Canadian Federation of Musicians Call for Improvements to Canada Recovery Benefits Budget Amendments

While Canada’s Federal Budget 2021 offers much needed support to rebuild the music and arts community, the Canadian Federation of Musicians (CFM) see serious flaws that could bring catastrophic effects for professional musicians across the country. Announced by Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland, the federal budget promotes recovery from the pandemic for the heritage, arts and sports sectors but overlooks the immediate needs of musicians with the reduction and subsequent September expiry of the Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB).

“Budget 2021 proposes to extend the CRB from June to September, with the final weeks of the benefits reduced by $200/wk. This reduction and termination will eliminate a crucial source of income long before the gig economy has had a chance to fully recover,” says Alan Willaert, Vice-President from Canada, American Federation of Musicians of the United States and Canada. “It will take time for the infrastructure to rebuild and audiences to return, and entertainment industry workers who are unwillingly unemployed must have a consistent means of support until that time”.

The Federal Budget creates a $300 million Recovery Fund for arts, culture and sports, $200 million in regional support of major festivals and an additional $200 million will be allocated through Canadian Heritage. While the investment in the sector is welcome, it remains unclear how and when that money will directly reach self-employed gig workers.

“Recovery will not happen overnight, and we have valid concerns about this transition” adds Mr. Willaert. “We will continue to advocate for our members throughout this process to ensure fair measures are in place. The $15 federal minimum wage was a significant step forward, as was the inclusion of affordable childcare. However, it was disappointing that Universal Basic Income and Universal Pharmacare were not addressed.”

The CFM, a union within the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC), provides vital resources to Canadian musicians at all stages of their careers, on any platform, from live concert to recorded performance, broadcast and film scoring. As the representative of professional musicians in a broad range of collective bargaining and legislative actions, we welcome all actions that present a united voice in Ottawa on matters pertaining to the protection of our members.

The Canadian Federation of Musicians (CFM) is the Canadian National Office of the American Federation of Musicians of the United States and Canada (AFM). We are made up of 200 local offices across North America, collectively representing 80,000 professional musicians, 17,000 of whom live and work in Canada. CFM is uniquely positioned to address Canadian issues and provides vital resources for Canadian musicians, at any stage in their careers

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