Canadian Heritage already has a variety of programs, which, I believe, are available and open to all museums, and are relatively well known across Canada.
Some programs have to do with the production and circulation of travelling exhibitions, while others are for the production of virtual exhibitions. Another program, which unfortunately has been eliminated, assisted with the circulation and transportation of works of art from province to province.
Thanks to the Museums Assistance Program, or MAP, exhibitions can often be produced in small museums and then go on to be presented in our institutions and circulate throughout Canada afterwards. The idea behind the program is to show correlations between the various cultures that exist within the broader Canadian culture. These programs are very important.
Unfortunately, less money is being invested in the programs themselves, so it is harder for us to put together major projects.
Some programs have also been changed in recent years. Until very recently, the Canadian Arts and Heritage Sustainability Program, or CAHSP, allowed museums to review some of their practices related to marketing, human resources and management. The program had some very interesting features that gave us tools—for all institutions, whether small, medium or large—to review our practices, to work with professional firms in order to really make progress in our management practices, marketing strategies, and so on.
Unfortunately, this program was changed recently. It was not eliminated, per se, but it now applies more to groups of various partners, whether in museology or not. This means that the program is no longer directly accessible to museums. I find this somewhat unfortunate, because at our organization—and I am speaking only for my firm—it really allowed us to review some of our practices, to professionalize our domain, and so on. Museums definitely need these resources and this funding.
Several museums in Quebec—but not all—receive recurrent funding from Quebec's ministère de la Culture, des Communications et de la Condition féminine. This funding is rarely enough to meet the needs of museums. These needs often push us to work on the ground to seek other sources of funding and this support from the federal government is very important to us. We must also remember that this support is often linked to a specific project. In other words, this funding is meant for managing a specific project and does not really trickle down to the rest of the museum the same way that recurrent funding does.
So, that is more or less the current reality and it would be unfortunate, in that sense, if funding for museums were to diminish, which is what is happening now, and if programs were eliminated or scaled back.
In that sense, the celebrations planned for 2017 would provide an excellent opportunity for this wave of resources and funding to really allow all of Canada's museums to get back to being on an even keel. As Mr. McAvity was saying, perhaps we could go even further and review some of our practices, which would allow us continue to navigate more comfortably, once we are back on an even keel. Our numerous institutions are important and useful to our communities. We have large collections. In a way, we are almost like the soul of this country, and I think we need to recognize the value of that.