The Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport is launching consultations to inform the development of an Ontario provincial culture strategy as indicated in the Minister’s Mandate Letter. These are scheduled to begin this fall (September to November). A Culture Advisory Group will be named shortly to undertake these consultations. Membership will be a mix of people from across culture sectors, organization type and size, regions and demographic groups, ensuring appropriate representation of diverse backgrounds and experiences. Consultation methods will include town halls(in at least 8 communities across the province), community specific conversations (e.g. Francophone, newcomer, youth, seniors, etc.) and web based tools.
The focus will be on conversations that will help gain insights from diverse groups about how they experience culture and what barriers to participation they may face. The ministry will be looking for “big and bold” ideas within the current challenging fiscal environment for all 4 subsectors in its jurisdiction: arts, heritage, public libraries and the creative industry.
“In the history of Ontario, there’s never been a cultural strategy. This is the first time one is going to be delivered…” (From NOW Magazine “Ontario Plans New Culture Strategy”, Sabrina Maddeaux). This is an important opportunity for public libraries to provide feedback to our Ministry about the economic, social, and cultural impact libraries make in their communities now and will make in the future. I will keep you advised of developments as the Ministry makes information available.
The Ministry’s goal is to launch the strategy by spring 2016.