Sunday, September 27, 2009

B.C. government report on socioeconomic impact of the arts removed from arts ministry Web site

By Jessica Werb

The B.C. Ministry of Tourism, Culture and the Arts has removed all links to a report on the socioeconomic impact of arts and cultural organizations from its Web site.

The report, Socio-Economic Impacts of Arts and Cultural Organizations in B.C., written in 2006 by G.S. Sandhu & Associates, was commissioned by what was then the Ministry of Tourism, Sports and the Arts.

Among its findings was that in return for spending $9,569,009 in grants to 300 arts and cultural organizations through the B.C. Arts Council, the government received $10,040,674 to $13,008,696 in provincial taxes—a figure often referred to by arts supporters as: every dollar invested in the arts generates between $1.05 and $1.36 in provincial tax revenues.

The study also found that for every dollar of initial expenditure, additional spending in the range of $0.57 and $0.87 was generated in the B.C. economy; and that for every direct job in the arts and cultural sector of B.C. between 1.32 and 1.52 jobs were created in the whole economy.

A ministry spokesperson confirmed that the report was removed approximately nine months ago from the government Web site. The explanation given was that the report was a number of years old and removed as part of regular web maintenance.

"You can only have so much information at any one time," said the spokesperson. "We try to keep it as up to date and current as possible. The government creates numbers of reports all the time and we can't post them all on the website. They are still public documents and are available at any time upon request."

However, the Web page on which the original report was listed still lists a 2005 report from the UNESCO Convention on Cultural Expressions.

Even though it no longer appears on the ministry Web site, a cached version of the Sandhu report is currently available online here.

[EDITOR'S NOTE: If a cached version of this report disappears, you can download a version I have saved here.]

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