Executive summary

The 2011 Canadian Framework for Culture Statistics replaces the 2004 Canadian Framework for Culture Statistics. The 2004 framework, Canada's first conceptual model for culture statistics, provided a systematic approach to measurement that has been used by Statistics Canada and many other governments and research organizations. The 2011 framework builds upon the strengths of its predecessor, but has been updated to reflect the changing context and requirements for Canadian culture statistics.

Purpose of the 2011 Canadian Framework for Culture Statistics (CFCS)

The purpose of the CFCS is to provide standard concepts, definitions and categories to facilitate comprehensive, consistent, and comparable statistics on culture and support evidence based decision-making. The CFCS provides a systematic and coherent foundation for data development, gathering, and analysis of the culture sector across Canada, as well as a means to encourage international comparisons. It endeavours to provide a structure that recognizes, and can adapt to, the shifting environment for culture statistics. The framework is intended to foster a standard approach to the measurement of culture by providing a tool that will support research and debate.

Scope of the CFCS

The framework integrates the social and economic aspects of culture. This means that the framework is broad enough to encompass not only the creation, production, dissemination and use of culture products, but also the social and economic impacts arising from this creative chain. The CFCS expands beyond the focus of the 2004 framework, to explore demand as well as supply more explicitly, in order to encourage the measurement of the full scope of culture and its impact on Canada and Canadians.

The primary purpose of this framework is to support the measurement of economic activities related to supply and demand, given that they are the most amenable to statistical analysis. The framework considers all culture creation, whether by amateurs or professionals, to be in scope. Culture products are counted if they are accessible to consumers at some stage in the creative chain through economic transactions or other means.

The framework also promotes the measurement of culture from a social perspective through a discussion of issues related to the demand for culture. Our approach deals with the full scope of the creative chain, from both a social and economic perspective. It is neutral as to the funding and governance that supports culture production and use, treating both the public and private sectors, and the not-for-profit and for-profit sectors as long as they meet the stated criteria. Finally, the model acknowledges that culture products and activity are found in both the formal and informal economies; quantifying the value of the informal economy is difficult to do at present, but its measurement is an ultimate goal of the framework.

The framework is intended to be flexible enough to allow measurement of culture goods and services that are undergoing constant and dramatic change, whether by transformations in the products themselves, their production or distribution processes, or the manner in which they are used. Previously excluded or emerging products, such as crafts or parts of interactive digital media, are now in scope despite the current lack of tools or categories to measure them. While suitable measurement instruments are notably absent for some areas of culture, this framework is a conceptual model and is not intended to provide these tools. Rather, it is designed to provide the foundation upon which the methodologies to develop and collect data can be built.

The framework is intended to be pragmatic, neutral and objective. It opts for an approach that does not evaluate the aesthetic or intellectual worth of a product, any aspect of its production chain or the motivation behind its production. As a result, a wide variety of culture products is defined as culture, as long as they meet the stated criteria.

Defining culture

The conceptual framework contains an official statistical definition of culture and a set of culture domains that can be used to measure culture from creation to use. It provides a hierarchical structure, as well as terminology and definitions, for the measurement of culture. It identifies the scope of culture, whether or not it is possible to measure all aspects at any point in time.

For the purposes of this statistical framework, the definition of culture is "Creative artistic activity and the goods and services produced by it, and the preservation of heritage".

The definition casts the net loosely around the meaning of culture, using the criteria to bring precision to the framework. No single criterion is available to determine which goods and services (products) are in scope for culture; a variety of criteria is necessary to pin down those that meet the definition.

To be within the scope of the definition of culture, a good or service must comply with the CFCS definition of culture and satisfy at least one of six criteria, with the most notable representing the requirement for a product's potential for copyright protection. Other criteria relate to goods and services that support the creation, production, dissemination or preservation of culture.

In the Canadian context, we exclude explicit measures of the environment, tourism, and information technology from the definition of culture. Other statistical programs already measure this subject matter. Issues concerning a related field of sports are discussed in the framework, but sports are not defined or measured as part of culture.

The framework defines the culture sector through domains, which are a set of purpose-built categories. Domains are used to classify culture industries, products and occupations into recognizable groupings that are measureable for statistical purposes. While attempting to be logical and coherent, the categories chosen to describe industries, products, and occupations must bear a relationship to the descriptors used by governments and the players themselves. If the categories are so different from historical and current means of describing culture activities, and bear little relationship to the sectors' own concepts, the data will not be useful. Only by the use of a balanced approach will the framework meet the various uses required of it.

The framework defines six culture domains: Heritage and Libraries, Live Performance, Visual and Applied Arts,Written and Published Works, Audio-visual and Interactive Media; and Sound Recording. In addition to these culture domains, which are divided into core and ancillary sub-sets, the framework provides two transversal domains that are measured across all culture domains: Education and Training, and Governance, Funding and Professional Support. Finally, the framework describes infrastructure domains: Mediating Products and Physical Infrastructure.

The framework rests on the concept of the 'creative chain', a value chain that consists of an initial creative idea, which is usually combined with other inputs to produce a culture good or service, through a series of interlinked stages between production and use. The framework provides definitions of the stages of the creative chain and how culture goods and services are located in the chain. All steps of the creative chain must be in scope for a product to be considered to be core culture. Conceptually, products of ancillary sub-domains (e.g. advertising, architecture) are in scope for culture, from creation up to and including the parts of production that relate to their design; any activities that relate to the manufacturing, construction or production of the final product or its dissemination to the public are not in scope for culture.

The framework defines the culture sector as including all industries and culture products from each culture domain across the creative chain, including the transversal domains, as well as the occupations that produce them. Other types of specialized analysis may include different elements, depending upon the requirements for the research. This is described later in the conceptual framework, and in the guide to classification systems.

Classifying culture

Statistics Canada uses a variety of standard classification systems to categorize much of the data, particularly economic data, which it collects. By using these standard categories, data can be meaningfully compared. Guidelines and the specifics of using these classification systems to measure culture according to the concepts outlined in the CFCS are discussed in a companion publication, the Classification Guide for the Canadian Framework for Culture Statistics 2011. The classification guide takes the conceptual framework and starts to bring it to life, for statistical purposes, through the application of its criteria to the standard statistical tools available for the measurement of culture in Canada.

Date modified: