Valerie Creighton, President and CEO at CMF
The Canada Media Fund (CMF) is renewing its commitment to addressing the systemic racism that had long been established in Canada’s cultural institutions, including the CMF. Some important and preliminary work has been accomplished in the last year and the CMF is now presenting the results, to-date, of its Equity and Inclusion Strategy. This strategy was developed in consultation with the communities and will help guide the CMF’s work to improve equity and inclusion through 2023.
“Over the past year, we heard from the industry, we learnt, evolved and adapted. Today, we’re happy to have partnered with and supported hundreds of extraordinary projects and creators from racialized communities,” said Valerie Creighton, President and CEO, CMF. “I believe we have taken several steps in the right direction, but we’re only getting started. We will continue to listen, adapt and support Canada’s wealth of diverse talent and creators, while contributing to the creation of an increasingly equitable funding ecosystem.”
The CMF is currently in conversation with the Government of Canada on how it will disburse the $60M earmarked in the recent Federal Budget to encourage diverse voices in Canadian TV and digital media.
Informed by consultation with industry members and producers from the racialized communities, the CMF announced in November of 2020 that it would disburse $6M through two different initiatives: a Sector Development Fund for Black People and People of Colour Organizations; and the COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund, Allocation for Companies Owned by Black People and People of Colour.
“We delivered these two programs thanks to extensive outreach and consultation with racialized communities,” said Tamara Dawit , Strategy Lead, Equity and Inclusion, CMF. “We’re continuing to build new relationships and partnerships with Black and People of Colour-led companies and organizations, which will last well beyond the current crisis and help inform the CMF’s policy and program directions in the future. Support to these communities will help our industry become more inclusive and representative of all the talent Canada has to offer.”
SECTOR DEVELOPMENT FUND FOR BLACK PEOPLE AND PEOPLE OF COLOUR
In the fall of 2020, over $1M in funding was distributed among 19 organizations owned and controlled by Black People and People of Colour for projects which result in benefits for multiple racialized screen-based creators and producers in Canada. The objective of this initiative was to provide funding for industry initiatives which demonstrate a positive, tangible benefit to multiple racialized stakeholders within Canada’s audiovisual production ecosystem. Click here to access information about the organizations receiving funding through this initiative.
COVID EMERGENCY RELIEF FUND
The CMF distributed $6.6M in COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund for companies owned and controlled by in majority (51% or more) Black People and People of Colour, with the goal of supporting production companies across the country, which have been affected by the ongoing pandemic.
On the first 24 hours the program was opened, the CMF received an application demand that exceeded the program’s budget. The CMF supported a total of 168 with 90 recipients based in Ontario, 49 in Quebec, 18 in British Columbia, five in Alberta, three in Saskatchewan and one in Manitoba, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia each. It is important to note that 30% of the funding went to Black owned companies, making it the highest among all racialized communities.
2021-2022 CMF PROGRAMS
The CMF announced on April 1 it would introduce a series of tangible measures to its 2021-2022 programs aimed at increasing equity to its programs. This includes a new Performance Envelope Factor, a Pilot Program for Racialized Communities (PPRC), a revised evaluation grid and a development stage carve-out—all designed to maximize equity in the CMF’s funding programs
In addition to the administration of emergency relief funds to Black and People of Colour producers, the CMF is working closely with these communities to gain a better understanding of their current situation to inform further changes.
In consultation with members of the communities, it convened an Equity and Inclusion in Data Collection working group, working in partnership with other national and regional media funding agencies and organizations, including the Black Screen Office and Racial Equity Media Collective. The goal is to work with communities to develop common standards and to develop a concerted mechanism to track, share and compare data across the industry.
Going forward, the CMF will collect regular information on members of underrepresented communities applying to its programs and carry out extensive research on their successes, challenges, and concerns.
The CMF, in partnership with 30+ industry organizations, launched the MADE | NOUS “Seek More” campaign. This campaign is designed to encourage Canadians to seek out creators and content from a wide array of backgrounds and lived experiences, reflecting the vast and varied storytellers shaping television, film, and gaming in Canada.