The Department of Canadian Heritage developed the ISF to increase the promotion of Canadian culture abroad, strengthen international dialogue on best practices in the area of social inclusion and civic participation, ensure better visibility of Canadian cultural content and expertise through new technologies, strengthen relations with the USA, increase focus on G8 and emerging global powers such as China, India and Brazil, and ensure greater coherence with overall government international priorities. The ISF has resulted in more clearly defined roles for the Canada Council for the Arts, the Trade Routes Programme in the Department of Canadian Heritage, and the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade’s Promart Programme in the area of international cultural promotion.
Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada (DFAIT) also has a history of promoting the Canadian cultural sector and its successes around the world as part of its efforts to advance Canadian foreign policy objectives. In 2007, DFAIT’s Promart Programme was restructured and currently advances foreign policy and trade objectives in the following fields: performing arts (touring, special projects, Canadian festivals), music and sound recording (same as preceding), literature and publishing (travel for authors), media arts, film television and video (travel grants for International Market Development, Canadian festivals, grants for International Business Development) and visual arts (touring of contemporary Canadian art exhibitions, preparatory tours, incoming familiarisation visits, international career development travel, major international art events). Canada’s cultural diplomacy is intended to help improve professional opportunities for Canadian artists and to facilitate, along with other members of the cultural community, a place for Canada in the mainstream of international artistic excellence.
In addition to DFAIT and Canadian Heritage, the Canada Council for the Arts is also active in promotion of Canadian culture abroad. While it does not provide funding for the same projects as DFAIT in the performing arts and music and sound recording, the Canada Council does fund projects in the following fields: literature and publishing (international translations, launch tours for translated books in partnership with Posts, author travel), media arts, film, television and video (individual travel grants, partnerships with DFAIT and Trade Routes, independent media director screenings at priority venues) and visual arts (individual travel grants).