Dear Members –
It feels like the power of the pandemic to disrupt in-person performances for live audiences may finally be waning! That is, if the increased numbers of P2 applications, live performance contracts showing up in the office, media advertisements for live music and actual live music performances in various locations are any indication.
Currently, many venues are featuring live musicians as a way to draw clientele and generate revenue – simply fantastic news!
This means musicians are actually enjoying a more powerful negotiating position than we have experienced in the past several years, and I urge you to consider this when you negotiate your contracts, Remember too that, as a member, you have agreed not to work for less than the minimum fees our membership sets through our Local’s democratic process. Honouring your commitment to work for scale – or, better yet, much more than scale!!! – is the strongest way you can protect your, and other musicians’, wages from being eroded. (Current rates can be found by logging into the Member’s area and looking at the Tarrif of Fees pdf, or by contacting the MPM office for a hard copy). These are tough times for businesses in the hospitality sector AND for musicians in the business of performing, so negotiating a mutually beneficial contract is the ideal outcome.
Federal Government Benefit Programs Extensions Announced
On July 30/21 the Federal Government announced several COVID-19 related benefit program extensions, to October 23/21. Different programs are affected differently, so you may wish to read below about any that affect you specifically. The announcement can be found here.
It is worth noting that, in all cases, as of this writing Federal government webpages linked to each program (see below) state that these are proposed changes. While I am unable to explain the reason for this seeming discrepancy, it is worth noting that, in order for many of these changes to take place, there is no requirement for a legislation change, only for a regulation change. Those that require legislation may disappear as parliament is dissolved (today) in response to yesterday’s calling of the Federal election for September.
CRB – According to the announcement, If you remain eligible for the Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB) program, it has been extended to October 23/21 and the maximum number of eligible periods an applicant can claim is now 27 (54 weeks). Of those, up to 21 periods may be claimed at the higher rate of $500/week (less 10% taxes) as long as you claimed at least once prior to July 18/21. If your first claim was after that date, or you have already claimed the 21 possible periods (42 weeks), your benefit will be reduced to $300/week (less 10% tax). More information on this program can be found here.
EI CLAIMANTS – Note that if you have exhausted your maximum 50 weeks of EI regular benefits, you may be eligible to apply for the additional four weeks of the CRB. EI minimum benefit payments will be adjusted to match the current rate of payments made under CRB – certain conditions apply, so if you are in this situation you may want to investigate further.
CRSB – According to the announcement, if you are eligible for the Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB), the period in which you may apply for benefits has been extended to October 23/21. There is no apparent change in the benefit amount or the maximum total number of weeks (4) that can be applied for. Information on the program can be found here.
CRCB – According to the announcement, if you are eligible for the Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit (CRCB) , the period in which you may apply for benefits has been extended to October 23/21. There is no apparent change in the benefit amount or the maximum total number of weeks (42) that can be applied for. Information on this program can be found here.
CEWS – According to the announcement, the government is proposing an extension of the Canadian Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) program to October 2021. In addition to the extension, the government is proposing an increase to the supplement amount as of claim period 20 (August 29- September 25) as well as add greater flexibility for calculating revenue decline. These measures appear to be works in progress. More information can be found here.
Other Federal COVID-19 Benefit Programs:
There are many other programs listed at canada.ca and I would encourage you to check them out yourself. This page is a good starting point. I have highlighted a few below.
Additional Support for the Culture, heritage and sport Sector programs can be found here (scroll down to Support for Sectors -> Culture, heritage and sports) including the Canada Music Fund which is for individual musicians, music industry professionals and not-for-profit organizations. This program was initially announced on March 2/2021.
HASCAP Guarantee program – The Highly Affected Sectors Credit Availability Program Guarantee is intended to assist small and medium-sized businesses heavily impacted by COVID-19 to access guaranteed, low interest loans of $25,000 – $1 million to cover operational cash flow needs. More information here.
CCBYCS – This Canada Child Benefit young child supplement (CCBYCS) program is for families with children under the age of six and appears to be unaffected by the recent announcement. If you are eligible, the next (tax free) special 2021 supplement payment will occur on October 29/21. More information on this program can be found here.
INFORMATION RESOURCES –
Travel in a pandemic era…
Government of Canada information: Visit this page for a full listing.
COVID-19: Your safety and security outside Canada
COVID-19: Travel, testing, quarantine and borders
Canada Council Grant Recipients and other travelers can find relevant information on this page.
Health and Travel Insurance for AFM Canadian members – check this page.
If you are heading out on a tour and can not find the travel information from the above sources, try contacting the CFM office for more information. This is one of the services CFM offers its members!
Financial and all kinds of other Assistance
Contact Unison Benevolent Fund
And don’t forget! We are here to assist you too! Please get in touch if you need us.
Until next time, happy music making!