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Coronavirus Information for TMA149 Members – November 16, 2020

Seeking Canada Recovery Benefit Clarification

Members have been reporting the following issues regarding the Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB):

  1. For those that continue to earn some income, the requirement in any two week period that  “you worked and earned net income, but no more than 50% of your average two-week net income in 2019”.  Those that had low net income in 2019 are disadvantaged in the program and are limited in the earnings they can make while still qualifying.To address this issue, TMA149:
    • Has solicited examples from the membership to share with the Federal Government through our Federation.
    • Has asked the government, through our Federation, to consider the impact of such measures on the lowest earning individuals.
    • Continues to be involved in discussions about a Universal Basic Income in the arts.
  2. Members are concerned that they will have to prove loss of work to be eligible.To address this issue TMA149:
    • Has asked the Federal Government, through our Federation whether cancelled contracts and cancellations at any point in the pandemic will be sufficient.
    • Is still making available the lost work form on the member side of the TMA149 website to help members keep track of lost work.  Lost Work entries will be saved as part of your profile.
  3. Members are concerned that they are required to look for work in other fields while receiving the CRB.
    To address this issue TMA149:

    • Has offered the Federal Government, through our Federation examples of how musicians find work, and clarified how unlikely the Government of Canada Job Board is as a source for jobs for musicians.  We have proposed that evidence provided by a musician that they have inquired about jobs with leaders, contractors, engagers and / or looked on musicians’ job boards is sufficient for the purposes of proof of looking for work.

Making Sense of Reopening Rules

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.  Under the current version of the framework most of our local is scheduled to enter ‘Control (Red)’ classification by November 16, 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 16, 2020:

Protect (strengthened measures) – yellow:

  • Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit

Restrict (intermediate measures) – orange

  • Durham Region Health Department

Control (stringent measures) – red

  • York Region Public Health
  • 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 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) 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.
  • Unfortunately the $300 million announced for businesses affected by restrictions requires that applicants had a CRA Payroll account on March 15, 2020 and therefore will not be suitable for many members.  TMA149 is reminding government that by-and-large they have left musicians out of this form of support.

Advocacy 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.

Proposed 2021 Covid-19 Dues and Related Relief

In response to the acute negative economic situation faced by TMA149 membership the TMA149 Board of Directors is proposing a number of dues and related relief amendments to the TMA149 By-Laws.  The proposed relief includes a reduction in discounted annual dues from $235 per year to $196 per year, and a number of other measures including the suspension of expelled status for as long as allowed for by our Federation. The proposals will be heard at the December general meeting, require approval of the members at that meeting, which all can attend, and require approval of our Federation’s International Executive Board.

Respectful Workplaces in the Arts Workshops

TMA149 is partnering with Cultural Human Resources Council to bring our members workshops on maintaining respectful workplaces in the arts.  The Cultural Human Resources Council (CHRC) project, Respectful Workplaces in the Arts, addresses harassment in the workplace, including sexual harassment, bullying, discrimination and violence. As a part of this initiative, this workshop will ensure that artists and arts organizations across Canada have the tools, resources and training to prevent harassment of any kind, and build respectful workplaces as the norm in the cultural sector.
For musicians identifying as Female and Non-Binary:

When: Nov 27, 2020 12:30 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)
Register in advance for this workshop:

For musicians of all identities:

When: Dec 1, 2020 12:30 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)
Register in advance for this workshop:



Learn About Ontario Second Career Grants

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.

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.

Ontario’s Community Building Fund

The Province is investing $100 million over two years to develop a Community Building Fund that supports community tourism, cultural and sport organizations, which are experiencing significant financial pressures due to the pandemic. These organizations support community engagement, tourism and recreation through a variety of attractions, experiences, events and activities. Funding support would be available to not-for-profit organizations and municipalities, and the program will be delivered by the Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF) with two streams:

  • Supports for local community tourism, heritage and culture not-for-profits, such as community museums, local theatres, fairs and cultural institutions, to help sustain their operations in the short term and create new attractions, experiences and events; and
  • Funding for municipalities and not-for-profit sport and recreation organizations to make investments in infrastructure rehabilitation and renovation, in order to meet public health protocols and local community needs.

Assisting Ontario’s Arts Institutions

The government is providing one-time emergency funding of $25 million for Ontario’s arts institutions to help cover operating losses incurred as a result of COVID-19. This funding will help these organizations remain solvent and prepare for a time when they can fully re-open their facilities, resume full programming and welcome back their visitors and audiences.

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 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 an 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 Changes

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.

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 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 Archive

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