September 21, 2020

Survey of heritage institutions by Department of Canadian Heritage

The Department of Canadian Heritage (PCH) today released the findings of its survey of heritage institutions. The Canadian Museums Association (CMA) and our provincial and territorial sister organizations are pleased to help disseminate the results to the museum community. PCH has provided a summary below and the full survey is available on its website.

The CMA believes the findings are useful, in order to develop a greater understanding of the museum sector and the context in which we operate. The results of the survey reinforce our collective calls to update the national museum policy and the Museum Assistance Program, as well as the need for a greater understanding of the tremendous contributions museums — and museum professionals — make to the economy and society.

For more information, please see the message from the Department below and review the survey results.

Message from the Department of Canadian Heritage

The Department of Canadian Heritage is pleased to announce the release of the 2019 report on the Government of Canada Survey of Heritage Institutions (GCSHI), which collected financial and operating information for the 2017 data year on not-for-profit heritage institutions, including museums, art galleries, archives, historic sites, zoos and botanical gardens. 2017 marked Canada’s 150th anniversary of Confederation, and this latest report has captured the heightened level of investment and activities that took place in Canada’s heritage community that year.

Highlights from the survey include…

  • Museums and other heritage institutions in Canada generated over $2.6B in revenue in 2017.
  • The heritage sector employed over 37,000 people. Up 5% from 2015 employment figures.
  • The Canada 150 celebrations brought a record 79 million visits to heritage institutions across the country. This represents a 10% increase from 2015.
  • School groups visiting heritage institutions reached over 127,280 (approximately 6.4 million visits by students); up 7% over 2015.
  • Online visits totalled approximately 254 million in 2017, a considerable increase of 29% over 2015.
  • The heritage sector received assistance from over 114,400 volunteers, contributing approximately 6 million volunteer hours (the equivalent of 2,885 full-time positions).
  • Heritage institutions responded to over 1.1 million research requests.
  • Approximately 5% of the Canadian population is a member of a museum or other heritage institution (over 1.7 million members).
  • There are approximately 6.7 million Indigenous cultural artefacts cared for in heritage institutions across the country.
  • 31% of all institutions responded that their buildings and capital infrastructure are less than adequate and require attention, while 7% say their facilities are approaching end of service life or are unfit for sustained service.
  • Approximately 72% of heritage institutions indicated they were planning to undertake some sort of infrastructure project in the next 3 years.

Please take a moment to discover some of the latest results from the 2019 GCSHI report HERE.

Thank you


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