Government of Canada launches survey on resale rights for artists

News release

GATINEAU, November 9, 2023

Visual arts are a vibrant part of Canada’s culture and help us celebrate our shared heritage. Today, the Honourable Pascale St-Onge, Minister of Canadian Heritage, and the Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, launched a survey to help support the development of resale rights for artists.

Resale rights for artists would benefit visual artists and their heirs when their work is resold. The full value of a work of art is often not realized at the first sale. Resale rights would allow visual artists to be rewarded as their career progresses and their reputation grows. More than 90 countries worldwide have adopted resale rights. It is a step forward in improving the economic conditions of Canadian artists.

Canadians are invited to learn more at


“It’s only fair for artists from coast to coast to coast to be compensated fairly for their work. Paintings, sculptures and other works of visual art express our diverse cultures. Some visual artists see their works resold at record-breaking prices, but right now, they don’t share in those profits. Resale rights will support our artists so they can continue to do what they do best.”

— The Honourable Pascale St-Onge, Minister of Canadian Heritage

“After extending the general term of copyright protection at the end of last year, our government continues its work to better protect artists, creators and copyright owners. A resale right for artists will further benefit artists by creating a new royalty stream that kicks in when their works are sold here and abroad. This right is an important step towards improving the economic conditions for artists in Canada.”

—The Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry

Quick facts

  • In 2010, visual artists in Canada earned less than artists working in other media ($24,672 compared with $32,770), and approximately half of the typical Canadian worker ($48,100), according to data from Hill Strategies.

  • According to the European Fine Art Foundation’s Art Market Report, Canada’s visual arts auction market in 2016 was valued at US$586 million, a 42-percent increase from 2015.

  • In 1920, France became the first country to introduce resale rights for artists. The law was partially inspired by an 1893 sale of The Angelus by Jean-Francois Millet. The painting sold for 553,000 francs while Millet’s family lived in poverty. Belgium and the former Czechoslovakia followed shortly thereafter. Resale rights were included in the Berne Convention as an optional, inalienable right for artists.

  • In their December 2021 mandate letters, the Minister of Canadian Heritage and the Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry were assigned the task of working together to amend the Copyright Act to further protect artists and copyright holders, including allowing resale rights for artists.

Associated links


For more information (media only), please contact:

Ariane Joazard-Bélizaire
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Canadian Heritage

Media Relations
Canadian Heritage

Audrey Champoux
Press Secretary and Senior Communications Advisor
Office of the Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry

Media Relations
Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada

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