City of Hamilton Budget 2015

Learn more about the City of Hamilton’s 2015 Operating Budget recommendations including impacts on municipal arts funding and what you can do to make your voice heard.

Arts Funding Budget

The 2015 City Staff recommended arts funding budget is included in Book 1 of the 2015 Tax Supported Preliminary Operating Budget; use your PDF reader software or web browser to jump to page 101 of this document for the recommended service enhancements.

City Staff Recommendation:  Based on the research and consultation conducted by the Arts Funding Task Force and further work by City staff in Tourism & Culture and Finance, Audit and Revenue Generation, the 2015 Budget recommends an increase of $500,000 in 2015 to fund the Arts Program category of the City Enrichment Fund as referred by Council in September 2014. A further $250,000 is recommended to “adequately fund” other categories of the City Enrichment Fund including Culture, Communities & Heritage.

Important Dates - UPDATED, MARCH 12, 2015

February 24:  Budget Committee hears public delegations on the budget at Hamilton City Hall from 3:00-7:00p.m.

February 27: City Staff present the proposed City Enrichment Fund budget enhancement to the General Issues Committee’s Budget Process meeting.

March 10:  City Council continues to debate recommended budget enhancements and approve a motion to defer discussion of arts funding to the next session on March 24.

March 24 & 26: General Issues Committee will meet to debate recommended budget enhancements including the proposed increase in arts investment. See the City of Hamilton's website for specific meeting dates, times and agendas.

April 8: City Council votes to approve the 2015 Budget.

Timeline of Arts Funding Developments:

April 2011: The Arts Advisory Commission (AAC) struck an Arts Funding Task Force to review municipal arts funding in Hamilton.

May 2012: The Arts Funding Task Force presented its first report on the funding issues facing the arts sector, and the gaps that exist between those needs and the City’s current approach to arts funding. Through this Report, Council directed the AAC to develop a strategic arts funding model, to consult with stakeholders and the community on the model, and to report back to General Issues Committee.

June 2013: The Arts Funding Task Force presented its final Report, Strategic Municipal Investment in the Arts, a new funding model recommending eight funding streams supported by a transparent and equitable governance model. Council directed Planning and Economic Development staff to report back to the General Issues Committee with details including implementation, budget implications and impacts and provide a range of options/alternatives.

June 2014: City staff presented the framework for the new City Enrichment Fund based on the recommendations of Strategic Municipal Investment in the Arts and a review of the larger Community Partnership Program. Through this report, Council directed staff to report back in September 2014 after a period of public comment.

September 2014: The Guidelines and application process for the City Enrichment Fund were approved by Council to replace the Community Partnership Program. Among other implementation details, the recommendation approved by Council included consideration of increased funding of $750,000 for the City Enrichment Fund to be referred to the 2015 budget deliberations, with an additional $500,000 allocated to Arts programs and $250,000 for Agriculture/Environmental, Communities, Culture & Heritage, Community Services and Sport & Active Lifestyle categories.


Total municipal investment in the now-defunct Community Partnership Fund has been stagnant since 2000. This means that the City’s investment has not kept up with inflation, and has been unable to meet the considerable demand for grant support from both existing recipients and new organizations that have emerged over the past fifteen years.  

In Strategic Municipal Funding for the Arts, the AAC identified $1 million as a reasonable starting point for additional investment in the arts sector, based on its needs analysis of the sector. Staff is proposing that this increase be considered on a phased basis as follows: $500,000 in 2015, $300,000 in 2016, and $200,000 in 2017.

Without this additional investment, the City Enrichment Fund will lack the means to provide equitable support to the arts and cultural sector following the best practices that Council so recently adopted. Hamilton will continue to lag behind similar sized municipalities in its per capita investment in the arts and struggle to retain both the creative sector that has turned the tide of Hamilton’s national reputation and the next generation of professionals who demand a better quality of life in the cities where they live and work.

What You Can Do 
  • Write to your Ward Councillor to show your support for the arts and sound investment in Hamilton’s future. Find your Ward Councillor here.
  • Provide a Written Delegation to the General Issues Committee by email to, by fax at 905-546-2095, or by mail to the Office of the City Clerk (Attention: Stephanie Paparella), 1st Floor, 71 Main Street West, Hamilton, Ontario L8P 4Y5. Written delegations will be accepted  up to and including 12 noon on Monday February 23 for distribution to all members of the Committee.
  • Register to speak to the General Issues Committee on Tuesday February 24. Anyone interested in making a presentation is asked to pre-register, in writing, as a public delegation by no later than 12 noon on Monday, February 23, by contacting Stephanie Paparella, Legislative Coordinator (Phone: 905-546-2424 ext. 3993 Email:
Talking Points

Talking about budgets can be an unfamiliar process for many in the arts community and their supporters. You may wish to speak instead from your own experience ofthe arts here in Hamilton – share your accomplishments as an artist, your pride in this community, the transformative impact that arts education has had on your children. All of these provide clear examples of the impact of the arts on Hamiltonians to our elected officials.

Here are a few further points you can draw upon when sending your message to Council:

  • The recommended budget increase is the result of four years of community engaged research and consultation that has included multiple reports and approvals by City Council at each step of the process
  • The high economic return on each government dollar spent on arts and culture makes for smart investment during difficult economic times
  • Sound investment will support the arts community in building a positive, progressive and authentic public image and reputation for the City of Hamilton, attracting further investment from the private sector
  • An adequately funded City Enrichment Fund is necessary to foster transparency and fairness in our arts funding process and bring Hamilton in alignment with best practices
  • Affordable access to the arts in our communities, facilitated through public funding, improves the quality of life for all Hamiltonians and enriches education and opportunities for youth
how we advocate

The Hamilton Arts Council is the leading advocate for the arts in the Hamilton region. We believe that a city in which the arts thrive is one that is a better place to live for both artists and the wider community. For this reason, we are committed to promoting and protecting the interests of the arts.

  • We proactively celebrate the vitality of the arts in Hamilton and aim to keep our artists’ accomplishments at the forefront of civic awareness
  • We encourage our members and the wider community to add their voices to ours when issues of importance are at stake in Hamilton
  • We speak to the importance of supporting the arts at City Council by encouraging improved funding and policies to support the work of the arts community
  • We are mindful of issues that impact the success of the arts and look to other communities for examples of best practices that could benefit Hamilton
  • We respond to challenges that arise within our arts community and lend our support towards effective solutions