Advocacy initiatives

The Canadian Museums Association advocates on behalf of Canadian museums and professionals in the sector in order to help increase the value of museums to society. This section of our site contains links to all advocacy initiatives in chronological order.


January 18, 2021 — Statement by Canadian Museums Association regarding supplementary mandate letter to Heritage Minister


December 16, 2020 — Written brief to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage in support of its Study of the Challenges to Art, Culture, Heritage and Sport Sectors caused by COVID-19


December 8, 2020 — New toolkit created to support promotion of GLAM benefits


December 3, 2020 — Advocacy update

The CMA continues to advocate for pandemic-related support for the museum community. On Monday, the federal government provided its Fall Economic Update. While not targeted specifically to our sector, there is certain information we understand will be relevant to our members, for example:

There are other measures as well which may be of interest (for example, rent subsidy, regional relief funding, etc.), so we encourage you to review the announcement and documents linked above. Meanwhile, we will continue to monitor these issues closely.


November 19, 2020 — Advocacy update

We previously reported that not all of the $53 million in federal emergency funding that was dedicated to museums was allocated. The CMA, our Board and provincial and territorial museums associations asked the government not to reprofile the remaining emergency funds. We asked that the remaining funding that was earmarked for our sector go toward museums — and the associations that support them. We have also encouraged the government to devote some remaining resources to advancing the update of the national museum policy. To date, we have not yet heard whether this critical policy renewal will remain in the mandate letter of the Minister of Canadian Heritage, nor have we heard whether the remaining emergency funding will go toward the sector. We encourage you to consider adding your voice to this request. Consider writing to your local MP.


November 6, 2020 — Advocacy update

Earlier this week, in one of our regular meeting between the CMA and the PTMAs, we were pleased to have a presentation by the Department of Canadian Heritage. They gave us an overview of the roll-out of the MAP emergency funding. We learned that, for example, 97% of applications were approved, that the average amount of funding was approximately $27,000 and that almost all (1248) applications were done online using the new easy-to-use portal (and only 30 submitted via paper). Given that, as we previously reported, not all of the $53 million that was dedicated to museums has been allocated, we continue to emphasize that the remaining emergency funding that was earmarked for our sector go toward advancing the update of the national museum policy and to ensuring that museums — and the associations that support them — can survive the pandemic. We have also encouraged the department to explore ways to broaden eligibility criteria, moving forward.

Also on the advocacy front, check out a Q&A by, an online travel and tourism publication, with our deputy director Anne-Marie Hayden. It was an opportunity for the CMA to highlight the impact of COVID-19 on the Canadian museum landscape, the importance of updating Canada's national museum policy and the need for stable, long-term funding for museums. She also placed emphasis on the considerable contributions of museums to our society.


September 23, 2020 

Statement from the Canadian Museums Association on the Speech from the Throne


September 17, 2020 

Canadian Museums Association calls for Speech from the Throne to include commitment to update national museum policy

Letter in advance of the Speech from the Throne


September 3, 2020 — CMA submission for September 3, 2020 roundtable organized by the Minister of Canadian Heritage and Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Canadian Heritage


August 27, 2020 — Advocacy Update

This week, we reached out to the Honourable Chrystia Freeland, the brand-new Minister of Finance. We congratulated her on her appointment and highlighted the significant contributions of museums to the Canadian economy and societal well-being. We encouraged the Minister to recognize museums as part of the economic recovery solutions and to consider the recommendations we made in our recent submission to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance.

On September 1st, at 3 pm (ET), the Honourable Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Canadian Heritage, will join Business / Arts, Global Public Affairs, Mass Culture and the Canadian Arts Coalition for a virtual townhall meeting to discuss pandemic recovery. Anyone working in the heritage sector is welcome to register for the event.

Meanwhile, on September 3rd, the CMA looks forward to participating in a roundtable discussion with Minister Guilbeault and Parliamentary Secretary Julie Dabrusin. The goal is to dig deeper into some of the challenges, ideas, and proposals set forth by the broader arts and heritage community. To complement this effort, the CMA is preparing a proposal to the government which aligns with the submission to the Finance Committee.


August 14, 2020 — CMA serving on CCUNESCO working group

CMA’s executive director Vanda Vitali will be serving on the Canadian Commission for UNESCO (CCUNESCO)’s working group as part of its Sectoral Commission on Culture, Communication & Information. The working group will focus on the role of culture in sustainable development, with an emphasis on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The group has agreed on its key outputs (deliverables), terms of reference, and timelines at its first meeting, which took place this summer.


August 7, 2020 — Submission to Finance Committee in advance of Federal Budget 2021


July 31, 2020 — Advocacy Update

We were pleased to have been interviewed this week on CJOB Radio in Manitoba on the impact the pandemic is having on museums across Canada, to help raise awareness of museums’ important role and current challenges.


July 21, 2020 — UPDATE: COVID-19 Emergency Support Fund for Heritage Organizations


July 17, 2020 — Advocacy Update

In June we told you we had reached out to M.P. Steven Blaney, Vice-Chair of the House of Commons Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage.

More recently, we had the privilege of meeting with Mr. Blaney and M.P. Nelly Shin, also a member of the Standing Committee.

Flowing from our discussion, we are pleased to report that Mr. Blaney reached out to the Minister of Canadian Heritage, the Honourable Steven Guilbeault, highlighting the contributions museums make to society and asking that the Minister move quickly and enthusiastically on the work to review the national museum policy, as per his mandate. We understand that the Government has been very focused on issues related to the pandemic, but we agree with Mr. Blaney that a contemporary museum policy is necessary and that this work should proceed on an urgent basis.

On July 8 the Honourable Bill Morneau, Minister of Finance, released the Government’s Economic and Fiscal Snapshot. The CMA appreciates that in his statement and with respect to the road to economic recovery, the Finance Minister spoke of the importance of growth, resilience and creating opportunities for those most impacted. Canada’s museums have been significantly impacted by the pandemic and they will need ongoing support, beyond the more immediate emergency measures, in order to survive and play their role in society. At the CMA, we will do all we can to keep museums’ issues top of mind with the Government.

The CMA’s Executive Director and CEO, Dr. Vanda Vitali, was recently interviewed by CBC-TV's The National for a segment on what to expect when museums reopen, as part of a series they are producing about carrying on life amidst COVID-19. We will let you know when this particular segment airs!


July 3, 2020 — Advocacy Update

We were pleased to have been invited to participate in a call-in show on CBC Radio’s Maritime Noon, which broadcasts to all Canada's Maritime provinces, about the impact of the pandemic on museums. We were joined by our friend and colleague Anita Price from the Association of Nova Scotia Museums, as well as other museum professionals and museum-loving members of the public. You can listen to the show by visiting Maritime Noon’s webpage.

We also undertook efforts to press for the need for the Young Canada Works supplemental funding, by reaching out to Employment and Social Development Canada, as the department responsible for the broader Youth and Employment Skills Strategy, of which YCW is a part.


June 18, 2020 — COVID-19 Emergency Support Fund: Implementation of Phase 2


June 5, 2020 — Advocacy Update

This week we reached out to the Honourable Steven Blaney, Vice-Chair of the House of Commons Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage.

Mr. Blaney was quoted in a Hill Times article speaking about the need for program clarity and speed regarding the distribution of emergency funding, and the economic impact of the pandemic on the broader sector.

We shared with him the risks to Canada’s museums, as well as the sector’s tremendous societal and economic contributions. We told Mr. Blaney that we appreciate museums will receive some emergency funding, but we have concerns about the timing and the proportion being allocated to museums. We are in the process of reaching out to the other members of this Standing Committee and hope to see further calls for support from this group.


June 4, 2020 — Statement from the Canadian Museums Association


May 22, 2020 — COVID-19 relief and advocacy update

Last week, an emergency package, the Regional Relief and Recovery Fund (RRRF), was announced by the Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages, the Honourable Mélanie Joly. The RRRF devotes $962 million to organizations that are key to regions and local economies, and tourism is a targeted sector. We are following up with Minister Joly to find out whether museums will be able to access this fund, given their link to tourism.

As you know, the government recently announced details on the $500 million emergency funding for culture, heritage and sports. Last week, along with the PTMAs, we reached out to Minister Guilbeault, expressing appreciation for the $53 million going to museums. As a group we did however note concerns regarding the timing for support (which is occurring only in phase 2) and the proportion for museums. We are encouraging the government to help museums as quickly as possible and they are keeping us posted as things progress.

This week, the CMA’s Executive Director, Vanda Vitali, took the message to the airwaves. Following media reports that 1/8 museums worldwide could face permanent closures, this Wednesday we were invited by CBC Radio to do a series of interviews in markets across the country. In all, we gave 10 interviews which aired in Halifax, Cape Breton, Yellowknife, Calgary, Quebec City, Saskatchewan, London/Windsor, Edmonton, Victoria and Vancouver. And, yes, by the time we were done, Vanda was out of breath! We highlighted the impact on and the value of our sector and the urgent need for support. We will post links as they become available.


May 15, 2020 — Museums and libraries contribute billions to Canadian economy and societal well-being: Study


May 8, 2020 — Update: $53 million in emergency funding for museums and heritage organizations


April 22, 2020 — Culture and heritage groups seek targeted COVID-19 support


April 17, 2020 — $500M in emergency support announced for culture, heritage and sports


April 8, 2020 — COVID-19 Wage subsidy update


March 31, 2020 — Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan and museums


March 19, 2020 — Advocacy update — COVID-19


March 17, 2020 — COVID-19: Conference update


March 16, 2020 — Canadian Museums Association seeking support for the museum sector during COVID-19 response.


March 13, 2020 — Museums and COVID-19


February 26, 2020 —  CMA sends letters to federal ministers

In collaboration with our provincial and territorial colleagues, you may recall that during the federal election, we asked that political parties prioritize museums. We then wrote to the Prime Minister of Canada following his re-election, as well as to the newly appointed Minister of Canadian Heritage. In the spirit of collaboration, communication and unity, we recognize it is important to connect with key Ministers and their departments. Earlier this week, as part of our ongoing advocacy efforts, we wrote to other federal Ministers in support of the museum community. We highlighted the important role of museums, the need for critical changes, and the direct links between the work of our sector and their mandates.

View past advocacy efforts (2019 & earlier)