Coronavirus Information for TMA149 Members – September 18 and 24, 2020

To our Members,

LightUpLive

On Tuesday 22 September, 2020, an hour after sundown, we are inviting our members to join technicians, suppliers and venues across the country to light up live events in red – raising awareness for an industry that is still dark.

Please view the LightUpLive website for how to safely participate.

#iMissLiveTheatreTO

At this time of year, the theatre, dance and opera sector would typically be celebrating the launch of the 2020-21 season. Instead the industry continues to feel the devastating impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • While many parts of our economy cautiously begin to reopen, the performing arts remain largely dark – amongst the first to close and will be the last to re-open
  • The impact to date in Toronto is 25,000 cancelled or postponed public performances; $500 million lost ticket sales; 20 million lost audience members

To raise awareness of the effect of the pandemic on the theatre, dance and opera community in Toronto we are inviting our members to join audiences, arts workers and artists in celebrating our vibrant cultural landscape.

We need your support to encourage all theatre, dance and opera lovers to participate. The #iMissLiveTheatreTO campaign officially launches 10:00am, Monday, September 21 with a LAUNCH VIDEO to kick off the week via the TAPA YouTube channel.

TAPA has created 3 Easy Options for You to Join the #iMissLiveTheatreTO campaign!

MAKE A VIDEO

POST AN IMAGE

DISPLAY A POSTER

The Proposed Canada Recovery Benefit – Updated to $500 per week

The proposed Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB) has now been included in legislation that received its first reading in the house today.  In the legislation, the benefit has been increased from the originally-planned amount of $400 per week to match the now ended CERB at $500 per week.  The benefit as described in current legislation:

  • effective from September 27, 2020, for one year and would provide a benefit amount of $500 (NEW) per week for up to 26 weeks;
  • eligible for up to 13 two-week periods where the claimant earns 50% or less of their average two-week income in 2019 or 50% or less of their average two-week income in the 12 months prior to application;
  • the 13 two-week periods may be increased by regulation, likely if the pandemic continues to prevent work;
  • self-employed income is explicitly net of expenses;
  • claimants would need to repay some, or all, of the benefit through their income tax return if their annual net income, excluding the CRB payment, but including the CERB payments from March until September 2020, is over $38,000. In other words, claimants would need to repay $0.50 of the benefit for each dollar of their annual net income above $38,000 in the calendar year to a maximum of the amount of benefit they received.

The full legislation after first reading (before any debate or changes) may be viewed here. The legislation may still be changed or the bill may not pass.  If the bill passes TMA149 will keep an eye on information about how our members apply and get questions answered.

Speech from the Throne – highlights for our sector:

You may download the entire text of the speech here.

“the Government will work to target additional financial support directly to businesses which have to temporarily shut down as a result of a local public health decision.”

“the Government will launch a campaign to create over one million jobs, restoring employment to previous levels…using a range of tools, including direct investments in the social sector and infrastructure, immediate training to quickly skill up workers, and incentives for employers to hire and retain workers.”

“One way the Government will create these jobs is by extending the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy right through to next summer. The Government will work with businesses and labour to ensure the program meets the needs of the health and economic situation as it evolves.”

“Over the coming months, the EI system will become the sole delivery mechanism for employment benefits, including for Canadians who did not qualify for EI before the pandemic. This pandemic has shown that Canada needs an EI system for the 21st century, including for the self-employed and those in the gig economy.”

“This fall, in addition to extending the wage subsidy, the Government will take further steps to bridge vulnerable businesses to the other side of the pandemic by:

  • Expanding the Canada Emergency Business Account to help businesses with fixed costs;
  • Improving the Business Credit Availability Program;
  •  And introducing further support for industries that have been the hardest hit, including travel and tourism, hospitality, and cultural industries like the performing arts.”

“Web giants are taking Canadians’ money while imposing their own priorities. Things must change, and will change. The Government will act to ensure their revenue is shared more fairly with our creators and media, and will also require them to contribute to the creation, production, and distribution of our stories, on screen, in lyrics, in music, and in writing.”

“Working with the provinces and territories, the Government will make the largest investment in Canadian history in training for workers. This will include by:
• Supporting Canadians as they build new skills in growing sectors;
• Helping workers receive education and accreditation;
• And strengthening workers’ futures, by connecting them to employers and good jobs, in order to grow and strengthen the middle class.”

“Important steps were taken with the release of Canada’s Anti-Racism Strategy for 2019-2022, the creation of an anti-racism secretariat, and the appointment of the first-ever Minister focused specifically on diversity and inclusion. This is all good, but much more needs to be done for permanent, transformative change to take shape. The Government will redouble its efforts by….taking new steps to support the artistic and economic contributions of Black Canadian culture and heritage.”

Be Part of Changing the Performing Arts Industry. Take the Rosa Survey: The Change You Want to See

Aftermetoo, the Canadian Women’s Foundation, and Hill Strategies have released the first-ever national bilingual survey on workplace sexual harassment in the Canadian performing arts, film, and television industry. We want to hear your story. Safer workplaces in the performing arts industry are possible. The results of the Rosa Survey will be used to advocate for change. Take the Rosa Survey between September 21st and October 23rd.

Universal Basic Income

Universal Basic Income has become an important conversation for the arts in general and for political parties in Canada.  Our Federation signed the letter asking for the Government of Canada to implement a Universal Basic Income for the arts.

 

Federal Advocacy for Financial Support

Please see our Federation’s Written Submission for Federal Pre-Budget Consultations and Submission to Canadian Heritage. While Parliament is prorogued you can still contact your Federal Member of Parliament to discuss the above recommendations, or additional recommendations.

Provincial Advocacy for Financial Support and Reopening Rules

These are the highlights of the TMA149 Submission to the Provincial Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs

  1. Introduce a Live Arts Labour Tax Credit and a Live Arts Labour Rebate
  2. Work with major financial institutions and the federal government to Introduce a Live Arts Financing Program to complement the Live Arts Labour Tax Credit and a Live Arts Labour Rebate
  3. Research and consider incentivizes for Ontario Musician and Music Maker Participation in Screen-Based Productions that receive Ontario Cultural Media Tax Credits

TMA149 appeared before the Committee on Monday August 24, 2020 @ 5:00 PM.

TMA149 has also sent a submission to the Ontario Jobs and Recover Committee that the committee consider changes to Stage 3 Rules.
For clarity, our understanding is that the lowering of gathering restrictions on September 17 applies to unsupervised gatherings, whereas concerts and performances under the supervision of a venue, commercial producer, or community producer can remain at the original Stage 3 gather limits.

TMA149 has requested a meeting with Minister MacLeod to discuss both financial recovery and reopening rules along with a small group of working members.  The minister’s office responded that the Minister is willing to meet with TMA149 and the musicians within the next three weeks and we will report on that meeting.

Canada Emergency Business Account

TMA149 did not highlight the Canada Emergency Business Account early in the pandemic, as it was not a match for the majority of our membership.  Changes this summer make the loan program much more suited to many TMA149 members and we recommend you look into the program.

This $55 billion program provides interest-free loans of up to $40,000 to small businesses and not-for-profits.

Repaying the balance of the loan on or before December 31, 2022 will result in loan forgiveness of 25 percent (up to $10,000).

As of June 26, 2020, businesses eligible for CEBA now include owner-operated small businesses that do not have a payroll, sole proprietors receiving business income directly, as well as family-owned corporations remunerating in the form of dividends rather than payroll.

United States Citizenship & Immigration Service Ignores the Federation and its Partners – Increases P2 Visa Fees

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 has ignored this call and has doubled down by increasing P2 Visa fees effective October 1.   We know this could not come at a worse time and we have not given up advocating for more reasonable artist immigration to the United States.

Currently and for all applications on or before September 29 the P2 Visa fee is $460 USD.  Beginning October 1, 2020 the processing fee is $695 USD.  The expected processing time is 60 days.  More information may be found on the Federation’s Canadian website, under work permits.

Also, our understanding is that those holding P2 Visas may be recognized as essential workers and may be able to cross the border for their work.  That being said the quarantine requirements in the destination and back here at home would apply and therefore would make many US engagements impractical.

Next Covid-19 Town Hall – Friday September 25, 2020 @ 11:30 AM

We are having our next Covid-19 Town Hall Friday September 25, 2020.  Please bring questions for fellow members and TMA149 staff about next steps in response and recovery.

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 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 currently only able to make this offer until September 30, 2020 due to Federation restrictions, but we are in discussions to extend the offer.  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 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 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 do 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 for those planning a post-Covid tour.

Covid-19 Update Archive

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

New Website, Member Login and Lost Work Form

We have launched our new website and you should have received an email back in June from “tma@bellnet.ca” with login details.  Please check your junk mail folder if you cannot find the email. Once logged in you can update your instruments and other information for our directory and enter lost work due to Covid-19 in a form that will produce a form for your records.  The lost work forms and information can be retrieved at a later time by logging in again.  If you are having any trouble with login please contact Dennis Passley, Membership & Contracts Coordinator dpassley@tma149.ca.

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