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Coronavirus Information for TMA149 Members – December 15, 2020

In this update:

  1. Attend this Friday’s General Meeting
  2. Join request for clarity regarding CERB Eligibility Letters
  3. Understand Reopening Rules
  4. Advocate to Government
  5. Learn about Ontario Second Career Grants
  6. Learn about PPE and Covid-19 Mitigation Funding
  7. Review many Funding Options
  8. Get help with Mental Health
  9. Understand P2 Fee Changes
  10. Come Out to the Next Town Hall
  11. Remind yourself of TMA149 and CFM Office Access
  12. Explore TMA149’s Covid-19 Update Archive

AnchorGeneral Meeting – Including 2021 TMA149 Covid Relief Motions

As first published in Crescendo in November, TMA149 is holding a General Meeting this Friday.

Motions to be discussed and voted upon include:

2021 Covid-19 Motion 1 of 6 – Dues Relief and Restructure

2021 Covid-19 Motion 2 of 6 – Expelled Status Relief

2021 Covid-19 Motion 3 of 6 –Reinstatement Relief

2021 Covid-19 Motion 4 of 6 –Work Dues Relief for Music Lessons

The full agenda and other motions are in the December Crescendo.

If you need help with setting up your technology please contact Scott Harrison, Business Representative (and resident Zoom Tech).

Connect on mobile or computer to fully participate and vote:

Topic: TMA149 General Meeting
Time: Dec 18, 2020 11:00 AM America/Toronto

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 861 1916 8708
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Meeting ID: 861 1916 8708
Find your local number: https://us02web.zoom.us/u/kqff5d4R

AnchorCERB Eligibility Letters

We are appreciative of the Federal Government’s leadership in supporting self-employed persons through the pandemic by implementing the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (the “CERB”).  These benefits have been, and continue to be, a lifeline for many of our members.  Unfortunately many members have received a letter from the Canada Revenue Agency (the “CRA”) stating the CRA cannot confirm the member’s eligibility for CERB amounts already received (the “Eligibility Letter”).   As a whole, the Eligibility Letter is most easily understood as a request to repay all amounts received under the CERB.

The key consideration in the Eligibility Letter is that CRA is asserting that the $5,000 of self-employment income threshold to determine up front eligibility must be net of expenses, not gross.

Please talk to your accounting professional if you have received this letter.

In the meantime TMA149 has coordinated an approach to government joined by unions and guilds representing more than 75,000 arts and culture workers, to ask that the government reconsider the terms of the Eligibility Letter.  We are not asking that members reinforce this approach with their own action given the sensitive nature of the issue.  We will share the response of government if and when it is received.

AnchorMaking Sense of Reopening Rules and Lockdown Funding

The Province of Ontario released its new “COVID-19 Response Framework: Keeping Ontario Safe and Open” on November 3, 2020 and it has been revised multiple times since that date.

You can find your region and its level of restrictions here.

Further, TMA149 understands the following as it pertains to our membership, for all levels including lockdown.

  • 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 scoring, 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) or Lockdown (Grey) 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.
  • We are curious if any of our members have accessed the $300 million in property tax and energy cost reimbursement offered by the provincial government.  Please share your stories by emailing Michael Murray, Executive Director directly.  If you would like to apply, please click here.

AnchorMPTF Funding for Free Live Streams, Streaming Best Practices and TMA149 Streaming Agreements

For members who wish to stream their performances to the public, or are hired by community organizations, businesses, schools or institutions to do so, here are some guidelines we would like you to read:

For help with any of the above contact our staff.

AnchorAdvocacy Update

TMA149 and the Federation continue to advocate for musicians in the following areas:

  • Advocacy that musicians are included in a fair and transparent reopening plan at the Province of Ontario and the municipalities and regions in our local.
  • That musicians fairly benefit through increased public investment in the arts & culture sector and through legislative changes at the Federal and Provincial level.

Learn About Ontario Second Career GrantsAnchor

You can get new skills – those needed for jobs in demand now – and financial support when you qualify for Second Career.

Apply for up to $28,000 for costs including:

  • tuition
  • books
  • manuals, workbooks or other instructional costs
  • transportation
  • basic living allowance (maximum $410 per week)
  • child care

Attend an upcoming free information session provided by George Brown College.

AnchorOntario 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 ReminderAnchor

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 Arts, FACTOR, Ontario Arts Council, Ontario Music Investment Fund, Ontario Trillium Foundation and Toronto Arts Council.

Mental Health SupportsAnchor

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 Member Assistance Fund, as well as the Federation’s Lester Petrillo Memorial Fund for Disabled Musicians. Log into the member side of the TMA149 website to find out more and access application materials.
  • 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 ChangesAnchor

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.

USCIS after receiving this decision did quickly move to increase premium processing fees.

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.

Next Town Hall – Monday December 21, 2020 @ 10:00 AMAnchor

We are having our next Covid-19 Town Hall Monday December 21, 2020 @ 10:00 AM.  Please bring questions for fellow members and TMA149 staff.

Topic: TMA149 Town Hall
Time: Dec 21, 2020 10:00 AM Eastern Time (US and Canada)

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 840 4391 6518
One tap mobile
+16473744685,,84043916518# Canada
+16475580588,,84043916518# Canada

Dial by your location
+1 647 374 4685 Canada
+1 647 558 0588 Canada
+1 778 907 2071 Canada
+1 438 809 7799 Canada
+1 587 328 1099 Canada
Meeting ID: 840 4391 6518
Find your local number: https://us02web.zoom.us/u/key2kiriIm

TMA149 and CFM OfficeAnchor

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 electronically, by mail or by courier.  Please note the Canadian Office of the Federation is open for electronic services and accepting P2 applications by mail.

Covid-19 Update ArchiveAnchor

All Covid-19 Updates and other Covid-19 resources may be found here:

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

In Solidarity