., and largely in the U.K., it's actually free to get into museums.
    The third part of it is just funding. What's the proper funding mechanism? In our country we tend to do a bit of a hybrid of everything: private, and then different levels of government.
    One, I wonder whether you can touch a bit on which country you think does it well. Two, on the fee structure, where are you at? Three, where do you think is the right balance of funding?
    I'm going to come at it from the perspective of design museums, because that's what we're looking at. That's not to say we're not inspired by everything around us, but the two most successful design museums globally are Design Museum London and the Vitra Design Museum.
    In the case of the latter, Vitra was started by a manufacturer and supported by a manufacturer. The funding model is somewhat supported by the manufacturer or the original benefactor.
    Where is Vitra?
    Vitra is in Weil am Rhein. It's in that little...it's like a country between Austria, Italy, and Germany. It's in there. It's very obscure, hard to get to. It's really a destination, but they do some of the best work in the world. I just spoke to the director a couple of days ago, and he said it's just because they have some money from a benefactor. It's still challenging to balance budgets.
    The Design Museum in London just moved to a huge building done by a world-famous architect, John Pawson. It was started by Terence Conran. It's very much supported by a benefactor.
    What I see is that design is still something that people, when thinking about things, that design is the design of things versus design of systems, of thinking of solutions. To generate philanthropy around that is still difficult.
    Corporate sponsorship is another story. That we can do, but the challenge around corporate sponsorship is that, as I mentioned in my presentation, it costs money to make money, so you have to create programs, you have to create opportunities in order for the sponsor to feel that they're getting their ROI out of being involved.
    In terms of the funding model, for example our overall annual revenue is $3.2 million; 56% of that revenue we generate through our event rental business. The rest falls: donations and sponsorship is 25%; tickets, registration is 9%; membership is 9%; and government funding is 9%.
    In the study that Gail Lord did for us, it clearly said that museums, generally, about 20% to 40% of their support is government funding. We're far below that.
    I'm sure you've heard this over and over again. It's the operational expenses that are really killing us and killing everyone, so that's where we really need help. I also said in my presentation that I think there's opportunity to share resources, to share venues, to think outside the box and think outside of bricks and mortar. Maybe we don't all need bricks and mortar, but then what's the funding model for that? There isn't a funding model stream that would support that initiative, either.
    Thank you so much.
    How much time do I have left?
    You have over half a minute.
    Oh, okay. Well, maybe the last question's to Ms. Collison. I would love to come to your museum at some point in time. You make it sound so wonderful. Other than government funding, how else can the federal government help you? Is what you're looking for from us is just government funding? How else can we be very helpful to you?
    I'll touch on government funding briefly, which is that, in particular, Canadian Heritage has been incredibly supportive. That being said, in the granting realm it's often highly prescriptive outside of Canadian Heritage, and sometimes within, and doesn't allow for operational funding or positions. What it does, it creates projects that burden us with additional work.
    One of our biggest things, of course, is in the decolonization and indigenization of this country, if Canadian Heritage could do a country-wide tour into indigenous communities, with the understanding of the need for time, patience, and a building of trust, I think you would gain an incredible insight into the variety of nations and different needs. We need to create more equity, easier access, and more respect for indigenous scholarship. We need to—

  (1020)  

    I'm going to cut you there, unfortunately, because we're well over our seven minutes. Maybe someone will pick up on that.
    The next person we will be going to is MP Hoback.
    Thank you, Chair.
     I would like to thank the committee. I'm a guest of the committee today, but what a fascinating topic. I'm not going to lie to you: 10 or 12 years ago, if you talked about museums, I would have yawned. As I get older, and as I've lost my parents and grandparents, I start to recognize how important museums are, and how important some of our local museums are to me.
     Ms. Collison, you said you've been with your group for 18 years. What things in the past have governments done right? If you repeated that, it would really help us. Is there anything we can learn, where you could say that this worked? Instead of reinventing the wheel, and always trying to do something new and different, and as you said, creating new burdens, could you identify something that worked really well but ended for some reason, and if you brought that back it would really help?
    We've been supported by the Canadian government, but there needs to be, on a higher level as well, a real drive toward what I spoke about earlier, namely, support for an equity-based museum world in Canada.
    You provided some significant funding over the years, and have come to visit us, which means a great deal to us. There has been—
    Are there any specific programs? Is there anything that you could identify and say that type of program was really good?
    The museums assistance program has been very important to us, as well as the cultural spaces fund. They've been among some of the biggest support we've had. It has allowed for some of our biggest and most successful exhibitions and publications, which have been literally reaching around the globe.
    Other support from government has allowed the creation of the Haida Gwaii Museum originally, as well as the expansion into the Haida Heritage Centre. The participation in the museum's task force report of 1992 and the recommendations that came out of it were pivotal in supporting mainstream museums, and beginning to work with indigenous nations and cultural centres.
    So we should go back and look at that report, then.
    You should look at that report.
     I'm part of the Canadian Museums Association's Council of Museums and Indigenous Peoples, which is a follow-up from the museum's task force report. It is looking at the past 20 years and where we are today with museums in regard to the indigenous component and our working together with Canada. We're looking at what we are lacking in as a society and for museums. We're looking at the equity, etc., and the need for repatriation, which is hugely healing not only to our nation, but to working with other nation state museums. That really trickles down into society, it's one of the greatest forums.
    Mrs. Levy, I'll ask you the same question. In your experience have you found programs and just said, this really works well, why don't you continue doing this?
    Then also, what programs have you looked at and said, this is absolutely stupid, why are we doing it this way?
    Do you have any advice in that context?
    Are you referring to the Ministry of Heritage programs in particular?
    Any type of program that you say “hey, this was really good, let's keep doing it”.
    Yes.
    When we first started in this new strategic direction, as I mentioned, we focused on bringing in exhibition and program designers who had that ability to reach that broader audience. We were able to secure record sponsorship, record support, attendance.
    The challenge though is that as a small institution without a benefactor, there's no net. Even if you are bringing in significant dollars, and EDIT is a perfect example of that, if there's a loss there's nothing to save you. I come from the private sector, and I organized trade shows and consumer events for most of my life. If one show doesn't do that well it's okay, because you're leaning on the others and you're compensating and balancing it out. As a small institution there's nothing, there's no net. You're driving into a deficit situation.
    A project like EDIT has proven to be a very successful model. But it also means that we need to dip into other funds to help support it, which we just don't have.
    I would say that these projects that are meaningful, authentic, that relate to a broad audience, that are accessible, those all work really well, but we're not in the private sector where we have a widget to sell and we can just keep producing more widgets. We need some support to enable that kind of programming.

  (1025)  

    Any programs that you would say, “hey, don't ever do that again, that was stupid”.
    I never say that.
    I thought there would be a list actually. It is government, so....
    I would just say, as I said earlier, the programs of the Ministry of Canadian Heritage really don't apply to us. We sit and we read them and we're trying to fit round holes onto square pegs. We spend all this time trying to figure out the angle to take, and then all of a sudden you're delivering a project that has nothing to do with who you are because you're trying to fit it into the right pocket.
    It's difficult for me to answer that question because it just doesn't appeal.
    You said that you had square holes and round pegs, so in your scenario how would you like the bureaucrats to work with you? How do you create a program when you have a government that's used to having square holes and square pegs and round holes and round pegs?
    How do you give them that flexibility without creating all sorts of other problems?
    Minister Joly has come out and said that design will be included in the definition of creative industry. We're anxiously awaiting to understand what that means and if it will have an impact on the existing programs.
    I also talked about flexibility in programming, that from my perspective—and maybe Gail talked about this—the definition of museum is changing, much like the definition of a library. Earlier on someone was talking about it being a place for community, and that's certainly what it is. It's a place for growth, education, and all the other things that are happening now in museums that didn't happen before. Funding should be flexible to allow for that kind of project.
    Again, I bring back EDIT. It brought in 35,000 people who didn't know anything about design—nothing. They walked out inspired, wanting to change the world and have a positive impact on the world, because of design and this experience. It was entertainment, it was fun, it was interactive, but they were leaving with very important messages.
    We need more flexibility in granting, and then again an inter-ministerial approach.... Design continuously falls through the cracks. It's not considered innovation, which I think it is, and it's not considered culture and heritage, which I consider it is. It needs some inter-ministerial thinking around it.
     You're out of time.
    I'm sorry. I talk too much.

[Translation]

    Mr. Nantel, you have seven minutes.
    You are certainly not speaking too much, Ms. Levy. On the contrary, your situation is very interesting. I thank the Chair for being in your organization's photos. I don't know if it was you who insisted that we receive them.
    Your museum reaches out to a different type of community. You excel in mediation and in getting people to know your museum's theme, as well as creating interest among young people. That is very appropriate.
    Your museum is located in a very large community, but your theme remains about the interest of the community for things that are modern and new, as well as those which fill young people with enthusiasm. It's another kind of museum. We can learn a lot from you have to say.
    I hope that your initiatives will be cited often, because most other museums face precisely the opposite challenge. Let's say that there is a fishing museum somewhere. The theme of the museum will be eligible, and the museum will certainly receive funding. The issue is getting people to visit it. On the other hand, your museum draws in people without having a theme that would make it eligible for funding.

[English]

    Yes, that is absolutely correct. I like to say that in a way we're a museum of the future because we are talking about issues that relate to the future with, of course, a nod to the past and how that impacts us.
     I will add that the highest number of people who came to EDIT were in the millennial demographic, the 25-to-34 age group. The second highest was the group immediately above and below it. It was huge. The fact that we were able to speak their language I think is really key. I think as a cultural industry we all struggle to figure out how to communicate with them. I think we've succeeded in that.
    Yes. I think we're speaking the right language. We just need that additional support to help us speak a little louder.

  (1030)  

    My next question is for Ms. Collison, because, if I'm not mistaken, the Haida community has probably the best-known art that we know from first nations. I think it's probably the most iconic and recognizable art.
    In terms of mediation, to get back to Ms. Dzerowicz's question about your being so far, what can be done? I know that in the Canada 150 celebrations.... I was looking for the special word...sesquicentennial.
    Mr. Sean Casey (Charlottetown, Lib.): [Inaudible—Editor]
    Mr. Pierre Nantel: Thank you, Mr. Casey, the other Mr. Casey.
    VIA Rail played a key role in making these celebrations a day-to-day thing. They made graphic stuff about Canada 150. For example, I know there's a very beautiful train that all MPs can enjoy to Prince Rupert, which is the best access.
    Do you get network support for people to get to the island and to see the museum?
    This is a relatively new thing that we're working actively on with the Museum of Anthropology, University of British Columbia, to do exactly that, to create a corridor that highlights indigenous museums along the road you were speaking of, and to encourage visitation and understanding that we have an indigenous scholarship that is unique and very different from western academia, which we also support.
    I'm on the indigenous advocacy and advisory committee for the provincial museum of British Columbia, and we are expanding very much into repatriation, of course, but also support and advocacy for indigenous museums, again mostly located in rural places.
    It would be great to have federal support in that, and also to do what you do, which is recognize museums as integral to life.
    Some have told us about the endowment funds, les fonds de dotation, that offer some financial support for various cultural organizations but not for museums. I would guess for the design museum it's not as complicated. Would it be something of interest for you?
    Do you think there is a potential for you at the Haida Gwaii Museum to have some travelling exhibits to ensure that you would send your art pieces on the road so that people who can't go up north would know about them? I know Mr. Van Loan wanted to speak about this. Would endowment funds and insurance programs be beneficial?
    The question is for both of you for the time remaining.
     Absolutely. It would be wonderful.
    We do work globally with museums. Across Canada and the United States, we've had major exhibitions featuring Haida language, art, and culture with these partners. For example, two major exhibitions that we're partners with are opening in March in Vancouver, with the Museum of Vancouver and the UBC Museum of Anthropology.
    If we could travel exhibitions and do that, it would be amazing, and if there were any way we could set up an endowment fund, that would be incredible. It is part of our strategic plan to create a philanthropic drive.
    Madame Levy, is an endowment fund something you would consider?
    The challenge, of course, right now is that we're not eligible for anything. If it was something that was available to us, absolutely.
    Thank you.
    We will be going to Mr. Hogg for seven minutes, please.
    For me, the journey of this meeting has been quite intriguing, and if I can exercise some licence, a number of similar themes have evolved out of the four presentations. First, we heard Ms. Lord say there's no museum policy, no overarching policy by which we can address and deal with things. Then, as we started to hear about the diverse nature of what constitutes museums, I began to wonder how we can get a policy that would allow for the generation of such diversity in the evolution of museums. Somehow, through all of this, another theme has been that it fits into the fabric of what it is to be a Canadian, or the fabric of what it is to be a citizen of the world, and that is reflected in so many of the presentations.
    With the diversity, the evolution, and the comments today that we don't have a museum policy, do you think we should have a museum policy? Can there be a policy that still honours or respects the diversity and your ability to do things independently, or does a policy somehow inhibit the ability of people to do the things they're doing within their communities that reflect what it is to be a Canadian and a citizen of the world?

  (1035)  

    I would assume that the policy would take all that into account, would it not? We would want to make sure that it is a policy that accounts for diversity and the diverse nature of our institutions, but allows for flexibility of policy and funding and has that range of option and opportunity within it.
    That's interesting. You think we're better off having a policy than leaving things the way they are.
    I unfortunately didn't hear Gail speak, so I'm not sure what she was implying by that, but if it was a policy that allows for—
    Sorry to interrupt, but she simply said our big weakness is that there is no museum policy. That was her exact quote.
    I'm not sure what the definition of policy is then. If it's meant to straitjacket institutions, then no, but if it allows for freedom and flexibility, then yes.
    Okay. Thank you.
    To focus specifically on repatriation and those types of things, we know that anything is possible. We have repatriated throughout Canada and across borders without policy and law. We have also achieved that work because of policy and law. It really depends on how it works best for us, and it has taken some really committed advocacy and sharing of the Haida world view.
    Ultimately, we found that our progress and our successes are based on relationships, so it's really hard for me as well to say whether policy is beneficial or not. If it's broader, and as Shauna said, if it's not so prescriptive but is supportive of museums, and in our case, supportive of and guiding the work with indigenous people, that is very important. It would take incredible amounts of consultation, and again, supporting the national museums and indigenous issues council to really decide what might be most effective, not only for indigenous people but for Canada in general.
     I think you made reference to how there need to be more inter-ministerial approaches to it. Certainly, the World Health Organization, in looking at a number of models, has said that we need to have an integrated, coordinated, and inter-ministerial approach to the notion of health. There has been reference made in some of the presentations to the impact this has on social well-being or social capital and the ability to do that.
     In terms of listening to what you were saying, do we need a policy that says museums take a positive approach to the well-being of people in their community, reflect the needs of their community, and are responsive to a myriad of ministerial approaches to things? For example, the World Health Organization had people looking at what the transportation ministry has to do with health. It's an integrated and coordinated approach.
    Totally, and it's a design challenge too.
    I'm sure it is.
     I'm still struggling with that notion of a policy. I recognize exactly what you're saying, which is that we have to be able to encourage a myriad of approaches to things, and it's going to be transformative, as we've heard as well. Do you have some words that would help me grasp what that might be?
    In our case, as I was saying earlier, we often work with the innovation ministry, because we touch upon so many different aspects of life and therefore so many aspects of governments and the various ministries. Gail Lord talks about soft power and the importance of museums and culture for the health of society and the reputation of a country. I think there has to be a policy that allows for the importance of museums and culture and therefore creates the institutional mechanisms to support that.

  (1040)  

    I'd like to say that responsive museums both respond to and drive society. Effective museums see people taking action and also a movement towards a new discourse in our society. If there were policy from the Canadian federal government around embracing UNDRIP and the TRC calls to action in this round, that would be highly helpful and I think could really lead to some great work. Also, there could be a promotion of museums as not stuffy and old places but exciting places that create thought, discussion, and debate.
    You have 15 seconds, but I think you might want to....
    You're asking me to give up my 15 seconds?
    The Chair: No, you can put them in.
    An hon. member: Now you've already used them.
    Mr. Gordie Hogg: Okay.
    No, no. That was just to give you a heads-up.
    Mr. Gordie Hogg: Thank you.
    The Chair: We can go to you, Mr. Shields, but we only have two minutes. Would you like a two-minute round?
    I've probably wandered around most of the major of the museums in this country before most of you were born. My parents would get me to the door and find me at the end of the day. As my adult children know, when we're travelling the world that's where they'll find me.
    We have two that are very similar in a sense. You're Toronto-centric, and to replicate that would be fantastic. Also, I'm fortunate to have been to Haida Gwaii. It's incredible, but we need to get more people to it, because it's hard to take that one out. If you get out to the settlements, those are phenomenal.
     We have Toronto-centric, with fashion, style, and design. It's incredible. How do we get it out? How do we get people to Haida Gwaii? You have to go to Haida Gwaii: you can't get that transported out.
    In the case of Design Exchange, we have a mandate to be a national institution. EDIT is a project that we're hoping to spread through multiple parts of the country.
     In terms of an analogue approach, it would be about bringing our experiences to multiple provinces and cities across the country, and even globally, for that matter. Then, of course, there's the digital aspect of things: digitizing our content and allowing for interaction on a digital level. There's the analogue action, and there's also the digital perspective.
    How do you get people to Haida Gwaii?
    Our mandate is Haida Gwaii, but it also expands, because Haidas live around the world and our cultural diaspora is located around the world. In that sense, we are truly a global museum, but you're so correct: really, people should be coming to Haida Gwaii.
    Yes.
    I'm done. Thank you.
     That brings us to an end for today.
    Thank you very much to both of our witnesses. It was really helpful to hear your testimony today.
    That will bring an end to this meeting. Merci.
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