The Inclusive Culture Lab’s Co-writing Forum (2019) agreed on the content of a  Cultural Charter prescribing a number of principles and approaches as ethical  bearings for cultural organizations and institutions.


Cultural rights at both the national and international level are central to various  human rights instruments such as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights,  Articles 22 and 27 (1948), the International Covenant on Economic, Social and  Cultural Rights (1966), the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms (1982)  and the Quebec Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms (1975).


Governments at all levels have adopted cultural policies − for example, in  Quebec, Notre Culture, notre avenir (Our Culture, Our Future, 1992), the Charte  d’engagement de l’Agenda 21 de la culture (Charter of Engagement of Agenda  21 for Culture, 2011), and Partout, la Culture (Culture Everywhere, 2018).


Cities have played a major role in cultural development, primarily by adopting  specific policies and giving culture a central place in municipal programs − for  example, in Montreal, the adoption of cultural policies (2005-15 and 2017- 22) and the Montréal Charter of Rights and Responsibilities (2017), as well as  vigorously positioning the city as a cultural metropolis.


Accessibility - the ability for everyone to independently participate in social  and cultural life - has been a historical issue in Quebec, starting with the Act to secure handicapped persons in the exercise of their rights with a view  to achieving social, school and workplace integration (1978). This Act was followed by several targeted documents such as the Charte et les droits  des personnes sourdes [Charter and rights of Deaf people] (1995) and most recently at the federal level in the Canada Accessibility Act (2019).


Inclusion has become a major concern of governments and society, notably since adoption of the Act to combat poverty and social exclusion (2002) in Quebec.


Equity is a major current challenge for cultural sectors, as reflected in the  Canada Council for the Arts’ Equity Policy (2017), UNESCO’s Convention on the  Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions (2005), as  well as UNESCO’s earlier Universal Declaration on Cultural Diversity (2001).


This Charter for an Accessible, Inclusive and Equitable Culture – hereafter “the Charter” – is a marker that articulates a shared vision that goes beyond a legal  and judicial framework.

background notes

The promoters and signatories of this Charter share a common conviction : participation in cultural life and expressing and recognizing intersectional cultural identities, are fundamental rights. They are also vectors of both individual and collective transformation and emancipation that are essential to the emergence of a more just, inclusive and creative society.
This Charter invites and assembles its promoters and signatories to reiterate their genuine commitment and determination to pursue their work at the intersection of democracy and cultural democratization, overcome obstacles to the exercise of rights, learn together and assume a posture of openness and active reflection.

This Charter does not claim to address all the issues relating to accessibility, inclusion and equity, but rather takes a step towards greater awareness of these issues, offering general ways to address them now and in the future. The Charter recognizes that these issues and our learning about them are continually evolving.
In this context, it is a set of fundamental principles and specific approaches that can serve as an ethical compass to guide, orient and inspire.

the Charter

Fundamental principles and core value


Culture is a priceless common good that facilitates dialogue, the expression  of plural identities and the mutual recognition of groups that have been historically separated and put into hierarchies.

2. FONDAMENTAL - JUSTICE                     

Culture is a driver of social, cultural and intellectual justice that facilitates  discovery, exchange and the creation of egalitarian social connections.


Culture is a vector for transmitting and combining knowledge, experiences  and sensibilities in a way that fosters the personal, collective and social development of both individuals and groups.

4. FONDAMENTAL - SOLIDARITY                     

Culture is a lever of solidarity that can build bridges and construct new and  liberating collective narratives beyond prejudices, stereotypes and imposed  hierarchies.


Culture is a tool that produces meaning by questioning our certainties, histories and social and political relationships, making it possible to explore  and understand some of our world’s complexity.


Individuals affected by social exclusion are a source of expertise essential to  any true acceptance of the plurality of the human race; the mobilization of their  views on these issues must be the starting point of the process.


Individuals affected by social exclusion are a source of expertise essential to  any true acceptance of the plurality of the human race; the mobilization of their  views on these issues must be the starting point of the process.

Principles, duties and responsibilities

The goal of this section, which constitutes the body of the Charter, is to thematically describe overall orientations, in terms of principles and approaches that cultural organizations and institutions must consider in order to address the related contemporary issues. This thematic classification can easily be used to identify the most relevant sections for targeted reflection and actions by cultural organizations and institutions. In a nutshell, this part of the Charter articulates certain duties and responsibilities particular to the cultural sector as a whole, which each of the sector’s institutions and organizations can address to the best of its ability in light of its own context and resources.