Toronto Municipal Election 2022

The arts matter, so let it be known!

The Toronto Municipal Election is taking place on October 24, 2022. Advance voting is open from October 7-14, 2022. Visit the City of Toronto’s elections pages for extensive voter information, lists of certified candidates in every ward, and more. 

Those elected to City Council make important decisions that impact Toronto Arts Council’s budget, arts policy and events throughout the city. This is an ideal time to highlight the importance of the arts, including public funding for the arts. 


How to get involved

Communicate that the arts matter to you!

Whether you’re sending an email, speaking to a canvasser or candidate by phone or at your door, it’s important to engage in conversation about the arts.

  • Ask the candidates in your ward about their position on the arts.
  • Let candidates know that you value the arts, including because of the value it adds to the city. 
  • Cite some of the stats below to boost your case, or align your messaging with ours so that Toronto’s arts supporters are speaking with one voice. 


Toronto Arts Council and Foundation calls on all Candidates to:

1. Prioritize the creation of a visionary new Culture Plan that will build on existing Council support and establish clear financial targets for 

a. Funding artists and arts organizations.

b. Creating and protecting arts space.

c. Removing barriers to access the arts for Toronto residents in every neighbourhood.

2. Champion Arts and Culture by advocating in collaboration with the arts sector for federal and provincial arts initiatives including

a. Tax incentives

b. Guaranteed basic income


Quick facts

  • Toronto is home to 93% more artists than any other Canadian city. 
  • Arts and culture contribute $12 billion annually to Toronto’s GDP (3.3%).
  • Pre-pandemic, annual ticket sales were $230 million on total revenues of $600 million in the non-profit sector.
  • At its height, Toronto audiences reach 30 million every year within the non-profit arts sector.
  • Toronto City Council currently spends $81.2 million on arts and culture including support for arts grants, museums, film, music and business services. This is 0.5% of Toronto’s total operating budget.
  • Of this, Toronto Arts Council’s grants to artists and organizations totals less than $8 for each resident of Toronto.
  • For every $1 granted to an arts organization by Toronto Arts Council, over $15 is received from donations or earned revenue, including ticket sales.

Torontonians care about the arts 

Toronto Arts Foundation’s Arts Stats 2018 polled Torontonians about their opinions on the arts. The results show overwhelming support.

  • 89% of Torontonians believe that the arts make our City a better place to live.
  • 77% would like to see more opportunities to attend the arts in every Toronto ward.
  • Over 80% of Torontonians think the City of Toronto needs to better support arts initiatives, such as after-school arts programs and arts in public spaces.
  • Civic leaders would do well to voice support for the arts because the majority of Torontonians want their mayoral and city council candidates to be arts supporters (71% and 65% respectively).

An urgent need for increased arts support: Income Precarity and the COVID-19 Pandemic

Toronto Arts Foundation’s Arts Stats 2019 turned its attention on artists and arts workers. The results demonstrated an increased urgent need for support to the sector. 

  • 80% of Toronto’s artists and arts workers believe they cannot make a living wage.
  • Half of our artists make under $30K per year. (The Ontario Living Wage Network calculates the 2021 living wage for Toronto at $22.08 per hour, roughly $43K per year).
  • Nearly 1 in 5 artists have been renovicted.
  • 73% of artists and arts workers have thought about leaving Toronto.

“It is increasingly difficult for artists to create their best work while managing multiple [jobs] to pay their living expenses.” – Arts Stats 2019 respondent 


 

CAPACOA has an extensive page that outlines the impact of the pandemic on Canada’s arts sector. Below are some key findings, showing positive signs that the sector is rebounding. However, more support is needed.

  • Culture jobs grew 1.3% during the first quarter of 2022, reaching 677,448 jobs. Culture jobs are now only 0.2% away from their pre-COVID level (679,040 jobs in Q4 2019).
  • The real GDP for the live performance domain only increased 0.8% during the first quarter of 2022. Real GDP for the live performance domain remains 13.6% away from full recovery.