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Guilde des musiciens et des musiciennes du Québec
Montréal / 514.842.2866

Funding issues in culture: a question of good governance

February 26, 2024

Mr. François Legault
Premier of Quebec                                

Mr. Mathieu Lacombe
Minister of Culture and Communications


The ways in which television, film and music are produced, broadcast and consumed have changed radically over the last few decades. The business model of the streaming giants has completely overturned the ecosystem of our cultural industry. Despite major investments in culture in recent years[1] , Quebec artists and artisans continue to be impoverished, generating a crisis of confidence in the various public institutions of our cultural industry ecosystem. For some, it has become impossible to practice their craft with dignity. We are calling on you today to bring together all stakeholders in the industry - producers, distributors, broadcasters and creators - to redefine the mechanisms for allocating, distributing and circulating public funds.

The importance of digital platforms has an impact not only on the discoverability of our productions, but also on their financing, whether private (advertising) or public (subsidies). Yet public funds earmarked for culture do not percolate adequately down to the end of the chain, i.e. artists and creators. We are concerned to see that there are grey areas in the distribution of public money allocated to the cultural industry. Cultural funding seems to be a lucrative manna for some, to the detriment of artists and craftspeople, who are at the heart of creation, its diversity, quality and renown, here and elsewhere. Above all, projects or companies that do not respect current collective agreements (agreements signed by associations and unions that establish minimum working conditions and remuneration for artists) should not be subsidized.

An analysis of the funding mechanisms currently in place raises a number of questions. How can production companies, which receive subsidies, sit on the boards of companies that award these subsidies themselves, when artists are absent? Why do certain large companies in both the audiovisual and music sectors receive large amounts of recurrent funding, thereby slimming down the share allocated to small companies that could be carrying out innovative projects, but are struggling to obtain funding? How can production companies that live solely on public money become so lucrative that publicly-traded consortia buy them out?

These are questions that remain unanswered, and which would benefit from being studied for the benefit of the industry as a whole, and of Quebec's public finances.

For the past fifty years, there has been no major collective reflection on these important issues. We believe it's high time we took action to redefine the best way to promote and protect Quebec culture, its artists and artisans. Our culture is at the heart of Quebecers' identity. We have a duty to safeguard it, and to ensure that younger generations have access to the wealth of our content.

Please be assured of our full cooperation in this matter. We thank you for the attention you will give to this request, and ask you to accept our most distinguished greetings.


Tania Kontoyanni, President
Union des artistes (UDA)            

Christian Lemay, President

Gabriel Pelletier, President
Association des réalisateurs et des réalisatrices du Québec (ARRQ)

Michèle Laliberté, Acting President
Guilde canadienne des réalisateurs, DGC Québec

Luc Fortin, President
Guilde des musiciens et musiciennes du Québec (GMMQ)     

Chantal Cadieux, President
Société des auteurs de radio, télévision et cinéma (SARTEC)

[1] Institut de la statistique du Québec. Observatoire de la culture et des communications du Québec. https://statistique.quebec.ca/fr/fichier/depenses-culture-administration-publique-quebecoise-2020-2021.pdf

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