May 29, 2018

By Jane Brown

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Toronto City Council has clawed back $150,000 in funding for the Canadian Opera Company and the Toronto Symphony Orchestra amid diversity concerns.

Councillors have voted to cut $100-thousand dollar from the COC’s proposed grant of $1.6 million and $50,000 from the TSO’s almost $2-million.

Councillor Norm Kelly, who sits on the TSO’s board calls the cuts a “wake-up slap” to those arts groups who might otherwise take city diversity guidelines lightly.

The money represents a significant financial blow to each of the organization’s bottom lines.

Diversity requirements have become an increasingly important feature for granting programs and look for assurances that applicants, audiences, staff, and board membership all reflect the demographics of the city

In 2017, The Canada Council for the Arts implemented new diversity assessment guidelines which were no longer seen as best-practice, but a major factor in determining how much money an organization receives.

The diversity criteria not only extends to staff and governance but also a commitment by arts organizations towards diversifying audiences.

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