An analysis of Canadian Heritage’s proactive disclosure of the distribution of Canada 150 grant money in the past two years shows the western provinces (Saskatchewan, Alberta, and British Columbia) and Nova Scotia have thus far received significantly smaller portions of overall grant money in comparison to their respective proportions of the national population.
By the end of last year, Canadian Heritage had approved and distributed a little over $151 million in Canada 150 grants to Canadian businesses, schools, municipalities, NGOs, charities, etc. The Canadian Heritage department is still in the process of dividing the remaining $49 million of the $200-million Canada 150 Fund, but so far some provinces and territories have fared a lot better than others in the division of the fund.
Ontario has thus far come out the big winner with $75,261,117 or 49.8 per cent of Canada 150 grants being given to the province’s businesses and organizations in the last two years, despite the province only making up 38.3 per cent of the overall population. Quebec ($38,957,426 or 25.8 per cent), Prince Edward Island ($3,141,507 or 2.1 per cent), Northwest Territories ($683,500 or 0.5 per cent), Yukon ($1,473,000.00 or 1 per cent), and Nunavut ($1,069,255 or 0.7 per cent) also did well in comparison with their population sizes respectively at 23.2 per cent, 0.4 per cent, and about 0.001 per cent cent for all three territories.
Alberta fared the worst, receiving only $5,483,514 or 3.6 per cent of the Canada 150 fund thus far distributed, despite 11.6 per cent of all Canadians living in the prairie province. Other provinces that received disproportionately less in the last two years were New Brunswick, Saskatchewan, and British Columbia.
Certain cities also fared far better than others, receiving disproportionately higher amounts of the Canada 150 Fund compared to their population sizes. Cities like Edmonton and Hamilton make up 2.7 per cent and 1.5 per cent of Canada’s total population respectively, but they only received 0.8 per cent and 0.0002 per cent. On the other hand, Toronto and Ottawa make up 7.8 per cent and 2.7 per cent of the population respectively, but received 18.7 per cent and 15.6 per cent of the Canada 150 Fund given out thus far.
Before some readers in certain areas of the country get upset, Canadian Heritage Minister Mélanie Joly’s press secretary Pierre-Olivier Herbert explained why there has been a disproportionate division of Canada 150 grant money between the provinces and territories thus far.
“As they come in they are sent to the departments in batches and evaluated. We still have over a thousand applications that are still being assessed. It’s normal that we don’t see a provincial balance yet, but it is something we are striving towards,” explained Herbert.
Yet over 75 per cent of the Canada 150 Fund has already been given out, so its unlikely the fund will be completely balanced proportionately among the provinces, let alone cities. Herbert said the program was extremely over-subscribed. “We got billions of dollars in asks for a $200 million budget.”
For local initiatives alone, the department received a deluge of 3,285 applications. So far the department has approved 365 projects and declined 1,883 applications, and is now in the process of sifting through the remaining 1,037 applications over the next couple of months.
The Canada 150 Fund is separated into three types of grants. $80 million is set aside for “Signature Initiative” grants, which are pan-Canadian sesquicentennial celebratory activities that reach communities across Canada. So far these types of grants have been largely benefiting businesses and organizations based in Ontario, Quebec, and British Columbia.
Another $20 million is for major events, and the remaining $100 million is for “Community Driven Act” grants, for regional or local Canada 150 projects. When analyzing the distribution of just these regional grants, again, certain provinces tend to fare better than others.
Canadian Heritage aims to have all the money allocated and proactive disclosures completed for the Canada 150 Fund by April or May.
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