Thank you, Mr. Chair. I'm going to be splitting my time with two of my colleagues.
I would like to begin by thanking my fellow citizens of Laurier—Sainte-Marie. I am proud to be able to represent them in the House.
I am very pleased to be here with you to continue the important work of Parliament and its committees, while respecting public health and physical distancing guidelines.
I'm going to talk briefly about our creative, cultural and heritage industries, our sports organizations and the media sector.
As you can imagine, like many others, these organizations and companies are facing a major crisis that stems from COVID-19, the biggest crisis in our recent history. All of us, as elected officials in our democracy and on behalf of the Canadian people, have a role to play in helping our creators and the sports community get through this ordeal and come out of it bigger and stronger.
Of course, it will be a challenge to ensure that these organizations and the professionals who run them emerge from the crisis to find their audiences and supporters, but I know we can do it if we all pull together.
On April 26, artists from across Canada did what they do best: create, move and inspire us. They came together virtually and gave us a memorable concert, Stronger Together, Tous ensemble. They put a balm on containment. At the same time, they helped us to feel a little less alone, more connected, more supportive.
Isolation and an economic shutdown are a new reality and like you, all Canadians, we are still learning. We have to do our best and as much as we can during this period of great uncertainty. In fact, that is what our artists and athletes are doing. Their spirit of initiative, their resilience and solidarity are a source of inspiration for our work today. Let's try to act like them and for them.
In Canada, we recognize that the cultural sector in all its diversity of expression, the museum sector and sports are a force for developing our communities and our identity. They ensure a strong, active and healthy Canadian society.
In addition to being a key economic driver, culture is a pillar that holds our communities together and keeps them united. We need that more than ever in these difficult circumstances. Unfortunately, the arts, culture, heritage and sport, an inherent and essential part of our communities and Canadian culture, are harshly affected by the pandemic.
Leaders of these creative businesses and sports organizations are reporting major financial losses as a result of the measures being put in place, which are necessary for ensuring the health of the Canadian public. For example, all public events such as concerts, festivals and various performances have been cancelled. Film and television production is on hold, museums are no longer hosting activities and several businesses are posting a significant decline in their ad revenue among other things.
We can expect Canada's creative industry to suffer growing financial pressure. In one month, losses are estimated at $4.4 billion and roughly 26,000 jobs. In three months, they are estimated at $13.2 billion and roughly 81,000 jobs. Some businesses are able to recover from these losses with help from the government and through loans and support from the private sector. It is precisely to reassure and maintain our thriving cultural and sports sector that we reacted quickly and urgently. We are here for our athletes and artists when they need us the most.
As you may know, as soon as containment measures were announced in Canada, I held a virtual press briefing to reassure our entire cultural and sports sector. I wanted to guarantee to them that government funding would be maintained, regardless of the circumstances.
The work and mandate of Canadian Heritage has not changed. We are here to support the arts, culture and sports sectors. We have ensured that funds from grants and contributions continue to flow and we remain available to work with our partners to determine the best way forward.
The Government of Canada is also working hard to roll out its COVID-19 economic response plan. This plan includes direct support for every affected Canadian, including those in the arts, culture and sports sectors. It includes the Canada emergency response benefit for workers who lose all or part of their income because of the pandemic. The benefit applies to wage earners, contract workers and self-employed individuals who would not otherwise be eligible for employment insurance.
Note that after receiving input from the industry, we announced that royalty payments would not be included in calculating the income eligible for benefits. As someone who has published three books, I understood this very clearly. This means that artists and creators will not be disadvantaged because of work they did months ago.
In addition to these emergency benefits and the credits and exemptions we have provided for all Canadians and Canadian businesses, we have introduced targeted measures for our cultural and sports sectors. On April 17, our Prime Minister announced a $500-million emergency fund for our cultural, heritage and sports organizations in recognition of their importance to our society. This assistance is intended for institutions that suffer or will suffer income losses related to COVID-19. We are doing everything possible to stay in touch with our partners and the organizations we support to address their most pressing concerns.
This measure will provide financial support that ties in with existing measures in response to COVID-19 pertaining to salaries and fixed costs. The fund will be administered by Canadian Heritage, with the support of our partners, notably the Canada Council for the Arts. We will work with the culture, heritage and sports sectors to clarify the terms and conditions of this financial support. Supplementary to this, the Canada Council will also provide $60 million in advance funding to help cultural organizations and artists who receive council grants to meet their immediate commitments.
Our government, through Canadian Heritage, is also investing $3 million in several organizations through the digital citizen initiative to help combat false and misleading COVID-19 information, as well as the racism and stigmatization that we have seen spurred by the crisis. This support will help fund activities such as public awareness tools and online workshops to help Canadians become more resilient and to think critically about COVID-19 disinformation. Funded projects will reach Canadians on a national scale and a local scale, online and offline, and minority communities in both official languages, and indigenous communities.
We are also providing support for broadcasters. The Government of Canada has waived part 1 licence fees for the 2020-21 fiscal year. This amounts to $30 million in assistance to our broadcasters.
An independent panel of experts will also make recommendations to the Canada Revenue Agency on the implementation of the tax measures for print journalism announced in budget 2019. This panel is now in place and we have made several adjustments to the tax measures to better meet the needs of the publishing and journalism community. To give just one example, new publishers and media outlets that receive support from the Canada periodical fund will be eligible for Canadian journalism labour tax credits.
Finally, the vast majority of the $30 million invested by our government in a national COVID-19 awareness campaign will be invested in Canadian media, in television and radio, newspapers, magazines and digital media. The revenue generated by this campaign will provide our media with a breath of fresh air.
Canadians are facing one of the greatest challenges in our history. Our artists, our creators, our athletes and our amateur sports community are showing us many examples of solidarity. Together, alongside them, we will meet this challenge.
I invite you to envisage the sport and culture sector as an ecosystem, rich in its diversity but fragile. Together let's continue to protect it.