Creative Canada: Publishing Content vs. Publishing Culture


  • Emily Woehrle SFU


Cultural Policy, Creative Canada, Publishing, Technology, Digital Divide, Creative Industries


Pack it up Massey, there’s a new cultural policy in town. Creative Canada is Heritage Canada’s answer to the digital takeover of the creative industries. In the past, Canadian cultural policy has been to the tune of the betterment of the people. Creative Canada is singing a different song, one that fully acknowledges the creation of culture as an economic driving force. This new policy framework also works to enhance recognition for local artists on a global scale, a stark change in direction from past policy initiatives. Is this change to be seen as a disservice to the Canadian people and their cultivation of culture or is it a chance at launching Canada into a new age of digital innovation and creativity? How does this new framework effect book publishers and authors and how will a renewed focus on a digital future implicate the printed word? In this paper I will discuss the possible answers to these questions by first providing a brief history of past cultural policies, the opportunities and limitations that a digital ecosystem brings, as well as discuss the relationship between production of culture and Canada’s political economy. Canada’s cultural narrative has been shaped by post-colonial policies that have placed the onus on Canadian publishers to establish and promote Canadian culture; that Canadian books should be for cultivating better citizens and reflect the qualities and values that make up our society. Creative Canada aims to disrupt that narrative into one that is centered around technology, creative entrepreneurs, and partnerships with foreign entities.






Part One: The History and Present of Canadian Book Publishing