Are Artists in Canada Really Underfunded?

England is the birthplace of the English language. Perhaps, if the comparison being made here was between French-speaking Canada and France, which is for another article, the question of artists in Canada really being underfunded would be more evident. However, even in the Guardian of December 15, 2017, Claire Armistead notes that the literary situation in England is in crisis. People just are not reading and then how does this affect literary artists? However, yes, another, however, let’s take a look at a comparison of funding for literary artists in Canada with England, the latter being the birthplace of the English language.

The Royal Literary Fund that is based in London, England offers a fellowship to writers to work two days a week with students at a university in order to help fund their literary efforts. The writer receives a stipend or a bursary amount that helps to cover their expenses. The payment is £15,000.00 for 36 weeks. When you convert that amount of money into Canadian currency based on the exchange rate today, it equates to $26,530.62 approximately. If you win a Canada Council for the Arts grant when you are a writer in order to simply work on a writing project, you could receive $25,000.00 CAD. Based on this particular Royal Literary Fund alone, the difference of the amount to the writer is more based on the currency exchange and the strength of the British pound sterling.

Speaking of arts councils, the England Arts Council, when you use their funding locator, the first thing that comes up in the five results under a “writers” search term is £600,000.00 to build a creative writing school! What a dream come true! Would I not want to be in the United Kingdom right now? OK, sounds great, but sometimes home is really could be where not only where the heart is, but also where the money is too.

Just using this one grant as a comparison, Canadian Heritage offers the Canada Book Fund (CBF), that can fund you up to $1,000,000.00 CAD. Yes, that’s one million dollars! This grant also has a professional development component that could facilitate creating a creative writing school.

Now, let’s do some currency conversion. When you convert the differences of the grants’ maximum amounts for both the Canadian and the English amounts, there is just a difference of approximately $61,224.86 CAD that you lose because the British pound sterling is stronger when you live in Canada.

Under the Prince’s Trust in England, The Arts Council gives anywhere between £1,000 to £30,000 (average £5,000) to individuals or artistic organisations in order to work on art-related projects. When you convert this currency amount, it equates to $1,768.71 CAD to $53,061.24 CAD (average $8,843.54). Since I am in the Province of Ontario and was born in this province, all I can speak of is that the Toronto Arts Council will give a writer $5,000.00 CAD even for their first real book, and the Ontario Arts Council will give you $10,000.00 CAD pretty much minimum usually, depending on the situation, for a writer that has credits. In both of these situations, even the minimum amount is comparable with what The Arts Council in England offers.

So, just using England as an example, it does not really appear right away that literary artists in Canada are CURRENTLY heavily underfunded by the CURRENT Canadian government. If you have other knowledge that would completely contradict this previous statement of mine, I am more than open to a discussion regarding your thoughts. You can just email me directly at:

Please, have a great day!


Author: kakonged

I am an author, journalist, teacher, and lawyer who lives in Toronto, Canada. This picture is a selfie that was done on Saturday, February 24, 2018, nearing six years of my being dreadlocked.

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