Coronavirus Information for TMA149 Members – March 27, 2020

March 27, 2020 – To our Members,

In this latest update I will go through the Newly Announced Wage Subsidy and HST Remittance Delay, the Canada Emergency Response Benefit, Other measures for Taxation, Housing, Emergency Funds, and link you to a recording of our Town Hall, as well as advocacy efforts through SaveLiveArts.ca.  This afternoon the government of Canada announced the intention to provide a 75% wage subsidy for small business.  As has been the trend, this initial announcement did not come with any detail for those of you who are business owners, or who may have questions about how this might impact your cancelled gigs.  We will update you when we know more. The government also announced today that they will allow businesses, including self-employed individuals, to defer until June 30, 2020 payments of the Goods and Services Tax / Harmonized Sales Tax (GST/HST). I believe top of mind for everyone is the Canada Emergency Response Benefit.  By the time relief legislation was passed regular Employment Insurance, the proposed Canada Support Benefit and the Canada Emergency Benefit were all rolled into one platform titled the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB).  We still highly recommend that if you are considering applying for this benefit that you immediately ensure you have access to at least your CRA My Account.  We believe CRA My Account will be the easier of the two portals to access. We believe the applications will open April 6, 2020 and be retroactive until March 15, 2020.

  • CLICK HERE to register for, or sign into, your CRA My Account, we recommend using the option of a sign in partner which will allow you to use an account you sign into more frequently, such as online banking, in order to access your CRA My Account.

The following is the best information we have regarding the CERB:

Canada Emergency Response Benefit

The federal government has combined two emergency benefit measures that it announced earlier to provide support to individuals affected by COVID-19 into one new benefit, the CERB.

What is it?

  • The CERB is a form of income support implemented under the new Canada Emergency Response Benefit Act (CERB Act). This new benefit is not part of the Employment Insurance (EI) regime, and an eligible worker does not need to meet the EI insurable hours eligibility rules to qualify.
  • It applies to any four-week period falling within the period beginning March 15, 2020 and ending October 3, 2020 that an individual meets the eligibility criteria described below.

Who is eligible?

  • The CERB is available to employees and self-employed workers who:
    • have income of $5,000 or more from employment, self-employment, or pregnancy or parental EI benefits in the 12 months preceding the application for the CERB;
    • are at least age 15 and a resident of Canada;
    • “cease working for reasons related to COVID-19” for at least 14 consecutive days within the four-week period in respect of which they apply for the payment; and
    • do not receive, in respect of those 14 days:
      • income from employment or self-employment;
      • EI benefits; or
      • pregnancy or parental benefits under a provincial plan.
  • Although not specified in the CERB Act, the federal government’s COVID-19 website describes the following as workers who could be eligible for the CERB:
    • workers who are sick, quarantined, or taking care of someone who is sick with COVID-19
    • working parents who must stay home without pay to care for children who are sick or need additional care because of school and daycare closures
    • employees whose employment has not been terminated but who are not being paid and were asked by their employer not to work because of a shortage of work.
  • It appears that workers are eligible for the CERB whether they would qualify for EI or not.
  • The Regulations to be made under the CERB Act can specify types of employment income that will not affect the 14 day requirement. The government’s website indicates that the CERB is intended for workers who do not have access to paid leave or other income support.

How much is it?

  • The amount of the CERB will be specified in the Regulations. According to the government’s news release, the CERB is $2,000 per month for up to 16 weeks. It is taxable income.
  • It is not clear whether the monthly $2,000 payment will be pro-rated for a period without work between two and four weeks, but it does appear that it will not be payable if the worker is without work for less than 14 consecutive days in a four week period. It is expected that the Regulations under the CERB Act may clarify some of these questions once they are released.
  • We have heard it is possible the submission process may be simple and require little proof, with the burden of proof arriving later or upon income tax submission

When and how can workers apply?

  • The application is expected to be available online in early April, April 6 we believe.
  • Applicants are expected to receive their CERB payments within 10 days of application.
  • The CERB will be paid every four weeks and will be available from March 15, 2020 until October 3, 2020. It appears that a worker may need to reapply every four weeks until reaching the 16-week limit, assuming they continue to be not working due to COVID-19.
  • Application guidelines have not yet been released.

Other Measures

Taxation Benefits and Extensions

  • Individuals will not have to file their tax returns until June 1/20 and can defer any payments until after August 31/20 (however for some families may be advantaged to file earlier with respect to increasing child benefit etc.)
  • Ottawa will temporarily boost the Canada Child Benefit.- one time boost expected in May
  • In May, Ottawa will boost the GST credit (one time) to help lower income people, which is a tax-free payment sent to Canadians. “Every adult who qualifies will receive up to $300 with $150 for every child”-(amount may change)
  • For people paying off student loans, the government will put in place a six-month moratorium on repayment of their loans.
  • The government also announced today that they will allow businesses, including self-employed individuals, to defer until June 30, 2020 payments of the Goods and Services Tax / Harmonized Sales Tax (GST/HST).

Housing

  • No Evictions in Ontario -The Attorney General has indicated that no new orders will be issued and to postpone the scheduled enforcement of eviction orders.
  • Mortgages: The Federal Government, through the Canada Mortgage Housing Coporation (CMHC), is providing increased flexibility for homeowners facing financial difficulties to defer mortgage payments on homeowner CMHC-insured mortgage loans.
  • Access to Housing (Housing Connections) offices at 176 Elm St. are closed. Clients are encouraged to submit applications by fax, online or by mail. Information on Rent-Geared to Income Housing is available online (toronto.ca/accesstohousing) or by contacting Housing Help Centres.
  • Extensions for utility bill payments are in place
  • All city operated shelters, respites and 24-hour women’s drop ins remain open and support activities continue. Streets to Homes outreach is ongoing.

TOArtist COVID Response Fund

To assist Toronto artists in dealing with the impacts of the COVID-19 crisis, Toronto Arts Foundation and Toronto Arts Council are introducing the TOArtist COVID Response Fund. The Fund will allocate up to $1000 to self-employed, individual artists resident in Toronto whose creative work and income have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

TMA149 Initiatives

Save Live Arts

Please remember to consider and ask your contacts to consider signing onto a set of asks of all levels of government under the title Save Live Arts.  You may review the asks and sign the petition at www.savelivearts.ca.

Covid-19 Update Archive

We are archiving these updates here, and there are other resources listed:
https://tma149.ca/2016-01-26-02-05-12/press-releases/349-coronovirus-information-for-tma149-members

Recording of March 25, 2020 Town Hall

https://tma149.ca/2016-01-26-02-05-12/press-releases/349-coronovirus-information-for-tma149-members

Suspension of Dues Penalties and Reinstatement Fees, Extension of Life Member Dues Deadline

In response to the economic needs of our membership the Board of Directors of TMA149 has decided to make a motion to the membership to suspend all late fees, penalties and reinstatement fees found in Articles 14 1(c), (2), (3), (4) and (5) of the TMA149 By-Laws.  This means that if you fall behind on dues you will be able to bring your membership into good standing by simply paying for missing quarters. Further to provide relief for our longest standing and most senior members the Board of Directors has extended the deadline to pay for 2020 Life Membership from April 1, 2020 to December 31, 2020.

TMA149 Health Benefits

Further, although no rule changes were required, the Board of Directors wishes to clarify that all members who have been diagnosed with, or tested positive for, Covid-19 may apply for support to the TMA149 Health Benefit and Extended Health Benefit, as well as the Federation’s Lester Petrillo Memorial Fund for Disabled Musicians.

TMA149 Office

Our office is now physically closed and we are working from home.  Although we are still accepting phone calls, mail and courier delivery, we ask that you access services by email whenever possibleThose working please do continue to send contracts, reports, dues and pension contributions.

Resource List

We also wanted to repeat the list of additional resources:

A number of other relief funds have been established for those and other Covid-19 Resources, please review this list put together by CARFAC. Again feel free to reach out to myself or any of our office staff with specific requests including regular business inquiries.

In Solidarity, Michael Murray, Executive Director

Coronavirus Information for TMA149 Members – March 23, 2020

March 23, 2020 – To our Members,

I am getting back in touch with you to update you on TMA149 initiatives in response to the Covid-19 pandemic’s economic fallout on the live arts, government support that may be available to support you at this time, and a town hall to help keep members informed.First, you should have received an invitation to review and consider signing onto a set of asks of all levels of government under the title Save Live Arts.  You may review the asks and sign the petition at http://www.savelivearts.ca. I ask that you take ten minutes of your day to review this information and if you agree with the measures requested that you sign the petition.  The measures speak to immediate and long-term relief and you know better than anyone what a difficult journey this has already been and will continue to be for some time.

Many members have shared information about their list of cancelled gigs and we have been collecting that information, aggregating the data, and sharing where it has the most impact.  We are developing a new online form to collect this information.  You will receive a personal email in coming days asking you to sign up for an account on the new TMA website and enter your cancelled gig information.  There are many other surveys on this subject, please see the following offered by Music Canada as one example.

In response to the economic needs of our membership the Board of Directors of TMA149 has decided to make a motion to the membership to suspend all late fees, penalties and reinstatement fees found in Articles 14 1(c), (2), (3), (4) and (5) of the TMA149 By-Laws.  This means that if you fall behind on dues you will be able to bring your membership into good standing by simply paying for missing quarters.

Further to provide relief for our longest standing and most senior members the Board of Directors has extended the deadline to pay for 2020 Life Membership from April 1, 2020 to December 31, 2020.

Further, although no rule changes were required, the Board of Directors wishes to clarify that all members who have been diagnosed with, or tested positive for, Covid-19 may apply for support to the TMA149 Health Benefit and Extended Health Benefit, as well as the Federation’s Lester Petrillo Memorial Fund for Disabled Musicians.

Understandably there has been a lot of interest in the Government of Canada’s newly announced Emergency Support Benefit and Emergency Care Benefit.  Both benefits need to be enacted through legislation and few details have been released regarding the eligibility criteria or application process for either benefit.  We know that for the Emergency Care Benefit, for those who are sick or quarantined, those who are taking care of the sick, and those who are taking care of children, you will be able to apply though either the My Service Canada portal or the CRA My Account portal.  We do not know what, if any portal, will handle applications for the Emergency Support Benefit. We highly recommend that if you are considering applying for either benefit that you immediately ensure you have access to at least your CRA My Account.  We believe CRA My Account will be the easier of the two portals to access.

  • CLICK HERE to register for, or sign into, your CRA My Account, we recommend using the option of a sign-in partner which will allow you to use an account you sign into more frequently, such as online banking, in order to access your CRA My Account.

We are having a Town Hall this Wednesday March 25, 2020 @ 11:00 AM until 12:30 PM where you will be able to attend by phone or video conference and ask questions about Covid-19 (or really about anything TMA149 related) on the Zoom platform.  Please note that if the public health restrictions continue upcoming general meetings may be in this format and the Town hall provides a great opportunity to attend as a test run. The following are the access details for the Town Hall:

Topic: Covid-19 Town Hall – Toronto Musicians’ Association
Time: Mar 25, 2020 11:00 AM Toronto Join Zoom Meeting (Use this for simple videoconferencing)
https://zoom.us/j/176886476 Meeting ID: 176 886 476 Call In Numbers (for Phone audio on its own, or with computer video)
+1 647 558 0588
+1 647 374 4685
+1 587 328 1099
+1 438 809 7799
+1 778 907 2071 Meeting ID:
176 886 476 No need to enter a participant ID.

Our office is now physically closed and we are working from home.  Although we are still accepting phone calls, mail and courier delivery, we ask that you access services by email whenever possible. Those working please do continue to send contracts, reports, dues and pension contributions.

We will also wanted to repeat the list of additional resources:

Again feel free to reach out to myself or any of our office staff with specific requests including regular business inquiries.

In Solidarity, Michael Murray, Executive Director

Covid-19

Coronavirus Information for TMA149 Members – March 19, 2020

March 19, 2020 – To our Members,
 
The Covid-19 pandemic continues to evolve and today we want to share what we understand of the relief available outside of TMA149.  We expect that tomorrow we will be ready to let you know more about TMA149 relief and an advocacy project intended to restore the live arts during and after this pandemic.
 
On March 18, 2020 the Government of Canada released more details on a $83 billion relief package, that already helps with some of the most pressing needs of our members, including support for independent and dependent contractors.

  1. The most immediate relief available is the ability for individuals to file their 2019 tax return by June 1, 2020 instead of April 30, 2020.  If you owe tax you will not have to make the first payment until August.  If you are due a return likely the best decision will be to file as early as you can.
  2. Immediately, small businesses, not-for-profits and charities may take 10% of their payroll up to certain maximums per employee, and per business, and reduce the amount of income tax they remit to CRA by that amount.
  3. Additionally there are loans available from the Business Development Bank of Canada for those who operate as businesses, and we understand that these loans will not leverage your personal assets.
  4. There are a number of measures that will be implemented in April and May, including increased GST benefit per child, increased Canada Child Benefit, and a moratorium on student loan payments.
  5. Also available in April and May is likely the most important supports for our membership as those who are deemed independent and dependent contractors may apply without having paid into Employment Insurance: The Emergency Care Benefit and the Emergency Support Benefit.  The Emergency Care Benefit supports those who are quarantined, sick, as well as those taking care of the quarantined and sick, and those taking care of children.  The Emergency Support Benefit supports those who have been gigging and where all gigs have been cancelled.
    • Applications are not yet open for either benefit as legislation must be passed, and therefore details may change.
    • However it is known that the applications will be processed through My Service Canada – it is highly recommended that if you are considering an application to these funds you set up, or access, your My Service Canada account now and ensure all of your information is up to date in order that you may apply as early as possible.

Our office remains open as we have sufficient space for social distancing, but we ask that members only visit the office if absolutely necessary, and not at all if you have traveled to affected areas or have any cold or flu like symptoms.  Instead please continue to access services by phone or email.
 
We will also wanted to repeat and add to our original list of resources:


Again feel free to reach out to myself or any of our office staff with specific requests and I expect to be sending another email shortly outlining specific TMA149 relief and initiatives in response to Covid-19.

In Solidarity, Michael Murray, Executive Director

TMA 149 Award

Nominate a Musician for 2019 TMA149 Musician of the Year and 2020 Lifetime Achievement Awards

Your nomination is requested for the Toronto Musicians’ Association Musician of the Year Award and/or Lifetime Achievement Award.

The Musician of the Year Award was created to allow our Members to recognize their peers for their talents and achievements in the previous calendar year.

The Lifetime Achievement Award was created to recognize distinguished members in our local. The first Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to Moe Koffman posthumously, in 2001. It recognizes long-term achievements. The suggested criteria are as follows:

  • At least 20 years membership in the AFM, and current membership in Local 149
  • Significant achievement in areas of musical excellence, music education and/or public service through music
  • Significant public recognition of his/her contribution to the musical community

If you are interested in submitting a nomination, please fill out this form and forward it by mail, email or fax to the TMA office no later than April 14, 2020 to the attention of Derek Singh, Operations Manager email: dsingh@tma149.ca – fax: (416) 421-7011 – 15 Gervais Dr, Suite 500, Toronto, ON, M3C 1Y8

Download Nomination Form
Staff

Team Changes: Farewell to Nancy, Judy and Dawn – Congratulations Derek and Julia

TMA149 is saying goodbye to three long-standing employees this month, and while we want to respect their wishes for a relatively quiet goodbye, we wanted to simply say thank-you for their unprecedented tenures.  Nancy Neal, Membership & Contracts Coordinator, Judy Mitsuki, Membership & Contracts Coordinator, and Dawn Rodriques, Administrative Manager are retiring and their over 135 combined years of experience at TMA149 represents an immense contribution to our membership, the music sector and the Greater Toronto Area.

With the retirement of Dawn Rodriques the Board of Directors and Executive Director Michael Murray have appointed Derek Singh to the role of Operations Manager with the combined responsibilities of his former Systems Manager position and the position of Administrative Manager.  In addition Julia Cleveland will be supporting Derek throughout 2020 and into 2021 as Solutions Consultant while we assess internal capacity and team structure in order to pursue our mission: a great quality of life for professional musicians in the Greater Toronto Area.

Please join the Board of Directors and Executive Director of TMA in congratulating all departing and newly appointed team members.

Coronavirus Information for TMA149 Members – March 15, 2020

March 15, 2020 – To our Members,

Covid-19 has brought about unprecedented times in our world and our industry is experiencing the full negative economic effects of the pandemic.

Along with our Federation and its locals, as well as sister unions and engager partners we are doing our best to:

  • Assess the damage;
  • Minimize the damage on our members wherever we can;
  • Develop an immediate ask of local, provincial and federal governments in supporting our sector and our members during the crisis and its recovery; and
  • Direct our members to resources available during these times.

As of this morning all of our Major Collective Bargaining partners have ceased performances until April, and many single engagement contracts have been cancelled. We are seeing nearly the same magnitude of decline in electronic media reports and contracts.  We have been in touch with all players committees and many leaders, contractors and engagers to help advocate for the best possible conditions for members in this circumstance.  Anyone needing assistance with cancelled engagements please do not hesitate to contact Business Representative Scott Harrison or myself to give advice and to help reach a best possible resolution for you and the members on the engagement.  We ask all leaders to keep and share documentation of lost wages and other hardships from cancelled engagements in order that we can appropriately record and respond to the crisis.

Regarding your union we are fighting through this for our members and at the same time have made a budget and plan that matches this new reality.  Our office remains open as we have sufficient space for social distancing, but we ask that all those who have traveled to affected areas and those that have any cold or flu like symptoms to access services by phone or email.

For all members, and we realize this will be the majority of our membership, who are experiencing income interruption, the following are resources are available to help you through what we hope is a brief pause in our industry:

Our board is considering our own role in assistance this week and we will be in constant communication in order to help each other through this difficult time.

In Solidarity, Michael Murray, Executive Director