Ontario is cutting a music grant program by more than half as it looks to modernize it.
The day after the Progressive Conservative government tabled its first budget earlier this month, officials told the Canadian Independent Music Association that the Ontario Music Fund would be reduced from $15-million to $7-million.
The association’s president said he had expected the fund would receive less money, given the government’s aim of tackling the deficit.
“I wasn’t surprised that the fund was going to receive a cut,” Stuart Johnston said. “I was surprised by the depth of the cut. I think that took everybody by surprise.”
The Tories said in the budget that they will be reviewing the program.
“The government will work with Ontario Creates to modernize the Ontario Music Fund to focus on activities that bring the biggest return to the province, and refocus its investments into emerging talent to create opportunities to achieve success,” a spokesman for Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport, Michael Tibollo, said in a statement.
“We will continue to work closely with our stakeholders in the culture sector, so we can continue to deliver on our promise to respect taxpayer dollars, and ensure that we are providing value for money in Ontario’s culture sector.”
The government noted that several large acts and companies have received money through the fund. Sony Music, Universal Music and Warner Music shared $1.75-million in 2017-18.
Mr. Johnston, who represents the independent music community, said the investments the fund makes in small business are sound.