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May 12, 2016

The Honourable Michael Coteau
Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport
900 Bay Street. Ninth Floor, Hearst Block
Toronto, Ontario, M7A 2E1

Delivered Electronically

Dear Minister Coteau,

The following is in response to the public draft of Ontario’s Culture Strategy. On behalf of our over three thousand professional musician members in the City of Toronto, Peel Region, Durham Region, York Region, Simcoe County, Muskoka District and Parry Sound District I would like to thank you and your team for your efforts to create this plan and your efforts to bring the cultural community and Province together under a unified vision for culture.

1. The draft vision for culture in Ontario and the principles to guide government support for culture reflect much of what is important to us.

a. In the vision the notion of value resonates with us as it is what drives our association. We work towards a society and workplace where all professional musicians are valued for their many contributions.

b. The notion of inclusiveness mirrors our larger mandate to treat each other with respect and dignity no matter what ethnicity, creed, sex, age, disability, citizenship, sexual orientation, marital status, family status, or national origin;

2. We especially appreciate and would ask for increased emphasis on economicdevelopment for individuals and communities, as the development of businesses, especially foreign-owned businesses often takes precedence in economic development conversations in the music sector.

a. Specifically, while we appreciate the increased support for the music sector through the Ontario Music Fund, we would like the Province to monitor and incentivize the fair payment of individual musicians as part of the delivery of the fund. We have had the experience that our members work for businesses supported by the fund has not increased since the advent of the fund. Our concern with government support and the work of government agencies in general, is advocating for a fair balance of investment in Ontario- based professional musicians, when compared to foreign-based services or non-artistic expenses and to partner with the Province to increase its vigilance in collecting and verifying this investment.

b. As a local of a trade union, our exclusion from being able to apply for support from OMF also hinders our ability to contribute strategically to Ontario’s culture sector

3. We are confident that Goal 2 – fuel the creative economy, will be successful, and we wish to point out the following areas that we see as especially strong, or in need of further attention for our members:

a. Despite our request to sit on the Ontario Live Music Working Group as a representative approved by the Canadian Federation of Musicians we have not been included and to our knowledge the group lacks any representation from associations dedicated solely to individual artists, or any arts sector unions. We would still be happy to represent on this group and help find more representation of individual artists and technicians working in the live music sector.

b. Our members are directly involved in the creation of film scores in Ontario for Canadian and world distribution and as such we would like to contribute to the discussions regarding film scoring and be included on the film and television industry advisory panel

c. It is especially exciting to hear that the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport will be working with the Ministry of Employment and Infrastructure as our single largest barrier to increased positive work environments for our members is our lack of inclusion as contract workers under the Employment Standards Act and the Labour Relations Act. Working with the Ministry of Employment and Infrastructure we are asking you to expand our inclusion either by changing the aforementioned acts as part of the Changing Workplaces Review or by updating the Status of Ontario’s Artists Act to include the content that helps govern relationships between cultural sector producers and distributors and the creative people that fuel their work.

d. Of course the strategy that most reinforces our work is that which states “engage federal, provincial and territorial culture partners on strategies to improve the socio-economic status of artists…” this is what we dedicate ourselves to every day and would be proud to partner in the pursuit of this goal. One immediate way to impact this goal, and perhaps another goal itself is for the Government of Ontario to commit to minimum fees for artists in all of its activities and the activities it invests in through the Ministry of

Tourism Culture & Sport and the agencies under the Ministry.

4. While we believe major amendments and additions to the Status of Ontario’s Artists Act are required, the idea of an Arts Policy Framework that at minimum outlines best practices for artist payment and other matters such as extended healthcare and retirement planning for artists is a major step in the right direction.

5. Lastly, understanding that the Province of Ontario has economic challenges the same as many jurisdictions in the world, and notwithstanding the stated goals to attract investment from other ministries and the private sector, we believe that increased public investment in the cultural sector through the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport and its agencies, especially Ontario Arts Council and Ontario Media Development Corporation, should be a separate and explicit goal in the strategy.

Through the draft we are already confident that the Government of Ontario recognizes the importance of a healthy cultural sector, and the importance of at least maintaining, if not improving the socio-economic status of artists. Considering the next generation of artists includes amazing creators and interpreters

from Ontario’s many cultural and Aboriginal communities, uses technology to create and disseminate in such a different way, and are vital to our future, it is so important that we do not lose, and instead gain ground for them and make life more livable for all artists in our great Province.

Please do not hesitate to call upon us for more feedback or as partners in the implementation of the strategy.


Michael Adam Murray
Executive Director
Toronto Musicians’ Association

Local 149 of the American Federation of Musicians of United States and Canada

c. Ontario Legislative Assembly
Paul Miller, MPP, Hamilton East-Stoney Creek, Ontario NDP Critic, Tourism, Culture and Sport
Steve Clark, MPP, Leeds-Grenville, Ontario PC Critic, Tourism, Culture and Sport
Ontario Ministry of Tourism, Culture & Sport and Agencies
Maureen Adamson, Deputy Minister
Kevin Finnerty, Assistant Deputy Minister
Samantha Fox, Policy Advisor, Ministry of Tourism Culture & Sport
Peter Caldwell, CEO and Director, Ontario Arts Council
Karen Thorne-Stone, President & CEO, Ontario Media Development Corporation
American Federation of Musicians of the United States and Canada
Alan Willaert, Vice President from Canada, Canadian Federation of Musicians
Liana White, Executive Director, Canadian Federation of Musicians
Ray Dillard, President, Local 149, Toronto
Charlie Gray, Secretary, Local 149, Toronto
Robin Moir, Secretary / Treasurer, Local 180, Ottawa Francine Schutzman, President, Local 180, Ottawa David Knarr, Secretary, Local 226, Kitchener
Paul Mitchell, President, Local 226, Kitchener Steve Case, President, Local 276, Sault Ste. Marie Paul Leclair, Secretary, Local 276, Sault Ste. Marie Ted Peacock, Secretary, Local 279, London
Colin Stewart, President, Local 279, London Larry Feudo, President, Local 293, Hamilton Brent Malseed, Secretary, Local 293, Hamilton
Gordon Cleland , Secretary, Local 298, Niagara Falls Ryszard (Rick) Rybak, President, Local 298, Niagara Falls Allen Torrance, President / Secretary, Local 384, Brockville Grant Heywood, President, Local 418, Stratford
Stephanie Martin, Secretary, Local 418, Stratford Marg Conway, Secretary, Local 467, Brantford Kenneth Johnson, President, Local 467, Brantford Sue Moore, Secretary, Local 518, Kingston
Gene Richard, President , Local 518, Kingston Christopher Borshuk, President, Local 566, Windsor Lynne Wilson-Bradac, Secretary, Local 566, Windsor Garry Agostino, President, Local 591, Thunder Bay Norman Slongo, Secretary, Local 591, Thunder Bay
Eve Goldberg, Vice President from Canada, Local 1000

Norm Amadio

Norm Amadio fittingly just turned 88 this April, and will soon celebrate his 62nd wedding anniversary with his wife, Lorraine. Norm retired after the 2014 Toronto Downtown Jazz Festival, ending a career that spanned over 70 years.

Born in Timmins, Ontario, Norm made his professional debut at age 13, playing piano in a country music band. He had ideas of becoming an architect, but instead, influenced by the likes of Lennie Tristano, Art Tatum, and Bud Powell, left for Toronto at 17 to study with Boris Berlin at the Royal Conservatory.

He quickly emerged on the after-hours jazz scene at the House of Hambourg, worked with Chicho Valle and Jimmy Amaro, and later became a fixture at the Colonial Tavern, Silver Rail, Bourbon Street, First Floor Club, and George’s Spaghetti House. And, of course, the Town Tavern, where he led the house band during the fifties and sixties, backing many American jazz superstars: Roy Eldridge, Stan Getz, Coleman Hawkins, Zoot Sims, Bill Harris, Ben Webster, Lester Young, Chet Baker, Carol Sloane, Mel Tormé, Anita O’Day, Sonny Stitt, Clark Terry, Howard McGhee, Max Roach, Carmen McRae, Joe Williams, Dinah Washington, Irene Kral, and Bud Freeman.

One snowy night in 1956, when the rest of the band got delayed at the border, Miles Davis and drummer Philly Joe Jones played the Town with Norm, Ed Bickert, and Lenny Boyd. That year, he became the first and only Canadian to play at the original Birdland in New York City, opposite Duke Ellington. But he wasn’t happy there, saying that he preferred the “straight life” and that “coming back to Toronto saved my life.” He would, later in his career, perform in Switzerland, Eastern Europe and Japan.

The Norman Amadio Trio evolved from the 50s & 60s with Bill Britto and Archie Alleyne, through the 70s, 80s & 90s with Bob Price and Alex Lazaroff, and into the new millennium with Rosemary Galloway and Don Vickery.

Peter Goddard writes: “Reliability got him work. Unrivaled musicality gave him stature and clout. Jazz stars arriving in town wanted him. Or even needed him, as the veteran American singer Maxine Sullivan once told me.”

The Canadian and Toronto-based musicians Norm has worked with are too numerous to list, but include Tommy Ambrose, Don “D.T.” Thompson, Ed Bickert, Jack Lander, Moe Koffman, Guido Basso, Phyllis Marshall, Terry Clarke, Sam Noto, Debi Sander Walker, Jackie Richardson, Rick Wilkins, Neil Swainson, Reg Schwager, John MacLeod, Lorne Lofsky, Jerry Fuller, John McDermott, and Steve Wallace.

Norm was pianist and/or musical director for such CBC Television shows as Music Hop, Wayne & Shuster, Juliette, Hit Parade, Take 30 and Swing Gently, as well as TV specials with Robert Goulet, Al Hirt, Steve Lawrence, Kenny Rogers, Buddy Rich, Maynard Ferguson, Henry Mancini, Nelson Riddle, and the two-hour live CBC Special 100 Years of Canada, featuring the 40-piece Norman Amadio Orchestra.

Norm also had the house orchestra at the Royal York’s Imperial Room in the late 80s, backing stars like Peggy Lee, Eddie Fisher, Bobby Darin, Donald O’Connor, The Drifters, The Coasters, The Mamas and The Papas, Bobby Rydell, Tommy Tune and Phyllis Diller. At the O’Keefe Centre, Norm worked with Judy Garland, Paul Anka, Engelbert Humperdinck, Red Skelton, The Supremes, and Bob Hope.

Alex Barris writes that “musicians and singers… were quickly aware that ego played no part in his work” and “through the many years of playing for some of the most famous musical artists around, he [has] remained a modest, soft-spoken, totally professional musician.”

Norm says of his career: “I never thought I’d get to play with all these people, but… I had a ball!”
The Toronto Musicians’ Association is delighted to recognize Norm Amadio with our Lifetime Achievement Award.

Shawn Mendes

Shawn Mendes has made huge inroads in his short time in the public spotlight. The 17-year-old GTAborn and -raised singer/songwriter, who also plays guitar and piano, launched his career through the power of social media. In 2012, he began posting a series of videos of himself performing cover versions of popular songs across various video sharing websites including Vine and YouTube, earning him a dedicated following of viewers.

This eventually brought him to the attention of Island Records/Universal Music, who signed him to a deal in 2014. That year, they released the then-15-year-old’s debut single, “Life of the Party.” Initially ignored by American radio, the track entered the Billboard 100 Singles chart at number 24, making Mendes the youngest artist to land a single in the top 25. The single was part of a four song EP, The Shawn Mendes EP. Like the single, the EP performed incredibly well, reaching number 5 on the Billboard charts and selling over 100,000 copies. For his efforts in 2014, he was nominated for a Juno award as Breakthrough Artist of the Year.

In the spring of 2015, the young artist’s first full length album, Handwritten, was released, debuting at number one in both Canada and the U.S. On the strength of this album, Mendes was nominated for four Junos this year: Juno Fan Choice Award, Album of the Year, Artist of the Year, and Pop Album of the Year.

For making such a phenomenal explosion onto the world stage and his already impressive list of accomplishments, the Toronto Musicians’ Association is proud and honoured to name Shawn Mendes our Musician of the Year for 2015. We look forward to watching his career continue to grow in the coming years.

Canadian Content

Example Responses

What are the most urgent challenges facing your industry in the creation, discovery and export of Canadian content in a digital world? Please select up to three items.

  • Creator remuneration
  • How public funding is allocated
  • Lack of legislation to ensure well paid contracts for Canadian artists (under Other)

What are the most significant barriers facing your industry in the creation, discovery and export of Canadian content in a digital world? Please select up to three items.

  • A lack of private sector investment
  • Government policies or programs that have not kept up with change
  • Creative contracts are depreciating and/or going elsewhere under heavy US and foreign corporate influence with relatively few Canadian artists/creative companies benefitting (under Other)

The digital shift has created new types of content, such as digital newspaper articles with embedded video, as well as new aggregators and content providers, such as Google News, Netflix, YouTube, Spotify and many others.

As someone working in the culture sector, looking ahead to 2020, what will be the most important way(s) to provide access to content?

The two revenue models that will continue to gain strength are subscription and advertising, neither are regulated by the federal government.

The objectives of regulating foreign owned media entities online, such as Netflix, YouTube, Spotify, should be the same as the government has done with terrestrial radio and television.

  1. Create more Canadian Control: Mandate that all online media companies of a certain size have a Canadian presence, with Canadian offices and control. This will create leadership and media leadership jobs in Canada.
  2. Mandate that Large Online Media Companies need to adhere to artist contracting standards: To allow Canadian content creators and the fellow artists that they employ to benefit from a fair share of media revenues clarify that Large Media companies, whether domestic or foreign owned, are responsible under the Status of the Artist Act – this allows Canada’s great artist and cultural sector associations and unions to negotiate fair compensation for content creators and use their infrastructure to ensure this compensation continues fairly. If it is only domestic media companies and traditional media companies that have to negotiate with arts unions, it puts them at an unfair disadvantage.
  3. Ensure that subsidiaries of large media companies are subject to 1 and 2 above.
  4. Continue to invest in the arts and cultural industries through grants and agencies, but also ensure grantees where grants are of a certain size are subject to Status of the Artist Legislation.

Otherwise allow media companies to compete for the great Canadian market.

The federal government uses a range of tools to support the sector, including legislation, regulation, policies, funding mechanisms, and the operation of national institutions like CBC/Radio-Canada, among others.

Looking ahead, what do you believe will be the most effective tools for ensuring the creation and discovery of great Canadian content in a digital world? Please select up to five items.

  • Enhanced public support for creators
  • Direct government support to creative industries Canadian content rules for TV and radio Legislation, such as the Broadcasting Act
  • Enhanced Status of the Artist Legislation (under Other)

Looking ahead, what do you believe will be the most effective tools to support the export of Canadian content to the world stage? Please select up to three items.

  • Direct public support to creators or distributors
  • Co-production treaties with other countries
  • Requirement of foreign media companies to have offices and labour agreements to operate in Canada. (under Other)

What are the key roles for CBC/Radio-Canada to play in supporting Canadian content creation, discovery and export in a digital world? Please select up to five items.

  • Reflecting the diversity of Canadian culture and communities
  • Being an incubator for Canadian creative talent and training the next generation of content creators
  • Striking partnerships with other players, including other public broadcasters, to extend content to new audiences at home and abroad
  • Providing services to Canada’s Indigenous peoples
  • Fair compensation for Canadian Content Creators and artists and using their relative power to ensure subcontracted media companies do the same by following labour agreements. (under Other)

Do you believe there is sufficient local content available that is relevant to your community?

  • Yes

What type of local content would you like to see more of in your community? Please select up to five items.

  • Information about local and regional cultural events
  • Information about local and regional community events
  • Information about local and regional public affairs
  •  Information about municipal affairs
  • Local and regional audiovisual programming (e.g. local talk shows)

What is being done in other countries, jurisdictions and the private sector that could be instructive to the Government of Canada in terms of best practices for supporting content creation and discovery in a digital world?

From Sweden: Outside of policy circles, a much more critical and interesting discussion is starting to take place, and it is one in which cultural workers need to engage. Innovation is increasingly being seen as a primary, if not the primary reason for support, particularly of the creative industries, but also of other cultural and arts activities. Much of this rests on a rather untested set of assertions about the links between innovation in the cultural sectors themselves and in the wider economy. The danger here for the cultural sectors is that if no such links can be clearly demonstrated (and there are already sceptics in some finance ministries, including the UK Treasury), then the arguments for supporting the cultural sectors themselves have already been weakened. I am generally of the view that non-instrumental public policy is an oxymoron, and the arguments for supporting the cultural sectors have always included a variety of instrumental rationales. But there is a danger in allowing the only rationales to be instrumental ones. If the current fashion for linking the cultural and creative sectors to wider innovation fades, and unless the supporting evidence for such process improves, the sectors themselves will have gained relatively little and will have sacrificed another claim on the public’s attention and taxes. However, there are more important reasons why cultural workers should start to engage in a critical discussion about innovation, and that is, simply, that it is not an uncontested good. Some innovations are harmful;

What is being done in other countries to promote the export of their cultural content?

Within the framework of the Government’s export strategy, the MFA and the Kreativ Sektor (Creative Sector) project have together created Showcase Sweden, a digital showcase for the Swedish cultural and creative industries. The aim is to make creative content accessible in a coordinated and useful format that can be used as a tool for press contacts, talks and meetings, for instance, but that can also be shown on screens in lobbies and waiting rooms and distributed to the broad public, potential customers and recipients of Swedish exports.

How important is it for you to have access to Canadian content in a digital world?

Very important

Please explain why it is important to you.

Canadian content remains important for us as a country to craft a voice, an economy, employment and pride in the larger media world. Now more than ever, with technology breaking down the physical and geographic barriers between content producer and audience, policy becomes a more key element in promoting Canadian content.

What other questions or issues as they relate to the goal of strengthening Canadian content creation, discovery and export in a digital world should we explore?

Most importantly, how can we modernize the Federal Status of the Artist Act to increase rights for creative people in modern agreement, governing the relationship between contract creative persons and producers? In this modernization the enabling of Canadian artists’ representative bodies to compel subcontractors of Status eligible producers, and also media distributors, both domestic and international to negotiate fair terms for Canadian creative persons, would ensure that Canada is the best place to live as a creative person. Subsequently Canadian content would increase in quality from the increased quality of the creative people we attract.