Sound mixing board Home arrow Culture arrow Creative Cluster

Ontario's Creative Cluster: Growing Faster than the Rest of the Economy

Table of contents

The global entertainment and media market was estimated to be worth more than US$1.35 trillion in 2008, and is forecast to grow to approximately US$1.6 trillion by 2013.1 Creative industries now represent a significant proportion of many countries' GDPs, as economies around the world recognize the importance of the creative industries to their future economic growth. As the “knowledge” versus “industrial” economy continues to grow in importance across all developed and developing countries, creative industries are critical to the larger knowledge economy job creation engine, preparing workers for a digital future that relies on creativity versus physical work.2

During the first decade of this millennium, the Creative Cluster has emerged as a major – and growing – source of GDP for Ontario. The creative industries in Ontario generate $12.2 billion in GDP for Ontario's economy annually and are number one in Canada by GDP. Creative industry GDP is now larger than Ontario's energy industry, is approaching 70% of the auto manufacturing sector and surpasses those of agriculture, forestry and mining sectors combined.3

FIGURE 2: Selected Examples of Sectors and Their Share of Ontario GDP ($ billions 2006)

Selected Examples of Sectors and Their Share of Ontario GDP ($ billions 2006)

Source: Ministry of Finance analysis based on Statistics Canada data with dollars indexed to 1997.

Note: Sectors represented on chart are selective only; and some sectors overlap – e.g. auto manufacturing is a part of the overall manufacturing sector cited.

The Creative Cluster not only contributes to Ontario's economic, social and cultural well-being today, but it has the potential to grow at a significant pace in the near future. While projections for the six cultural industries are not available at a provincial level, we can look to global and Canadian figures to predict the potential growth of the broader creative industries. Figure 3 (below) compares the expected rate of global growth with that of Canada. It shows that far from being a mature industry experiencing slower growth, Canadian creative industries are forecast to grow at the same rate as the global sector.

FIGURE 3: Growth of Selected Global and Canadian Creative Industries (Total Market Spend, US$ millions)

Growth of Selected Global and Canadian Creative Industries (Total Market Spend, US$ millions)

Source: PricewaterhouseCoopers, Global Entertainment and Media Outlook 2009-2013.

Note: This group of creative industries includes the following sectors: recorded music, TV advertising, video games, filmed entertainment revenues (incl. box offices), book publishing, consumer magazines, and Internet (wired and mobile) advertising, which is used to indicate the rapid growth of Internet and mobile content.

Ontario is among North America's top entertainment and media economies, ranking third in employment (behind California and New York).4 It is among the world's highest revenue-generating Creative Clusters, and has the potential to rise above its current status at the top of the ‘second tier' of media economies5 to join the ranks of Paris, London and New York as a top-tier entertainment and media economy.

While sustainable growth for any industry is contingent on a number of factors, evidence suggests that Canada's and Ontario's creative industries are growing faster than the rest of the economy. Approximately 1.1 million Canadians are estimated to owe their jobs (directly or indirectly) to creative industries, which represented roughly 7.1% of Canada's total workforce in 2007.6 Between 1999 and 2007, Ontario's Creative Cluster job growth was double that of the rest of the economy - 38.3% compared with 17% in the overall Ontario economy.7

FIGURE 4: Ontario Employment Trends

Ontario Employment Trends
Sources: Statistics Canada Labour Force Survey and Ontario Ministry of Finance, reproduced from 2008 Ontario Budget Papers p. 25.

Recent years have marked a changing and more challenging economic landscape for Ontario. The economy showed no real growth as 2008 ended; growth is forecast at just 0.7% in 2009,8 and Ontario shed some 36,000 manufacturing jobs in January alone.9 However, Ontario's Creative Cluster growth continues to outpace the rest of Ontario's economy. As Ontario's economy continues to transition, creativity will be increasingly tied to the province's ability to compete for growing global markets.