Minister Moore Announces New Programs to Support Canada's History

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GATINEAU, June 11, 2013 - The Honourable James Moore, Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages, today introduced a series of new measures to help promote Canadian history, including the first ever Government of Canada History Awards.

“Canadians want to know more about our history, and these new measures will make our history more accessible to all Canadians, particularly our youth,” said Minister Moore. “This is especially important as we approach Canada’s 150th birthday in 2017, which provides an unprecedented opportunity to celebrate our history and the achievements that contributed to the united, strong, and free Canada we know today.”

New measures being announced today include the following:

  • A Canada History Fund will connect youth to their history through the first ever Government of Canada History Awards, which will honour outstanding students and teachers who show an interest in celebrating Canadian history. The awards will be administered by Canada’s History, an independent national organization with a mandate to make our nation’s past relevant and accessible to all Canadians.
  • The Harper Government will partner with the Historica-Dominion Institute to create two new Heritage Minutes per year between now and Canada’s 150th birthday in 2017.
  • Existing programs at Canadian Heritage will be strengthened to improve access to funding for local organizations that wish to promote Canadian history in their communities, including local museums and youth groups.
  • Starting in 2013, July 1 to 7 will become Canada History Week, an opportunity for Canadians from coast to coast to coast to get actively involved in learning about our country’s history.

“History teaches us how we got to where we are as a country, along with a sense of where we are headed. These new measures give Canadians important new tools to discuss and debate those lessons from our past. We at the Historica–Dominion Institute fully support these important initiatives,” said Anthony Wilson-Smith, President of the Historica–Dominion Institute.

“With so many significant anniversaries in the coming years, the historical community has a unique opportunity to change a whole generation of Canadians’ attitudes toward their past in much the same way Expo 67 transformed our view of Canadian arts and culture,” said Deborah Morrison, CEO and President of Canada’s History. “The Canada History Fund will provide us with the resources we need to seize that opportunity—to create new content and actively engage young Canadians in the telling of our stories.”

“Canadian history is all around us. However it is rarely taught in schools; it is not seen, not heard, and is forgotten by most Canadians. These new measures will greatly help bring our history alive,” said John G. McAvity, Executive Director of the Canadian Museums Association. “This includes not just formal or academic history, but more importantly the stories of Canada, pleasant and unpleasant as they are, of everyday Canadians, whether it is found in our art, artifacts, or documents.”

A description of all of the measures announced today is included in the attached backgrounder. The total investment, funded from existing resources, is $12 million annually. To learn more about what the Government of Canada is doing to enhance Canadians’ access to their history, visit www.canadianheritage.gc.ca.

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BACKGROUNDER

The Harper Government will invest $12 million in existing funds to promote Canadian history. Today’s announcement includes the following measures:

I.          Canada History Fund ($4.3 million per year in 2013–2014, $6.3 million per year as of 2014–2015)

  • The Canada History Fund will connect youth to their history through the first ever Government of Canada History Awards, which will honour outstanding students and teachers who show an interest in celebrating Canadian history.
  • Up to 225 secondary school students and up to 30 secondary school teachers will receive awards of $1,000 and $2,000, respectively, and winners will be selected from across Canada.
  • The awards will be administered by Canada’s History, an independent national organization with a mandate to make our nation’s past relevant and accessible to all Canadians. Canada’s History will draw on its experience in administering the Governor General’s History Awards.
  • The Awards will be provided across the country, with fair distribution for all provinces and territories. They do not interfere with provincial and territorial educational systems, but rather promote an appreciation of Canadian history by rewarding excellence from teachers and students who choose to compete.
  • The Canada History Fund will also provide increased funding to the Historica-Dominion Institute for the production of new Heritage Minutes ($400,000).
  • The Speakers Bureau of the Memory Project, also administered by the Historica-Dominion Institute, will receive an increase in funding to allow for more veterans and serving soldiers with students in the classroom. The investment in this program will increase from $100,000 to twice this amount. For more information on this program, visit www.thememoryproject.com.
  • Programs like the Dictionary of Canadian Biography and The Canadian Encyclopedia will receive enhanced total support from $2.25 million to $2.61 million for additional Canadian history content. For information on these programs, visit www.biographi.ca and www.thecanadianencyclopedia.com.

II.       Canada History Week

Beginning in 2013, July 1 to 7 will become Canada History Week. Starting on Canada Day, this week is an opportunity for Canadians to learn more about their history through local and national activities and events.

Also, Canada History Week will be an opportunity to get Canadians actively involved in learning more about our country’s history by providing them with access to information on history-related activities and events, starting on July 1 with local and the national Canada Day celebrations organized by those in our country most passionate about the subject. Canada History Week will be a special occasion to create a focus and opportunity to celebrate and experience Canada’s history.

III.    Support for Existing Canadian Heritage Programs

Five existing programs at Canadian Heritage will be strengthened to improve access to funding for local organizations that wish to promote Canadian history in their communities, including local museums and youth groups.

a)      Exchanges Canada Program – $3.6 million per year

The Exchanges Canada Program will provide young Canadians with more opportunities to take part in history-themed events. The program will also support enhanced historical content during all reciprocal exchanges and forums attended by youth so they can discover the people, places, and events that make our country unique.

b)      Canada Book Fund – Up to $200,000 per year

The Canada Book Fund will encourage collective projects with a dedicated focus on promoting Canadian history titles. These projects will provide opportunities for Canadians to enhance their knowledge and experience of Canadian history through books.

c)      Canada Periodical Fund – Up to $375,000 per year

Through the Business Innovation and Collective Initiatives components, the Canada Periodical Fund will support the promotion of and access to history magazines and history content, as well as the creation of new history content.

d)     Museums Assistance Program – Up to $1 million per year as of 2014–2015

The Museums Assistance Program will make it easier for institutions to create and share history exhibits by eliminating the requirement that they must circulate beyond their province or territory of origin. The program will also support museums, including small museums that wish to borrow objects for exhibition from the national collection of the future Canadian Museum of History.

e)      Virtual Museum of Canada – Up to $500,000 toward key historical milestones

The Virtual Museum of Canada (VMC) will fund 2017-themed online exhibits and podcasts through its Virtual Exhibits Investment Program. The VMC will also renew its Teachers’ Centre to make lesson plans accessible through tools such as tablets and smart boards, and add new historical content for teachers and students.