Canadian Occupational Projection System (COPS)

Industrial Summary

Arts, Entertainment and Recreation Services

NAICS 7111-7115; 7121; 7131-7139

This industry comprises establishments primarily engaged in operating facilities or providing services to meet the cultural, entertainment and recreational interests of their patrons, including live performances and events or exhibits intented for public viewing. It is composed of three segments: performing arts, spectator sports and related industries (live presentations involving actors, singers, dancers, musicians, writers, athletes, and their respective agents, managers and technicians); heritage institutions (museums, historic sites, zoos, botanic gardens, nature parks); and amusement, gambling and recreation industries (such as golf courses, skiing facilities, marinas, recreational, sports and fitness centres, bowling centres, amusement parks, arcades, casinos, etc.). Amusement, gambling and recreation industries are the largest segment, accounting for 57% of production and 61% of employment in 2016. The other two segments account for the remaining share of production (i.e. 43%; breakdown not available for GDP), with performing arts, spectator sports and related industries accounting for 31% of employment, compared to 8% for heritage institutions. Overall, the industry employed 424,300 workers in 2016, mostly concentrated in Ontario (40%), Quebec (23%), British Columbia (15%) and Alberta (12%). The workforce is evenly split between men and women and is characterized by a large proportion of part-time workers (40%). The performing arts and spectator sports segment is also characterized by a substantial concentration of self-employed (65%). Given the wide variety of activities, key occupations (4-digit NOC) include a mix of:

  • Program leaders and instructors in recreation, sport and fitness (5254)
  • Operators and attendants in amusement, recreation and sport (6722)
  • Authors and writers (5121)
  • Actors and comedians (5135)
  • Musicians and singers (5133)
  • Painters, sculptors and other visual artists (5136)
  • Landscaping and grounds maintenance labourers (8612)
  • Coaches (5252)
  • Facility operation and maintenance managers (0714)
  • Technical occupations related to museums and art galleries (5212)
  • Casino occupations (6533)
  • Sports officials and referees (5253)
  • Other performers, n.e.c (5232)
  • Artisans and craftspersons (5244)
  • Accommodation, travel, tourism and related services supervisors (6313)
  • Conservators and curators (5112)
  • Producers, directors, choreographers and related occupations (5131)
  • Recreation, sports and fitness policy researchers, consultants and program officers (4167)
  • Other technical and co-ordinating occ. in motion pictures, broadcasting and performing arts (5226)
  • Conference and event planners (1226)
  • Recreation, sports and fitness program and service directors (0513)
  • Audio and video recording technicians (5225)
  • Outdoor sport and recreational guides (6532)
  • Support occ. in motion pictures, broadcasting, photography and performing arts (5227)
  • Conductors, composers and arrangers (5132)
  • Library, archive, museum and art gallery
  • managers (0511)
  • Managers - publishing, motion pictures, broadcasting and performing arts (0512)
  • Athletes (5251)
  • Tour and travel guides (6531)

The industry is largely driven by consumer spending and tourism activity, making it particularly sensitive to fluctuations in domestic and foreign economic conditions and changes in discretionary expenditures. It is also heavily reliant on government funding, particularly grants dedicated to art organizations. The industry’s output started to decline during the recession of 2008-2009, as a result of anemic growth in consumer spending. After reaching a trough in 2010, output remained essentially flat in the subsequent four years, as consumers remained cautious about economic conditions and restrained their discretionary expenditures. However, output jumped markedly in 2015 and 2016, driven by the release of some pent-up demand and major international sporting events hosted in Canada, namely the 2015 PanAm Games and the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup of Soccer. The decline in the value of the Canadian dollar also attracted a large number of foreign tourists to Canada, particularly Americans, and encouraged more Canadians to choose vacation within the country, increasing demand for arts, entertainment and recreation activities in recent years. Lower transportation costs resulting from lower fuel costs represent an additional factor that contributed to increase tourism activity. The resulting pace of growth in the industry’s real GDP averaged a modest 0.9% annually over the period 2007-2016, with most of the gains occuring in the last two years. In comparison, employment increased almost continuously over the past decade, expanding at an average annual rate of 2.2%. This may reflect the fact that government funding (both at the federal and provincial levels) is a key supporter of employment in this industry, which is highly vulnerable to changes in macroeconomic conditions and heavily dependant on large and irregular events. Some of the activities provided by the industry would not even be possible in the absence of government grants to artists. According to the Canadian Council for the Arts, in fiscal year 2015-2016, about 3,800 grants were awarded to arts organizations and about 2,300 grants were awarded to individual artists.

Output growth in the industry is projected to accelerate significantly over the period 2017-2026, primarily driven by a positive outlook for tourism activity and the increase anticipated in leisure time. More specifically, in addition to major events related to the 150th anniversary of the Canadian Confederation and the 375th anniversary of Montreal, tourism activity will continue to benefit from a favourable currency situation, lower transportation costs, and robust labour markets in the United States and Canada, increasing demand for arts, entertainment and recreation activities within the country, particularly in the short- to medium-term. The industry is also expected to benefit from massive retirements of baby-boomers from the labour market, as this large and relatively well-off demographic group will have more time to spend on leisure activities. Baby-boomers are expected to inherit $750 billion by 2026, providing another source of income to spend on arts, entertainment and recreation activities. This will help to compensate for the slower pace of growth projected in disposable income and consumer spending resulting from the gradual slowdown in overall employment growth in Canada over the longer-term. High consumer debt levels and the gradual increase anticipated in interest rates are also expected to put pressures on household budgets, restraining discretionary spending on arts and recreation activities. On average, the industry’s real GDP is projected to increase by 1.9% annually over the period 2017-2026, a notable acceleration relative to the previous ten years. In contrast, employment growth is expected to weaken significantly, averaging 1.3% per year due to a major turnaround in productivity. Because many arts and culture organizations are non-profits, the industry depends on volunteers to complement paid staff, and this is an important consideration when it comes to future employment and productivity trends. In 2013, Canadians volunteered the equivalent of 56,000 jobs in arts and culture organizations. As the baby boom generation enters retirement, this demographic group will have extra leisure time not just for consuming the output of the industry but also for contributing to it as volunteers, allowing the industry to increase production without necessarily hiring additional paid workers. Another trend that should contribute to increase productivity is capital investment. Many performing arts facilities dated from the 1960s and 1970s are expected to be renovated and upgraded through the infrastructure program put in place by the federal government. The renewal of those facilities should help to improve the quality of service, increase attendance and, ultimately, improve output in the industry.

Real GDP and Employment Growth Rates in Arts, Entertainment and Recreation Services

Figure showing the annual growth of real GDP and employment over the periods 2007-2016 and 2017-2026 for the industry of Arts, Entertainment and Recreation Services. The data is shown on the table following this figure

Source: Statistics Canada (historical) and ESDC 2017 COPS industrial scenario (projections).

Text Version of Figure Real GDP and Employment Growth Rates in Arts, Entertainment and Recreation Services, 2007-2016 and 2017-2026, in Percent
  Real GDP Employment
2007-2016 0.9 2.2
2017-2026 1.9 1.3

Source: Statistics Canada (historical) and ESDC 2017 COPS industrial scenario (projections).


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