Government of New Brunswick

Provincial and Territorial Cultural Indicators, 2021

The year 2021 marked a turning point for culture and sport in Canada, as economic activity related to culture and sport began to rebound from initial COVID-19 pandemic restrictions put in place in the early part of 2020.

In 2021, nominal gross domestic product (GDP) of culture and sport rebounded in all provinces and territories, however this rebound was slower than that for total economy GDP. Canada's GDP attributable to culture and sport increased 8.2% from the previous year, to $60.9 billion, which was slower than the growth of total economy GDP (+13.4%). Despite one of the largest single-year increases, nominal economic activity remained below the pre-pandemic levels of 2019. The contribution of culture and sport to economy-wide GDP declined from 2.7% in 2020 to 2.6% in 2021, due to the slower growth in the culture sector.

Employment attributable to Canada's culture and sport sector dropped significantly from 2019 to 2020, by roughly 99,000 jobs, primarily due to pandemic-related restrictions. In 2021, employment increased (+10.6%), a gain of approximately 69,500 jobs, while economy-wide jobs increased at a lower rate (+8.6%). Overall, there was an increase in culture and sport's share of total economy jobs, which rose from 3.7% in 2020 to 3.8% in 2021.Given the gradual return to full opening of the economy in 2022, healthy rebounds in both culture and sport GDP and jobs are set to continue.

1.56% in 2021 

Sources(s): Table 36-10-0452-01 and 36-10-0221-01

Culture sector begins to rebound but remains below pre-pandemic levels

Canada's culture nominal GDP rose 8.3% to $54.8 billion in 2021, with increases in all domains. The largest contributors to this gain were the audio-visual and interactive media (+$1.6 billion or +9.8%) and visual and applied arts (+$1.1 billion or +11.0%) domains. The continued in-person limitations on attendance during the year drove more culture to the digital space, which likely fuelled growth in the software development and computer services industries. At a subdomain level, increases in film and video and in broadcasting led the way.

As a proportion of total economy GDP, culture accounted for 2.3% in 2021, down from 2.7% in 2020.

Similar to GDP, culture jobs increased 11.0% to 634,431 in 2021. The share of culture jobs accounted for 3.3% of all jobs in Canada. Growth was led by job increases in the audio-visual and interactive media domain and the visual and applied arts domain.

Recovery in Canada's sport sector

Sport GDP was up 7.0% in 2021, totalling $6.2 billion, with all subdomains increasing. Sport governance saw the largest increase, with GDP growing by 8.6%. Organized sport also saw a large increase, with GDP rising 7.4%. Despite these increases, sport GDP remained below the pre-pandemic levels of 2019 as many COVID-19 restrictions, especially around attendance at professional sport venues, remained in place to varying extents.

 Parallel to sport GDP, sport employment increased in all subdomains in 2021. Altogether, sport jobs increased 7.7% from 2020, to 88,794. Jobs in the organized sport subdomain, despite increasing in 2021, remained below pre-pandemic levels in part due to the various restrictions on attendance at venues.

Recovery in culture and sport following the easing of COVID-19 restrictions varied across Canada

All provinces and territories rebounded in 2021, although to varying degrees. Some of the highest growth increases in culture GDP were seen in British Columbia (+12.6% or +$960.0 million), followed by Quebec (+8.2% or +$846.0 million) and Ontario (+7.9% or +$1.8 billion), Canada's three largest provinces. Reflecting the diverse economies across the country, the contribution of culture to economy-wide GDP varied across Canada, ranging from 1.1% in Saskatchewan to 2.8% in Ontario.

Turning to employment, all provinces and territories posted job gains. Culture jobs as a share of the total economy ranged from 1.8% in Nunavut to 4.3% in British Columbia.

All provinces and territories experienced increases in sport GDP, with Ontario (+$167.6 million or +6.8%), Quebec (+$69.5 million or +9.1%) and British Columbia (+$61.3 million or +6.2%) increasing by the largest amounts. As a share of sport GDP to total economy-wide GDP, there was not much variation across Canada. Like sport GDP, increases in employment attributable to sport were seen in all provinces and territories.

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