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Arts, Culture and Recreation


Employment in arts, culture, recreation and sport increased by 1,000 people year-over-year in 2012, passing levels last seen in 2008 and an increase of 12.8% from 2011. This growth rate ranked third among benchmark cities. 

Halifax statistics for hours and wages are not available, however, using Nova Scotia data as a proxy, we see some worrying trends.  While the overall number of people working in art, culture, recreation and sport is up, 67% of new jobs were for positions between 1-14 hours per week. Further, the average actual hours worked dropped from 28.4 in 2008 to 27.5 in 2012. Among jobs 35+ hours or more, there were only 100 new jobs created in those 4 years.


Further, average hourly wages in this sector dipped 12% in 2012 to $18.77 per hour – $2.13 per hour less than the average for all occupations in Nova Scotia in 2012.  Further, looking long-term, wages in arts, culture recreation and sport increased only 7% since 2006 compared to 17% for all occupations, indicating that not only are average hours decreasing, but the rate of pay is falling behind as well.



There were over 900,000 attendees for performances and programs in 2012 put on by the 23 organizations that make up the Greater Halifax Arts Coalition (GHAC). These professional arts organizations have a sustainable base of attendees with over 330,000 attendees under the age of 25.

Source: Halifax Regional Library 


 Funding for these organizations typically comes from four avenues: provincial (36.7%), corporate (32.1%), federal (25.1%), and municipal (6.1%). Hill Strategies’ reports on municipal funding for the arts show that Halifax performing arts organizations receive the lowest, per capita, funding in Canada – with other levels of government and corporate funding not covered in the report.

Most organizations reported fundraising to be a significant annual activity. A move to a sustainable, long-term funding model would allow organizations to spend less time doing fund development and focus more resources on creating thriving products, improving the upside for ticket sales and audience satisfaction. 

Uptake of HRMs recreation, culture and leisure programs dipped for the second consecutive year from nearly 53,000 registrations in 2011-12 to over 49,000 in 2012-13. This is in part due to the closure of the Northcliffe recreation facility, but is also responding to citizens who are expressing their desire to participate in more unstructured and flexible programs – like the Emera Oval – which do not require registration. As such, new mechanisms for tracking these may be developed. 

Library programming and usage increased for the third consecutive year, increasing 6.9% in 2012-13. Visits per capita remained stable (six in 2012-13) and ranked 15th out of 42 cities in Canada. Further, meeting room bookings were up 50% over the past five years, in part due to the popularity of the library as a public meeting space. 

Arts, culture and recreation contribute to the quality of life for residents of all ages – as well as provide jobs for many within the community. Ensuring residents have access to a diverse and vibrant set of offerings is an important element of Halifax being a great place to live.

Source: Statistics Canada


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