The Coalition for the Diversity of Cultural Expressions brings together Canada’s main French- and English-speaking organizations of professionals in the cultural sector. The forty member associations represent more than 200,000 creators and professionals and 2,000 companies in the cultural sector.
Equally concerned about the economic health of the cultural sector and the vitality of cultural creation, the CDCE is particularly interested in the treatment of culture in trade agreements and the impact of the digital environment on the diversity of cultural expressions.
History and Mission
The CDCE was founded in the spring of 1998 by Quebec’s leading cultural associations in the midst of the growing opposition to the proposed Multilateral Agreement on Investment (MAI), which aimed to liberalize cultural goods and services. In the fall of 1999, the CDCE invited the main professional associations in the cultural sector in Canada to join its ranks.
At the international level, the CDCE and the governments of Quebec and Canada have played a fundamental role in ensuring that the dual – economic, but also symbolic and identity – value of cultural goods and services is recognized and in creating a movement that led to the adoption of the Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions at UNESCO in 2005. The CDCE then made efforts to convince cultural professionals from all continents to create their own coalition to encourage their government to support the Convention. The Convention now has 146 parties, including 145 States and the European Union.
Today, the CDCE includes 40 organizations representing creators, artists, producers, publishers and distributors in the book, film, television, new media, music, performing arts and visual arts sectors. The CDCE also provides the secretariat for the International Federation of Coalitions for Cultural Diversity (IFCCD).
The Coalition for the Diversity of Cultural Expressions (CDCE) is the voice of the cultural community. It promotes the UNESCO Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions. It ensures its implementation to give it full force of application at the national level.
The CDCE monitors the Canadian government’s commitments under the Convention. It ensures that the government’s capacity to implement policies to support local cultural expressions is properly preserved and deployed; that trade liberalization and technology development do not systematically lead to a standardization of content and a disruption of local ecosystems in the face of foreign investment.
The CDCE works primarily to ensure that cultural goods and services are excluded from trade negotiations and that the diversity of cultural expressions is present in the digital environment. Its role is to:
- Promote civil society dialogue around its priorities and the challenges of the Convention;
- Monitor trade negotiations conducted by the Canadian government to ensure that the exclusion of cultural goods and services from trade agreement negotiations is respected;
- Document the impacts and conditions surrounding the provision of cultural content online;
- Organize meetings and represent its members in the revision of laws and policies that have an impact on the diversity of cultural expressions;
- Provide the secretariat for the International Federation of Coalitions for Cultural Diversity (IFCCD) and participate in debates at UNESCO to support an international network in favour of the diversity of cultural expressions.
For more than twenty years, the Coalition for the Diversity of Cultural Expressions (CDCE) has defended the importance of culture in the development of societies, which has earned it an internationally recognized legitimacy.
The Coalition’s role is to mobilize all cultural stakeholders – creators, artists, associations, community organizations, policy makers, academics – at all levels – local, national and international. Its expertise lies in its comprehensive understanding of the issues, its research and its capacity to mobilize.
Cultural exemption in trade agreements
The Convention recognizes in international law the distinctive nature of cultural activities, goods and services as vehicles of identity, values and meaning. This provides the legal argument to justify their exemption from any liberalization commitments in trade agreements. The CDCE conducts analysis, monitors trade negotiations involving the Canadian government and makes representations to ensure that cultural goods and services are excluded from trade agreements.
The CDCE thus ensures the implementation of the Convention, so that the sovereign right of states to promote the diversity of cultural expressions on their national territory through policy measures, including financial assistance, is fully recognized.
The diversity of cultural expressions online
For the CDCE, the diversity of cultural expressions in the digital space is based on:
- The existence of a balanced environment for the creation, production and dissemination of diversified local cultural content;
- The availability and promotion of online cultural content, and its discoverability in Canada;
- The ability of governments to formulate and implement policies to protect and promote the diversity of cultural expressions online;
- Collective capacity, including that of the cultural community, to measure the achievement of public interest objective.
The CDCE’s role is also to conduct research and foster dialogue between cultural, academic and government circles at the national and international levels in order to enable the country’s artists, creators and producers to enrich the national cultural heritage in the best possible conditions in the digital age.
Hélène Messier is a lawyer specializing in intellectual property and has been working in the cultural sector for over thirty years.
Since 2015, she has served as President and CEO of the Association québécoise de la production médiatique after more than 17 years at the helm of Copibec, a copyright collective representing the written and visual arts sector. She was Director of the Union des écrivaines et écrivains québécois from 1988 to 1992, and then worked for six years as Head of Copyright and Director of Business Development and New Media for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.
In addition to sitting on the Board of Directors of the CDEC, she is a member of the Board of Directors of L’inis and its training mutual, the professional representation committee of Québec Cinéma, the Observatoire de la Culture et des Communications and the Société collective des droits de retransmission.
A member of the Barreau du Québec, she also holds a master’s degree in public administration.
Bill Skolnik is a representative of the Screen Composers Guild of Canada.
He was previously CEO and Executive Director of DGC Ontario where he led all labour negotiations, policy initiatives and member services—with the DGC Ontario team. Prior to his arrival at DGC Ontario, he was the head of the Canadian Federation of Musicians, a founding member of the Screen Composers Guild of Canada, a Trustee of the Musicians’ Pension Fund of Canada and Treasurer of the Radio Producers’ Association of Canada. Bill is an expert in developing ground-breaking provisions that affect Musicians, Composers and Producers working in the Canadian screen-based and theatre industries.
As a classically trained musician, Bill has worked as a Music Director, Composer, Arranger, Lyricist, and Music Producer. He wrote and arranged for Sesame Street for over a decade and composed the score for over a dozen CBC radio dramas. Bill’s work has been heard in numerous documentaries, in the award winning film My American Cousin as well as on stages across Canada including the Shaw Festival, Alberta Theatre Projects, The Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre, The Arts Club of Vancouver and Young People’s Theatre. Bill was instrumental in the creation of the CBC music service Galaxie, organizing and programming Chamber Music and Pop Classics, and was the CBC Radio Music Producer behind such critically acclaimed specials as the Michael Tippett Tribute to the European Broadcast Union, The Boss Brass Live to the World, The Evolution of Jazz and the late Jeff Healey’s first Jazz broadcast.Born in Montreal, he has lived in Toronto, Calgary and Vancouver.
Élisabeth Schlittler is the General Delegate for Canada of the Society of Authors and Dramatic Composers (SACD) and of the Civil Society of multimedia authors (SCAM), two collective management societies.
Possessing a degree in Swiss administration, she worked for several years in Algeria and Senegal. Back in Canada, she held the position of Executive Director of a Montreal publishing house before leading SACD and SCAM. Since 2002, she represents both companies at CDCE and she joined the executive committee in 2017.
Catherine Mitchell is a book publishing consultant in Toronto with extensive international experience in translation rights and distribution, sales and marketing, and public relations.
She teaches in Humber College’s “Creative Book Publishing Program”. Catherine is active on many industry committees, and believes in building community engagement.
Jérôme Payette has been General Manager of APEM since June 2015. As a musician and manager, he holds a Bachelor’s degree in Jazz Performance, a Post-graduate diploma in Management of Cultural Organizations and a Master’s degree in Management with a thesis on cultural development. In 2014, he was sent by the Government of Quebec to UNESCO (Paris) to work at the Secretariat for the Diversity of Cultural Expressions. Previously, he was Director of Development for the Laval Symphony Orchestra.
Since 2010, Jérôme has carried out various consulting assignments in the cultural sector for ArtExpert, Torrentiel and to his account. He is involved with the Coalition for Cultural Diversity, the INIS Standing Committee on Mutual Training, the OCCQ Record and Performing Arts Advisory Committee, CAMI, ACCORD and the Coalition for a Canadian music policy.
Board of directors
The Coalition’s Board of Directors is composed of a minimum of twelve (12) and a maximum of forty (40) Directors. The directors elect from among themselves two co-chairs, two vice-presidents, a secretary and a treasurer, taking care to ensure that the choice of all these officers adequately reflects the francophone and anglophone ecosystems as well as the diversity of the Coalition’s regular members.
Composition of the Board
Officers and members elected at the Annual General Meeting on September 24, 2018:
ADISQ – Association québécoise de l’industrie du spectacle et de la vidéo : Solange Drouin
SCGC – Screen Composers Guild of Canada : Bill Skolnik
ACP – Association of Canadian Publishers : Catherine Mitchell
SACD – Société des auteurs et compositeurs dramatiques / SCAM – Société civile des auteurs multimedia : Elisabeth Schlittler
APEM – Association des professionnels de l’édition musicale : Jérôme Payette
ACTRA – Alliance of Canadian Cinema, Television and Radio Artist : Tyrone Benskin
ANEL – Association nationale des éditeurs de livres : Karine Vachon
ANIM – Alliance nationale de l’industrie musicale : Clothilde Heibing
APFC – Alliance des producteurs francophones du Canada : Carol Ann Pilon
AQPM – Association québécoise de la production médiatique : Hélène Messier
ARRQ – Association des réalisateurs et réalisatrices du Québec : Mylène Cyr
CFM – Canadian Federation of Musicians : Alan Willaert
CIMA – Canadian Independent Music Association
CMPA – Canadian Music Publishers Association: Susanne Vaas
DGC – Directors Guild of Canada: Samuel Bischoff
FCCF – Fédération culturelle canadienne française : Marie-Christine Morin
LCP – League of Canadian Poets : Fortner Anderson
MMF – Music Managers Forum Canada : Gourmet Délice
MPC – Music Publishers Canada : Margaret McGuffin
SAC – Songwriters Association of Canada: Zoë Cunningham
SARTEC – Société des Auteurs de Radio, Télévision et Cinéma : Stéphanie Hénault
SPACQ – Société professionnelle des auteurs et des compositeurs du Québec : Alexandre Alonso
UDA – Union des artistes : Michel Laperrière
UNEQ – Union des écrivaines et des écrivains québécois : Laurent Dubois
WGC – Writers Guild of Canada : Neal McDougall
XN Québec – L’Association des producteurs d’expériences numériques : Jenny Thibault
Nathalie Guay holds a Master’s degree in Geography from the Université du Québec à Montréal and has been interested for the past 20 years in collective actions emanating from civil society in a context of globalization. She worked for ten years at the Confédération des syndicats nationaux, first as a research advisor, then as assistant to the executive committee and in charge of international relations. During her career, Nathalie Guay has served on numerous boards of directors in Quebec as well as in international organizations. In particular, she has worked on issues of regional and sustainable development, trade agreements, international solidarity and the changes brought about by digital technology. She has been leading the Coalition for the Diversity of Cultural Expressions since April 2018. She is also the General Secretary of the International Federation of Coalitions for Cultural Diversity.
Céline de Dianous
Céline de Dianous holds a Master’s degree in political science, graduated from Sciences Po Lyon. She was Cultural Officer at the French Institute of Valencia, Spain, then Head of Research, Communications and Development for the Laboratory of Excellence in Arts and Human Mediations at Paris 8 University. She has ten years of experience in cultural project management and communication. She has worked for numerous cultural organizations in France, Spain and Quebec, and is particularly interested in artistic creation, research and issues related to information technologies. She has been Research and Communications Officer for the Coalition for the Diversity of Cultural Expressions and for the International Federation of Coalitions for Cultural Diversity since June 2018.
Fanny Tan holds a bachelor’s degree in digital media from the Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM). She is a journalist specializing in technology and is interested in the political, cultural and social issues of the digital world. She joined the Coalition for the Diversity of Cultural Expressions in May 2021.