ST. JOHN’S (GNB) – New data from the Culture Statistics Strategy indicates jobs in New Brunswick’s arts and culture sector were the least impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic when compared with other provinces across the country.
The data was shared on Wednesday among federal, provincial and territorial ministers responsible for culture and heritage as they met in St. John’s to discuss issues affecting the sector.
The statistics show that, while all provinces and territories experienced culture-related job losses during the pandemic, New Brunswick’s decline in 2019-20 was 3.8 per cent, which was the lowest in Canada. Job losses elsewhere ranged up to 14 per cent; in the Maritimes, Prince Edward Island lost 9.8 per cent of its culture-related jobs and Nova Scotia’s decrease was 9.4 per cent.
“At the start of the pandemic, our province was quick to reach out to artists to create a think tank, creating a framework that allowed us all to work together to find meaningful ways to support this important sector,” said Tourism, Heritage and Culture Minister Tammy Scott-Wallace. “We knew when our cultural experiences went quiet that it would not only harm the people working in that sector, but also affect the quality of life New Brunswickers enjoy.”
The downturn in GDP resulting from New Brunswick’s culture sector was 1.7 per cent, the third-lowest decrease in the country behind only the Northwest Territories and Nunavut. Scott-Wallace said the government is committed to continuing partnerships with the sector to further its growth, particularly in the live performance sector where recovery has been slower.
Scott-Wallace also highlighted work done by the Premier’s Task Force on the Status of the Artist, and said all ministers agreed that Canada should have a resale right for visual artists, as recommended in the task force’s report. The ministers also recognized that ongoing engagement among the federal, provincial and territorial governments will result in a better understanding of the challenges artists face to make a living from their work.
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