Last Updated: August 21, 2020 12:00PM EDT
During this time of unprecedented hardship for musicians and the music industry, our staff are tirelessly working to advocate on behalf of all musicians to bring some stability and relief to those in-need during the COVID-19 crisis. For updates from our labour and music industry partners, please follow us on Facebook or Twitter at @cfmusicians
The Canadian Federation of Musicians has joined over 75,000 arts workers in a letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, calling on the government to implement a BASIC INCOME FOR THE ARTS. Read the full letter: HERE
CANADIAN EMERGENCY RELIEF BENEFIT
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland and Minister of Employment Carla Qualtrough held a press conference to announce changes to the Employment Insurance (EI) system and the future of the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB). The following is the Canada Council's summary of the announcements.
- The CERB will be extended for an additional four weeks, for a total claim of 28 weeks.
- When the CERB comes to an end, those eligible will transition to EI, while those ineligible will be able to access new benefits: Canada Recovery Benefit, Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit, and the Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit.
- The new benefits described below will come into effect following legislation to be introduced when Parliament returns in September.
- The new benefits and EI reform announced today will be for one year.
- Minister Qualtrough has also been tasked with identifying gaps and issues in the present EI system to bring forward changes in the longer term.
- In response to a question about universal basic income, Minister Qualtrough explained their position that the proposed targeted approach (new benefits) ensures that funds go to those who actually need it.
- The national employment rate of 13.1% has been standardized to ensure access to EI benefits across the country.
- Changes to EI are for a one-year period, and will come into effect September 27.
- A one-time top-up of insurable hours will enable more people to access EI.
- Those seeking regular EI benefits for job loss can receive a 300-hour top-up.
- Generally, this means that Canadian workers only require 120 hours of work to access EI benefits.
- Those seeking special benefits (i.e., maternity, parental, sickness) can receive a 480-hour top-up. The top-up for maternity/parental leave or other family assistance benefits will be retroactive to March 15, 2020.
- As of September 27, EI premiums will be frozen for two years (at the lowest level since 1980):
- Employers: $2.21 of every $100 of insurable salary
- Workers: $1.58 of every $100 of insurable salary
- Minimum EI benefit will be $400/week, ensuring that no one claiming EI receives less than those receiving other benefits. This is equal to the current CERB amount.
- New benefits were announced for those who are not eligible for EI (e.g., self-employed, gig workers):
- Canada Recovery Benefit: Self-employed and other workers not eligible for EI will receive $400/week, for up to 26 weeks over one year.
- Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit: Workers who must miss work to stay home to care for a child under the age of 12, a family member or dependent will receive $500/week, for up to 26 weeks over one year.
- Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit: Those unable to work due to illness or self-isolation can receive $500/week, for two one-week periods over the year.
- Both the new benefits and EI will allow the opportunity to work while claiming the benefits, as well as access to training and work incentives.
For more information, please visit: https://www.canada.ca/en/employment-social-development/news/2020/08/government-of-canada-announces-plan-to-help-support-canadians-through-the-next-phase-of-the-recovery.html
The Canada Emergency Relief Benefit APPLICATION PORTAL IS NOW OPEN. This is an emergency care benefit that provides employment insurance benefits to cover workers, contract workers, and self-employed workers (this should apply to most musicians).
The CERB will pay out $2,000 per month, over a period of 6 months*. The benefit is available from March 15th until October 3rd. Your benefit should arrive 3-10 days after submitting the application, and payments can be backdated to March 15, 2020. Payment can be delivered through direct deposit, or by mail (expect longer delivery times if receiving the benefit through mail). You must reapply for the benefit each pay period.
These are the eligibility requirements for the CERB as stated in Bill C-13 (see document: HERE):
- be at least 15 years of age, and a resident of Canada.
- for the year of 2019, or in the 12 months preceding your application, has earned at least $5,000 of income (self-employed, employed, and some other benefits accepted)
- the worker (whether self-employed, or employed) has no work (and no income) for 14 consecutive days within the 4-week period prior to application, *or is making $1,000 or less of income per month.
The 14 days with no work eligibility requirement has been modified by the government to include up to $1,000 of contract, part-time, or self-imployed income per month. The Canadian Heritage Minister Steven Guilbeault has stated that royalty payments will not make the applicant ineligible for CERB payments, and will not be included in the $1,000 income allowance.
*Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced on June 16th, 2020 that the CERB will be extended by 8 weeks. Please see the article in the link for more information: https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/cerb-extended-trudeau-1.5613782
For more information about the recent changes to the CERB eligibility requirements, click: HERE
TO APPLY ONLINE: go to the “My CRA” website, and log in to your account. There is a COVID-19 Canada Emergency Response Benefit alert banner at the top of the page. Select the period you want to apply for, declare that you qualify, and confirm that the government has the right to your payment information. Available seven days per week, 21 hours from 6AM to 3AM ET.
TO APPLY BY PHONE: call the toll-free line 1-800-959-2019. Please have your Social Insurance Number and you Postal Code ready for identification verification. Available seven days per week, 21 hours from 6AM to 3AM ET.
We urge those that intend to apply for the benefit to create a My CRA account, and those that have an account, please verify that your banking and mailing information is up-to-date.
Please share your covid stories at savelivearts.ca to help us continue to advocate musicians' issues on your behalf.
The Section 21 Health and Safety Advisory Committee for Film and Television has created a document to provide guidance to employers/producers, supervisors and working professionals on identifying and mitigating potential workplace risks related to the COVID-19. Read the full document: HERE
GMMQ Local 406 was in consultation in the creation of a Toolkit for the Performing Arts Sector for Re-Opening during Covid-19. For Performance Halls and Movie Theatres click: HERE // For the Audiovisual Sector, click: HERE
The Music Performance Trust Fund (MPTF) has expanded their funding program to include live streaming perfomances. To apply, please contact your local officers for more information.
Canada Council for the Arts Digital Grants:
The Canada Council for the Arts and CBC/Radio-Canada have launched a new initiative to help you pivot your work for digital dissemination. For a limited time, Digital Originals is offering $5000 in micro-innovation grants to artists wanting to go digital. Along with these grants, selected artist will be featured as part of an online showcase to be curated by CBC Radio-Canada. For more information, click: HERE
RBC has donated $150,000 to the CCA program to directly assist new and emerging artists with digital initiatives, for more info, click: HERE
SOCAN has announced a new program to compensate artists doing live-streamed performances. Artists can apply to receive $150 for a 30-minute or 10-song live-stream (with a minimum of 100 viewers). For more information, click: HERE
Please review the following resources for more information:
The CFM is urging all members to write to their elected officials in support of an extention of the CERB. Please see the full letter the CFM has sent to Ministers and MPs across Canada: https://cfmusicians.afm.org/news/coalition-to-extend-the-cerb and click HERE for an easy-to-use template: https://www.caea.com/Take-Action-on-CERB-Support
Sign the petition by the Directors' Guild of Canada to extend the CERB: https://www.change.org/p/justin-trudeau-extend-covid-19-emergency-benefits-prolonger-les-prestations-d-urgence-pour-la-covid-19
The Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) was opened on April 27, 2020. For organizations wishing to participate, please visit the CEWS Eligibility website to confirm your eligibility and calculate your subsidy amount.
Black Lives Matter: The CFM participated in the #TheShowMustBePaused Music Industry Blackout Tuesday, and will continue to support the Black Lives Matter movement in whatever ways are possible. If you would like a list of anti-racist resources to read or share with your staff, members, colleagues, family, click: HERE. For a statement of support for Black Lives Matter from AFM International President Ray Hair, click: HERE.
MPTF Music Family Scholarship: The Music Performance Trust Fund is now offering scholarships of up to $100,000 to children of AFM members (in US & Canada), click: HERE for more info.
The AFM has signed a joint letter to the US government from performing arts organizations requesting an extension to artists' visas. To read the full letter and list of recommendations, click: HERE
Our SAVE LIVE ARTS / SAUVER LES ARTS VIVANTS campaign continues to petition the government for comprehensive aid and support for musicians and the “live arts” industry. Please follow the link: HERE for more information.
The following resources are offering aid to musicians during the COVID-19 Crisis:
The Unison Benevolent Fund offers financial aid, consoling, and more for musicians and music industry professionals. To access aid, you must be registered in their program. Registration is free, and can be accessed: HERE
The Petrillo Memorial Fund is for AFM/CFM members that are unable to work due to physical or mental disability (this included sickness from COVID-19). Members can download the application: HERE or for more information click: HERE
The AFC “Lifeline for Canada’s Entertainment Industry” has stated that its financial aid benefit includes support for musicians. For more information click: HERE, for the application form, click: HERE
Many Locals are offering support to their members during the COVID-19 crisis. Please contact your Local office for more information. A list of contact information for Canadian Locals can be found: HERE and HERE for Local 1000
Music Industry Associations across the country are also offering their support to musicians during this time. We encourage you to seek out what resources are available.
Due to the State of Emergency declared by the Province of Ontario, the Canadian Federation of Musicians National Office will temporarily remain closed to the public, with staff working reduced hours from home and the office. All staff will be available by email during this time. We have access to mail and courier delivery, therefore petitions for P2 visas will be processed within 5 business days. To contact a department or staff member, please see our staff directory: HERE.