Getting Ready for Alberta’s Best Practices

The Alberta Best Practices Project commenced in 2017, based on documents developed by CARFAC Saskatchewan. The project adapts these documents for use within Alberta’s arts ecology, and was undertaken to meet a clear need in Alberta for the establishment of Best Practices, to further professionalize and support our sector.

Best Practices are professional guidelines for interactions between artists and those individuals and organizations that work with them in a wide range of capacities. We have addressed initial key topics including contracts, fundraising, gallery relationships, juried exhibitions, and community art, and believe that Alberta craft, media, and visual artists will benefit from having these guidelines endorsed and implemented. We also believe that these protocols provide individuals and organizations with clear parameters for engaging Alberta’s creative practitioners fairly and professionally, now and into the future. If you have questions and/or comments contact: chris@carfacalberta.com

Last edited: July 17, 2019


Best Practices are industry standards. The Australian National Association for the Visual Arts (NAVA) developed a comprehensive “Codes of Best Practices” ten years ago. According to NAVA: “Best Practice: The most ethical, equitable and reasonable form of any specific business arrangement between an art/craft professional and his or her employer, commissioner, gallery, agent, sponsor or other party.” For the visual arts sector, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Britain are leaders in the development and implementation of Best Practices standards.

CARFAC Saskatchewan adapted and interpreted NAVA Best Practices for the Saskatchewan and Canadian visual arts sector. According to Patrick Close (a member of the Best Practices / Industry Standards team at CARFAC Saskatchewan), best practices can: define expectations for behaviour and interaction; strengthen community; create a pathway for growth and development; can provide a “how-to-do-it-right” guide; provide a context for voluntary sector bargaining; and lead the way to regulation and enforcement. Best Practices: cannot enforce standards; cannot provide collective bargaining and are voluntary, not mandatory.

In Canada, Best Practices policies have been developed by CARFAC National, RAAV, CARFAC Saskatchewan, CARFAC Maritimes and CARFAC Ontario. Examples of Best Practices at work include the CARFAC – RAAV Minimum Copyright and Professional Fee Schedule and the advisory notes that are developed by CARFAC National and Affiliates.

CARFAC Alberta is currently working on the development of Alberta Best Practices for craft, media and visual artists—see linked documents above.