Published Apr 24, 2019The new budget tabled by Ontario's Progressive Conservative government has already changed the laws surrounding ticket sales, and it's now been revealed that cuts will also affect the Ontario Music Fund, which has now been cut by nearly half.
The fund — which provides thousands of dollars to Ontario-based labels, publishers, managers, promoters and other music industry organizations — will see its annual funding reduced from $15 million to $7 million. The grants are administered through Ontario Creates, an agency of the province's Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport.
"After 15 years of a reckless, dishonest, and out of touch Liberal government, the people of Ontario voted for change," Brett Weltman — press secretary for the office of the Hon. Michael Tibollo Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport — told Billboard in a written statement. "For the past nine months, we have worked to restore accountability, sustainably and trust in Ontario's finances. In our recent budget, we are keeping our promises to the people of Ontario, and putting the province back on a path to balance, so that we can protect what matters most to Ontarians."
Weltman's statement also pointed to the government "investing almost $100 million into Ontario's arts sector" in 2019 and 2020, which will include "the continuation of various grant programs that will support artists, musicians, and organizations in communities across the province."
Follow-up questions posed by Billboard went unanswered. The publication added that members of the Canadian Independent Music Association (CIMA) received notice of the cuts earlier this month.
"The Government and Ontario Creates will be organizing industry consultations in the coming weeks and months to obtain our collective input on how the OMF [Ontario Music Fund] should be 'modernized' going forward," the notice read. "CIMA will continue to be actively engaged with the government and Ontario Creates as these consultations unfold, to ensure that our members' voices will be heard and to help shape what the new program should look like. More information will be shared as the situation develops."
CIMA president Stuart Johnson told Billboard, "We have no information regarding the timing or the details of the consultations, which will be jointly conducted by Ontario Creates and the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport. We are awaiting those details so we know how and when we will be engaging with OC and the ministry. I wish we did have more information."