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Two representatives with the Royal Winnipeg Ballet appeared in front of the House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance to take part in 2019 budget consultations. 

On Thursday, Oct. 18, RWB Board chair Don Leitch and director of school operations Kate Fennell spoke on behalf of 36 Canadian professional arts training organizations, recommending the Government of Canada increase its investment in the Canada Arts Training Fund by $10 million annually to ensure Canada's competitiveness in the international arts scene. 

Fennell says this federal government has already made big strides in arts funding, including a pledge to double the Canada Council for the Arts budget by 2021.

She adds, however, there's always room to do more. 

"We started by applauding them because that's a major vote of confidence for professional artists who have completed their training and are already starting to show their work," Fennell said. "Our presentation today spoke to the fact that an incredible investment like that overlooks the specialized training artists receive to become professionals." 

"Additional funding is required to fully realize the investment that has already been made." 

Fennell says they would like to see the additional funding go to the existing 36 training organizations in the country and also go towards creating new arts training organizations from Indigenous and diverse communities. 

She cited the Department of Canadian Heritage's 2016-2017 Arts and Heritage Access and Availability Survey, in which 94 per cent of respondents said arts and culture activities make a community a better place to live. 

She says that goes to show the importance of increasing this funding and training more artists. 

"I can't think of too many things people agree on to that extent," Fennell said. "It's starting to be well-known that the arts and culture sector in Canada is huge and impactful."