Coronavirus Information for TMA149 Members – October 16, 2020

October 10, 2020 Modified Stage 2 Reopening Rules

The City of Toronto and Municipality of Peel have been regulated to reenter a modified Stage 2 of the Province’s Reopening Framework, for a minimum of 28 days from October 10 to November 7, 2020.

This change is outlined in the following amended regulation:

https://www.ontario.ca/laws/regulation/200263

And summarized on the following website:

https://www.ontario.ca/page/reopening-ontario-stages#section-3

Further, TMA149 understands the following as it pertains to our membership:

  • Please see the letter from Kevin Finnerty, Associate Deputy Minister of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries which clarifies:
    • The Ontario Government has amended Ontario Regulation 263/20 (Rules for Areas in Stage 2) to modify restrictions with respect to performing arts venues.These modifications for Stage 2 regions will permit concert venues, theatres and cinemas to open for the purpose of rehearsing or performing a recorded or broadcasted concert, artistic event or theatrical performance provided that no spectators/audiences are present, and performers maintain physical distancing (with limited exceptions). In addition, singers and players of brass or wind instruments must be separated from other performers by plexiglass or some other impermeable barrier.

      This amendment comes into effect on October 17, 2020.

  • No performances for the public are permitted at casinos, performing arts centres, racing venues, conference and convention centres or restaurants and bars;
  • Meeting & event spaces and wedding receptions are limited to 10 public attendees indoors and 25 outdoors;
  • Religious services, wedding services and funerals are restricted to the lower of 30% of capacity or 50 people indoors or 100 people outdoors;
  • Music lessons may occur inside with 10 or fewer students, maintaining social distance and other measures;
  • Drive-in events are not significantly impacted by the new rules;

Areas of TMA149 outside of the City of Toronto (Durham, Simcoe, Muskoka, etc.) remain in Stage 3.

Canada Recovery Benefit – Applications Now Open – Bi-Weekly Periods and Thresholds

The Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB) has been enacted through legislation and is now open for application.

  • The Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB) replaces the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) for all periods following September 27, 2020;
  • The benefit provides provides $1000 for each two-week period you are eligible;
  • 10% income tax is deducted at source, therefore the amount received in your bank account would be $900 for each approved period;
  • The benefit can be received, under current regulations, for a maximum of 13 two-week periods between September 27, 2020 and September 25, 2021;
  • Applications are made through your online CRA MyAccount. You must wait to apply until after the two-week period you are applying for has concluded;
  • You must apply within 60 days of the two-week period being applied for;
  • To qualify for the CRB for any two-week period, within the period you are applying for:
    • you had no earnings, and possibly net losses, due to COVID-19 and were available and looking for work
      or
    • you worked and earned net income, but no more than 50% of your average two-week net income in 2019.

      This means there is an obligation to keep records of earnings and expenses for each CRB period and know your average two week earnings in 2019  (total earnings reported on your 2019 tax return divided by 26 two week periods) and ensure that each two-week period applied for you have net earnings of less than 50% of your average 2019 two week net

  • Additionally if you report more than $38,000 in net earnings (earnings net of applicable expenses) on your 2020 tax return, for each dollar over that amount you will reimburse 50 cents up to the total value of the CRB collected that year.
  • The $38,000 threshold does include amounts received as part of the CERB, but not the new CRB.
  • Unlike the CERB, for the CRB all royalty payments received regardless of timing count towards thresholds.
  • Like the CERB, for the CRB, pension benefits received do not count towards thresholds.

There are additional eligibility considerations, including residency, that can be reviewed on the Government of Canada website.

Additional Benefits for Business – CEWS Extension and CEBA Increase

For members and their businesses that may be eligible for the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) and the Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA), the Government of Canada has announced additional support under both programs.  Specific legislation and / or regulations have not yet been put forward to make these changes.

Ontario Together – Provincial Portal for PPE, Covid-19 Mitigation Ideas and Related Funding

The Province of Ontario has set up a portal to help businesses supply and source PPE, as well as receive ideas and proposals on how to mitigate Covid-19 while reopening the province.  There is $50 million in funding available for approved projects through the portal, and the province announced $300 million in support for businesses affected by the re-entry into Phase 2 in certain regions, including our region, of the province.  Additional details on how to apply for the $300 million announced are pending.

Reconnect Festival and Event Program 2020-2021 and Funding Reminder

The Province of Ontario announced the Reconnect Festival and Event Program to:

  • provide experiences that encourage people to travel locally and rediscover the beauty and diversity of their community
  • draw attendees and provide positive economic impact for the local community, the region and the province
  • create job opportunities for Ontarians, particularly in the tourism, culture and entertainment sectors
  • increase Ontario’s profile through media and/or broadcast exposure to generate interest in future travel to the province once it is safe to do so again

Remember that this program is additional to special and regular funding at Canada Council for the ArtsFACTOROntario Arts CouncilOntario Music Investment FundOntario Trillium Foundation and Toronto Arts Council.

Mental Health Supports

TMA149 wishes to remind our members of the mental health supports:

  • TMA149 Benevolent Funds – members who have mental health diagnosis 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.
  • Unison Benevolent Fund Counselling & Health Solutions – The Unison Benevolent Fund offers a toll-free number to connect Canadian music professionals with resources and support for personal and practical issues. This service is free, anonymous, confidential and available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Before you make the call, please register with Unison. 1-855-986-4766.
  • ConnexOntario – ConnexOntario provides service information for people experiencing problems with gambling, drugs, alcohol, or mental health. Helpful, supportive system navigation specialists answer all calls, emails or web chat requests 24/7. Connex Ontario referral service is free and confidential. 1-866-531-2600 or Chat or Email.

 

P2 Visa Fee Increase on Pause

Back in April our Federation joined with partners across the United States to call for the relaxation of visa rules and fees to support response to and recovery from the Covid-19 Pandemic.  USCIS ignored this call and doubled down.  Currently the P2 Visa regular processing fee is $460 USD.  Beginning October 1, 2020 the processing fee was scheduled to increase to $695 USD.  As already reported by our Federation, due to the political action of immigration advocates in the state of California, the P2 Visa increase and various other changes to immigration into the United States have been put on pause pending legal action.  We will keep you updated and our Federation has put together a committee to formulate an ask of both the Canadian and US governments to relieve the burden of border crossing fees and wait times.  TMA149 Executive Director Michael Murray is a member of this committee chaired by Federation  Vice-President from Canada Alan Willaert, and including Canadian Office Executive Director Liana White, Local 547 Calgary Secretary-Treasurer Doug Kuss and Local 161-710 Washington DC President Ed Malaga.

Aerosols Research

TMA149 member David Pell has assembled this useful resource on the various studies looking at the risk of Covid-19 as it pertains to wind and brass instruments, and the spread through droplets and aerosols, with some perspective on vocalists.

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

In response to economic needs, our membership has passed a motion 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.  We are able to make this offer until December 31, 2020 according to current Federation guidelines.  Please note members will still enter Suspended and Expelled status for unpaid dues, but the amount due to become a member in good standing has been lowered and relieved of penalties.  In addition, 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 and CFM Office

Our office is remaining physically closed for the time being 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 continue to send contracts, reports, dues and pension contributions by electronically, by mail or courier.  Please note the Canadian Office of the Federation is open for electronic services and accepting P2 applications by mail.

Covid-19 Update Archive

All Covid-19 Updates and other Covid-19 resources may be found here:
https://tma149.ca/covid-19-archive/.

Always feel free to reach out to TMA149 Board or  office staff with specific requests including regular business inquiries.

In Solidarity

TMA149 Understanding of November 14, 2020 Rules under New Ontario Covid-19 Reopening Framework and Local Public Health Regulations

The Province of Ontario released its new “COVID-19 Response Framework: Keeping Ontario Safe and Open” on November 3, 2020 and it was revised on November 3.  Under that framework Toronto is scheduled to enter ‘Control (Red)’ classification on November 14, 2020.  In addition the Chief Medical Officers of the City of Toronto and the Region of Peel have made additional orders making the rules in those areas even more restrictive.

Here is a summary of the regions in our local and the level of restrictions as at November 14, 2020:

Protect (strengthened measures) – yellow:

  • Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit
  • Durham Region Health Department

Restrict (intermediate measures) – orange

  • York Region Public Health

Control (stringent measures) – red

  • Peel Regional Health Unit – with additional gathering, dining and closure restrictions
  • Toronto Public Health – with additional gathering, dining and closure restrictions

Further, TMA149 understands the following as it pertains to our membership, for all levels other than lockdown, including the additional measures in Peel and the City of Toronto:

  • Recording studios, concert venues, theatres and cinemas , as well as other spaces, can open for the purpose of rehearsing or performing a recorded or broadcasted concert, sound recording, film/television scorting, recorded artistic event or recorded theatrical performance provided that no spectators/audiences are present, and performers maintain physical distancing (with limited exceptions). In addition, when in Control (Red) status singers and players of brass or wind instruments must be separated from other performers by plexiglass or some other impermeable barrier.
  • For all other restrictions please review the new framework, the additional restrictions in Peel Region, and the additional restrictions in the City of Toronto

While TMA149 understands the need to keep audiences, musicians and other workers safe, we are working with community leaders to advocate for safe priority reopening rules that are economically viable for our sector.  Please see the letters below, one from TMA149, the other from a grassroots collective of member and non-member musicians, acknowledged by TMA149. Both letters  ask for a more fair reopening framework for the performing arts and provide ideas on how reopening can happen for our sector safely

August 14, 2020 Letter from TMA149 to Minister Phillips re: Reopening October 7, 2020 Letter from Grassroots Leaders to Premier Ford re: Reopening

TMA149 met with grassroots leaders and Kevin Finnerty, Assistant Deputy Minister of Heritage, Tourism, Sport & Culture Industries on October 22, 2020.  It was a productive meeting where the ADM Finnerty agreed to bring the grassroots proposal for consideration within the Ministry in preparation for the Ministry to make recommendations to the Public Health Measures Table.  Further ADM Finnerty pledged to include TMA149 Executive Director Michael Murray, who was endorsed a representative by grassroots leaders, in conversations about recommendations.  As of November 11, 2020 Michael has not been invited to any conversations but has had one phone follow-up after the release of the new framework on November 3, 2020.  TMA149 continues to coordinate between grassroots leaders and other TMA149 members and engagers to try and find the best path to a safe, transparent, and fair reopening plan for the performing arts.