WHITEHORSE, YT, May 17, 2024 /CNW/ - Federal, provincial and territorial (FPT) ministers responsible for culture and heritage held their annual meeting in Whitehorse, Yukon, on May 15–17, 2024, to discuss priority topics, share information and exchange best practices on current issues and opportunities in the arts, culture and heritage sectors in Canada. The event was hosted by Pascale St-Onge, Minister of Canadian Heritage, and John Streicker, Yukon Minister of Tourism and Culture.

In 2021, FPT governments agreed on a five-year strategic framework (2021–2026) that focuses their collaborative work on three priorities:

  • Strengthening the creative economy;
  • Strengthening the culture and heritage resources in Canada; and
  • Strengthening engagement and promotion in the culture and heritage sectors.

During the 2024 meeting, ministers received an update from the federal government on the economic status of the arts, culture and heritage sectors in Canada, and the continuing challenges faced by sub-sectors reliant on audience participation. They were also updated on recent federal initiatives touching on the cultural sector, including the Online News Act, which took effect on December 19, 2023. Ministers also discussed challenges and opportunities and stressed the importance of FPT governments working together to support the arts, culture and heritage sectors.

As part of Yukon's presentations on heritage conservation and interpretation, ministers discussed ways to support collaborative management of heritage resources in a manner that respects and upholds Indigenous communities.

Recognizing that the repatriation of Indigenous cultural objects can contribute to each government's reconciliation efforts, ministers were able to discuss Alberta's work to repatriate Manitou Asinîy (also known as the Manitou Stone) to Indigenous care. They also discussed the current engagement activities underway to inform a new non-sacred object repatriation framework in Alberta.

Ministers also discussed the evolving digital landscape with a focus on the impacts and implications of artificial intelligence on cultural industries, including issues such as copyright, deepfakes, transparency, labour, diversity and inclusion and funding programs. They agreed that the FPT Culture and Heritage Table will establish a working group on Artificial Intelligence to discuss issues and opportunities impacting the sector.

Ministers were briefed on efforts to support news media and a culture of independent journalism in the digital economy during a discussion focused on finding ways to ensure continued access to reliable journalism and relevant local news.

Regarding the challenges facing the arts, culture and heritage sectors across Canada due to extreme weather and climate change, ministers shared the various ways that they have been mitigating climate-related risks and impacts.

Following a presentation on cultural celebration and commemoration, highlighting Newfoundland and Labrador's Year of the Arts and 75th anniversary of entry into Confederation, FPT ministers had the opportunity to share their initiatives for participation and engagement in the arts and heritage.

Ministers were also updated on the continuing work of the FPT Culture and Heritage Table to develop a new collaborative framework for the conservation of historic places in Canada. While Quebec is not participating in the development of this framework because it considers that the conservation of historic places is essentially within its jurisdiction, it remains open to sharing information and best practices throughout the process with regard to its own expertise.

Ministers agreed to work collaboratively to help the arts, culture and heritage sector as it transforms to connect with audiences at a time of immense change.

FPT ministers are encouraged by the level of collaboration and will continue building an even stronger relationship that benefits their jurisdictions and the culture and heritage sector, thereby furthering progress on shared priorities. They look forward to visiting Saskatchewan, where the next ministers' meeting will be hosted on May 27–29, 2025.

Quotes

"This annual meeting underscores our governments' unwavering commitment to the arts, culture and heritage—the pillars of Canada's identity and creative economy. We are determined to work together to help these sectors navigate evolving challenges and opportunities across the country. Convening in Whitehorse not only provided a forum for in-depth discussions on the future of our industries but was also a unique opportunity to connect with the rich and diverse cultures of the Far North."

- Pascale St-Onge, Minister of Canadian Heritage

"It was an honour to host the FPT ministers for culture and heritage to share priorities and best practices in the arts, culture and heritage sectors across Canada. This opportunity allowed us to showcase the North's natural beauty and warm hospitality while sharing the Yukon's rich and diverse culture and heritage. These annual gatherings are important to understand the essential role of culture and heritage in the Canadian social fabric. I look forward to our continued collaboration on our five-year strategic framework for the benefit of all our communities."

- John Streicker, Yukon Minister of Tourism and Culture

Quick Facts

On May 17, 2024, Yukon, as co-host, gifted each delegation with three beaded pins with their respective jurisdiction's official flower or emblem. Thirteen First Nations artists from communities throughout Yukon were commissioned to craft the pins from traditional materials including delica beads, caribou tufting, tanned moose hide, abalone and porcupine quills.

Culture brings wide benefits to Canadians and their communities, while making a significant contribution to the nation's economy. Culture's annual gross domestic product (GDP) in Canada in 2023 was $63.9 billion, with jobs in culture totalling 706,369. In the fourth quarter of 2023, GDP increased 0.5 percent and jobs decreased 0.6 percent in the culture sector.

While the culture sector has largely recovered from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, the pace of recovery has been uneven across sub-sectors. GDP and job levels in some sub-sectors are still behind their pre-pandemic levels.

SOURCE Federal, provincial, and territorial ministers responsible for culture and heritage

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