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House of Commons Emblem

Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage



Thursday, November 5, 2020

[Recorded by Electronic Apparatus]



     All right, let's lower the gavel. Welcome to the session for today.
    Welcome, Minister.
    I want to start this by describing to everyone who is watching or listening to us publicly that pursuant to Standing Order 81(4) and the order of reference of Wednesday, September 30, 2020, the committee will now consider the main estimates for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2021. Pursuant to Standing Order 81(5) and the order of reference of Thursday, October 22, 2020, the committee will now also consider the supplementary estimates (B) for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2021.
    Now I call upon the minister for testimony.
    Mr. Minister, we normally give around five to 10 minutes. I understand that you prepared some remarks.
    Please proceed.


    Members of the committee, thank you for inviting me here today.
    I'm joining you from Montreal, on the traditional territory of the Mohawks and the other Haudenosaunee peoples.
    With me are Hélène Laurendeau, deputy minister of Canadian Heritage, and Jean-Stéphen Piché, senior assistant deputy minister of cultural affairs. I want to thank them for their outstanding work under circumstances that have not been easy in the past few months.
    The COVID-19 pandemic is affecting all of us. Its impact on our country is significant in every part of our society.
    The Department of Canadian Heritage supports the commitments of the Government of Canada, grows the country's cultural and creative industries, and shares Canada's stories both at home and around the world. As you will recall, the 2020-21 main estimates were tabled in Parliament last February 27. The total funding allocated to my department was $1.5 billion, including $1.3 billion in grants and contributions, and $203.2 million in operating expenses. Heritage portfolio organizations received $2.1 billion in funding.
    In early March, we all entered a period of uncertainty. The pandemic hit the cultural, heritage and sports sectors hard. Following the Prime Minister's announcement in April of a $500-million emergency support fund to provide temporary assistance to these three sectors, I announced further details of this funding on May 8, June 18 and July 7.
    A survey conducted by Canadian Heritage of the recipients of the first phase of the fund's implementation showed that we met our objectives, both in terms of supporting business continuity and jobs. With a 56% response rate, we obtained a wealth of information. For example, 77% of respondents indicated that the fund helped them a great deal or moderately to stay in business, and the vast majority of respondents, 98%, expressed satisfaction with the speed with which they received the funds.
    In rolling out this emergency support fund in record time, in designing all the supplementary measures that went into effect this summer, and in doing so while the department was operating at limited capacity on a business continuity plan, we relied upon our network of dozens of portfolio organizations, thousands of partner organizations, and tens of thousands of stakeholders.
    All of these partners contribute to the cultural, heritage and sports sectors which together comprise almost $62 billion of our GDP, contribute 750,000 jobs to the country, and provide us all company, comfort, community and identity in moments like these. Their work demonstrates the power of art, sport, music, literature, and the simple power of telling stories—our stories—in myriad ways.
    Since the spring, I have been in close contact with these sectors, which have suffered income losses, job losses and structural changes because of the health measures. To give you an idea of the extent of these losses, according to Statistics Canada, the GDP in the information and cultural industries sub-sector declined by about $3 billion in July compared to February of this year. Similarly, GDP in the arts, entertainment and recreation sub-sector fell by more than 50%.
    While this picture is incomplete, it does reveal some vulnerable sectors. This is why I participated in a series of town halls and roundtables to hear from stakeholders, so they could share their ideas about how we can work with them and better support them. Roughly 4,000 participants attended these town halls and roundtables in September and October.
    These discussions allowed me to target our assistance more precisely. For example, in September, I announced a $50-million short-term compensation fund to help our film and audiovisual industries resume production activities. The fund will be administered by Telefilm Canada.
    Our various assistance measures are reflected in the 2020-21 supplementary estimates (B). The increase in appropriations for Canadian Heritage and its portfolio organizations has made several things possible, including the following: the implementation of the emergency support fund that I mentioned previously; support for students and youth affected by the pandemic; support for the six national museums and the National Battlefields Commission; support for several key cultural organizations, such as the National Arts Centre and Telefilm Canada; and finally, financial relief for broadcasters through a waiver of CRTC licence fees.


    Canada's cultural offering is among the best in the world, and I am pleased that our government is supporting it during this critical period.
    On Tuesday, I introduced Bill C-10 to amend the Broadcasting Act. This is an important first step in modernizing the Canadian broadcasting system. I also intend to propose other measures to put in place a regulatory framework in which digital platforms contribute their fair share.
    We are following developments in France, which has enacted a neighbouring right for newspaper publishers into domestic law. We are also following the situation in Australia and are examining options here in Canada.
    In addition, I want to introduce a bill proposing new regulations for social media platforms, starting with a requirement that all platforms remove illegal content, including hate speech. Finally, I am committed to reviewing the Copyright Act.
    I would also like to reiterate that our government has made reconciliation with indigenous peoples a priority. That is why, despite the circumstances, we are continuing to implement the Indigenous Languages Act in cooperation with our indigenous partners, and to support their projects to reclaim, revitalize, maintain and strengthen their languages.
    Indigenous cultures, arts, heritage and sport are among our key priorities, and we continue to support them.
    Thank you, Mr. Chair. I am ready to take your questions.


     Thank you, Minister.
    Before we start the general discussion, for the sake of technicalities, I will now call vote 1 under Canada Council for the Arts and vote 1(b) under the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, which will permit general discussion of the estimates and questioning of our witnesses.
    We start with Mr. Rayes.


    You have six minutes.
    Thank you, Mr. Chair, for allowing me to ask the minister some questions. Thank you, Mr. Minister, for taking time out of your busy schedule to come and talk to us.
    You have taken the time to talk to us about a new bill to amend the Broadcasting Act. My questions are going to focus on that sector in particular, and my colleagues will continue by asking questions related to our study.
    You say you want to make sure that digital media can contribute, like our conventional media, to the Canadian landscape. Could you confirm that Canadian media all invest 5% of their gross revenues in the Canada media fund?
    This varies depending on the type of business. I'm thinking of cable companies, for example. The level of investment in a given market—
    We're talking about 5% roughly speaking. That's the figure we usually hear everywhere. Can you confirm that?
    Your senior colleagues seem to be signalling yes.
    I'm not sure I understand you. Is your question about the Canada media fund specifically?
    Several investments are made by—
    Yes, I'm talking about the Canada media fund.
    Ms. Laurendeau, I don't have the number for the Canada media fund handy. Can you clarify this for Mr. Rayes?
    Mr. Piché will be able to clarify that.
    In the case of cable and Internet service providers, a 5% levy is used to contribute to the Canada media fund. For other broadcasters, it is a requirement related to spending on Canadian content.
    That's perfect. Thank you.
    During the press conference, Mr. Minister, you pointed out that your bill would result in nearly $1 billion in additional investment by major players in the digital world, such as Netflix and Spotify.
    Could you explain how you do this calculation, because when you go through the 55 pages of this bill, there is no mention of a percentage that would guarantee such an investment. The various newspaper articles indicate that it's more like $830 million. When we, on our side, talk to these players, they do not tell us the same figures at all.
    So I'd like to know how we can have access to your calculation.


    Thank you, Mr. Rayes.
    I'll tell you what the employees of the department did. When you look at the overall investments of Canadian broadcasters, depending on the type and size of the company, as I said earlier, the percentage of their revenues that must be invested in Canadian culture varies between 25% and 45%.
    Applying this percentage to the revenues of digital platforms in Canada yields a figure of approximately $830 million. Of course, this is an approximation based on modelling. This is the additional amount that would be invested annually in Canadian and, of course, Quebec culture.
    Why not just put it in the bill instead of dumping it onto the CRTC? This means that money won't be granted for nine months or more.
    What prevented you from putting it in the bill, to ensure that these players in the sector will be treated in the same way as the current players, in all fairness?
    The bill calls for digital platforms to contribute to the sector equitably, as do Canadian distributors and broadcasters.
    Why ask the regulator to do this? First of all, it is an independent tribunal of experts. It's not unique to the broadcasting sector, where the legislator asks the regulator to do this kind of work. It's done in the energy field, for example. The government gives direction and passes bills, and the implementation is done by the Canadian Energy Board. This is also done in the legal field. So it's done in several sectors.
    Perfect. Thank you.
    However, I would like to add another important element.
    It has been 30 years since the Broadcasting Act was amended. If the past is any indication of the future, it may not be for another 30 years. Over the years, it is much easier to change regulations than it is to change legislation.
    I think that over the next 30 years, our consumption habits, cultural production and technologies will change a lot. If we were to propose a very rigid bill, we might end up with the same kind of problems we have today.
    Nothing in the proposed bill guarantees that a percentage of the production of Canadian content will be in French, as you wish.
    When Ms. Joly filed the agreement with Netflix, she was strongly criticized by all the players, according to whom she had done nothing to protect one of the country's two official languages. And yet, you put a lot of emphasis on indigenous people, racialized people, LGBTQ+, among others; you took the time to point that out. What guarantee do Canadian francophones across the country, and not only in Quebec, have that there will be equitable production of French-language content, according to the current wording of the bill?
    Platforms will have obligations with respect to the production of French-language content, as is the case for Canadian broadcasters.
    I want to make it clear that many organizations across the country do not share your pessimism. The Fédération culturelle canadienne-française welcomed the minister's wishes. The ADISQ spoke of a historic day. The Coalition for the Diversity of Cultural Expressions thanked the minister for keeping his word and called on all parties to support this essential review—
    Mr. Minister, I'm going to stop you there—


     Minister, I'm sorry. I have to cut in here. The time is up.
     I'm going to have to be a bit more strict on time, folks. For technical reasons, we're running behind time.


    Mrs. Bessette, you have six minutes.
    Thank you, Mr. Chair.
    Good evening, Mr. Minister. Thank you for being here today, especially in light of all the problems that have arisen.
    First of all, the sport sector has suffered a devastating financial impact as a result of the cancellation of several events, including competitions. This has led to revenue losses, as well as deficits.
    As we talk about recovery, how are you ensuring that the sport sector, both professional and recreational, will remain viable?


    Thank you for your question.
    We have done several things. I talked earlier about the $500-million emergency fund. In that fund, $72 million is earmarked for the sports sector. We divided that money into two parts: half of the money went to the national federations, which in turn gave it to their partners, and the other half went to the provinces to help the provincial and regional federations. The federal government is not in contact with these organizations. We have worked with the provinces and territories to ensure that this money is distributed.
    Normally, in federal-provincial agreements, funds are spent on a pro-rated basis, but in this case we have tried to maintain the provincial and territorial sport ecosystem. Instead, we have allocated money based on the number of organizations in a province. This means that Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba and Saskatchewan received a much higher percentage of money than if we had pro-rated the funds. We really did try to maintain the ecosystem.
    The Olympic Games have been postponed, which is creating all kinds of problems, as you well know, for the high-performance athletes who are supported by federal funding programs. In terms of funding, we've simply extended the support we provide to these athletes and their entourages until the next Olympic Games.
    Thank you.
    I have a second question.
    I would now like to talk about the second phase of the emergency fund. One of the purposes of this phase was to support organizations that are not normally recipients of Canadian Heritage subsidy programs.
    How has your department ensured the participation of these organizations that typically don't receive assistance?
    Thank you for your question.
    It was quite a challenge. We quickly recognized that people receive grants year after year from the Department of Canadian Heritage—that doesn't mean that they are always the same—and the same goes for the Canada Council for the Arts, Telefilm Canada and the Canada Media Fund.
    We realized that, if we did not help organizations that normally do not receive funding, it would be very difficult for them to get through the crisis. That's why we set aside almost 40% of the $500-million envelope for organizations that we do not normally fund.
    So we conducted a thorough and very broad search with our partners in order to reach those organizations. I spoke about that a little earlier. We created a new website and a simplified application form so that those organizations could quickly become eligible and receive funds. It allowed us, for example, to fund seasonal museums that Canadian Heritage does not normally fund.
    It was a very interesting exercise for us, but it shows that we have a lot of work to do in terms of diversity in our ability to reaching organizations of that kind.
    Thank you.
    In phase 2, local media are receiving significant funding through the Canada Periodical Fund. In my constituency, I know that a number of independent newspapers, like the Sherbrooke Record, are able to continue their operations because of that assistance.
    Can you tell us how local media were affected by the pandemic and why that assistance was necessary?
    The media in general, and local media in particular, were hit hard by the pandemic, essentially because of the major decrease in advertising revenue. The people who normally buy advertising in those media were themselves facing significant financial difficulties.
    Part of our emergency assistance was set aside for the media so that we could support the sector and help it through the crisis. We did other things to help the sector, such as the Department of Health's advertising campaign on COVID-19. The federal government bought advertising in local media all across the country, in print media, in radio and in television.
    I could find the exact figures, but several hundred print media and local radio outlets all across the country received that support.


    Thank you, Mrs. Bessette and Minister Guilbeault.
    Mrs. Desbiens, the hon. member for Beauport—Côte-de-Beaupré—Île d'Orléans—Charlevoix, has the floor for six minutes.
    Good evening, Minister, I am happy to be talking to you. Let me take this opportunity to thank you and your team, because you have worked very hard to try to keep the world of culture alive. That was no easy task, I recognize, and I wanted to acknowledge your efforts. I know those efforts were great.
    Earlier, we were reading that you met with almost 4,000 participants during your consultations in September and October. You achieved a satisfaction rate of 77%. When I brought home my report showing a mark of 85%, my father told me that it was good, but he asked what happened to the other 15%. He was very strict. Your goal was not to get a mark of 100%, I recognize that, but still, 23% did not get the call or were not reached.
    What are your plans for reaching those people quickly, because time is of the essence for them?
    I agree with you. We can always do better and we would love to help as many artists, cultural workers, and cultural and artistic organizations as possible.
    As an example, I can tell you about major festivals, which we did not manage to help in phase 1 or phase 2 of the emergency fund. We were not able to find an program with an adequate fit. There are all kinds of major festivals all across the country.
    So we are working on it, and I hope that I will be able to announce something along those lines soon. It is certainly one of the sectors where we have to do more, and the quicker the better.
    I am still concerned about the base, the artists who are the source of the creativity. If artists cannot create, we are going to lose many of our great musicians, our great actors and our great directors. Some of those artists have turned to other jobs because of a lack of income.
    What mechanisms do you have to make sure that the money gets to the artists?
    We have established a number of financial mechanisms to support the people, the ecosystem, the organizations and the companies.
    Of course, another one we can think of is the wage subsidy—
    Yes, you are talking about the Canada Emergency Response Benefit, or CERB, which will soon be ending.
    No, I am talking about the emergency wage subsidy. I will talk about the CERB in a minute.
    Mr. Piché and Ms. Laurendeau, I don't recall the exact percentage of cultural organizations that received the emergency wage subsidy. As I recall, it was about 75% but Mr. Piché would be able to give us the exact figure.
    Yes, it was 75% of the organizations.
    Right. It allowed those organizations to keep artists, cultural workers and technical people employed.
    Then, as you pointed out, the Canada Emergency Response Benefit is about to expire, but it is going to be replaced by a “CERB 2.0”, called the Canada Recovery Benefit. We also announced that it would be available at least until the middle of next year, because the situation is going to remain very uncertain in the area through the coming months.
    Thank you, Mr. Minister.
    Ms. Laurendeau, I would like to make a connection between tourism and culture, not only in urban centres, but also specifically outside them. The two are dependent and interdependent variables.
    In 2008, there was an assistance fund called the Marquee Tourism Events Program. People on the ground tell me that the program was a huge help during the crisis of 2008.
    Do you think that a program like that could quickly be put back on track?


    That is one of the replacement solutions currently under study. The minister spoke about major events. With our colleagues from the department of industry, we are in the process of considering measures that would bring marquee events and the recovery of tourism together.
    We are not in a position to tell you exactly what that will be, but those matters are being studied and, actually,we are indeed focusing on the former program.
    Thank you.
    Mr. Minister, I have one last question for you.
    Given that the benefits are going to expire, what cause for hope do the artists have? We know that audiences will not be back for a long time and that the public has fundamentally altered its behaviour. We also know that there will not be a vaccine in the short term.
    Before everything gets back on track, do you think that a three-year program, for example, tailored to the size of audiences in the venues, could be put into place?
    I know that some people are asking for those programs to be extended over very long periods of time.
    Let's take the CERB, for example. We have already extended it three times, because people were saying that they are not out of the woods yet and still need help. We are extending it, in a different form, at least until the middle of next year.
    The situation is changing so quickly from province to province and from moment to moment that it is difficult to announce three-year measures when you do not know what the situation will be next week or next month.
    It is not easy for producers and broadcasters either.
    Thank you very much.
    Thank you.


     Ms. McPherson, you have six minutes, please.
    I would like to thank you, Minister, for joining us. I know it was not easy to get on the call. Certainly there have been some technical challenges for all of us. Thank you for being patient and taking the time to be here. Thank you as well for all of the work you have done for the cultural sector over the past eight months.
    Like you, I did some round tables. As I'm sure you know, Edmonton Strathcona is the heart of the artistic community in Edmonton. We have a number of theatres. A number of festivals happen within my riding. At a round table, one thing I heard from artists and cultural workers was about a deep need for long-term support, knowing they will not be going back to the theatre and knowing that we will not have people in venues for some time.
    Did you also hear from cultural workers that a basic income would be one of the key things they would be looking for, going forward?
    As I was just telling your colleague, this issue of long-term support has been coming up. Our response is that the situation evolves so quickly it's difficult to plan for the long term, but we've said from the beginning that we would be there and we would have their backs. I think we've shown that we have been there. We will continue to be there to support them until we're back to something that looks like a new normal.
    If it takes six more months or a year, well, the government will be there. The Prime Minister has been very clear on that. We won't let them down and we haven't.
    Thank you for that. I would like to echo my colleague when she said that the lack of knowledge of what we're facing affects government, obviously, but it affects artists even more. I would like to just highlight that for her as well and to press you to make sure that we are keeping artists and cultural workers as up to speed as we possibly can so that they are not having to deal with this uncomfortable way of not knowing.
    My other questions are around museums. I've spoken to a number of different people who have talked about how museums have been particularly hard hit. When we look at the estimates, we see that there were decreases in funding for many of the museums. I'm wondering why those decreases are in place. Given the COVID-19 pandemic and the challenges that museums are facing, is additional funding possible for this fiscal year? Will the museums assistance program be expanded to provide long-term funding to get through the pandemic? If so, what's the plan?


    On the first one, where you say that funding has been going down for museums, can you be more specific?
    Absolutely. In the estimates we were given, the Canadian Museum of History, the Canadian Museum for Human Rights and the Canadian Museum of Nature are seeing decreases of 4.6%, 5.4% and 7.5% respectively.
    I don't have those numbers in front of me. I can tell you that about 10% of the emergency funding did go to a special museum program, $53 million, and we provided additional funding for the national museums.
    That was announced in August, I believe, Madam Laurendeau?
    Yes, in August.
    There are two things here. There were, of course, revenue losses for the national museums that happened towards the end of the fiscal year. It was the reason we reacted, outside of the emergency fund, to provide additional funding to offset that lost revenue until the end of this fiscal year. So it looks like it's a downward trend with respect to their main estimates, but it was offset by additional funding in the realm of about $20 million, if I'm not mistaken, or $25 million. We can provide the exact figures.
    That's how the interplay happened between what happened towards the end of the year and what we offset. It's something that is like the emergency funding but is outside the $500 million.
     Going forward, will there be additional funding made available for not just the larger museums but also small museums across the country?
    It depends on how successful I am in convincing my colleague at Finance that it should be the case, but we're not quite there yet.
    Please let us know if there's any way that we can help convince your colleague in Finance.
    Thank you very much.
    We're there for you.
    I'll ask a very quick question.
    In my riding, I can tell you that the CBC is a deeply loved institution. One of the things that I always found interesting was that every time I had a McPherson sign, I also saw a CBC sign.
    Can you explain why CBC/Radio Canada has not received additional funding since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic?
    I'm also a big fan of CBC/Radio Canada. I've confessed so publicly before. The CBC was able to redirect some existing funds to help compensate for some of the challenges brought on by COVID-19. We are looking at measures to further help CBC in the coming months.
    Thank you.
    That's all for now.
    Mr. Shields, you have five minutes, please.
    I will split by time with Mr. Waugh.
    Thank you, Mr. Minister, for being here. We appreciate you and we always appreciate your staff. We met with them earlier, and they're fantastic.
    I'm going to get very specific. It's to do with the new legislation. You talk about the Broadcasting Act engagement sessions with indigenous peoples on how to best support indigenous storytelling.
     After the last meeting we had and I brought this up, you said the NAC had a piece that had been added, so I met with the staff there. They were two great people but they had no money, and this was before COVID-19. In my area is one of the most phenomenal stories that has been written and performed by indigenous and other students from high school. It's regionally recognized as a great, well-written performance. It really is a great piece.
    When you talk about storytelling, that's an example of storytelling. Last time you told me that the NAC and the staff had no money. It's a play that needs to be performed in other places in the country. You now have this under your new piece called “engage with indigenous people” to support indigenous storytelling. How are you going to do that?


    As part of the reform of the Broadcasting Act, hopefully, once the bill is approved by the House, cabinet will send the CRTC a directive. We want to ensure that there's an increased level of funding for indigenous productions, francophone productions and other equity-seeking groups. Since there will be a large increase in the amount of money available for cultural productions in Canada, we're confident that this will happen.
    Let me give you another example. It's not specifically related to broadcasting, but I'm also responsible for the implementation of the Indigenous Languages Act. When we came into power in 2015, $5 million went to indigenous languages in Canada. That amount is at $40 million right now. It's going to be north of $50 million next year and at least $115 that's 15 times what it was in 2015. Obviously, storytelling is intrinsically linked to language and culture. This is another way we're helping, by encouraging and making sure that indigenous peoples in this country can tell their stories.
    I agree with you—
    Thank you very much.
    Mr. Waugh, you have two and a half minutes, please.
    Welcome, Minister and staff. Thank you very much.
    I am going to ask you a question about the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, Mr. Minister, because of funding. Last month, reports emerged of nearly a 10% increase in funding for the CBC in the supplementary estimates. Is that number accurate and, if so, can you tell the committee what necessitated such a dramatic increase in their budget?
    Hélène or Jean-Stéphen can correct me, but I believe there's been no increase in the CBC funding. I believe those media reports were inaccurate, unless I'm misunderstanding the question.
    Were those media reports inaccurate?
    They are not identified in the supplementary estimates (B). There are no increases that have come through supplementary (B)s.
    Okay, thank you.
    The other issue I want to bring up tonight is CBC Tandem, the so-called sponsored content. I know it's currently on hold, but it is concerning that a Crown corporation that is supposed to be providing Canadians with reliable and fact-based data would be selling its credibility now to the highest bidder.
    Since this is coming from the CBC, many Canadians would consider this being government-sponsored and approved news.
    Can you give us some background on this and tell us if the department is doing anything right now—well, they've suspended it—to address CBC Tandem?
    The first thing I need to say is that the CBC is not a government organization; it's a public broadcaster. It's an independent broadcaster, an independent organization, with its own independent board.
    As Minister of Heritage, I am not involved in the day-to-day decisions of the CBC. They make their own internal decisions.
    Do you have any thoughts on Tandem?
    I mean, they seem to be selling this.... They get well over a billion dollars a year, and now some of the former broadcasters are a little upset with CBC Tandem, like Peter Mansbridge and so on.
    Give a quick answer, please, Minister.
    To be totally honest with you, I've been a bit busy this week with the broadcasting bill. I have heard of the story you're talking about; it's not something I've had a chance to look into in depth.
    Thank you.
    Mr. Louis, you have five minutes, please.
    Thank you, Mr. Chair.
    Thank you for being here, Minister, and all the panellists and guests. I appreciate your patience tonight.
    I just want to start by saying, on behalf of athletes and artists from coast to coast to coast, thank you for your quick response in supporting a sector of our economy that's been so hard hit.
    One thing we haven't talked about, and I thought I'd bring up, is that we have a strong audiovisual sector in Canada, in the Waterloo region and in my riding of Kitchener-Conestoga. There are writers, directors, actors, production companies and musicians. It's a whole ecosystem of talent.
    Murdoch Mysteries, Anne with an E and The Handmaid's Tale were filmed right here in our region. I know they also support our local economies when they're here, and they help tell our stories.
    You mentioned some short-term compensation. Can you expand on that? You mentioned you went through Telefilm Canada and the Canada Media Fund. Can you tell about how we're supporting industry there?


    One issue that was brought forward to us this summer by the sector is the fact that because of the pandemic they weren't able to get insurance for sets to go back.... Without insurance, they couldn't get funding from banks.
    Believe it or not, the government is now in the business of insuring TV production and production sets. Who would have thought that this would be possible? The government provided a $50-million insurance fund for the audiovisual sector so that these productions can start again in Quebec, Ontario, the Prairies and British Columbia. The sector was very happy.
    One thing we are looking at is the possibility of extending it. We are having ongoing conversations with the sector to make sure this measure is helpful and will continue to be, as long as it's needed.
    I appreciate that. In all of these sectors here are people who really want to get back to work. That's the balance. It's the people with the desire to get back to work. But they know they have to do it safely, for themselves and for the people around them.
    You can't put a price on this. Those kinds of investments in shows help share our culture, our language and our stories. You mentioned that a number of times. I suggest to you or anyone that if you were to ask anyone in the world to name a number of Canadians, artists would be on the short list.
    Can you tell us how this is going to help? By supporting artists and having those stories out there in audiovisual and music as well, how is that going to help our position in the world and what people think of Canada?
     Well, we've clearly seen how successful Canadians are on the international scene with our TV production. For a number of our shows—Schitt's Creek, Kim's Convenience and, in French, District 31 and Les pêcheurs, which has become the first Quebec TV series to be bought by Netflix—we really punch above our weight.
    I agree with you that we can't always put a price on that, but that $50-million insurance that we're providing the audiovisual sector will put 17,000 people back to work, and the economic benefits for Canada are in the billions of dollars. I don't have the exact number, but Jean-Stéphen could probably give you that very quickly.
    I appreciate that.
    In my time remaining, I did want to say that I've hosted a lot of round tables—as a number of people here have done—with artists here in Kitchener-Conestoga, from larger organizations to small independent artists. In typical artist fashion, even though they're struggling, they're always thinking of others. Something that came up a lot in our round tables was our youth and particularly their mental health, and also how we can keep our youth transitioning into arts and possibly work on sustainable careers when times are tough.
    It's basic, but can you explain the importance of the wage subsidy and CERB, now the CRB, and how that can support our artists financially so they can help that next generation to become artists and also support them in the mental health thing? Arts are so important to our young artists.
    I think when history books are written about how Canada responded to COVID-19, they will talk about CERB, and they will talk about how, if you look at our G7 partners, Canada has been, if not the most generous support Canadians, not just artists, but certainly artists.... If you put together all of the measures that we've taken, either directly or indirectly, for the arts and culture sector, the effort by the Canadian federal government has been above $4 billion of support for the sector—and counting, because we are announcing new measures.
     I was talking earlier about the fact that we supported the ecosystem, but we also wanted to support people, and that's what we did with CERB and with the wage subsidy, to ensure that those who want to stay in the sector can do that and are supported in these difficult times.


    Thank you, Minister.


    Mrs. Desbiens, you have the floor for two and a half minutes.
    Thank you.
    I am going to keep looking into the future, Mr. Minister.
     I'm just asking you what you would do in the following case. Let's say I come from the music business and I'm a singer-songwriter. Not everyone is going to enter politics to change direction. I'm a musician and my spouse is a lighting designer. We have two children. We use food banks twice a month and we have no prospects right now. What are our options?
    As the results of our survey indicate quite well, there is some predictability. We told the artists that we would be there for them, and we were. We didn't let them down; we supported them. Compared to the support given to the arts sector and to artists by our G7 partners, Canada may not be number one, but it is certainly among the best.
     In the last two months, I have spoken to 4,000 people in the sector. Not a week goes by without someone thanking our government for what it has done to support organizations, of course, but also individuals.
    In European countries, including France, when you have intermittent worker status in the cultural sector, you have an allowance and a social safety net when a contract is cancelled or unforeseen circumstances such as a pandemic occur. I have many friends in France who are supported by that money. The government does not have much need to inject money on an emergency basis because measures are already in place to keep those people afloat.
     What do you think about that?
    That's what we have been doing since the beginning of the pandemic. Had it not been for the Canada emergency response benefit, these people, who have not—
    Okay, but what are you doing for tomorrow?
    The CERB will continue until mid-2021. So it is for tomorrow, the day after tomorrow, and the day after that.
    Yes, but perhaps we should think about a permanent allowance for people who don't have job opportunities for a certain period of time in the world of culture, as is done in France. That could be beneficial.
    The pandemic is forcing us to revisit a number of things.
     You probably listened to the Speech from the Throne. We did point out that we may have to review a number of our programs. Our social safety net may not have been as good as we thought it was because we had to put measures in place. However, we have done that and we have not let those people down.
     Absolutely. But we have to do more in the next few years.
    Thank you, Mr. Guilbeault.
    Thank you, Mrs. Desbiens.


     We have Ms. McPherson for two minutes and 30 seconds, please.
    Thank you, Mr. Chair.
    I find myself agreeing with my Bloc colleague again that it would be lovely to see a permanent solution to some of these issues.
    Minister, thank you for being here. Some of the questions I wanted to ask you about have to do with the National Film Board of Canada. I've spoken to a number of people from the NFB, and over the course of the pandemic there has been an explosion in how much people are accessing our digital content. As we know, people are at home and utilizing our digital content more and more. However, we do see there has been a 5.1% decrease this year from the previous year. Could you talk a little bit about where that decrease came from, how that was decided on, and what that means?
    Not in any great level of detail, but maybe Hélène can.... The NFB did get an injection of money for their move from the old office to the new office, so that temporarily inflated their budget, I think that's part of what you're seeing, but maybe there's something else.
    Hélène, can I turn to you, or Jean-Stéphen?
    I think you have captured it. It was an injection for the move, and they're reverting back to their regular level of funding. Jean-Stéphen, correct me if I'm wrong, but that's my understanding.


    There are fluctuations in some of the.... If you look at the main estimates and supplementary estimates (A), especially with regard to Crown corporations, you see that doesn't mean the funding is not stable. Depending on where in the actual financial cycle the money comes in, you can have those adjustments that will show up perhaps in either supplmentary (A)s or supplementary (B)s. It's a good question to ask, but at the same time it doesn't necessarily mean that the organization didn't get.... It's the snapshot in time of this particular...and that's a technical issue, but we can definitely find you the information because—
    That would be great. I just want to clarify, Monsieur Piché, that there has not been a cut to the National Film Board except for those funds that went along with the head office move. Is that correct?
    What I'm saying is if there's a reduction in the amount, it's not necessarily due, and probably not due, to a reduction in funding. Perhaps that funding came through another funding vehicle, either supplementary (A)s or supplementary (B)s.
    I'd love more information about that.
    Thank you very much.
    We have Mr. Waugh for five minutes, please.
    I'm going to share some of my time with Mr. Aitchison.
     Minister, I know the professional leagues did get under way, other than the CFL, but I think one league that we maybe overlooked a little bit is the Canadian Hockey League, because so many teams are community-owned: Baie-Comeau, Peterborough, Prince Albert, Medicine Hat and so on.
     I don't know if any of them got the wage subsidy. I would suspect they got the subsidy or CERB out of that. What are we going to do to these teams? I think the Quebec government gave them a million dollars each recently in the queue, and Ontario is still wondering if they should hit that or not when or if they do come back. What are we going to do with the CHL teams? As you and many of us know, they are the life of the NHL and communities. They're more important in communities like Baie-Comeau than they are in maybe Montreal or Toronto. What can we do for them? Is there anything you've done for them?
     That's a very good question. They would have been eligible for some of the measures we have put forward.
    We are looking at different things we could do. There are discussions with them about a potential tournament that could happen in the very near future in Canada, obviously in discussion with PHAC and provincial or regional health authorities to ensure that, if we do find ways to have big tournaments, they would be done very safely from a public health perspective.
    In terms of direct support, some of the funding you're referring to from the Quebec government is in part the money that the federal government gave to provinces to support their provincial or regional leagues.
    Jean-Stéphen, I can't remember if we did something specific for the Canadian Hockey League.
    I would have to look into it.
     I don't think we have. I think we assessed it, but I think we haven't done anything specific. We would have to confirm.
    We will get back to you, Mr. Waugh.
    Thank you.
    Mr. Aitchison, it's your time.
    Thank you, Mr. Waugh,
    Thank you, Minister, for being here.
    I have more detailed questions. In part, it's about being new.
    I'm wondering about the difference between what's identified in a list of money given out by the ministry. What's the difference between a contribution and a grant? I notice specifically that there are contributions to the Canada periodical fund of almost $2.5 million, and then there are grants to the Canada periodical fund of almost $73 million.
    I don't have the definition in front of me, but Jean-Stéphen or Hélène, can you reply?


    A contribution is framed into a contribution agreement, very similar, but not identical, to a form of contract with conditions attached to it.
     A grant tends to be closer to a donation, given with fewer strings attached.
     In both cases, they are given for a certain purpose, but there is a little more control around a contribution than there is with a grant. It's really two different mechanisms. One is a little more stringent; the other is a little less.
    Can I assume, then, that the contributions for the sport support program of almost $180 million and then grants to the athlete assistance program is a similar situation?
    Yes, it is.
    The contributions to the sports program are, by and large, done with our provincial partners. Therefore, we want to be a little clearer as to the conditions attached to the expenditure. With respect to the athletes, those grants go directly to them, and we don't know—
    They go directly to the athletes themselves.
    Exactly. We don't tell them they have to buy their shoes or do whatever with it.
    Thank you.
    I have another quick question.
    I also noticed, of course, that the Department of Heritage makes grants to each of the provinces to help defray the costs of the lieutenant-governors. How is it determined how much each province gets? There doesn't seem to be a rhyme or reason to it.
    You're quite right; there are differences between one province and another. That being said, what the federal government pays is quite small, compared to the expenditure of the running of the offices of the lieutenant-governors.
    We pay a very small amount, and the rest is paid by the provinces. The amount we pay is based on the actual salary, if I'm not mistaken, of the lieutenant-governors themselves, and it's limited to that.
    Mr. Aitchison, I apologize. Your time is up.
    Mr. Blois, you have five minutes, please.
    Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.
     Minister Guilbeault, it's great to see you. Normally I don't have the pleasure of sitting on this committee, but I'm very pleased to be here today. As a former athlete, I was fortunate to be a draft pick of one of those major junior teams that Mr. Waugh mentioned. I played sport and know it's important to community.
    In my riding of Kings-Hants, sport and sport organizations play a critical role. We have a number of top athletes. I'm not as familiar with the programs we've rolled out. Can you explain to me some of the ones that are specific to sports and where we put that emphasis and focus?
     Mr. Blois, are you specifically referring to emergency funding or normal ongoing funding?
    As it relates to COVID-19, first and foremost. If you want to explain some other elements, do so by all means.
    Of the $500 million emergency funding we provided to the overall heritage sector, $72 million was earmarked for sports and basically split in half. Half went to national organizations, and the other half was distributed through territories and provinces to support provincial, regional, organizations with which normally Canadian Heritage doesn't really have a relationship.
    One thing that was very helpful for provinces with smaller populations is that we allocated that money, not based on population, but based on the number of organizations in the province or the territory, so proportionally, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Yukon got a larger share of that roughly $35 million or $36 million than they would have normally had, because what we were trying to do was keep the sports ecosystem, in place, especially in smaller communities.
    I have a rural riding, so we have a lot of smaller communities where events, festivals and organizations have put on types of community gathering events. Those are really important to our culture and to our ability to bring communities together. That's been more difficult. I understand that; I think your department in some cases was able to recognize and honour some of those existing contribution agreements or grants. Can you speak a little bit about what we've done to try to support those organizations that already had relationships with Canadian Heritage?


    Actually, we honoured all of our agreements with perhaps a few exceptions. Basically, when COVID hit, the decision we took was that we would honour agreements we had with organizations, whether the event or what was supposed to be funded happened or not. If you were doing a music tour, a summer festival or a theatre competition, if it was postponed or cancelled, we told the organization to keep the money and use it wisely. There was no way we were going to pull that money, and those organizations needed the funding, so we were very flexible.
    We were also very flexible with the emergency funding; it wasn't attached to specific activities. It was really there to try to help organizations, so, if you were already a recipient of Canadian Heritage, Canada Council for the Arts or Telefilm support, you almost automatically got up to a 25% top-up of what you'd previously received from the federal government. The funding structure was a bit different for organizations that do not normally receive funding from the federal government, but that, in a nutshell, is how we did it.
    I want to be mindful of my time. The last thing I would say is that there has been discussion here today about the importance of CBC and the role it plays. In Nova Scotia, we're no different in terms of that importance.
    You mentioned that you've made it very clear that you're the minister responsible but you're not involved in the day-to-day activities of CBC. We recently had a production cut in Halifax that's going to impact programming like Land and Sea and This Hour Has 22 Minutes. From one parliamentarian to another, I know you don't control CBC's operations, but the next time you're speaking with some of the senior leadership of CBC, I hope you'll reinforce the importance of what regionality means to CBC in Atlantic Canada and in Nova Scotia.
    I can't tell them what to do, but I do talk to them from time to time.
    We'd appreciate your just passing that word on, and, again, I know you don't interfere, but as the minister responsible, that message would be lovely.
    Thank you so much.
    Your message has been heard.
    Thank you, Mr. Blois.
    I have one final questioner, Mr. Aitchison.
    You can pick up where you left off a short time ago.
    I want to move on to a new topic. Again, it may not even be your department.
    They do perform somewhat of a cultural role in our society, and they're summer camps. There are over 400 summer camps across Canada. I think they're culturally significant for young people. They cover a lot of areas that your ministry does, including sport.
    I'm wondering if there's been any discussion amongst your ministry or other folks in your government about some kinds of supports within the context of all these other programs to support summer camps across Canada.
     I don't have the answer to that question, and I don't know if Hélène or Jean-Stéphen do. If we don't, we can certainly find that answer and provide it to you.
    We don't have programs specifically for summer camps, but we have within Canadian Heritage some programming for youth, which, from time to time, depending on projects, could actually spill over to summer programs. We could look at providing you a more complete answer, but we don't specifically have a summer camp program.
     We can give you information on what we do through our youth program, but I would have to get back to you in writing.
    Summer camps may be able to apply to specific programs for specific programs they're offering, for example. Is that what you're suggesting?
    For example, there's the Canada summer jobs program. Summer camps would be eligible for that. That's a clear example, but in terms of Heritage per se, as Hélène was saying, we don't have programs to support summer camps. There may be instances under the youth branch of the department where we could do that, and maybe in another ministry such as tourism perhaps there's something. We would have to look into it.


    Okay. Thank you.
    There's some time left.
    Mr. Rayes, I see that your hand is up. Would you like to take the remaining two minutes?


    I have one more thing to clarify, and I may not use the two minutes I have. If other people want to speak, they can.
    Mr. Minister, in a question I asked you earlier, I was asking you about the calculation of $830 million versus $1 billion, which you provided at the press conference and in the presentation.
    I said about $1 billion.
    Right. I don't want to quibble about whether it is $830 million or $1 billion.
     I would like to know whether it would be possible to have access to the calculation method you used or to the data you applied to the conventional media. Can we have access to that information, please?
    Yes, we can provide you with that information.
    Would it also be possible to get those same calculations for the Canada Media Fund? I think they are public anyway.
    If we could have that clarification, it would help us understand the dynamics involving conventional media and what you are trying to get, in a fair way, with respect to new digital media.
     We will be happy to show you how we arrived at those figures.
    That's great, thank you.
    I'm done, Mr. Chair.
    If other people want to speak, they can.


    I will.


     I didn't want to take up all the time that was left.


    You have about 40 seconds. Go for it.
    Okay. Thank you.
    Mr. Minister, I think we still have $18 million out of the $500 million that came out. Where's that going and will it be distributed before the end of the year?
    I can't remember if it's $15 million or $18 million, but it's in that ballpark, and yes, we are looking at how this money could quickly be reallocated or invested. Trust me, we're not leaving this on the table.
    Thank you very much, everyone.
    Mr. Minister, you are free to go. Thank you very much. I'm sorry about the technical glitches at the very beginning. Thank you for your extended time.
    Thank you, Mr. Chair.
    Thank you very much, everyone, and have a nice evening.
    Let us just continue on very quickly, because this is the time we have with the officials.
     With your indulgence, since we started late and it's much later now than we anticipated, I'd like to do it this way. Instead of doing this in a formal manner and going down the list, may I propose something like a lightning round? If anybody has a specific question, please raise your hand and we'll deal with it. It doesn't have to be linked to parties. It's just if you have any questions for the officials that you didn't get answered.
    I see Mr. Rayes. I'll go from the list that we see here, and then we'll go from the floor back to the list. We'll try to make this as short as we can. We don't have a lot of time.
    Mr. Rayes, the floor is yours.


     I have a question about the assistance given to the various small organizations in the regions. For example, country festivals, village festivals and very small museums do not receive annual funding from Canadian Heritage.
     How could these organizations, which have no revenue other than their ticket sales, or the proceeds from beer or from the cafeteria, be contacted to access their share of the 20% of the $500 million allocated to them?
     As members of Parliament, we have never had access to this specific information, which would have allowed us to pass it on.
    In the case of the small museums, for which we had budgeted a substantial amount in phase 2 of the expenditures, we set up an online portal where people could apply. We also communicated a great deal with local associations to let them know that funds were available.
    If there was funding for phase 2, it would have been nice if all 338 members of Parliament had access to that information, because I think we are in the best position to inform those organizations, since we know them. They are often volunteers who don't have full-time positions, so it's fine to give them this information, but they don't have the resources to communicate it quickly.
     You have access to 338 ambassadors who all love their region and think it is the most beautiful in the world, so I invite you to use us. Few departments did so during the crisis, despite the urgency of communicating with people. This is an appeal that I am making to you, and I hope that it will be heard the next time there is help for people in the cultural sector and for small events, especially in the regions.


    Thank you for your suggestion. We will certainly keep it in mind in the future if we try to reach partners who are not our usual partners.
    Thank you.
    Thank you, Mr. Rayes.


     I'm going to try to move this along. It's very informal, at this point.
    Again, if you want to ask a question, please raise your hand.
    Tom, is there anybody in the room right now who would like to ask a question?
    Yes, sir. I believe Mr. Shields and Ms. McPherson have both raised their hands.
    Mr. Shields.
    I'll be quick.
    I would like to know the amount of money that went to advertising in weekly newspapers in Canada. I'd like to know the amount of money spent on advertising, to print advertising, out of Heritage—not to support under any other program other than the amount of money that was paid to weekly advertising in their print paper.
    Can I do a really hot pursuit on this? That was going to be my question, except I also wanted to add, if I could, how much was spent on Facebook ads.
    Just so that the officials are clear, it's weeklies and Facebook ads.
    You mean by Canadian Heritage, per se.
    I would have to get back to you on whether or not we paid for any advertisements, because we don't advertise a lot. I could not give you that answer directly, unless Eric or Jean-Stéphen know.
    Under the Canadian media fund—you fund them—what I need to know is how much money was spent by the federal government on print ads in weekly papers.
    And Facebook.
    That's the other side of it—how much on digital.
    Just to be clear, Canadian Heritage is not the conduit for federal advertising. PSPC is responsible for that function.
    In terms of us as a department using ads, that's something we would have to look into. We don't manage federal advertisements in general. This is not within the purview of the Department of Canadian Heritage.
    Can we get it for print and digital under Heritage, then?
    Thank you, Mr. Shields.
    I will draw that part to a close.
    Folks, we're running over time in a major way, for reasons that were obvious from the beginning, but we still have to vote on these particular measures in both the mains and the supplementaries. With unanimous consent, I can group all of these together. There are several votes here that would take some time. However, we can break this up into three things: number one, an overall vote on the main estimates; a second vote on the supplementary (B)s; and then a third vote to refer it to the House.
    I need unanimous consent to do that. In the virtual world, of course, we have to do this by dissension.
    Yes, Mr. Piché.
    May I make an adjustment to something I said? It relates directly to the vote you want to take. There was a question about the CBC adjustment in their budget.
     Very quickly, please go ahead.
    There was an adjustment in the CBC budget in supplementary (B)s due to the deferral of the Tokyo Olympics, and for the TV rights. We can send you information on this. Someone asked the question earlier. I didn't have the information on hand when I answered. There was a budgetary adjustment because the games have been postponed.


    Thank you very much, sir.


    Is there any dissension on doing this by grouping the votes together?


    There is no dissension in the room, sir, and no dissension on the screen.
    Thank you.
    Let's talk about votes on the main estimates.
Vote 1—Payments to the Council..........$362,644,295
    (Vote 1 agreed to)
Vote 1—Payments to the Corporation for operating expenditures..........$1,101,551,846
Vote 5—Payments to the Corporation for working capital..........$4,000,000
Vote 10—Payments to the Corporation for capital expenditures..........$105,246,000
    (Votes 1, 5 and 10 agreed to)
Vote 1—Payments to the Museum for operating and capital expenditures..........$25,502,953
    (Vote 1 agreed to)
Vote 1—Payments to the Museum for operating and capital expenditures..........$72,188,284
    (Vote 1 agreed to)
Vote 1—Payments to the Museum for operating and capital expenditures..........$7,895,183
    (Vote 1 agreed to)
Vote 1—Payments to the Museum for operating and capital expenditures..........$26,811,201
    (Vote 1 agreed to)
Vote 1—Program expenditures..........$5,053,157
    (Vote 1 agreed to)
Vote 1—Operating expenditures..........$203,230,981
Vote 5—Grants and contributions..........$1,304,800,333
    (Votes 1 and 5 agreed to)
Vote 1—Operating expenditures..........$103,336,627
Vote 5—Capital expenditures..........$21,753,850
    (Votes 1 and 5 agreed to)
Vote 1—Payments to the Corporation for operating expenditures..........$35,270,142
    (Vote 1 agreed to)
Vote 1—Program expenditures..........$64,891,409
    (Vote 1 agreed to)
Vote 1—Payments to the Gallery for operating and capital expenditures..........$38,673,922
Vote 5—Payment to the Gallery for the acquisition of objects for the collection and related costs..........$8,000,000
    (Votes 1 and 5 agreed to)
Vote 1—Payments to the Museum for operating and capital expenditures..........$30,567,380
    (Vote 1 agreed to)
Vote 1—Payments to the corporation to be used for the purposes set out in the Telefilm Canada Act..........$101,878,949
    (Vote 1 agreed to)
Vote 1—Program expenditures..........$6,557,243
    (Vote 1 agreed to)
    The Chair: Now let's go on to the supplementary estimates (B).
Vote 1b—Payments to the Corporation for operating expenditures..........$36,700,000
    (Vote 1b agreed to)
Vote 1b—Program expenditures..........$4,618,917
    (Vote 1b agreed to)
Vote 1b—Operating expenditures..........$1,264,918
Vote 5b—Grants and contributions..........$57,487,060
    (Votes 1b and 5b agreed to)
Vote 5b—Capital expenditures..........$976,079
    (Vote 5b agreed to)
    The Chair: Third, the final vote, shall I report the votes on the main estimates to the House?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.
    The Chair: Shall I report the votes on the supplementary estimates (B) also to the House?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.
    The Chair: Thank you so much.


     That's it. Thank you, you are very kind.


    Thank you very much.
    We'll call this meeting to an end.
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