Changing Demographics: Are Cultural Organizations Ready for the Future?

By: SaskCulture Staff January, 2013

By nature of its mandate, SaskCulture has always urged groups to be aware of its multicultural communities, respect diversity, and offer inclusive programs and services.  However, as the province’s demographics continue to evolve - with increased immigration in both cities and smaller communities, and a growing First Nations and Métis population– cultural organizations need to accept that addressing this change is part of their sustainability plans.

During 2013-2014, SaskCulture contracted R. Anderson & Associates, along with Terry Schwalm & Associates, to consult with the cultural community on the current capacity of the sector to encourage and address inclusiveness, and address the different stages of organizational change and opportunities to support growth. 

According to Dean Kush, assistant general manager, SaskCulture, “We found that most cultural organizations are interested in reaching out to all people in their community, but many will need some guidance in doing so.  We hope to provide support for cultural organizations to make fundamental changes to ensure our cultural community is responsive to, and reflective of, the province’s current demographics.”

Work continues to develop tools and resources to help cultural groups address inclusivity in their organizations, and in their communities of interest.  “Over the past year, a few organizations have developed diversity programs,” explains Kush, “and we are working with these groups to identify templates and best practices that can be shared with others.”

SaskCulture also worked with its partners – Sask Sport and Saskatchewan Parks and Recreation Association – on assessing the demographics of Saskatchewan communities. In 2013, McNair Developments Inc. was contracted to assess and report on the current community demographic data available.

Rose Gilks, general manager, SaskCulture, notes that “The report, Assessment of Demographic & Community Data, shows the changing demographics in the province, and provides community sport, culture and recreation groups with some insight into how they may need to adjust to help ensure stable participation, accessibly and capacity issues into the future.”