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Canadian Dance Assembly

Associated Organization

The Canadian Dance Assembly (CDA) is the voice of the professional dance sector in Canada and promotes for a healthy, sustainable environment in which professional dance practice can grow and thrive.

CDA is a reputable source of information on the current state of dance in Canada and provides representation to policy makers and the public.

CDA enables its national membership of dance professionals and organizations to connect with their peers through regular communications, conferences, forums and workshops, and facilitates opportunities for networking, dialogue and exchange relevant to the Canadian dance sector.

The Canadian Dance Assembly exists to facilitate the dynamic exchange of information relevant to Canadian professional dance of all forms and aesthetics.  It strives to cultivate a strong national voice for Canadian professional dance and to support the development of resources for this field of artistic expression.  It is the members of the Canadian Dance Assembly, through their activities, experience and participation, who provide the dynamism and synergy that make the organization vital in the Canadian arts milieu.

Becoming a CDA MEMBER for 2017

(Dance NS members get a special discount)

Enjoy benefits such as:

  • Canadian Dance Assembly’s National Health Insurance Program - The Arts & Entertainment Plan™ offered by AFBS (New $75/month rate)
  • Discounted registration to CDA conferences and networking events
  • Regular e-bulletin updates and Advocacy Alerts
  • Discounted subscription rate to The Dance Current magazine
  • Breaking news and federal policy alerts
  • National Networking opportunities

Click here for the link to their membership form or go to the CDA WEBSITE for an On Line version.

Advocacy Highlights

The CDA has been the dance sector’s voice in Ottawa. We advocate for dance at the Department of Canadian Heritage and other departments, depending on the issue.

  • For example, the CDA represented dance to the Department of Immigration and Refugees and Service Canada in reference to the Temporary Foreign Workers program, which led to a performing arts exemption for the LMIA process. This exemption achievement represents a savings of over $100,000 for CDA members.
  • CDA also represented dance to the Standing Committee on Finance in reference to the federal budget. Cornell was personally invited by the Minister of Finance’s staff to attend a private pre-budget consultation in November 2014 (note this was the first time the cultural sector has been invited to this closed door meeting).
  • CDA played a leading advocacy role at the Standing Committee for Canadian Heritage’s study of Review of dance in Canada, 2015 which resulted in this report.
  • Executive Director Kate Cornell is the Co-Chair of the Canadian Arts Coalition and the English-language media spokesperson. As a result, dance was invited to the federal table more frequently. For example, In November 2015, Cornell was interviewed on CBC’s The National about arts advocates’ expectations of the new federal government.
  • CDA played a leading role in this year’s Arts Day on the Hill in Ottawa, it was the largest gathering to date bringing 160 arts advocates from across the country. In total, we had 111 meetings, including 6 meetings with Ministers and 9 meetings with ministerial staff.
  • The CDA represents dance alongside other service organizations on the TAPA Advocacy Committee at the city level, at the PASO group provincially, and at the Canadian Arts Coalition federally. As a result, CDA has a strong presence at annual and biannual advocacy days: Arts Day at City Hall, Arts Day at Queen’s Park, and Arts Day on the Hill. CDA also regularly attends the Arts Summit.

A letter from the Executive Director of the CDA

Dear Members,
Thank you for supporting the Canadian Dance Assembly. In my third year as Executive Director, I consulted with the members and non-members, ended the fiscal year with another surplus, led advocacy related to the federal election (2015), and witnessed the implementation of the performing arts exemption for temporary foreign workers in dance. It has been a very rewarding year for the CDA.
In May 2015, the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage studied Dance in Canada for three days. I worked closely with Lorraine Hébert of RQD to develop a list of recommended speakers from the dance sector. Twenty-five dedicated representatives of the dance sector were chosen by the Standing Committee and spoke eloquently about dance in Canada. The focus of my speech was advocating for a policy change in the Temporary Foreign Workers Program. In June, the Standing Committee published a report on their seven recommendations for the previous government. The seven recommendations will inform the CDA’s advocacy work for the next ten years.
Successful advocacy, that began in 2014, resulted in a Performing Arts Exemption from the LMIA process; the exemption was implemented in February 2016. The exemption will save the dance sector more than $100,000 in fees and hopefully even more in bureaucratic red-tape. This exemption was the result of a concerted effort by the CDA, Orchestras Canada, PACT, Canadian Actors Equity and others.
As Co-Chair of the Canadian Arts Coalition and English-language spokesperson, I played a large role in the non-partisan advocacy throughout the federal election. The media coverage was substantial culminated in my interview with Eli Glasner on CBC’s The National in the first weeks of the new government. Advocacy for the doubling of the operating budget of the Canada Council began in earnest once the new government was in place. The federal budget was presented in March 2016 and included a remarkable $1.87 billion in funding for the arts over five years. Most notably, the 2016 federal budget included $35 million for Canada Arts Abroad, $168 million for Cultural Spaces, and the doubling of the budget of the Canada Council by 2021. The change in government has brought greater access and opportunity to build relationships.
Please keep in touch and let me know if there is a federal policy issue that needs my attention.
Together we are stronger.
Thank you for your support,
Kate Cornell