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    Québec government spending on culture up sharply in 2020–2021

    Québec, June 8, 2023. – In 2020–2021, cultural spending by Québec government ministries and agencies was up 25% to $2.35 billion. These expenditures accounted for 1.85% of the Québec government’s consolidated spending, a record high since these data became available in 1985–1986. This was revealed in the publication Les dépenses en culture de l’administration publique québécoise en 2020-2021 released today by the Observatoire de la culture et des communications of the Institut de la statistique du Québec.

    Québec government spending1 on culture by expenditure category, Québec, 2016-2017 to 2020-2021

    Figure showing results for Québec, 2016-2017 to 2020-2021.

    1. In millions of current dollars.

    Institut de la statistique du Québec, Observatoire de la culture et des communications du Québec.

    Exceptional increase in financial assistance spending

    The increase in cultural spending by the Québec government in 2020–2021 was largely due to the financial assistance provided to support various sectors in response to the pandemic, which pushed operating expenditures to $1,224 million in 2020–2021, up 36% from 2019–2020 ($899 million).

    In contrast, the increases in previous years were attributable to tax expenditures (tax credits). These expenditures rose from $686 million in 2019–2020 to $820 million in 2020–2021 (+19%).

    Spending by cultural field

    In 2020–2021, spending in the three main fields, namely Libraries (19%), Heritage, Museums and Archives (14%) and Performing Arts (14%), dropped below 50% for the first time in over 30 years. This is partly due to an increase in direct spending in the Cinema and Audiovisual field (+239%). When tax spending is considered, the Cinema and Audiovisual field had the largest share with 25% of total spending, followed by Multimedia (13%).

    Per capita spending on culture

    Québec government spending on culture was $274 per capita in 2020–2021, up from $222 in 2019–2020. Direct spending—which includes salaries and wages, purchases of goods and services, financial assistance and investments but excludes tax measures—stood at $179 per capita in 2020–2021, while the value of refundable tax credits was $96 per capita.

    Spending by region

    In 2020–2021, 74% of direct spending on culture went to the central regions of Montréal ($401.24 per capita) and Capitale-Nationale ($401.85 per capita). In the other regions, direct spending ranged from $44.62 to $172.28 per capita. Direct spending on culture increased in all administrative regions except Côte-Nord (-3.6%) and Nord-du-Québec 


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