CMA Hill Day Past Events


On January 25th and 26th 2017, Canadian Museums Association (CMA) members gathered in Ottawa to put museums on the radar of decision makers in the new federal government as well as opposition parties. Doors opened up and ideas flowed. A record number of museum professionals met with Cabinet Ministers, Senators and Members of Parliament.

The CMA held a briefing session in advance to review key messages and to discuss how to deliver those messages to parliamentarians. Three experts advised CMA members: Joe Jordan, former Liberal Member of Parliament for Leeds-Grenville, Ont., and former Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister; Patrick Robert, strategic policy adviser with Gowlings’ Ottawa office in the Government Affairs Group; and, Alain Pineau, who worked for the Liberals and helped draft their election platform.

Day two was entirely devoted to meetings on Parliament Hill. Delegates were divided into teams to meet with approximately 45 parliamentarians. The event was so successful that the CMA had to close registration for the delegates who had travelled from virtually every part of Canada. The day concluded with a wonderful reception on Parliament Hill hosted by the Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Canadian Heritage, and attended by well over 70 Members of Parliament and Senators. It was a “Sock Party” as guests had to remove their shoes to stand on a giant map of Canada, provided by the Royal Canadian Geographical Society, the CMA’s newest partner.

Minister Joly spoke eloquently about museums and affirmed her role as a strong advocate for them. Magic to our ears! She also affirmed her intention to increase funding for Young Canada Works in the coming weeks. It was our most successful day on the Hill and a truly magical night with the participation of many young, emerging museum professionals.

For more photos of the 2016 Canadian Museums Day, please click here .

To watch a video recap of this amazing day on the Hill, please click here.

Please watch this space for the next Canadian Museums Day. Details are pending. Please register early as space is limited.


2014 Canadian Museums Day

While a substantial part of the work we do as museum professionals involves engaging with local audiences to increase support for our institutions, there's another important group of stakeholders in our nation's capital with whom we must interact on a regular basis: These are federal decision-makers, such as members of parliament, senators, senior political staff and civil servants.

Why is it so important for the museum and heritage sector to be seen and heard on Parliament Hill in Ottawa? Because this is where substantive decisions about federal policy, programs and funding affecting museums are made. The better elected officials understand the value of our museums, the more likely they will be to support them. It is therefore incumbent on the CMA and the museum sector to build and maintain positive relationships with federal politicians from all political parties.

Canadian Museums Day provides us with just such an opportunity. Spend the day on Parliament Hill with colleagues from the field meeting with members of parliament and other federal influencers to make the case for Canada's museums. This is a chance to meet with your local member of parliament, among others and let them know how much museums matter to you, and how much they ought to matter to them!

2014 Schedule

This year's event will take place on November 17 and 18, 2014.

  • Briefing Session, Monday November 17, 4:00pm to 6:00pm

  • Meetings, Tuesday November 18, all day

  • Special Reception hosted by the Speaker of the Senate, Tuesday November 18, 5:00pm to 7:00pm (Parliament Hill)

Participants will be welcomed at the Hotel Indigo (123 Metcalfe Street, Ottawa, ON K1P 5L9, Tel # 1-877-660-8550) for the special rate of $139/night. Please reserve your room before October 17 .


2013 Canadian Museums Day

November 26, 2013

The CMA would like to acknowledge support from the Canadian Art Museums Directors' Organization (CAMDO).


2012 Canadian Museums Day

November 27, 2012

Museum and gallery representatives from across Canada gathered on Parliament Hill on November 27, 2012 for the fourth annual Canadian Museums Day. Organised by the Canadian Museums Association (CMA), the event brought together museum professionals, trustees and volunteers in order to discuss the importance of museums in Canada with Parliamentarians and key decision-makers.

"This year, the federal government has demonstrated considerable support for museums and galleries in Canada," said John McAvity, Executive Director of the CMA. "However, we believe it's important to further invest in Canada's museums and galleries in order to ensure our cultural sector's sustainability and success."


2011 Canadian Museums Day

November 29, 2011

The much anticipated Hill Day 2011 will be taking place in a very different political environment than past iterations. We now have a majority government whose emphasis is on deficit reduction, and federal departments and agencies are scouring for economies to meet the objectives of the Strategic and Operating Review of Canada's Economic Action Plan, in addition to the ongoing Expenditure Review Process.

In this highly charged environment, the CMA is taking a more focused approach to Hill Day. We intend to share our key strategies to ensure the sustainability of Canada's museums to key decision makers on Parliament Hill on Tuesday, November 29th.

We are calling on the participation of a fixed number of “ambassadors” that will be selected through an application process. We invite Museum and Gallery Directors (or other authorized representatives) of CMA Member Institutions to actively take part in Hill Day and if possible to bring a trustee, donor or friend of your museum. Participants must complete the application form [PDF]. As space is limited, the information provided will ensure a balanced geographic and linguistic representation of Canada's museums. Deadline for application is October 26, 2011.

Special meetings will be established in teams to discuss key national issues with selected Members of Parliament, Cabinet Ministers, Senators and others. All delegates must agree to carry the common CMA message forward in all meetings.

We also invite confirmed participants to arrange a special meeting with their own Member of Parliament to carry their specific messages to him or her.

A mandatory briefing session will be held in advance of Hill Day on Monday November 28th at 3pm. You MUST attend this session in order to participate in Canadian Museums Day. The briefing session will be followed by a special reception at a location to be announced.

Following a full day of meetings with Members of Parliament and Senators on November 29th, Hill Day participants will be invited to a very special reception hosted by the Speaker of the House of Commons, the Hon. Andrew Scheer in honour of Canadian Museums Day. This year's reception will feature a special exhibition of rare artefacts from the War of 1812, an event that has special meaning for Canadians as we prepare to celebrate its bicentennial.


Monday, November 28th
3pm - 5pm: Briefing session and panel discussion with representatives of major political parties. This is mandatory for all participants in CMA Hill Day! No exceptions.
5pm - 7pm: Reception (location to be confirmed)

Tuesday, November 29th
8am to 5pm: (meeting times to be confirmed), Members divide into small groups for meetings with MPs, Cabinet Ministers and Senators. The number of meetings will vary depending on the number of parliamentary confirmations received. Delegates are invited to organize a meeting with their own MP while in Ottawa on November 29th.

A member's lounge will be provided for rest, coffee/tea and briefings throughout the day at the Lord Elgin Hotel, a six-minute walk from Parliament Hill.

5pm-7pm, Special Reception hosted by the Speaker of the House of Commons with special guests and Members of Parliament.


A contribution of $100 is requested from all participants to defray a portion of the Canadian Museums Day 2011 costs. If you cannot attend but wish to support CMA's work, donations to the CMA will be gratefully received. In these uncertain times, we appreciate your support more than ever!


2010 Canadian Museums Day

November 23, 2010

A united message and a great success!

On Tuesday November 23rd museums representatives from across Canada were on Parliament Hill talking up the importance of museums to federal politicians.

Over 100 members of Parliament and senators heard the museums message on this special day. This was only our second Canadian Museums Day and there were more meetings with key cabinet ministers, MPs and senators than at our event last year.

More importantly was the depth of the discussions which were handled with enthusiasm by the dedicated museum people who came to Ottawa. Even the security guards on the Hill were impressed with the numbers of representatives from participating museums!

We deliberately came forward with only one key recommendation says John McAvity, the Canadian Museums Associationís executive director. Our proposal for a special matching donations program has traction and it offers to get more Canadians involved in our heritage. Our message fell upon open ears, even at this time of restraint.

In addition to meeting members of Parliament, key meetings were held with many cabinet members, including Hon Jim Flaherty, minister of finance; Hon James Moore, minister of heritage; Hon Keith Ashfield, minister of revenue; Hon Rob Moore, minister of tourism,; Hon Jim Nicholson, justice minister; Hon Steven Fletcher, democratic reform minister; among others.

We recognize that the next federal budget will be a very difficult one and there may be many cuts to valuable programs, however, we are proposing a solution to the government, a pragmatic means for the government to help us help ourselves by encouraging Canadians to become more involved in art and heritage. This is a win-win scenario and will have long-term impact on museumsî says McAvity.

Another issue that received much attention, especially with key cabinet ministers, is the Young Canada Works (YCW) program, which provides student employment and internship opportunities at museums and galleries across Canada. Quality jobs for youth employment are scarce and YCW has demonstrated an exceptional track record over the years.

Unfortunately, the CMA is forced to turn down 92% of the applications for specialized internships in museums. ìMuseums could supply valuable skills training in a variety of fields for youth, from intellectual skills to technological, exhibition management, marketing, fundraising and educational programmingî says John McAvity. ìIt is therefore important to invest in youth employment for the future of the cultural sector.

The museums message was delivered in a strong and united front by the three major national organizations responsible for Canadian Museums Day 2010. The event was organized by the Canadian Museums Association with the full participation of the Canadian Federation of Friends of Museums and the Canadian Art Museums Directors Organization as well as most provincial museum associations.

Download the Canadian Museums Day fact sheet
For pictures of the event, check out our Flickr gallery.
Interviews with some of the participants, click here.


2009 Canadian Museums Day

September 29, 2009

On September 29, 2009 the CMA, in partnership with the Canadian Art Museums Directors' Association (CAMDO) held the first ever Canadian Museums Day on Parliament Hill. Over 50 museum professionals from across Canada met with members of Parliament and senators to make the case that Canada's museums require more substantial and stable federal support. The day culminated in a beautiful reception hosted by the Honourable Noël A. Kinsella, Speaker of the Senate.

Download the Canadian Museums Day fact sheet

"Recent research by psychologists suggests that when we lose our memory, we lose our sense of self. We literally are our memories. I think this could be said as well of Canadian museums. Canadians value museums because we are the keepers of the larger past we have inherited or adopted. Our collections embody the memories out of which our sense of who we are as Canadians is formed.” Diana Nemiroff, director of Carleton University's Art Gallery, Ottawa

"It was heartening to know that support from Museums was unanimous from the MPs I spoke with during the day. They seemed to genuinely care about our fate. That said, I know we have a long way to go but I think it is a great first step and one we need to follow up on regularly. It has become very apparent, particularly given what h as happened in BC recently, that the only way to make any progress with support and funding at all levels of government is to politicize our advocacy and to get the support of our audiences and members in our fight.” Nancy Noble, CEO, Vancouver Museum

For more pictures of the event, check out our Flickr gallery.