Category Archives: Updates

COVID-19 Support Resources

Petrillo Fund Financial Assistance

In response to the fast-moving events associated with the Coronavirus pandemic, we wish to remind local officers and AFM members of the availability of limited emergency financial aid through the AFM’s Lester Petrillo Fund. The Fund was established to assist members-in-good standing who become ill or disabled and are unable to accept work. The following circumstances would qualify for assistance:

  1. A member is diagnosed with Coronavirus (COVID-19).
  2. A member tests positive for Coronavirus (COVID-19) and is quarantined.

Members and Local Officers may download Petrillo Fund applications here. Completed applications together with supportive medical documentation should be submitted by members to their local unions, which will then submit them to the Federation.

Actors’ Fund of Canada

Over the years many of our members have turned to the Actors’ Fund of Canada, which has been in existence since 1958. Now over 60 years after those visionary actors put $5 into a pot, the Fund they created disburses over $500,000 annually to cover necessities for members of all the many and various trades and professions that make up the entertainment industry, including musicians.

Common requests include:

  • Rent or mortgage
  • Grocery costs
  • Medical costs
  • Emergency dental costs
  • Utility bills
  • Dues (maximum of one year’s worth of dues; no initiation fees)
  • Childcare expenses

https://afchelps.ca/get-help/

https://afchelps.ca/covid-19-guide/

Unison Benevolent Fund

This Fund is an assistance program created and administered for the music community, by the music community. Unison is designed to provide discreet relief to music industry personnel in times of personal hardship and crisis. www.unisonfund.ca

Government Support

Federal – available April 6

https://www.canada.ca/en/services/benefits/ei/cerb-application.html

https://www.canada.ca/en/department-finance/economic-response-plan/covid19-individuals.html#new_canada_emergency_response_benefit

https://www.canada.ca/en/department-finance/news/2020/03/introduces-canada-emergency-response-benefit-to-help-workers-and-businesses.html

https://www.canada.ca/en/department-finance/news/2020/03/canadas-covid-19-economic-response-plan-support-for-canadians-and-businesses.html#Support_for_Canadians

Public Health

https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/coronavirus-disease-covid-19.html

Other Info

https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/cerb-covid19-benefits-trudeau-1.5523052

https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/trudeau-income-supports-covid19-1.5509247

https://cupe.ca/canada-emergency-response-benefit-qa

Save Live Arts Initiative

For information on this initiative as well as the petition visit https://www.savelivearts.ca/

#CanadaPerforms Initiative

#CanadaPerforms is a $200,000 short-term relief fund that pays Canadian artists for their online performances. https://nac-cna.ca/en/series/canadaperforms

AFM Canadian Office

http://cfmusicians.org/resources/covid-19-resources

Vice-President from Canada Letter to Governments

Vice-President from Canada Letter to Governments – French

 

Open Letter to the Federal and Provincial Ministries of Labour, Ministry of Canadian Heritage and Ministry of Employment and Social Development Canada

March 13, 2020

Open Letter to the Federal and Provincial Ministries of Labour, Ministry of Canadian Heritage and Ministry of Employment and Social Development Canada

The Canadian Federation of Musicians (CFM) is the Canadian Office of the American Federation of Musicians of the United States and Canada (AFM), which is the largest organization in the world representing the interests of musicians. There are 25 Canadian locals, representing more than 17,000 musicians, working in all aspects of the entertainment industry, from symphonies to theatres, television to advertising, motion picture soundtracks to rock concerts and everything in between.

The arrival of the COVID-19 virus in Canada has created the need for emergency measures, from the closure of offices and implementation of work-from-home policies, to the restrictions on large gatherings to the outright cancellation of music events such as the Junos, concerts, theatrical performances, orchestral performances and touring. While the CFM understands these necessary and unprecedented steps, they have created a devastating loss of planned work and needed revenue for not only the musicians involved, but for the organizations who have engaged them and now suddenly find themselves without ticket sales. That is revenue that cannot be recouped, and indeed, may have a long-term effect on the viability of those organizations and musicians, and subsequently the industry as a whole.

In order for the industry and those individuals to survive this crisis, there must be appropriate support from all levels of government for musicians working in traditional employment arrangements as well as the precarious “gig economy” freelance players.

The CFM is requesting that government adopt emergency measures in this exceptional situation, to provide security to counteract this critical loss of revenue, through whatever means necessary. These steps may include a waiver of the one-week waiting period for EI benefits (in the case where the musicians are entitled), to expanding the benefit to include freelance workers who provide their services as self-employed contractors, to ensuring that compensation is made available for musicians who have had gigs or tours cancelled for both lost revenue and other expenses, such as the hundreds of dollars, or thousands paid to USCIS as petition fees for P2 visas for US entry.

Consideration must be made as well for proper funding to help musicians and symphony/theatre organizations recover, as well as assistance to stimulate and revitalize the industry once the virus has been contained and/or eradicated.

The CFM is undertaking to gather data in order to demonstrate the loss in financial terms, because of this crisis, and will be sharing that data when available. The CFM also welcomes any questions or dialogue which government feels prudent during these unprecedented times.

Sincerely,

Alan Willaert

AFM Vice-President from Canada

Collective bargaining is good for everyone

By Hassan Yussuff, as published in the Globe and Mail.  December 23, 2019

The holidays aren’t solely about gift-giving and spreading good cheer. Many workers find themselves having to walk a picket line around this time of year.

Everywhere you look these days, teachers, public transit workers, railway and refinery workers seem to be involved in some kind of job action as contracts expire and end-of-year negotiations fail.

It can be frustrating for those affected and may even seem unfair that workers disadvantage the public in pursuit of better working conditions and better wages.

But make no mistake, collective bargaining is a fundamental right that helps ensure workers are getting their fair share. This is especially true when we consistently see certain governments, shareholders and corporate CEOs squeezing workers in order to improve their own bottom lines. “Without the right to pursue workplace goals collectively, workers may be left essentially powerless in dealing with their employer or influencing their employment conditions,” reads a 2015 Supreme Court of Canada ruling upholding the right of RCMP officers to unionize.

Unsurprising that some employers, private interest groups and opinion shapers insist on back-to-work legislation whenever a group of workers flexes collective muscle. But the reality is that work stoppages are a rarity—with almost all collective agreements in Canada reached and renewed without a strike or lockout.

In fact, strikes and lockouts happen far less frequently today than in the past. Days lost to work stoppages in federal private-sector, where CN Rail workers recently struck for several days, are well below levels reached earlier this decade. For instance, in 2019, monthly work stoppages recently dipped to a low of 13 for the entire country. This is well below 2017 and 2018 averages.

Collective bargaining is functioning exactly as intended. Workers leverage their collective strength in order to influence the terms and conditions of their employment. Their efforts to stand up for themselves will often have a ripple effect, improving conditions for non-unionized workers in related industries as well as for the people they serve. When teachers oppose larger class sizes and rail engineers insist on safety improvements, the public directly benefits, too.

The significantly low unemployment rate is also contributing to renewed confidence among workers. More discouraged workers and those overcoming barriers to employment have been able to find work. The number of underemployed workers, like part-timers who prefer but can’t find full-time hours, have ebbed.

This is long overdue. For a decade, young people have been graduating into a high unemployment job market with limited prospects. Women and newcomers to Canada have struggled with a shortage of decent jobs.  While joblessness remains far too high in oil-producing provinces and the Atlantic region (in Alberta, it hovers at a shocking 20% for males under the age of 25), there are gains elsewhere. In Ontario, Quebec and BC, the improving job market has allowed wages to tick up – finally. Since mid-year, wage growth has begun to pick up, averaging over 4%.

During the last ten years of sluggish growth, high unemployment and weak wage gains, typical workers in Canada have seen very little improvement in their wages, adjusted for inflation. Flat earnings are partly responsible for the fact that debt as a share of household disposable income has doubled in the past 25 years. Furthermore, fewer workers even belong to a union at all which often translates in lower earnings and fewer benefits and little recourse to improve matters. Compounded with the rise of the gig economy and with more companies outsourcing work, it’s that much harder for workers to unionize as we are seeing at corporations like IBM and Amazon.

In the meantime, Canada’s top corporate CEOs were paid nearly 200 times what the average worker made in 2017. In 2018, quarterly operating profits reached a post-recession high. Workers have spent the ‘recovery’ simply fighting to hold onto what they have.

It’s not just unions that welcome a stronger labour market and decent wage gains. The Bank of Canada also thinks it’s a good idea. Because inflation remains well under control, it has hesitated to raise interest rates. That’s a good strategy because it helps reduce inequality and strengthens the ability of households to cope with debt, food and shelter costs.

We must all recognize that even when work stoppages do happen, they are simply evidence that the collective bargaining process is working. Despite occasional work-to-rule and walk-outs, this is actually a very good thing because it ensures workers still have a say – as they should.

Hassan Yussuff is the president of the Canadian Labour Congress. Follow him on Twitter @Hassan_Yussuff

 

Canadian Flying Guide Now Available in French & English

by Allistair Elliott, International Representative for Canada

After four years of lobbying the government of Canada, as well as meeting with airline councils, the Canadian Transport Agency, Minister of Transport, The Honorable Marc Garneau, and his staff at Transport Canada, I am pleased to share the news that, as part of the new Passenger Bill of Rights within the Canadian Transportation Act, we now have language in Canada with regard to musicians travelling with instruments on airlines in Canada.

Effective July 15, Air Passenger Protection Regulations within the Canadian Transportation Act included language to ensure that all air carriers must accept musical instruments unless security or safety is an issue.

The airline industry battled hard to avoid the new bill, however, Minister Garneau and his staff at Transport Canada held strong in favor of passenger rights. As such a small part of a major bill, we were thrilled to affect language and changes to the industry and find support from Minister Garneau in our efforts to better represent musicians travelling in Canada.

We have prepared a Canadian Flying Guide in both English and French, which can be found online at:

Each airline also will have clear guidelines published as part of their tariff. Under the law, all commercial airline carriers must accept musical instruments as checked or carry-on baggage, unless it is contrary to general terms and conditions in the carrier’s tariff with respect to the weight or dimension of baggage or because of safety or security.

Many thanks to President Hair and VPC Alan Willaert for their support and investment into lobbying the Canadian government on behalf of all musicians.

U.S. Work Permits for Canadian Musicians

PREMIUM PROCESSING FEE INCREASE: US Immigration increased their Premium Processing fee to $1,410 USD (from the prior fee of $1,225 USD). To apply for Premium Processing, you need to provide 2 separate money orders payable to “Department of Homeland Security” for $460 USD and $1,410 USD.

PROCESSING DELAY ALERT
Regular Processing: Submit your P2 package to CFM *at least 60 calendar days prior to first performance. *US Immigration reports a processing backlog for Regular Processing

Premium Processing: Submit your P2 package to CFM at least 30 days prior to first performance.

CFM Announces Major Breakthrough Affecting Travelling Musicians

Air Passenger Protection Regulations Amendments Include Mandatory Acceptance Of Musical Instruments 

TORONTO, May 29, 2019 – The Canadian Federation of Musicians announce a successful outcome in its efforts to affect much needed changes to Canada’s Air Policy  with regard to the transportation of musical instruments on Canadian air carriers. Effective July 15, 2019, Air Passenger Protection Regulations within the Canadian Transportation Act will include language that ensures that all air carriers must accept musical instruments unless security or safety is an issue. These amendments will include clear and predictable terms and conditions with regard to musical instruments as well as the obligation to carry and accept an instrument.  Airlines will also be required to offer an alternative to musicians travelling with instruments should a change in aircraft cause an instrument not to fit.

“Over the years, we’ve seen far too many professional musicians have very expensive and often irreplaceable tools of their trade broken or destroyed during air travel,”  explains Alan Willaert, Vice-President from Canada, American Federation of Musicians of the United States and Canada. “We have worked closely with the Government of Canada and all Canadian air carriers on this issue since 2014 and are delighted to see these demands become regulation.  We are grateful to The Honourable Minister Marc Garneau, Minister of Transport who has been supportive from the very beginning; the officials at Transport Canada, who have worked tirelessly with us; and the Canadian Transportation Agency”.

CFM will issue a Canadian Flying Guide over the coming weeks to further assist musicians flying with instruments.  Each airline will also have clear guidelines published as part of their Tariff.  Under the Obligation to Carry amendments, all commercial airline carriers must accept musical instruments as checked or carry-on baggage, unless it is contrary to general terms and conditions in the carrier’s tariff with respect to the weight or dimension of baggage or because of safety or security. The Canadian Federation of Musicians looks forward to working with Transport Canada and air carriers to help make these positive changes as seamless as possible.

For more info:

www.cfmusicians.org

https://otc-cta.gc.ca/eng/air-passenger-protection-regulations

CFM Discount Program

Dear Members,

We are thrilled to announce that we have expanded the CFM Discount Program to provide our members and their families with more savings and benefits. In partnership with Union Savings, a not-for profit program, we join 70 fellow unions across Canada in this program which greatly benefits our collective members.

Discounts are offered in a vast range of products/services from credit cards, mortgages, home and auto insurance, clothing, car rentals, concerts and more! Some vendors include Canada’s Wonderland, LG, Adidas, BMO, RBC, Park’N Fly, the ROM, 1800Flowers and Swarovski.

Of particular interest to our touring musicians and their families, is our updated, world-wide Travel Medical Insurance Program, which is more comprehensive and cheaper than ever! $138.99 annually gets you coverage for a year world-wide (previously it was USA only) and is applicable to as many single trips as you like as long as each trip is 60 days or less. So for example, you can obtain coverage for 3 (or more) trips under 60 days in length.

How to Register

1)      Register online at https://unionsavings.ca/en/register/

2)      Select Canadian Federation of Musicians, then select your local office in the dropdown menu

3)      After logging in, select the products/services of interest

For questions on your account, how the discounts work or on any of the products/services please contact Union Savings at 1-800-418-2990.

Sincerely,
Cathy Lee
Membership Services Coordinator

42 Canadian music community groups commit to fostering safe and respectful workspaces

Coalition of Canadian music organizations sign Canadian Creative Industries Code of Conduct, announce training & education resources will be available through Unison Benevolent Fund

March 16, 2019, London, ON: A coalition of Canadian music community groups has joined in solidarity and is working towards environments free of harassment, discrimination, violence, and bullying for the music community.

Today the coalition announced that 42 music groups have formally signed on to the Canadian Creative Industries Code of Conduct. By signing on to the Code, the organizations are acknowledging their responsibility to build safe, respectful workplaces, and are committing to improving and implementing policies to keep the music community safe.

As a first step, members of the coalition have formed an Education, Training and Safe Support Committee, which is working to provide each member of the Canadian music community with the appropriate resources and training to identify, confront and prevent harassment, bullying and violence in any workplace. Unison Benevolent Fund has volunteered to host a suite of educational and training resources through its website at no cost. These resources will be made available to the music community at a later date.

Today’s announcement was made at Allies in Action, an event focused on initiatives undertaken or underway to create safer spaces as the Canadian music community gathers in London, Ontario for the 2019 JUNO Awards.

Because of the uniqueness of the music business and the spaces in which musicians and music workers often operate, the coalition has added the following music-specific preamble to the existing Canadian Creative Industries Code of Conduct:

“We, the Canadian music community signatories, support the Canadian Creative Industries Code of Conduct. We recognize that in the music industry, the terms work, workplace and work-related, are extremely broad and can include any physical or virtual spaces at any time.”

You can read the full Canadian Creative Industries Code of Conduct at www.ReadTheCode.ca

Additional organizations that would like to sign on to the Code can register online. Once the form has been completed, new signatories should email a high resolution company logo to info@readthecode.ca with your organization’s name and “Becoming Code signatory” in the subject line.

Music industry groups that have signed on to the Canadian Creative Industries Code of Conduct are:

Across the Board 50/50 by 2020

ACTRA RACS (Recording Artists’ Collecting Society)

AFM Local 1000 (American Federation of Musicians)

Calgary Musicians Association

Canadian Conference of Musicians

Canadian Country Music Association

Canadian Federation of Musicians

Canadian Live Music Association

Canadian Music Publishers Association

Canadian Musical Reproduction Rights Agency Ltd. (CMRRA)

Canadian Private Copying Collective

CCMC Music Gallery

CONNECT Music Licensing

Creative BC

Cultural Industries Ontario North (CION)

Edmonton Musicians Association, AFM Local 390

Film & Entertainment Industries, City of Toronto

Folk Music Ontario

Guilde des musiciens et musiciennes du Québec

Gypsy Soul Entertainment

Island Musicians Association (IMA)

Manitoba Music

Music BC Industry Association

Music Canada

Music Industry Association of Newfoundland and Labrador (MusicNL)

Music Prince Edward Island (PEI)

Music·Musique NB

Musicians Association Local 276 CFM (Canadian Federation of Musicians)

Musicians’ Association of Ottawa-Gatineau

Musicians’ Rights Organization Canada (MROC)

Re:Sound

Regina Musicians Association

SaskMusic

Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada (SOCAN)

Songwriters Association of Canada (S.A.C.)

SONIC UNYON

The Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences

Toronto Musicians’ Association, AFM Local 149

Unison Benevolent Fund

Vancouver Musicians Association, Local 145 of AFM

WCMA (Western Canadian Music Alliance)

Women in Music Canada

– 30 –

 Supporting quotes

 “The Canadian Creative Industries Code of Conduct addresses the distinct circumstances of music professionals, and the unique ways in which we work. Unison exists as a resource for the Canadian music community during times of crisis, and we look forward to investing in more proactive solutions that prioritize the safety of music workers. On behalf of the Unison Board of Directors, we would like to extend our most sincere thanks to the Education, Training, and Safe Support Committee for putting such a vital program together. We’re proud to partner with them to further serve the Canadian music community.”

– Amanda Power, Executive Director, Unison Benevolent Fund

“As organizations, CARAS and Music Canada deeply value respect, inclusiveness and excellence. Both organizations believe everyone working in this beautiful and complex music community deserves to feel safe and supported. To achieve this, we’re working on national initiatives like the Allies in Action event, as well as local CARAS partnerships in our host cities with groups like Anova in London and Good Night Out in Vancouver to make JUNO Awards events safe for everyone.

Signing the Code is a way for Canadian music community groups to affirm our dedication to our shared values, and to reinforce those values with action. Through the work of the Education, Training and Safe Support Committee, I’m very pleased that we will be able to offer all members of the Canadian music community the resources to help make all of our workplaces safer.”

– Jackie Dean, Chief Operating Officer, CARAS, The JUNO Awards, MusiCounts Chief Financial Officer, Music Canada 

“Canadian Federation of Musicians (CFM), as the union for professional musicians, is committed to representing and protecting its membership in all facets of their career. Signing the Canadian Creative Industries Code of Conduct represents the music community’s shared action towards creating a healthy culture with zero tolerance to all forms of harassment. Working to ensure health and safety in the workplace for our membership is one of the union’s many functions. We will continue to pledge our resources, support and expertise and proudly sign on behalf of our over 17,000 active Canadian members.”

– Liana White, Executive Director, Canadian Federation of Musicians

 “The Code is a community statement and commitment that each signatory organization and company takes their own measures to discourage and address harassment in their workplaces. It acknowledges that music industry workplaces are often non-standard workplaces, known as extended workplaces, and include studios, venues, bars, green rooms, and tour buses, among others. If we collectively are motivated to meet the commitments in the Code, it will help musicians and all workers across the industry feel safer and more enabled to collaborate, create great music, and ensure that there is a professional platform to share the work of the world’s best artists.”                                                            

– Michael Adam Murray, Executive Director, Toronto Musicians Association (TMA), local 149

“Canada’s live music industry is doing its part to ensure that every live music space is a safe place through our recently launched Raising the Bar program. Raising the Bar addresses safer spaces, harm reduction and event safety at live music events – be they indoors or out, and will work to complement both the ethos and practical implications of the Canadian Creative Industries Code of Conduct. We are all in this together, and we are vigorously working to supplant systemic issues with positive change.”

– Erin Benjamin, Canadian Live Music Association President & CEO

“The Canadian Creative Industries Code of Conduct is a wonderful initiative that provides a uniform set of standards to ensure the safety and success of our colleagues throughout the industry.”

– Samantha Slattery, Founder, Women in Music Canada

 “It is important that we have all signed on to the Code as a community but now it is even more important that we look at ways to proactively change the way we do business.”

– Margaret McGuffin, Executive Director, Canadian Music Publishers Association

For more information:

Victoria Lord, VLPR Inc.

416-484-9047

victoria@vlpr.com

Universal Pharmacare

Folks just like you are super keen to tell their Members of Parliament why universal pharmacare makes sense.

So, we’re making it easy for everyone to do it.

Join us this Wednesday, August 8, at 12:30 p.m. EDT for a LIVE Webinar. Become an expert on pharmacare with quick and easy information that we’ll teach you to deliver with confidence.

We can’t assume the federal government will know what we want – it’s up to us to tell them. They need to hear directly from us. We need a plan that is universal, portable, accessible, comprehensive and publicly administered.

Can we count on you? Register now: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/1049149989332807169

Best,
Laurie Antonin

The Pharmacare Team
Canadian Labour Congress, the national voice of Canada’s unions