Recognized as one of National Capital Region's Top Employers (2021):
By Richard Yerema and Kristina Leung, Mediacorp Canada Inc. staff editors (Feb 1, 2021)
Here are some of the reasons why Canada Council for the Arts was selected as one of National Capital Region's Top Employers (2021):
- Canada Council for the Arts helps employees plan securely for the future with a defined benefit pension plan, retirement planning assistance, and health benefits that extend to retirees (no age limit and up to 50 per cent premium coverage)
- Canada Council for the Arts supports employees who want to start a family with generous maternity and parental leave top-up payments and also offers flexible work arrangements to help as they transition to their roles as parents (including the option for a phased-in return to work)
- As part of the organization's health benefits plan, Canada Council for the Arts provides a mental health practitioner benefit of up to $2,500 annually
Canada Council’s passion for the arts inspires staff
As a visual artist, Mana Rouholamini appreciated the grants she received from the Canada Council for the Arts to further her work. So when an opportunity arose in 2014 to accept a term contract as a program officer with the Ottawa-based public arts funder, she saw it as a wonderful way to give back to the arts sector.
“I had experienced personally what a grant can do for an artist,” says the francophone Rouholamini, who was hired permanently in 2017 and now serves as an equity, access and outreach manager. “I wanted to help other people have the same chance at putting their best foot forward when applying for grants.”
Born and raised in Iran and with no bureaucratic experience, Rouholamini wondered if she was the right fit. “My fellow program officers and managers helped me frame myself so I believed I could contribute and that my opinions mattered,” she says. “As a landed immigrant, I felt like I ‘landed’ again when I joined Council.”
Many artists struggle financially, and when COVID-19 arrived in Canada that struggle was never greater, with cancelled book launches, concerts, art shows and dance performances. “When you come to Council you learn about advocacy,” says Rouholamini. “It’s a privilege to be here, and we have a responsibility to be our best for the artists we serve.”
Simon Brault has long been advocating for artists at the organization, first as vice-chair of the board from 2004 to 2014, then as director and CEO since 2014. “We want the arts to be perceived as essential,” he says. “With the pandemic, we needed to literally rescue the sector and talk to the government about emergency measures for funding.”
With Council employees working remotely, Brault has striven to maintain connections, writing a weekly 1,500-word letter to the entire staff where he shares internal and community news and messages from artists thanking them for their support. He also shares personal information, such as how much he misses seeing his children and grandchildren.
“People thank me because they feel a sense of solidarity when you open up,” says Brault. “I’m proud and touched by the capacity of Council to do so well during the pandemic.”
A shared mission continues to unite employees, says Brault. “No matter what your job is here, all of us have one purpose – to support the arts and help fund a sector we believe is very important in Canada.”