April 5, 2020 – To our Members,
During the past week we have been working with the Federation, and other partners, to advocate for clarity around the “no work” eligibility requirement for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit. We have communicated that if our members are not allowed to earn a small portion of their regular income while receiving the benefit that it will be difficult for our membership to take advantage of the benefit. We know many of you have been writing your Members of Parliament and other officials to advocate for the same clarity and changes, and that many petitions and efforts have been established with similar objectives. We also know that a number of Senators asked questions along the same lines in the sitting of the Senate itself. For instance please see the comments from Senator Miville-Dechêne in the Senate on March 25, 2020. The answers to those questions will give those seeking flexibility in the CERB little assurance, and so far our appeals and those of others have been largely ignored. As a result:
- We advise those who lost work due to Covid-19, and have experienced fourteen consecutive days of no income, apply for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit beginning tomorrow April 6, 2020.
- For those who do not meet the above criteria we have added a chance to share your story on SaveLiveArts.ca to help us continue to advocate to government.
- It is not clear to us what would happen if the “no work” requirement was relaxed at some point after applications were open. We do know that the CERB is taxable income and that if at a later date the government finds an individual to have received the CERB in error, that the benefit will be due back to the government without interest. We also know that the application process will not involve proof of lost work.
We wanted to highlight the newest measures that may help members and/or their engagers: The Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy has been planned in order to support employers through a subsidy equalling 75% of wages paid to employees, up to a maximum per employee. Legislation is still required to put this benefit into effect and questions remain about whether subsidy of independent or dependent contractors’ wages would be included. The government 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). Out of the many self-streaming platforms that have emerged, musictogether.ca is the latest and is backed by the Ontario government to support production costs and artist fees. Toronto Arts Foundation and Toronto Arts Council introduced the TOArtist COVID Response Fund, unfortunately the fund was quickly oversubscribed and is currently suspended until TAC recapitalizes.
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.
Wednesday April 8, 2020 – Covid-19 Town Hall #2
We are going to hold another town hall for members to ask questions and share resources this coming Wednesday April 8, 2020. Please join us with the details below: Topic: TMA149 Covid-19 Town Hall #2
Time: Apr 8, 2020 10:00 AM America/Toronto Join Zoom Meeting
https://zoom.us/j/269076204 Meeting ID: 269 076 204
Password: 077598 One tap mobile
+16473744685,,269076204# Canada Dial by your location
+1 587 328 1099 Canada
+1 647 374 4685 Canada
+1 647 558 0588 Canada
+1 778 907 2071 Canada
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Meeting ID: 269 076 204
Find your local number: https://zoom.us/u/abX5Filt8k
Recording of March 25, 2020 Town Hall
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.
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.
Covid-19 Update Archive
We also wanted to repeat the list of additional resources:
- Toronto Hydro , Ontario Energy Board, Toronto Utilities, Toronto Property Taxes, resources for bill assistance – City of Toronto has announced a 60 day grace period for taxes and other City of Toronto payments as of March 16, 2020
- Bill Payment arrangements for Rogers(also Fido), Telus, Bell, Koodo, Freedom
- Financial Assistance from the AFC
- Financial Assistance from Unison Benevolent Fund
- Province of Ontario Social Assistance
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